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on 25 June 2005
I purchased this book on the recommendation of a review in a magazine and I didnt regret it.
As a Dr Who fan I round much in this book (and the others in the series) to interest and inform.
Perhaps not the type of book to sit and read in one go, but what episode guide is?
A feature of 'About time' I really enjoy are the essays on a variety of subjects surrounding the series ranging from 'Why is the music so important?' to 'A history of UNIT'.
A most enjoyable series of guides. Recommended for die hards and casual fans alike.
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on 4 November 2010
Reading the updated edition of About Time Volume 3 is a frustrating experience. This range of books without doubt makes up the definitive guide to Doctor Who, and each edition is full of valuable insights and information. However, as the range has developed, so too has the sneering attitude, and this comes out in full flood here, blighting too many pages. The always slightly superior tone has slipped into open academic condescension, spoiling what was once an informative and entertaining balance. The waffling side articles often fail to make their point or go on far too long, while blanket debunking of areas the authors don't personally resonate with (especially anything they see as pseudo-science) makes some paragraphs feel like partisan rants rather than constructive observations.

These faults might be more forgivable if the book was itself an example of perfection, but instead it is littered (almost on every page) with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, often incomprehensible sentences and missing words that smack of an all-too quick editing process. Indeed, one has to wonder if it was ever proof-read at all. Calling attention to niggling continuity details in a TV series and heavily criticising series writers (especially Terry Nation) while being equally guilty of creative sloppiness does the authors no favours whatsoever, and the hypocritical feel only increases as each page is turned.

All this is a shame, because there is much to commend here, the text going to depths of analysis that leave other related tomes looking superficial by comparison. About Time 3 is still, therefore, a recommended read for all Who fans, but the authors should take note of the old pots and kettles adage for any future entries in this range and one can only hope they restore the keen and less cynical observations that made the earlier books so enjoyable.
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on 4 May 2010
This is a review of the expanded second edition.

This is nearly three times the size of the first edition, but does that make it three times the value? I would have to say it probably doesn't. I've been a fan of the About Time books since I bought the first edition of this book. But they have had a tendency to get more and more waffly as the series has progressed. This expanded second edition seems to be the culmination of that process.

Now, I can't deny that a lot of this book is very interesting, but it is largely off-topic for most of the time. The author clearly has a great knowledge of the pop-culture of the time, and of the general political and world context of the early 70s, but it seems that sharing all this knowledge is his real passion, and the fact that it is a Doctor Who reference book is just a pretext to get all this published. Another reviewer mentions the end notes of the book numbering 147 entries, as opposed to just 5 in the original book, but these are mainly quite irrelevant and it becomes a bit of a drag to have to flick to the back of the book every other page to read them. For example, one entry is just explaining what a Ploughman's Lunch is. Not, as you may think, because the Doctor eats one in a particular episode, or even casually mentions one, but simply because the author himself advised the reader to eat one whilst reading a particularly long section. When you read things like this you get the strong feeling you are totally indulging the author as he just writes about whatever he likes.

In addition, as has often been the case with this series of books, you can't help but feel an extra proof-reading wouldn't have gone amiss. You will often find typos, extraneous words, and even entire paragraphs that appear to make no sense at all. In fact, I have found many areas where the original edition actually gets the same point across much more clearly, possibly a benefit of having two authors as opposed to just the one for this edition?

This is by no means a bad book, but if you own the first edition it is also by no means the essential upgrade it appears to be. Far from being sparse and less detailed, the first edition is, if anything, a tighter and more accessible version. This version seems more of a thesis on Media Studies, with occasional references to Doctor Who. All very interesting, but it may not be what you want.
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on 29 January 2010
The previous reviews of this book have been about the first edition. Although this is Volume 3 of the About Time series, it was the first to appear, written before the authors had got into their stride. Later volumes were longer and covered their subject in a lot more depth. Now Tat Wood has gone back and rewritten this book almost from first page to last, expanding it and bringing it up to the standard of the later volumes. The first edition had 180 pages (excluding the house adverts at the back) while the second edition has just over five hundred. There are many more essays and the existing ones have been rewritten - in many cases referring to the 'new' Doctor Who series, which hadn't yet been shown when the first edition came out. Some minor errors (including the one about Reginald Maudling) have been fixed. All in all, an essential purchase for all Doctor Who fans, even if you already own the first edition.

