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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 538 > LOVE AND WAR

LOVE AND WAR

Writer and script editor Eric Saward – the architect of mid-80s Doctor Who – grants DWM a rare and candid interview…

Lieutenant Scott (James Warwick) leads his troops on a dangerous subterranean mission in Part One of Earthshock (1982).

Beryl Reid was… a surprise,” Eric Saward is telling a roomful of 450 Doctor Who fans, “to me as much as anyone.”

The veteran actress played the leather-clad, lippy-wearing Captain Briggs in Eric’s 1982 space-war thriller, Earthshock. That wasn’t Eric’s call, he’s at pains to point out. It was producer John Nathan-Turner’s.

“Although, I must say, having watched her today, I thought she was actually getting better. Considering it’s all on tape, it’s a bit worrying – that she’s getting better! Or is it just that I’m getting older?”

It’s November 2018, and Eric, along with Adric actor Matthew Waterhouse, is being interviewed on stage at London’s BFI Southbank after a screening of Earthshock – newly remastered for Blu-ray. Eric, a respectable-looking 73-year-old (he turned 74 in December) with a mop of grey hair, is softly spoken, maybe a little shy, but on excellent, acerbic form today – whether musing on Beryl, Cybermen, or killing off Adric, an act he describes as “nice, in a nasty sort of way.”

For instance, when Matthew insists that the Alzarian boy genius is nothing like the actor who played him – “It’s not just me, wearing spongy boots and standing at the TARDIS console!” – Eric shoots back: “I enjoyed the spongy boots. That’s why I kept you alive for so long.” It gets the big laugh he was after. Or later, when Matthew is gushing about Beryl – “OHH, SHE WAS WONDERFUL! To me, she was LOVELY!” – Eric can’t help himself. “For God’s sake,” he cuts in, “you’re terrifying me.”

The ensuing applause fills the auditorium. Eric’s a crowd-pleaser.

“Eric will be Eric,” his partner, Jane Judge, tells me afterwards, while the man himself is off signing autographs and posing for photos with eager fans. Today, Eric is revered

Three things quickly become apparent when interviewing Eric. He’s laugh-out-loud funny. And he’s incredibly good company. But also: he likes to grumble. Lots of stuff annoys Eric.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

This issue includes: • An exclusive interview with new composer Segun Akinola • A candid interview with Eric Saward, Doctor Who’s longest-serving script editor. • Former showrunner Steven Moffat discusses Eric’s legacy. • Robert Allsopp describes his unusual contributions to Doctor Who’s prop and costume departments – from the Sylvester McCoy episodes to the present day. • Alex Mercer describes what it’s like to be one of the current producers of Doctor Who. • Storyboard artist James Iles talks us through some of his stunning illustrations. • Jacqueline King – aka Sylvia Noble – answers questions from the TARDIS tin. • A tribute to Shane Rimmer, who guest starred in The Gunfighters in 1966. • Part Four of Herald of Madness, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • How one cosplayer became the War Doctor’s companion. • The Fact of Fiction explores the 1979 story Nightmare of Eden. • The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!