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About Time 1980-1984 Seasons 18 to 21: 5 (About Time; The Unauthorized Guide to Dr. Who (Mad Norwegian Press)) Paperback – 30 Jun 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Frequently bought together

  • About Time 1980-1984 Seasons 18 to 21: 5 (About Time; The Unauthorized Guide to Dr. Who (Mad Norwegian Press))
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  • About Time 6: Seasons 22 to 26 and TV Movie (About Time; The Unauthorized Guide to Dr. Who (Mad Norwegian Press))
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  • About Time 1975-1979 Seasons 12 to 17 (About Time; The Unauthorized Guide to Dr. Who (Mad Norwegian Press))
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Product details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Mad Norwegian Press (30 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975944649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975944646
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Since the far-off days of About Time 6, when River Song was just the track even hard-core Donovan fans skipped on the album Hurdy Gurdy Man, Tat Wood has been living within walking distance of the Olympic Stadium, watching it get built with more speed and less care than these books and marvelling at the missile emplacements on nearby tower-blocks. He has also, rather unexpectedly, got married.

Lawrence Miles is the author of. hold on. yeah, eight novels now, and is best-known for creating the time-bending Faction Paradox series. Recovering academic Tat Wood is the person most compilers of previous guidebooks went to for advice and cultural context. Despite having written for just about every major fanzine going, he has a rich, full and complex life.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Covering the final series with Tom Baker as the Doctor, and covering the Peter Davison era and the beginning of Colin Baker's controversial time in the Tardis, this book gives in depth coverage of each story in my [and David Tennant's] favourite period of Doctor
Including stories like "Meglos", "Logopolis", "Castrovalva", "Earthshock" "Caves of Androzani" and ending with "The Twin Dilemma" this book reviews the story, highlights its good and bad points and goes into great detail, and is not afraid to get highly opinionated about the Doctor, the quality of writing, acting and effects contained therein.

It also contains think pieces/articles relating who to development of the time [the rise of home computing, for example] and the direction of the programme in general [often assumed by many as the start of a decline into a low-quality science fiction pantomime]

It may sound very dry, but in places it can be very funny indeed.

At the bottom of every left hand page it says "This product is not authorised by the BBC" leaving you under no illusion that it avoids the "isn't it all wonderful!?" marketing speak that often passes for coverage of Doctor Who since its revival in 2005.

Not a book for someone with only a passing interest in the uniquely British Time Lord, but well worth having if you are an enthusiast!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baker Davison Baker (and JN-T) 21 April 2009
By Timothy Haugh - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In About Time 5, Who experts Miles and Wood continue with their excellent, detailed work on the series. In this volume, they cover seasons 18 to 21, the last season of the Tom Baker era, through Peter Davison's tenure, to the beginning of Colin Baker's years.

This book marks the beginning of the John Nathan-Turner era of producership, a time that is rife with criticism of the man who brought the series to it's end in the late `80's. Though not sparing JN-T, I was pleased to see that their analysis is quite balanced. JN-T very possibly saved Doctor Who from an even earlier demise and many of the Davison-era stories are quite good. I have to admit, I always was a fan of Peter Davison.

The books have always been very "British-insider" with a number of references that American might find hard to follow. Still, I think even the authors are stretching a bit when they add a section of "Oh, Isn't That...?" to track the appearance of well-known guest stars, which became a hallmark of the series during this time. The fact is, the guest stars Miles & Wood detail were not necessarily famous before their appearance on the show and, with rare exception, are not particularly famous at all. Perhaps this is a criticism of the show that needs to be re-examined.

Still, this is an invaluable resource for what is arguably the greatest SF television show of all time. I wouldn't have missed having it on my shelf.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Enjoyable - No Doctor Who fan should be without it 14 Feb. 2006
By R David Francis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I don't see a detailed review of this here, I'll record a few of my thoughts.

I first saw Doctor Who on my local PBS station, probably around 1980. I have been a fan every since. In fact, when I got married it became a passion that my wife and I shared, and my 17-year-old son has enjoyed it for as long as he can remember. Currently, we only have those episodes of the original series that have been released on DVD here in the US.

