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Doctor Who (Pocket Essentials) [Hardcover]

Mark Campbell
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

24 May 2007 Pocket Essentials
Who is Who? A Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey with two hearts and 13 lives? A folk hero who entertained and enthralled through dark winter evenings in front of the TV? A rebellious iconoclast who toppled corrupt dictatorships and freed the oppressed? Or a bumbling weirdo who for 26 years fought rubber monsters and homicidal dustbins? The answer: all of the above and a lot more besides. The essential companion to every era of Who, packed with facts, figures, opinion, cross-referencing, essays and, of course, lunatic time-travellers in silly scarves.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Essentials; New edition edition (24 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904048749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904048749
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 715,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

Almost Everything You Need to Know in One Essential Guide
Who is Who? A Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey with two hearts and thirteen lives? A folk hero who entertained and enthralled us in the warm glow of our TV sets on dark winter evenings? A rebellious iconoclast who toppled corrupt dictatorships and freed the oppressed? Or a bumbling British eccentric who for 26 years fought rubber monsters in a cheap and cheerful BBC kids' show? Well, he's all of these things - and a whole lot more besides.

The story of Doctor Who is the story of British television in the final third of this century. It is also the story of the hopes and fears of generations of children - and grown-ups too - from the counter-culture 60s to the shallow waters of the 90s. Along the way there are shock revelations, melodramatic cliff-hangers and liberal doses of humour (intentional or otherwise); but be warned - there is also heart-ache, disappointment and death. Every taste is catered for in the world of Doctor Who.

As well as an introductory essay, each Doctor's era is put under the microscope with facts and informed opinion on all their stories. There's an in-depth reference section detailing further reading, fascinating and bizarre Doctor Who websites, and a short history of spin-off stories. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Controversial, Irreverent Episode Guide
"The Pocket Essential Doctor Who" is my attempt to cram as much information into as small a space as possible. The book is basically an episode guide to all 157 televised adventures, each containing the following sections: cast and crew, broadcast dates and video/audio availability, working titles, storyline (in one sentence, if possible), influences (anything that could conceivably have affected the story’s genesis - serious or otherwise), see also (other stories that are connected, directly or thematically), observations (technical details, locations, miscellaneous trivia ) and verdict (ratings out of 5).

I pen an introduction which gives my own version of the show’s history. Fans of Colin Baker may wish to skip this. Also, I fully admit I am rather negative about the current state of "Doctor Who". Whilst fandom seems to get more and more active, the programme is all but dead in reality, but there’s nothing to stop us celebrating it just as much. I personally don’t believe books or audios can ever equal the TV stories, however good they sometimes are, and one 90 minute film in a decade does not, in my opinion, constitute a living series. It may return, and indeed I very much hope it does, but I think we should accept the fact that at present it is, to misquote Python, "an ex-programme".

There are three other sections at the end - Big Finish Audios, Spin-Off Stories (films, plays, radio etc), and Reference Materials (featuring books and internet sites, including my own, "Skonnos").

I do not cover Virgin or BBC new fiction, amateur videos/audios, spoofs or skits or comic strips. I just don't have the space! I had a strict word-count of 35,000 words, and was not allowed to go over this. This in effect means a mere 200 words per story, so brevity is the keyword throughout.

I make no apologies for the fact that "The Pocket Essential Doctor Who" is an opinionated guidebook, with my own opinions as much at the fore as the factual information. For example, I give "Planet of the Spiders" 5/5, and "Ghost Light" 0/5! Although most of the information in the guide is already in the public domain, I do flesh out details about certain stories, such as "An Unearthly Child" (title sequence), "The Hand of Fear" ('Croydon' location) and the TV movie (torch-song). At the end of the day, I want the guide to spark discussion and, possibly, reassessment of the televised world of "Doctor Who", not provide yet another bland, 'nothing but the facts, ma'am' reference book. "Doctor Who" is fun, and I wanted my book to reflect that.

And yes, you heard me correctly - "An Unearthly Child". Despite stiff opposition, I call the first three stories by their incorrect titles, as listed in the infamous 1973 "Radio Times" special. So, no "100,000BC", "Inside the Spaceship" or "The Mutants" here. Sorry. Instead I adopt the same monikers as the BBC Videos and Target novelizations. Controversial, I know, but I wanted to standardise the titles with the BBC's output, so that new viewers would be marginally less confused. I do list the correct titles in the Observations section.

... (It) is, I firmly believe, an entertaining and thought-provoking introduction (sometimes not entirely serious) to this cheap, cheerful and entertaining programme. The cover photograph is of the real Police Box at Earls Court, London, taken by me last summer. This replaces a mock-up illustration of Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview 29 Oct 2008
By A. I. Mackenzie VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a condensed episode list and is very useful, maybe the die hard fan has this info to hand from other sources but for me this is a neat, quick reference. It covers all Doctor Who eras and spin-offs such as Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures (although only Dr. Who gets an episode by episode guide).

Mark Campbell's ratings are always worth reading, I don't always agree with him (Pyramids of Mars less than perfect - NO!), but he's an independent voice and he skewers the like of Torchwood beautifully in a sentence.

