While growing up watching Doctor Who during the 1980′s, one of the things that I always looked forward to was the return of the Doctor’s arch-nemesis The Master, played by the late actor Anthony Ainley.
Years later I would get to see him interviewed at the first ever convention that I attended. He was both entertaining and charming on stage but didn’t really go much into his own background during the interview. Anthony never did an interview for DWM and didn’t talk about his childhood, even when he died different publications published different dates as to when he was born, as no-one was quite sure. Ainley was a bit of an enigma, people knew about his working life but not many people knew about his personal one – until now that is.
The Man Behind The Master is released this month by Fantom Films as a website exclusive, to be released later as trade this September, is the first ever biography about the man who sent millions of children running behind the sofa with his portrayal of the evil Master.
The book has been a labour of love for the writer, who spent over a year compiling the information within from many different sources and interviews that were conducted during the process of writing the book. Inside we learn about Anthony’s early life, when he went under his real name of Anthony Holmes, to becoming a teenager and growing up into the man that many of us saw on television. It also goes beyond his appearances in Doctor Who to look at his later attendances at Doctor Who conventions and his love of playing the game of cricket. Writing this review, it is all so tempting to share with you some of the surprises in the book but I think it would be better to leave them out so as not to spoil the read.
Karen Hollis does an excellent job of tell the story of Anthony’s life without making things sound too sensationalised or scandalous. As well as learning about Anthony, Karen takes the time to expand on his surroundings at certain parts of his life which gives the reader a much richer experience and a feeling of almost being there with him.
Inside the book is also a collection of rare and never before seen pictures of Anthony, quite a few lent to the author to be published in the book, by the people who grew up with or were personal friends of Anthony.
After reading this book, I went away knowing a lot more about the actor and the man, perhaps understanding why he became so secretive about himself in later life, and how his upbringing would have affected him in this way. The book is a gripping read and a must have for any fan of the actor, the Master, or 1980′s Doctor Who in general.
The Man Behind the Master is available now published in hardback from the Fantom Films Website priced £19.99.
Thanks to Nick Headley