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The Handbook
The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to the Production of Doctor Who

by David J Howe, Stephen James Walker & Mark Stammers

      Quite possibly, here is everything you ever wanted to know about Dr Who and were afraid to ask! Not including the current incarnation, but all the way from William Hartnell to Paul McGann, which is enough to be going on with. As is normal with Telos, this guide is well researched and actually truly exhaustive, with each Doctor and his "reign" delineated in detail. You can find out all about the actors and their supporting cast, what other people wrote about them, what fans wrote to them, locations, monsters, design and, my own favorite, a foreword to each new Doctor describing the Britain he was being released into. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and Dr Who's ability to move with the times (or not) has been possibly its greatest strength (and weakness). No photos, color or otherwise, but this is a book for fans and people with shelves versus coffee tables.

The first three years are described in enthralling, meticulous detail and anybody at all interested in TV history ought to read this. As well as the story of one show, this is a tantalizing glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of the BBC, and is as much a social as a production history. For me, just as fascinating as the brief snapshot of life in Britain at the time are the sections labeled "Selling The Doctor" looking at merchandizing, viewing figures and what else was on before and after, as well as on the other side. I'm the type who likes to watch the shows but isn't interested in merchandise or actively being a "fan" but this is a history that will strike a chord in anybody who grew up in Britain during the 1960s or 1970s that I couldn't put it down.

To buy this book you can order it from Telos Publishing Ltd, 61 Elgar Avenue, Tolworth, Surrey KT5 9JP England. Visit the website for more details.

The Book

Telos Publishing Ltd
May 2005
Non-Fiction/TV History
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005