Perfect for the younger or casual fan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the bathroom/toilet windowsill 5 May 2009
Other reviewers have commented on content and style, suffice it for me to say that this is a great little stocking-filler for Doctor Who fans young and old; not desperately new or original, it is at least well-researched and light-hearted.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flippant But Interesting 10 Aug 2000
By A Customer
My first thought on reading the introduction was that it was perhaps too flippant, and wondered whether it was to be a serious study or a lampoon. However, the book did immediately come across as a serious guide to the programmes which I can well believe would be of considerable interest to the "fans".
By my reckoning you were 6 when you saw your first episode, of a programme which was made for and watched by children. I doubt your comments reflect the programmes as you first saw them, but rather as you saw them 20 or more years later - as an adult. Would a child have seen "The Face of Evil" as 'A predictable story boringly told'? or "The Creature from the Pit" as 'naff'? or "Time-Flight" as 'utter garbage'? - without watching them I cannot venture an opinion. The book is obviously aimed at adult fans or devotees and perhaps the introduction should have made that clear, though I believe that assumption would be made by anyone buying it...
The only inaccuracy which is apparent to me is in Story 95 under cast, where you show Mandrel (William Simons) and Veet (Adrienne Burgess) - the only occasions where you put the character before the actor's name.
To conclude - I did not find the book hard to read though any catalogue usually palls eventually. On this occasion that was prevented by the observations and verdicts which were very interesting, but perhaps a bit hard on individuals.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is an interesting concept, this book. In the past, most programme guides documenting the TV episodes of "Dr Who" have all been fairly bulky releases, and contain full cast & crew details, along with ratings and broadcast dates.
However, up until now, there has never been a simple little book that enables one to just check some simple facts with regards to certain "Dr Who" stories.
I'm very happy that I purchased "Doctor Who", because it enables me to have a quick & easy reference work sitting next to the telly, so that if I ever need to check anything, I can, and with a minimum of fuss.
Well done, Mark Campbell - a very good release! Just a shame that I disagree with a few of your reviews...! :-)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Read 31 July 2000
By A Customer
I would just like to say how much I am enjoying reading your latest book "Pocket Essentials TV: Doctor Who". I like the unofficial style, which gives the bad points as well as the good. I'm currently mid-way through the Jon Pertwee section, and am finding it thoroughly enjoyable. I've recommended the book to many people. Overall the book gets a groundbreaking 10 out of 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't do what it is supposed to do 3 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Strewth, it's labourious writing on a kindle!

I bought this book because I wanted a guide to the doctor who epiodes. And by guide, I mean what happened in each episode which I assumed this book was. Unfortunately, this book is just collection of facts with a cast list, a sentence about the episode and a longer personal opinion from the author.

Each episode review follows the same format: about 50% of the review is the names of actorsproducers etc. 5% details of the story. 35% facts e.g. William Hartnell was sick for two episodes. Then 10% of the authors personal view. Not good enough for me.

Here is a typical entry for an episodes story: 'The daleks chase the Tardis through time and space...'
And that's it! Less meat than mayfly, it could be most dalek episodes!

As a pocketguide, I wasn't expecting miracles, but I was expecting to get a basic understandjng of each episode. I'm sorry but this is too basic and unless you want a list of actors and episode release dates, look elsewhere.

Very disappointed.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Probably a Non-Essential Selection 20 July 2000
By A Customer
Brothers and sisters, probably 90% of us could have written this book, being as it is another story-by-story, capsule-description-and-review style trawl through the televised series. Think a very heavily condensed version of "The Discontinuity Guide" and that's the format. The author (Mark Campbell) sat down and watched (or listened to) every episode and committed his opinion to paper. That's the book. Full stop. As I say, most of us could do the same.
This is a slim volume (less than 100 pages) and is thankfully correspondingly cheap, but it does mean it doesn't cover everything. The films, recent TV parodies, stage shows, and radio series get a review, the Big Finish stories get a mention, and, er, that's about it. Oh, and a few books and websites get plugged.
So why even bother buying it? Well, Campbell's is a new voice and he's not afraid to be controversial or blunt. No sacred cow is safe, and he even goes so far as to suggest that the show is dead and gone forever. Many of his opinions come straight out of left field, and they'll provoke infuriation and sighs of 'Thank God I'm not the only one who thinks that!' in equal measure. Just a handful of his observations:
"Destiny of the Daleks" is better than "Genesis of the Daleks
"Pyramids of Mars" is 'grossly overrated', and in parts 'rubbish' and 'nonsensical'.
"Paradise Towers" is 'wonderful' and by far the best story of its season.
"Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150AD" is much, much better than the TV version.
The best story of Troughton's first year is "The Macra Terror".
And so on, and so on, and so on - though Campbell agrees with fan orthodoxy a lot of the time too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
The list of production credits is pretty dull (and nothing more than you can get from a quick IMDB search), story outlines patchy and his reviews are very personal to his taste. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Simon Exton
5.0 out of 5 stars replacement
bought to replace previously owned book, i can now find out what the names of episodes are so easier to look for dvd's would recommend to anyone who wants to do similar thing
Published 10 months ago by Oldspice
3.0 out of 5 stars readable
Covers basic details of most episodes,but lacks much that Dr Who's legion of fans would expect.Latest David Tennant's episodes not included,spinoffs,Torchwood or Sarah Jane... Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2009 by Mr. Stephen Parkin
2.0 out of 5 stars Good episode guide but that is all
I was given this book for Christmas and it is a curate's egg of a book.

The bulk of the book is factual, discussing the episodes with a synopsis, cast list etc. Read more
Published on 13 April 2009 by Adam Wainwright
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but hardly essential
This is a small guide, but it does cover every adventure, and Mark isn't afraid to nail his colours to the mast, giving every story marks out of five. Read more
Published on 1 July 2008 by Archy
4.0 out of 5 stars Less Stuffy Than Other Guides
Just a brief note to say how much I enjoyed your Pocket Essentials guide to "Doctor Who". I had my doubts as to whether another episode guide would work, but they were... Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical Guide
This book is a practical guide which itemises detail, time, place etc, with precise storylines and opinion set out in an easy to read format for anyone wanting information. Read more
Published on 10 Aug 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth buying.....
A very handy unofficial guide to the series. Small, concise and straight to the point - making this a great addition to any fans collection. Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2000
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