From Anura to Volag-Noc, Harriet Jones to Sally Sparrow, Anne
Droid to Plasmavores - Doctor Who: The Encyclopedia
is the definitive A to Z of everything in televised Doctor
Who between 2005 and now...
a definitive encyclopedia on a BBC drama about a 900-year-old
man who travels through time and space in a tatty old police
box may seem at first to be a slightly odd way of investing
your time and effort.
on considered reflection, once youve had a chance to
absorb the wealth of informed detail on offer in this hefty
tome, you may just find yourself rethinking your initial reaction
and coming round to the conclusion that, yes, you were absolutely
right, this is all very, very odd.
seem to remember a clutch of valiant attempts to chronicle
the original series in encyclopedic format back in the '80s,
and Im not sure that any of them really made the cut.
of the more promising efforts was the illustrated volumes
of Encyclopedia of The Worlds Of Doctor Who by David
Saunders, which, despite forgetting about a couple of pivotal
entries such as Castrovalva, still seemed as if
it was confidently building up to be the ultimate Doctor
Who reference work, until the range came to a rather abrupt
halt after the letter R, due to poor sales.
my younger days, I would happily buy anything with the
Doctor Who logo plastered all over the cover, including
this sort of faintly pointless material, the problem being
that I was never quite sure what to actually do with this
stuff after I had shelled out my hard-earned paper-round money
sure that the new generation of Who fans will be similarly
scratching their heads at how exactly they should absorb this
new book that their distant Auntie bought for them, as Doctor
Who: The Encyclopedia is perfectly placed to act as Christmas
stocking fodder all over the country, regardless of its contents
and its worth.
Russells mammoth task is to focus entirely on the new
series, so anybody expecting entries on The Ice Warriors or
The Zarbi will have to look elsewhere, to the abortive attempts
of the '80s, where they may also uncover the dietary habits
of The Draconians and the mating ritual of the Monoids.
certainly no doubting the painstaking work and dedication
that has gone into this volume. I would be amazed if Russell
has been careless enough to let anything at all slip under
the radar in this complete catalogue of every reference ever
to be uttered or displayed or even just hinted at, in the
last three seasons of Doctor Who. You can tell that
youre indulging in a pretty exhaustive study when the
first batch of entries are all just phone numbers that happened
to momentarily flash on the screen at some point.
the question remains... why? And perhaps more importantly...
whos it for?
certainly not something that could be read from cover to cover.
And perhaps Im mistaken, but I cant imagine many
young fans sitting alone in their bedrooms and pondering to
themselves: "Hmm, exactly what type of acid were criminals
boiled alive in, during executions on the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius?
If only I could... wait a minute... of course!... the encyclopedia!"
its defence, it has to be said that BBC Books have produced
a pretty exquisite tome at a very reasonable price. The book
is nicely illustrated throughout with superb photographs,
and there are also several extended entries on the likes of
The Master, Bad Wolf, and The Torchwood Institute which do
make for interesting reading, as well as several tantalising
hints to the upcoming Series 4.
short, it does make a glossy addition to the Doctor Who
collectors bookshelf, but I cant see it actually
being pulled from that shelf enough times to make this a truly