This unofficial guide covers all of broadcast Doctor Who
to date: not just the 700-plus episodes that comprised
the 1963-89 television series, but also the radio serials,
the 1996 TV movie, the charity specials and the more recent
internet-broadcast semi-animated and fully animated serials...
is not the first guide to Doctor Who that Virgin has
ever produced. Indeed, its structure is very similar to Cornell,
Day and Topping's Discontinuity Guide. However, this
is the publisher's first "unofficial guide" to the series,
meaning that the work hasn't been sanctioned or approved by
the BBC, so the authors can say pretty much whatever they
are no in-depth details of storylines, cast or crew in this
400-page book: such things are left to even weightier tomes
such as Howe and Walker's Television
Companion. However, notable cast and crew members
are identified whenever the authors see fit, with reference
to their other work in the series and beyond. This is useful
whenever you find yourself thinking, "Oh, what's he/she been
categories examine the villains, monsters and alien worlds
encountered in each story, while "Science/Magic" details instances
of meaningless bafflegab - and occasional real science - in
the show. "History 101" (which is erroneously omitted from
the "How to use this book" section at the front of the guide)
describes visits and references to Earth's past and future
history. "Availability" notes which stories do not exist in
the BBC archives, and gives details of VHS, DVD and CD releases,
and web URLs.
information may come in useful if you are a relatively casual
fan of the series or if you are, in light of the Chris Eccleston
episodes, only now thinking of delving into this Doctor
Who thing. However, for fans who (like me) know much of
the series backwards, it may be a case of "so far, so familiar".
For more devoted fans, it is the authors' opinions that set
this book apart. "Things Fall Apart" describes each story's
shortcomings, and their analysis of each serial concludes
with a critical verdict.
authors express some surprising, but refreshing, views. For
instance, they consider The Invasion to be superior
Tomb of the Cybermen. However, I do wonder
how they can justify criticising Susan's "fake" dash through
the petrified jungle in The Daleks, when they do not
even mention the TARDIS team's similarly unconvincing forest
run in the preceding An Unearthly Child, a story that
they consider to be flawless.
Robson and Smith also have strong feelings about continuity.
Unlike the so-called Discontinuity Guide, which in
spite of its title attempted wherever possible to establish
links between different stories, this book delights in the
fact that much of the series - like a pair of fashionable
jeans - doesn't fit properly. Like me, you may be surprised
to realise that, contrary to received wisdom that tells us
the series' main character likes to be called "the Doctor",
William Hartnell's incarnation never made such a claim.
I am not so happy about the way in which the authors disparage
the works of Big Finish. Fair enough that none of their productions
are listed here, apart from their two webcast dramas, because
the emphasis of this book is on broadcast Who, which
is free at the point of use. However, Clapham, Robson and
Smith pour undue scorn on Real
Time and Shada
(though their championing of the more challenging Death
Comes to Time is entirely justified) and they
seem to avoid even mentioning actors' performances in the
commercially released productions unless they cannot help
do I agree with their decision to omit the Jim'll Fix It
skit, In a Fix with Sontarans, despite the inclusion
of the (admittedly excellent and affectionate) Comic Relief
pastiche, The Curse of Fatal Death. Hey ho, each to
their own - such differences of opinion are all part of the
Despite its truly dreadful cover design (either use the right
kind of police box or don't bother at all), this book is well
worth picking up. It's not as essential as The Television
Companion, but it's still very good.
this item online
compare prices online so you get the cheapest
deal! Click on the logo of the desired store
below to purchase this item.
All prices correct at time of going to press.