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Inside the Tardis,
This review is from: Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of "Doctor Who" (Paperback)
James Chapman has succeeded in writing a scholarly book which will appeal to the general fan. Eschewing academic jargon, Chapman seeks to place the TV series that was Doctor Who in its wider cultural context. The book contains no plot synopses or lists of great lines, goofs, etc., all of which have been done many times before. What he does provide is a detailed examination of how the programme was made, how it changed over the years, and how these changes influenced, and were influenced by, events in the wider world.
He does this by examining in detail the differing aims, priorities and remits of each production team. In the early development of the programme, producer Verity Lambert was tireless in her work on, and promotion of, the show, despite what appears to have been an increasing lack of interest from senior executives, who had commissioned the programme in the first place.
One of the most obvious ways in which Doctor Who changed over the years is in the different styles of the various producers, and Chapman has been tireless in his examination of the BBC's written archives to find as much original material as possible. In the mid-70's, Doctor Who came in for much criticism for being too violent. The producer of the time, Philip Hinchcliffe, was replaced by Graham Williams, and it was Williams who came in for a great deal of criticism from fans for making the programme too camp and pantomime-like. Chapman shows, however, that Williams was given far less freedom than most of his predecessors, and that he was kept on a very tight reign to ensure that viewer complaints were kept to an absolute minimum. Some of Chapman's links to the wider cultural world are contentious, to say the least, however, in the main, he backs up his claims with solid evidence from BBC paperwork of the time.
Chapman has produced one of the best and most in-depth accounts of Doctor Who, a readable and informative look at the history of this great television programme.