That a book about the systematic wiping and subsequent rediscovery of episodes from a popular tv show like Who could run to 480 pages is remarkable. That it presents a gripping account of the BBC's slipshod marketing and archiving of one of it's most popular creations is even more so.
Richard Molesworth has written what must be the definitive story the 'missing' episodes. It's all here, in painstaking, but rarely dull, detail. So that by the end we know which countries made purchases of the Hartnell and Troughton episodes, we know when the tapes or film cans were returned, stored or junked and many popular myths (such as the Blue Peter/ Tenth Planet part 4 story) are revealed to be just that - myths. The fact that so many episodes 'junked' by the BBC have subsequently come to light is amazing when you realise that in the case of the Troughton Whos few countries actually bought them. Equally tantalising are the near misses where episodes were a breathe away from preservation but lost and those that almost didn't get anywhere near a video release let alone a DVD one did thanks to someone on secondment who noticed a pile of cans abandoned on a loading bay!
This book joins the rich history of Doctor Who and continues to ensure that when historians return to analyse television in the late 20th Century they will invariably look at the show about the time traveller and a blue box. No other show attracts such passion and such erudite writing. And, bearing this in mind this means that Wiped is a massive achievement since it gets my vote as the best book about Who published in the last 5 years.
It's brilliant and no doubt makes the fantastic Who researchers like Andrew Pixley who showed just how interesting the minutiae of TV could be justly proud. Get it.