Book Reviews

Doctor Who: The Complete History #1 by Eddie McGuigan

 

Doctor Who: The Complete History

review by Eddie McGuigan

A new partwork is on the market for the Doctor Who fans who really need to know the nitty gritty of the series. Unlike some new merchandise, this series of publications revels in the history of the whole series, and looks at the minutae of how the programme itself was made.

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When I was young there was a hallowed book called The Making of Doctor Who by Terrance Dicks. It was the Bible for Who fans, and Doctor Who: The Complete History is this and then some. Drawing inspiration from Doctor Who Magazine’s many detailed examinations of individual adventures this series goes into each story indepth. Not so much an Encyclopedia Britannica as an Encyclopedia Whotannica. It’s a catch all, go to, all encompassing know-all guide to the series from An Unearthly Child to Series 9 and beyond.

Eventually this will be in chronological order and sit on a shelf in your house with a nice jigsawed spine detail, but volume one – at a bargain price of £1.99 – concentrates, probably tactically, on one of the more popular modern day Doctors – David Tennant – and features his arch enemies, again, no doubt tactically, the Daleks.

In this issue we get five adventures – Gridlock, The Daleks Take Manhatten, Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment and 42. It might be argued that quality wise these stories are not the more popular, but that doesn’t stop contributor and editor John Ainsworth giving them the deference each story is going to get in this range.

For each tale we get an Introduction, the story, preproduction notes, the production, post production, publicity, broadcast, merchandise, cast and credits and a profile. Along with this we have sumptuous pictures and photos and some very, very impressive artwork, along with the occasional piece of conceptual art, and little vignettes, for instance box outs about “connections to Bad Wolf” and other pieces of trivia information.

From a boy who was brought up on The Making of Doctor Who and who devoured any reference material he possibly could on the series, this is an incredible piece of work – both in individual volumes and what no doubt will be an incredible complete series. Of course, there is always a chance future stories will change the canon of previous ones, but this series cleverly allows for that, and embraces the whole series – even the front cover design utilises Jon Pertwee’s logo and the old Target design along with the hexagonal livery known for the new series.

One thing that is being fed back to me by fans is the price – most issues are going to cost £9.99 a shot, meaning this is a pretty expensive piece of merchandise, but I’d urge that to have everything in one place like this, at easy reach, is something that I for one would not be without and the cost in itself is relative to the work that’s put in each volume. It’s a monumental job completed with love, care and affection. These sturdy issues are very much value for money.

Issue one is available now at a cut price of £1.99 and is very much worth looking at!

 

The Mirror – The Archive + Competition

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Direct from the vaults of the Daily Mirror archives comes The Doctors: The Archive, a lush piece of collation from 50 years of following Doctor Who from the newspapers back catalogue.

A pretty good narrative takes us through the history of the programme, illustrated with some very impressive and sometimes exclusive pictures from every era. Some of them – variations on ones used – are in print for the first time, and the magazine itself is a nice piece of merchandise and very much a celebratory item for the 50th Anniversary. These pictures were first published in contemporary articles, but are now shown here with a new narrative which, whilst sometimes perhaps skimming over big chunks of the series (which is understandable given the narrative itself is driven by the reports and pictures), still managed to surprise this old codger with pictures even I’ve not seen before.

You can buy it, of course, here for £4.99, but if you fancied a freebie, why not enter our competition – we have three shiny copies to give away, thanks to our pals at The Mirror.

For your chance to win a copy of The Doctors: The Archive please PM me with the answer to this question…

Who played the character of Jenny in the Doctor Who stage play The Seven Keys To Doomsday? 

 

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