Review: Doctor Who: Books: The Black Archive 1: Rose

BA001_Rose_PRINTBy Jon Arnold

Obverse Books, Out March 1

An examination of the first episode of the revived Doctor Who.

That’s certainly the centrepiece of this short book that kicks off a new series of analytical tomes on Doctor Who, but Shooty Dog author Arnold makes it far more, using Rose as a springboard for a discussion of the whys and wherefores of bringing Doctor Who back for the 21st century; the pitfalls that Russell T Davies had to avoid; the changes in television that had occurred since the classic series – and the TV movie; and how Rose both was a template for what followed, and how the show veered away from it.

There are times when it does feel as if this book does spend a bit too much of its short word count on things other than the episode – the audience for this sort of volume is going to know the core fundamentals of the show, I suspect – and I’d have welcomed more discussion on the role reversal between Rose and Mickey, amongst other topics that are touched on. The footnotes are all-encompassing and perhaps explain why sometimes it feels as if the book is more about the creation of the 21st century show than just Rose but Arnold clearly knows his series, in all its different forms (there are some sharply spotted references to the Big Finish audios along the way).

It will be very interesting to see if this is the template that the Black Archive books follow – The Massacre, The Ambassadors of Death and Dark Water/Death in Heaven are out at the same time; certainly I think you’d be hard pressed to do too many from any one season in this format without risk of repetition.

Verdict: An informative look at the episode, weighted towards its place in Doctor Who history. 7/10

Paul Simpson

 

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