There are plenty of "unofficial and unauthorised" guidebooks
to genre shows on the market these days, and this is not the
first one that Telos has been responsible for. However, The
Television Companion is, to the best of my knowledge,
unique in that it started out as a fully authorised and licensed
product. The original Doctor Who: The Television Companion,
in 1998, was published by BBC Books.
this 40th anniversary edition, production information has
been revised and updated, new entries have been added for
television spin-offs and charity shows, including Doctor
Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, and there are two new
indexes, one by title and one by surname.
For each television story, Howe and Walker list scheduled
and actual transmission times and dates, episode durations,
cliffhanger endings, times and dates of studio recording and
location filming, selected cast and crew information, memorable
quotes and critical analysis. The latter comprises the authors'
own opinions, balanced by quotations from reviews in the national
press and fanzines (including quotes from our very own Anthony
Clark). Further categories include "Things to Watch Out For",
which describes memorable moments, triumphs of production,
episodes from which regular cast members are partially or
wholly absent, and important landmarks in the series' development.
"Things You Might Not Have Known" contains such nuggets of
information as original working titles, changes to planned
ideas and other production details.
me, the most fascinating category of all is "Popular Myths",
although this does not appear against every story. This category
blows a large number of abiding misconceptions out of the
water, including one that I recently helped to perpetuate
in my video review of Invasion of the Dinosaurs. To
set the record straight, the first episode of this serial
was not junked because it was mistaken for the first
episode of The Invasion! Nor did The Gunfighters
have the lowest viewing figures of the entire Hartnell era.
Nor were the Ice Warriors ever intended to appear in Terminus.
inevitably for a guidebook of this nature, some of the information
is already out of date. The Availability Checklist at the
back of the book makes no mention of the recent video releases
of The Reign of Terror, Invasion of the Dinosaurs
and The Horns of Nimon, or the CD release of Marco
Polo. And how could the authors have foreseen, when they
wryly commented in their foreword that perhaps one day a new
series of Who might get made, that the series would
be back in pre-production by the time their book hit the shelves?
is a weighty tome and, at over 700 pages, you'll probably
want to dip in and out of it rather than read it straight
from cover to cover. But it is an essential book for any fan
of the Time Lord's television adventures.