Review: Doctor Who – The Complete Guide / Author: Mark Campbell / Publisher: Constable & Robinson / Release Date: August 6th
Doctor Who: The Complete Guide (aka A Brief Guide to Doctor Who: The Complete Series Guide) provides a short survey of each and every Doctor Who storyline up to and including the first Matt Smith series. Usually, this kind of thing can be quite dry, not to mention a minefield of spoilers, but not in this case. Plot synopses are terse and spoiler-free, and Mark Campbell livens things up by furnishing fascinating “observations” (behind the scenes info) and trenchant verdicts along with a rating out of 10.
The heaps of trivia will turn you into an instant Who anorak. For example, Campbell explains the origins of the famous “howlround” title sequence, and describes how in the Horns of Nimon storyline from Series 17, the Nimon actors wore 12-inch platform heels to increase their height. Meanwhile, some of the verdicts and ratings are surprising, with a number of the Sylvester McCoy episodes scoring highly. On the other hand, Campbell doesn't pull his punches when he thinks a particular storyline is below par, and for that reason this book should be enormously helpful to anyone trying to sort the gems of the vintage Who series from the dross.
Amongst the supplementary material, various small screen spin-offs are also covered in the same way, albeit very briefly, and there are useful lists of lost episodes and book tie-ins. If you want to get into the classic early Who stories and you're bewildered by the slew of different DVDs currently available, then this handy volume could be for you what the sonic screwdriver is for the Doctor.