Monday, 22 September 2014

DOCTOR WHO FAQ - All That's Left To Know About The Most Famous Time Lord In The Universe by Dave Thompson

It may have escaped your attention, but the BBC TV series DOCTOR WHO celebrated its fiftieth birthday recently. This was as good a reason for a few million more words to be written about what must be one the most written about television series of all time. What, indeed, can there be left to know?

Quibbles first - title and subtitle. This is not a book of frequently asked questions. And as for its claim that it contains 'all that's left to know' about the Doctor, well that's just nonsense. 'All that's left to know' after what?

Don't get me wrong, author Dave Thompson knows his stuff and certainly has opinions on his stuff, but there is very little here that even a semi-knowledgeable viewer like me didn't already know, or certainly couldn't have found out pretty quickly on the internet. True enough, the chapters on the Big Finish audio productions and the music inspired by Doctor Who were news to me, but then I did say that I was only semi-knowledgeable.

What this book really is, is a comprehensive overview of the show for someone who knows a little and wants to know a lot  more. This is for people who are new to the series in its modern incarnation and want to be indoctrinated in the history.

It is also, make no bones about it, for Americans. The opening chapter is entitled 'The TARDIS in America'.

It is also out of date, containing nothing of the fiftieth year's celebrations, but that's a minor point since any book like this is out of date as soon as it's printed (if it's lucky).

So, what's good about it? Well, if you don't already have an overview of the show then you could certainly do worse than this and it does cover those Big Finish audio productions and books and music as well. There's a comprehensive listing of TV episodes, audio productions, original books and even comic books featuring the 'most famous time lord in the universe'.

It's also pretty easy to read. Thompson has a clean style and isn't shy about coming forward with what he thinks. That he didn't like Adric or Mel is no surprise to any right-thinking individual, but his views on the Moffat era might not go down so well with some others.

There's an eclectic mix of illustrations (black and white) to break up the text and at 258 pages of history and opinions, there ought to be something for everyone to find of interest.

We're back, though, to that thorny question of who exactly this book is for. Completists will want it for, well, completeness, but there's very little in it to make it indispensable. Then again, after so much has been written about the show, what on earth could there be left to know?