Miwk Books, out now
Everything you didn’t think you needed to know about Doctor Who – and were afraid to enquire further about…
Back in the mists of time (nearly 20 years ago!) Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons produced The Completely Useless Encyclopedia, a compendium of Doctor Who “facts” that both celebrated the show and mercilessly extracted the mickey from it. A sequel followed a decade later, applying the same treatment to the new series, but we’ve not had anything tackling the whole show since – although I did have high hopes for Mad Norwegian’s Space Helmet for a Cow, based on the description, but that sadly is a straight history of the show with a few jokes, rather than an alternate version of history.
It’s down to Hammond, of Auton fame, to present at least one previously unknown “fact” for every single broadcast Doctor Who story, from An Unearthly Child through to Death in Heaven. Not all of them hit the mark, but what one person will grin widely at will provoke a slight smile from someone else and complete confusion from a third person. The weird data that we learned from interviews with guest actors in interviews for DWM and DWB over the years is mercilessly lampooned, and more than one convention anecdote is turned on its head. And there are some things in there that can’t be true – but should… for instance, the true origin of Mr Blobby.
I have no doubt that there will be those who will raise their eyes upwards, despairing that such inanities have ever reached print (a phrase used about – and proudly boasted about by the authors of – the Completely Useless Encyclopedia) but for the rest of us, it’s a welcome return for such a cock-eyed look at the show.
Verdict: A book that provokes some interesting mental pictures of how Doctor Who really should have been produced… 9/10