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Book Review

Book Cover

The Television Companion
The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who
Volume Two


Author: David J Howe and Stephen James Walker
Publisher: Telos
RRP: £15.99
ISBN: 978 1 84583 077 9
Publication Date: 31 October 2013

The Television Companion: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who. Volume Two (524 pages), by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker is the second part of the "Guide" published by Telos.

Originally published by the BBC in 1998, Telos have taken the pair in hand to produce an updated version. Instead of a single volume the extended book has been split in two with book two covering the show from Tom Baker to the television movie.

The format of each section remains fundamentally the same with a list of the technical staff, a synopsis of the plot, a list of the episode endings, popular myths about the story, things to watch out for and quotes from the show. The last section is the real reason for the book's existence, given that much of the previous information can be found on the Internet. The analysis section draws on both professional and fan writing alike to give a balanced critique of the show.

Comparing with the original book, there are some changes. Included with each episode is the planned and actual time of transmission as well as the episode length. Also include is where and when the story was recorded. The rest of the headings remain the same but have often been updated.

Much of the text has remained the same and it is difficult to know just how much new material has been included, a random sampling of stories gives the impression that few, if any of the entries haven’t been expanded.

There are a couple of notable changes from the original. K9 and Company has been removed from the main body of the text and placed at the back of the book, this time being given the same format as the other stories and Appendix B looks at some of the spin-off productions.

In form and format it mirrors the first volume, with both its improvements, better paper, larger, easier to read text and deficits, no pictures from the shows.

What makes the book an essential purchase is not just the authoritative factual text, but the even handed analysis of the individual stories. Over the many years that the show has been made it has produced both wonderful examples of television drama as well as some real howlers and the authors are not above telling it as it is.


Charles Packer

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