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Telos has for some time been publishing authoritative books which are linked into various genre shows, one its longest running series is that which examines Doctor Who season by season.
Time of the Doctor (2016. 466 pages) is the unofficial and unauthorised guide to Doctor Who 2012 to 2013, written by Stephen James Walker, probably the best chronicler of the show today. The main impact, on the book, as an unofficial tome, is that there is no clearance for pictures; it may be that the BEEB would agree, but I’m guessing the fee would be exorbitant; still you do get one on the cover. On the other hand it does mean that when you pay for 466 pages of fact packed information that is exactly what you get.
The books have fallen into a bit of a format, there’s nothing wrong with that as it aids towards some feeling of continuity across all of the books in the series.
This season was both emotive, the show said goodbye to Matt Smith as the Doctor and we had the very brief introduction of Peter Capaldi, Amy and Rory depart and Clara joins. It was also the season which gave us John Hurt as the war Doctor and another glimpse of Paul McGann, which cemented his part in the pantheon of Doctors as well as legitimising some of his Big Finish Companions.
If that were not a busy enough year for you Paul Gatiss wrote An Adventure in Space and Time and some of the past Doctors, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker included produced a well-intentioned and humorous show about them trying to break into the specials which were being produced.
The core of the book is given over to an examination of the twelve episodes, plus specials which made up the whole season. Each story gets a synopsis, good quotes and continuity and production notes as well as errors and critical reaction. Much of this is the listing of facts, what every story also gets is the author’s analysis.
Like everyone else, Walker has his own take on what makes good Who and he is happy to share his opinions. Now, it may be that you will disagree, but what can’t be ignored is that he is able to frame his arguments with eloquence and insight.
Walker also provides a narrative about where the show was between seasons and what was happening; you get bio’s of the primary cast and principle creative team. The book wraps up with appendices which cover, amongst other things, original novels; comic strips and other related fiction, as well as a general backward overview of the season.
Overall, this is not only a factual treasure trove of Who related minutiae, but also a thoroughly enjoyable read, well worth picking up for any serious fan of Who.