A Future in Five Minutes. A Biography of Jacqueline Hill by Louise Bremner


Born in Birmingham in 1929, Jacqueline Hill lost her parents in early childhood and spent her adolescence working in a factory. Then, in the post-war years, a scholarship to RADA helped her escape to a new life in London – and she never looked back.

Jacqueline is best known for her performance as Barbara Wright, one of the very first Doctor Who companions. But her career on the small screen began a decade earlier, in the days following the landmark Coronation TV broadcast of 1953. Her appearance on a BBC talent show that summer brought her overnight success, although it soon became clear just how easily that might slip away.

During the ten years that followed, Jacqueline quietly established herself as a leading actress of skill and sensitivity alongside the likes of Sam Wanamaker, Sean Connery, and Maggie Smith. By the time she led viewers into the TARDIS for the first time, she was a seasoned professional, familiar with every aspect of a rapidly changing industry.

Jacqueline’s story, told here with the help of new research and interviews, is one of the resilience and determination in both her private life and her career. It offers a snapshot of television history, and shows for the first time how her early experiences prepared her to take on the role she played so memorably in Doctor Who.

From the Fantom Publishing page.

The Review

Before anything, I'm extremely happy that this is a thing. I've dreamt about the existence of a book like this ever since I first saw Miss Hill in An Unearthly Child (sometimes even in a literal sense!). I absolutely fell in love with her performance as Barbara Wright, and seeked not just more of her filmography, but also more info.

And the problem rose: there wasn't a lot of info available. Everything was scattered on wiki pages, 2 documentaries, newspaper articles, 1 interview and a lot of misinformation,

Then, I found an archived page that consistently catalogued all this information plus a lot of new information. The researcher had gone through the archives! And even had booked a viewing of The Chopping Block, a teleplay that, sadly, hasn't been released to the general public.

Considering the type of writing on both the book and the old website, I'd say the "mysterious" researched was Louise Bremner. I would like to thank her for taking her time to research an actor only a handful of people know, and even less people appreciate.

Now, the book. Well, it took 10 years of research to make, so it might as well have good research and factual information, which it has. Everything that was looked into, every person interviewed, it's all in the last pages and it's pretty extensive.

However, a lot of it has to do with the history of early television, and not a lot about Jacqueline Hill, which is what people getting this are expecting. It's interesting, and to understand Miss Hill's career you need to understand the circumstances of early TV, but me and at least one other person were a bit sad on this regard.

Still, it is a fountain of information regarding Jacqueline Hill, with an extensive list of her filmography. It goes into detail on her work, and on her life as well. I can't get over that one picture used in the back of the book, with a tiny Jackie and her tiny brother. Everything there is to know about Miss Hill is in this book. Basically, a "bible".

I understand that some people will not want to go into this book right a way "because the ending is sad". It is. So is the beginning. But in between, there's a lot of acomplishments in Miss Hill's career. And in the end, that's what really matters: her life. This is a celebration of her life and work.

Also, I hinted at it a bit, the pictures are stunning.

In the end, it's a nice book about an amazing actor.