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Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who (1963-1989) Paperback – 24 Mar 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who (1963-1989)
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  • The New Who Programme Guide
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  • Unofficial Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists (Dr Who)
Total price: £32.55
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mad Norwegian Press (24 Mar. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193523417X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935234173
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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There's a long and shelf-bending history of behind the scenes books about Doctor Who, beginning with Hulke & Dicks's seminal "The Making of Doctor Who" in 1972. There have been scores of programme guides, encyclopedias and indexes from slim paperbacks to oversized and overpriced coffee-table monoliths. Not to mention the meticulous research for DW Magazine and other similar projects. I've been reading this stuff for around 35 years, and genuinely thought there was nothing new to say on the subject of "classic" Who.

However Paul Kirkley has hit upon an approach which I don't think I've encountered before. At once totally original but also so gobsmackingly obvious I can't quite believe it's not been done. He simply tells the story of how the series was made and presents it as an ongoing narrative. Most books of this type follow the usual pattern of breaking down the show series by series, story by story, with each production seemingly existing in its own special vacuum. Here Kirkley depicts the behind the scenes process as it would have seemed to those involved; days spent desperately trying to commission stories, prepare scripts, approve casting, deal with sometimes difficult or even openly hostile management, keep the stars happy, make the effects work and ultimately to simply get the show in the can by ten o'clock.

Kirkely's style is light and humorous. For instance he has great fun occasionally imagining the conversations which lead to some of the show's more unusual or controversial moments. This prevents the unfortunate dryness such books can have, and as such makes this extremely readable, and not just a reference book you may only look at occasionally. He's also not afraid to voice his opinion.
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I thought I knew everything about Doctor Who but this book brought a really fresh perspective. Funny, insightful and packed with facts I'd either never read before, or forgotten about. For anyone who wants to know how a slice of genuine TV history was created, usually against the odds by people seemingly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, this is the perfect guide. You'll learn a lot, and laugh as you do it. Highly recommended!
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Absolutely the finest book about Doctor Who I've read. Entertaining as hell, and very well researched. Seriously didn't want it to end, and can't wait for the second part! Very curious how he's going to cover 1989 onwards. Until then - buy this book if you're a Who fan - it's bloomin' marvellous :)
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Firat of all let me get the one fault i found with this book.At times it can go from being a history of Doctor Who to reviewing stories.It can be a bit jarring at times and sometimes spoils the flow of the narration.
BUT saying that i can not recommend this well researched,genuinly funny book.There are a lot of makung of books out there which take themselfs way to seriously.While there are facts in here you may already know;they are far out-weighed by the new information.They way Paul delivers these titbits can often be funny you sometimes miss the point being made.While its obvious whats imagined and whats real,Paulmakes you wonder if he was there because you can believe the converstions happened the way he says.
Its a light hearted,easy read and pulls no punches in its honesty.
The only other thing i have to say is Paul,if you read this review-I LOVE The Tenth planet and The Moonbase.You just have to ignore the real science.
Get this book and sit back and expect to smile while being educated.
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