This book reviews Doctor Who seasons 18-21. That covers the final season of the Fourth Doctor (tall, curly brown hair, long scarf), the entirety of the Fifth Doctor's work (medium build, thinning blond hair, wore a white suit with celery on the lapel), and the first story of the Sixth Doctor (tall, curly blond hair, wore an (almost?) painfully technicolor ensemble).

The <u>About Time</u> series notes when each Doctor Who story was first broadcast; the credited cast members (and who they were); the number of viewers for each episode of the story; how people are most likely to remember which one this is; and the cliffhanger moments ending each episode. More importantly, it covers the continuity of the series: revealed facts about the history and background of not only the Doctor and his companions, but of other significant recurring characters (not just allies, but villains as well); details about each planet, and each alien race, including the Time Lords themselves; and even a breakdown of important facts about the TARDIS. It also lays out what each story is really about, looking at the influence of the time in which the story was written, English culture, and other SF sources. It provides a critique (sometimes two!) of each story, and interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits. Finally, almost every story is accompanied by a detailed sidebar essay into the background of the show, attempts to resolve conflicting information given in the show, and ponderings into both physics and metaphysics.

It's a fascinating look at, into, behind, and through each story, where you may be presented with the real-world reason for an oddity alongside an analysis of how it can still all fit together in the context of the show.

I enjoyed this immensely. I rarely read something twice in quick succession, but I'm about to re-read this after only finishing it about six months ago, in anticipation of getting the next volume.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As the series decays.... 10 Nov. 2008
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even as Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood talk about the slow downfall and decay of the Doctor Who series their own work starts to suffer. They have spelling mistakes, they misnumber episodes, some sentences don't make sense. Or maybe it is just because I'm American? Also there seems to be a feeling that they are starting to get on each other's nerves. I hope they write about the new Doctors. I do enjoy the information about British history and culture. Just one volume left!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most comprehensive DOCTOR WHO episode guide around 19 Mar. 2007
By Trey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fifth volume (of a projected six) in the ABOUT TIME series covers seasons 18-21 of DOCTOR WHO, examining adventures of the fourth and fifth Doctors. In addition to production notes and an critique of each episodes, there are notes and essays on continuity and the series in a cultural context. While not as handy as a one volume guide, the ABOUT TIME series makes for a much more interesting read.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and funny, but occasionally frustrating 11 Jun. 2009
By Hatbox Dragon - Published on
Format: Paperback
A guide to Seasons 18-21 (1980-84) of Doctor Who: the last series to feature Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and all three seasons featuring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor. Each story is given its own entry and discussed through standard categories: things to note, firsts and lasts, character notes, sources, critiques, some production and broadcast information, etc. There is also a series of short essays on topics that cut across multiple stories and seasons. There are no plot synopses, though, and since this is not a BBC-authorised production, there are no pictures. Familiarity with the show is assumed.

Good points:
- A great deal of information about each story
- A great deal of contextual background, especially about the BBC and TV technology and culture in Britain, which illuminates the series in unexpected ways
- No cheap gossip
- Extremely funny at points
- Provides a lot of food for thought, even if you don't agree with what's being said
- Few proofing errors
- Good quality paper and clear print.

Bad points:
- Not always as clearly written as it could have been
- Efforts to link everything in-story together and explain away inconsistencies (why bother?) can be undermined by weak reasoning and odd conclusions
- Takes the position that the series was at a low point by this stage, and the authors' tone reflects that
- Nitpicks over things that will mean nothing to younger/non-British viewers (e.g. actor X can't possibly be taken seriously in a certain role because of their appearances in other British TV shows)
- Bit of an "I've been a fan right from the start" attitude
- Each page is very dense with text, so not easy to read if you're tired.

Worth a look for the information content and the readable prose, and because the personal idiosyncrasies make this book more interesting than one that's carefully dry and intent on not giving offence. However, in the end you may find yourself reading this for something to argue with, rather than something to agree with.
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