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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book affectionately documents an important part of British TV culture, 13 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Vault (First Edition) (Hardcover)
I thoroughly recommend this book. It offers a commentary on a much-loved television series but also recognises that Doctor Who rapidly became a phenomenon that embedded itself as an integral part of British life.

It is a testimony to the enduring qualities of the programme that the early years are just as heavily documented as the later ones, and I was pleased to see this. For people of my generation, William Hartnell's adventures were like nothing ever seen before on television. The slightly sinister first incarnation of the Doctor, the electronic music and, in the second adventure, the introduction of the Daleks - these were ground-breaking. This book records well the difficult decisions that had to be taken and the risks associated with launching a programme like this.

The illustrations do as much as the words to draw out the impact made by the programme: by page 24 we are seeing sweet packets with the Daleks, and by 1965 there are comics featuring Doctor Who and the Daleks. Annuals and all types of merchandising and branding follow, showing that Doctor Who was a potent force in the psyche of 1960s Britain. And so it remained, with ups and downs, through to the present day (very much an 'up').

This book is a chronology of the Doctor Who phenomenon, showing year-by-year how the programme developed, how the actors changed, who was writing the scripts and what were the behind-the-scenes tensions and pressures. Every episode of every adventure is listed, right up to the present day.

The subtitle of this book is 'Treasures from the First 50 Years'. It is an important phrase. This book is more than a text book on the history of a television programme. It documents, through its 'treasures' the huge and important impact that the programme has made. The book can be accessed, therefore in two ways: it can be read, word by word. Or it can be skimmed, using the pictures to evoke memories.

I don't mind admitting that I treasure my memories of Doctor Who and so does my family. I would therefore be sad if a book was released that failed to live up to my memories and their expectations. This book is one that I feel meets in every way the burden placed on it. It properly documents this very important part of British TV culture. Had it not been so meticulous in its approach and its affection for the programme, I should have found it wanting. As it is, I found it a pleasure to receive this as a present and to read it. It is a book that I recommend without reservation. Five stars.
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