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on 13 October 2013
I had high expectation for this 50th Anniversary Book by the look of the front cover despite more new series creatures displayed. But as I suspected it's just one of the run of mill to cash in on Dr Who's 50th. Which is fine. However in a nutshell this book quickly skimps through each incarnation of the Doctor with standard story/episode series list and very little photos displayed. Those photos that are featured particularly for the classic series are the same boring revamp of pictures unlike the show's 30th anniversary book called 'Timeframe: The illustrated history of Dr Who' by David J. Howe which was brilliantly layered out comprehensibly jammed pack with photos/art.

'Dr Who: His lives and times' book, recently published by BBC Books fairs better to 'The Essential guide to Dr Who'. And I'm judging by the price you pay for them. I guess you pay for what you get by RRP guide.

I understand another BBC publish book called 'The Vault' is to be release later this month which seems appetising. It's also likely The 'Radiotimes' may publish a 50th Anniversary Special Magazine as they did with the '10th' and '20th' anniversary of the show which were both brilliant!
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on 14 October 2013
These days, BBC Worldwide are scorned all too regularly for their attempts to release a variety of Doctor Who reference books aimed at a younger audience. In the case of 'Doctor Who: 50- The Essential Guide', we have a release which is unashamed in its clear purpose of appealing to younger fans, and it's all the better for it.

The book is structured via a chronological retrospective on each of the Eleven Doctors and their respective eras. Each section looks at that particular Doctor's main adventures, his companions, his enemies and his 'Time Tech', and despite the cringeworthy nature of the latter term, there's a decent level of depth in the author's recollection of these key aspects of the show throughout the past five decades.

Those looking for a simultaneous insight into Doctor Who's past behind-the-scenes will be left wanting, yet at no stage does author Justin Richards claim that such content will feature. Instead, there's broader reference to events such as the show's inception, hiatus and revival expressed in such a manner that kids and young teens will find informative and entertaining.

'The Essential Guide' can't be criticised for any remiss attitude in terms of recapping each and every major Who event/character, but at the same time this accuracy proves as much a curse as a blessing. Whereas past reference releases such as the 'Monsters & Villains' series and the 'Brilliant Books' have had the chance to expand upon their analyses of specific elements of the show's lore, by attempting to cover five decades' worth of content in their relative entirety, there's inevitably compromises made in order to keep to the relatively slim page count.

To put it straight then, 'Doctor Who: 50- An Essential Guide' isn't aimed at the older fan. However, that's not to say it isn't worth a purchase- it's dimensions above the usual dire content of the series' Annuals, even if it can't claim to possess the depth of other Who reference books. As a Christmas present for the kids, this will be nothing short of gold, and parents may find themselves surprised upon a glance at how much hidden treasure lies within.
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on 2 November 2013
This book really is a very poor offering compared to The Vault and to The Doctor - his lives and times. Unoriginal - been done before and far better. (Don't waste your money - usual cynical cashing in ... and why would you put 50 on the cover along side aliens that mainly represent the last 8 years).
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on 26 December 2013
I bought this for my six year old son who is obsessed with Doctor Who - just like his good (43 year) old dad! We have been watching all of the stories on DVD from the start (currently on Jon Pertwee) and he is keen to lap up as much information as he can.

This is not a book for the die hard adult fan - there's nothing in here they won't already know, but it's perfect for a youngster keen to lap up facts about the show. There are lists of stories, pictures of each regeneration sequence and facts and figures on all the companions and monsters. Of all the presents my son had on Christmas Day, this was by far his favourite, he hardly put it down all day. Later we were all treated to re-enactments of all the regenerations - his Patrick Troughton spinning around and then Jon Pertwee falling out of the Tardis is a classic.

Now that the Doctor's been given 12 new lives, who knows, my budding actor of a son may even end up becoming Doctor #21 or something one day! If he does, I'm sure reading this book will have helped!

I highly recommend this book!
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on 2 November 2013
Have read other reviews, and seen that they have been mixed. Overall, I am glad I bought it. Puts the whole off Doctor Who into perspective. I like the way it is written in simple language. Pictures are brilliant! Includes still type photos of each Doctors regeneration process, which I haven' t come across in any other book before. Even though I am a self confessed geek, I even found some classic monsters that I haven't seen before. Gives the right balance of The Classic and New series. Makes me even more excited for the forthcoming celebrations! Great way for geeks (young and old) to celebrate the longest running Sci-Fi series in the World!
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on 28 January 2014
I would have given this 3 1/2 stars as it is certainly more than adequate, I write this for an adult point of view (as I am one allegedly). This book is intended for children, but I am a 'completionist' and as such wanted to add it - the facts are basic, but for children who likely don't know the program's history it is very good and easy to follow. From my perspective some of the photos are quite rare and indeed very interesting to see. Worth adding to your collection if that's your thing like me but more geared for the kids!
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on 7 November 2015
I had some catching up to do on the Dr Who monsters and found some I didn't know about, what did surprise me is that I thought I knew every one of them but found some of them I didn't know. It's quite a heavy book and being hard back means it should not crumple like the soft backs tend to do, get reacquainted with the enemies with this book you will not regret it.
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on 21 October 2013
Don't listen to the nagative reviews.
this is the only who book u will ever need.
In a great way it describes the lives and movies of all doctors, has all the who timeline and movies // seasons catalogue to buy what u missed so far in dvd and more important it has GREAT PICTURES IN A GREAT ILLUSTRATED BOOK IN EACH PAGE.
I really don't know why some people are never happy with what they get.
I grew up with this series and this book is the best there is.

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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 20 October 2013
I was purchased this as a present and I really like it. It covers all the Doctors adventures in a really nice bite sized format, and while this may not appeal to some who like to go into great detail, for the casual fan this provides enough detail to be interesting and not so much detail it becomes a chore to read.

The book give a background to each incarnation of the Doctor, discussing the character, the actor, the companions, the tech and the story lines.

I especially liked the the plot lines and character summaries as it's amazing to see how many of the aliens featured in the modern show have featured before. The book is well written and presented and they've made it something accessible to fans of all ages.

It's a good book and makes for a nice little present for fans of the show.
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on 2 December 2013
What an amazing book. It shows you so much on each and every doctor up to number 11. You don't have the older Doctor no 8 (John Hurt) in the book but it tells you and shows you so much.

You get a run down of all the episode names and what year they are in.

You get information on tech, companions and foes for each doctor.

It is a gem of a book one that I will treasure.
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