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VINE VOICEon 5 February 2014
Sandifer's analysis of this key period of Doctor Who is smart and challenging, treating the stories as serious texts and subjecting them to appropriately rigorous analysis. However, he clearly has a number of bugbears that recur through the book, most obviously his allegations of racism with regard to The Talons of Weng Chiang. Now, I agree that some aspects of Talons make for uncomfortable viewing today and this should not be glossed over. But those parts are surely forgiveable in the context of the time in which the story was made, not least the yellowface performance of John Bennett as Li H'sen Chang. Sure, discuss these issues, point fingers where it matters, but Sandifer pretty much dismisses this hugely popular story entirely because it doesn't fit with his 21st-century sensitivities. And immediately afterwards he dismisses Mary Whitehouse as "a sanctimonious prude of the worst sort". Which is probably a pretty accurate summary of the ghastly woman but it could also fairly be directed at him.

It's a pity because, as I said, I'd recommend this book highly for any serious fan of the original series (or Proper Who as it's known in my house). I know Sandifer's intentions are good – yes, racism is A Bad Thing – but a more nuanced response might have helped his cause better.
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on 4 February 2014
Sandifer provides some interesting and thought provoking observations on the first part of Tom Baker's time as the Doctor, showing a commendable independence of thought. This is spoilt however by some ugly prose, which makes reading the book jarring and tiresome. Additionally he is prone to tedious hyperbole, especially when dealing with views that differ from his own. The tone is closer to bullying diatribe than objective analysis. Useful, but not enjoyable.
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on 10 August 2015
I'm puzzled By some of the other reviewers high praise , basically this is a set of Blogs compiled into a series of commentaries on all things Who. Wierdly it suffers from not having enough DR Who in it and focusing too much on the Authors personal history and relationship with the show. perhaps the fact that he was watching Tom Baker episodes after the event in an American basement on VHS and admits he never even " got around" to watching the Talons of Weng Chiang until Paid to do so - should be a clear warning to British Who Fans who actually watched the fourth doctor unfold ? This also explains a rather poor attempt to place each episode in a hail of news events and UK chart lists to give a "context" those of us actually there remember? But mostly it's the self referential "me me me " focus of each piece that grates along with a lack of original material. For the average Dr Who fan there is nothing new here about the relationships on set an absence of any production notes of value and the analysis is over complicated and biased . The attack on Seeds of Doom and sarchastic swipes at John Pertwee are entirely personal axes Sandifer attempts to grind at the readers expense - and they Must be blunt given the number of times he tries to grind them In a chapter! when compared to
The recent special feature interviews and critical analysis on the dvd reissues - Sandifers commentary is often inaccurate - sadly he misunderstands and undervalues both Terry Nations skill as a writer and Phillip Hinchcliffe's skill as a producer - so set your Tardis coordinates to "avoidance" this material should have stayed as a free blog Mr Sandifer
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on 5 January 2016
Given as a present to a Dr. Who fan it was very well received, although as a book lover I found the presentation and production disappointing.
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on 26 December 2014
Haven't much time for this guy really. He's a Moffat Muppet of the first order with very little appreciation for what I would consider to be true Doctor Who. One of these people who cry's blood because a certain person has been used as a racial stereotype judging everything by the bleeding heart culture we endure today. The type of chap who slags off 'Tomb of the Cybermen, (example) because it doesn't have Star Wars type special effects. News for you Sandifer, nothing from that period does have Star Wars effects. They didn't exist then. As for story content, yes, story - that's the bit between the special effects - I don't think you'd know one if it walked up and slapped you round the face. My only regret is I bought all the books before reading the first one. A stupid thing to do but I have paid the price. In conclusion unless you think the sun shines out of Moffat's rear end, don't waste your money.
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on 10 January 2015
Basically if you want brainy analysis of cheap 40-year old BBC sci-fi, Sandifer's your man. He puts Doctor Who into a historical context and largely uses literary techniques to dissect the show. Be warned - no facts, figures and trivia here if that's what you're after, and it is assumed that you have already seen the episodes discussed - so if you haven't seen Tom Baker's stories for a while you might want to do some re-watching before reading.

If that all sounds deeply pretentious maybe this isn't for you - unless, like me, you are a bit pretentious yourself. In which case it's great stuff!
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on 20 April 2014
Superb stuff, written in with considerable style, summing up the glory years of Doctor Who and placing them in a uniquely persuasive cultural context. This or any slice of the eruditorum are perfect for a wet weekend or those moments on the bus or tube...just be prepared to miss a stop or forget a meal.
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