Wonderful Books, out now
A unique way of looking at the facts and figures of Doctor Who.
There are some people who can look at a set of numbers and instinctively understand how they relate to each other, in the way that some musicians can “hear” a piece of music simply by looking at it. For those of us who don’t have that gift, Paul Smith has presented a very different way of understanding statistics in the Who universe.
Something as basic as the key information takes on an odd splendour when the number of episodes are presented as a bar chart; little silhouettes of Daleks, Cybermen, and Janet Webbs (the lady who used to finish the Morecambe & Wise show… although I guess they’re supposed to be Yeti) and many others at the top of the column show key enemies; small Cuisenaire rods run along the bottom to indicate the companions, producers, script editors; and an ordinary graph line shows the audience ratings. Just absorbing everything in that first chart takes some time – and there are dozens of these throughout.
One of my favourites shows the composers of the incidental music as proportions of a conductor – Murray Gold is head and shoulders above Dudley Simpson’s chest while one-off composers are at their feet. Some are more complex than others and you need to read the explanations carefully first, but there are none which don’t show an incredible imagination.
Verdict: Possibly the oddest book of Doctor Who lists you’ll ever see – but certainly one that will make you think! 8/10
To check out page samples, go to wonderfulbook.co.uk/visualiser