Review: Doctor Who: Books: Then & Now – Doctor Who in Review Volume 1

Howe Then and NowBy David J. Howe

Out now via Amazon

The first four series of the revitalized Doctor Who – as seen at the time, and with the benefit of hindsight…

For those who don’t recognise the name, David J. Howe has been one of the leading Doctor Who historians over the years, one of the team behind the fanzine The Frame and Virgin’s “decade” books and handbooks to the first eight Doctors. (Also, for full disclosure, a friend since 1977!)

His own writing on the new show has normally simply appeared on his online blog, but he’s decided to publish his week to week commentary on the series alongside his notes on a rewatch of the new series, without (as far as I can see) rewriting the former to remove tangents, mistakes etc. It means that comments such as his belief that UNIT were behind the destruction of the Sycorax spaceship in The Christmas Invasion, rather than Torchwood, have stayed intact.

The book makes for an interesting adjunct to the show. Where previously, Howe has written objectively about Doctor Who (with the occasional one line opinion on a story), this is the series seen through the eyes of an unabashed classic Who fan. His studies of the classic show have suggested both its positive and negative traits, and at times the opinions here are filtered through those standpoints, although he acknowledges that times have changed. As far as the more recent opinions go, while some of them are a bit too short, on the occasions where he does indulge in retroanalysis, Howe’s not reticent about admitting that some things were better than he thought. Given his comments on some of the Moffat era online, I’ll be very interested to read the second volume of this!

Verdict: An interesting look at nu-Who from the informed perspective of a classic (Who) scholar. 7/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Then and Now from Amazon.co.uk

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