One final statistic: I love the tongue-in-cheek end notes in these books. The first edition had five of them; the second edition has 147.
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2011
This is a real treat for hard core fans of the original series. It's full of fascinating details & opinions. The essays that are attached to each story are variable in quality & level of interest. Some are a bit too high brow for the likes of me I'm afraid.

Ironically, however, for a book which is picking holes in the Pertwee years, terms of errors & inconsistencies, etc, it is full of mistakes, inaccuracies, spelling mistakes & grammatical errors. In fact I wonder if anyone proof read it before & after printing. In that respect it seems very amateurish & spoils the experience somewhat. For example The Brigadier's car in Spearhead from Space is described as being a Humber, when it is quite clearly a Ford Zodiac Executive. Normally this would be regarded as nitpicking, but as this book is all about nitpicking, it should get its facts right! In some places it highlights something as being 'something that doesn't make sense' & then explains why it does make sense later on in 'the lore'. This happens in other books in this series.

Overall, however, it is a great read & well worth getting. I dropped a star from the rating because after a while the errors in the text, whther they be writer or printer errors, start to grate.
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on 24 November 2013
Not a reference work but a work of critical analysis and wit. If you are a fan this will make you think again about the show you love whether you agree with it or not. You will also laugh immoderately. I own all the published volumes and then bought this again on kindle as it was updated. The format seems to work better on kindle than on paper, and I hope all volumes are issued in this format soon.
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on 15 January 2006
In this outstanding book, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood analyse the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who story by story. I must admit to having some misgivings beforehand, as Tat Wood is not exactly renowned as a Pertwee fan. I needn't have worried. The authors are overwhelmingly enthusiastic and fair in their assessment of the period. They also follow the example of the now-classic 'Discontinuity Guide' in their approach, combining a great love of the programme with a complete willingness to take the mickey - there are quite a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments in this book.
Above all I really must applaud the authors for the freshness of the book; I've been reading this kind of thing for twenty years now and I really thought that with the Pertwee era having been pored over for so long there wouldn't be anything new to say about it. I was utterly wrong - and there are even some fascinating bits of trivia I'd never read before. There's also a transcription of part of what Pigbin Josh says, and that's worth the price of the book alone.
There are some less welcome aspects. Firstly, the proofreading of this book appears to have been practically non-existent, leading to a lot of irritating mistakes and some unintentional humour such as a "continent" of Daleks attacking Auderley House rather than a contingent. Secondly, there are some alarming errors of fact that the authors really ought to have checked. For instance, Reginald Maudling wasn't Edward Heath's Chancellor, nor was he ever imprisoned, but both howlers are confidently asserted here in the section dealing with 'The Green Death'.
However, these shortcomings are easily outweighed by the wealth of fresh insights Miles and Wood bring to a much-discussed subject. To really prove its worth, reading this book prompted me to dig out Colony In Space and take another look - that's how thought-provoking it is. In my opinion this is the best book ever written about the Jon Pertwee era. On the basis of my enjoyment of this volume I've already ordered their next instalment about the early Tom Baker years and I believe their Hartnell volume is due soon. Let's hope enough DW fans buy them all to ensure that Miles and Wood get to cover the entire series and don't become the David Saunders of the Noughties. I recommend this book unreservedly to fans of Doctor Who, and especially to fans of the Pertwee years.
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on 20 December 2010
I bought this book along with season 4-6 as a gift for my son who is a massive doctor who fan. It seemed quite expensive at first, but when I received it I found it to be a very thick book stuffed with information. A good buy for the real doctor who fan who is maybe a little older.
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on 29 December 2010
I purchased these for my Daughters Christmas present and she loves them. I did have to change a couple of the set that I purchased as the corners were badly damaged during delivery but they were exchanged by Amazon with out any bother. Delivery was as usual for Amazon, well on time.
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