BBC Books, out now
A wide ranging collection of items from across the five decades of Doctor Who’s history…
James Goss and Steve Tribe’s The Doctor: His Lives and Times provided both a fictional and an oral history of Doctor Who. Marcus Hearn’s weighty tome supplies the missing pieces – portions of documentation, memorabilia and much more which help to form a complete picture of the last 50 years.
From the frontispiece showing Waris Hussein’s plans for An Unearthly Child (recently revealed by Radio Times) to a photo of David Bradley and Claudia Grant as William Hartnell and Carole Ann Ford on the TARDIS set for An Adventure in Space and Time, there are delights from all eras.
The coffee-table sized book includes full page pictures for each year, including Lis Sladen holding the Hand of Fear; Messrs. Pertwee, Baker, Pudsey and McCoy in Bessie for Dimensions in Time; Light and Control from Ghost Light; and Alex Kingston as River Song. Divided by years, there’s an overview, covering the stories, followed by an essay on some aspect of the show. Random opening at page 120, which covers 1976 shows illustrations of a Time Lord robe from The Deadly Assassin, a close up of the Doctor’s note from the same story, the cover from Mighty Midget Doctor Who comic, the Doctor Who and the Pescatons album, The Doctor Who Dinosaur Book and the single version of the theme, alongside a discussion of horror in the show, deriving from The Deadly Assassin’s controversial end of episode three cliffhanger but covering the Weeping Angels and The Empty Child.
It’s not a book to try to read cover to cover in one sitting – although I’m sure some people will. There’s so much to absorb that it really will reward repeated reads.
Verdict: An essential guide. 10/10