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You get what you expect from a children's annual but...
on 12 October 2013
I had very high hopes for this year's Doctor Who annual as this is the 50th anniversary of the BBC television programme. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Daleks, something that seems to have been overlooked by the people involved with the television programme and its relevant merchandise.
The annual has Matt Smith and the TARDIS on the front cover and all the Doctors on the back cover, which is a nice touch. When you open the annual, you are confronted by the Vortex - nice - but when you look closely, there are two little cartoon figures drawn in. Bizarre, you might think. The contents page is illustrated with a montage of foes, past and present, along with Matt Smith and the TARDIS. And if you look closely, there's another cartoon drawing in the suction cup of the Dalek. What? We are then given an illustrated article, showing the eleven Doctors and a couple of black and white Hartnell photographs, explaining '50 Years of Doctor Who'! Don't get too excited - the article only lasts two pages and there's another pesky cartoon character poking its head round from behind the TARDIS! Yes, it does become irritating. After 'The Doctor's Diary', which introduces Clara, we finally learn the reason behind the cartoon characters and are asked to find fifty of the little 'horrors' hiding throughout the annual. Something to look forward to throughout the annual - great!
References are made to the classic Doctor Who series but the annual is geared to the current season with two illustrated stories and a 2-page text story which took just over a few minutes to read.
The high hopes I had for this year's annual from BBC Children's Books and published by Penguin Books were a little dashed by the annual's contents but it was nice to see references to Doctor Who's history over the past 50 years and so this makes this annual a nice addition to my collection of annuals which began with the first Hartnell annual published by World Distributors in 1964, along with the Dalek annual published the same year. Also, at the price offered by Amazon, it is easily affordable as a stocking filler gift.