My name is Graeme Burk. Put simply, I tell stories for a living.
Well, it probably doesn’t seem like that. I work in communications. I write non-fiction books and (sometimes) screenplays and fiction. I produce podcasts. All of those things have clearly delineated job titles and descriptions.
And yet… at the end of the day, what I really do is tell stories.
I tell stories about people, about fictional worlds (both invented by myself and others) and about communities. And I work to help others tell their stories in different ways.
This website is a way for me to talk about some of the different ways I’ve told stories over the past 20 years or so. And to offer to help you tell stories, if you like.
I’ve been creating, writing, editing and producing podcasts since 2013. Mostly this has been producing Reality Bomb, an acclaimed podcast about the TV series Doctor Who. However, I have branched out into other areas as well. I am currently developing a long-form documentary podcast.
Doctor Who Magazine called Reality Bomb “A show with aspirations towards the quality of National Public Radio”. It’s a monthly 60-90 minute show with multiple segments including interviews, spoken word, comedy, music and more with a remit to explore Doctor Who fandom in a diverse and thought-provoking way. I’ve hosted and co-produced this with two incredibly talented people: Alex Kennard and Joy Piedmont.
Deeper Cuts is a music podcast with a simple premise: everyone has an album that was important to them at some time in their life. On this podcast, my brilliant friends Shannon Dohar and Rob Jones and myself revisit an album that was important to one of us at a particular time, and we discuss whether the album holds up now. Along the way, we talk about the ways music is important. I hosted the first three-or-so seasons and continue to edit it and co-produce it along with Shannon and Rob
THE DAY THE CLOSED MY HIGH SCHOOL (Coming soon!)
I am currently developing a six-part documentary series that looks back on an event that changed me and several of my friends: the closure of my high school in 1989. It’s a coming of age story, set against the backdrop of local politics… and everything that comes with high school.
I am the co-author of a series of popular guides to the TV series Doctor Who published by ECW press and wrote a biography of Doctor Who’s creator (and pioneering producer/executive at the NFB, CBC and the BBC), Sydney Newman. Here’s some of the work I’ve done:
Who Is The Doctor (with Robert Smith?) (2012)
An episode guide to the modern series of Doctor Who that covers every episode of the series starting the return of the show in 2005 all the way through to finale to the sixth season, The Wedding of River Song. We also provide a potted history of Doctor Who and discuss all kinds of behind the details and assorted trivia. Neil Gaiman was sent the proofs and wrote back, “Damn you Burk and Smith?, I have just lost four hours to your blasted book. And I only meant to glance at it. Nightmarishly more-ish.” That blurb made my decade.
Who’s 50: The 50 Doctor Who stories to watch before you die (with Robert Smith?) (2013)
Our follow-up to Who Is the Doctor had us coming up with a list of 50 Doctor Who stories from TV (classic and modern) we thought a fan should watch (not necessarily the best, but ones they ought to know) and telling the history of Doctor Who along the way. (I’m immensely proud of the work we did telling the story around the cancellation and rebirth of Doctor Who.) The book was being printed the weekend Peter Capaldi was cast, and we literally stopped the presses to add that detail to the book! This was arguably our most popular book. It’s probably my favourite.
The Doctors Are In: The essential and unofficial guide to Doctor Who’s greatest Time Lord (with Robert Smith?) (2015)
Our third guide to Doctor Who took the tact of rather than being a guide to Doctor Who episodes, it would be a guide to each Doctor and try and do a character study for each incarnation of the character. It has some great moments (the sections on the fifth and sixth Doctors in particular), but it’s probably my least favourite of our guide books.
Head of Drama – The Memoir of Sydney Newman (annotations and biography) (2017)
My publisher ECW Press received the unpublished manuscript of Sydney Newman’s memoirs which he wrote shortly before his death. I was asked if I could edit them and annotate them and maybe add a short piece. But reading it became clear that Newman’s incredible time at the BBC as Head of Drama was glossed over; and his role in creating Doctor Who was hardly mentioned. Plus, it stopped with his return to Canada in 1969, leaving nothing said about his controversial tenure as the head of the National Film Board of Canada in the 1970s. I pitched to ECW that I write an a supplementary biography to append to the memoir (in the end, it took up about a third of the book!) To their credit, ECW agreed to it (and paid me for it!) so I went to Britain to the BBC’s archives and Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa and put together what I humbly believe is one of the most comprehensive accounts of Newman’s role in the creation of Doctor Who (and his attempt to get creator credit in the 1980s).
Who Is The Doctor 2 (with Robert Smith?) (2020)
Dr. Smith? and myself got the band back together one more time with a sequel to Who Is The Doctor. This book covers Series 6 through 11 of the modern version of Doctor Who (along with the 50th anniversary specials and some one-offs). This book took a long time to write (partially because it was delayed while Doctor Who itself was delayed at various junctures!) but I think Robert and my review of Day of the Doctor (and to a lesser extent Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS) may be among my very favorite of our reviews.
If you think I can be of some assistance with your storytelling, or if you just want to talk… feel free to reach out to me by email.