BOOK REVIEW: TIME & SPACE & TIME - TRUTHLESS BILGE ABOUT EVERY DOCTOR WHO STORY EVER / AUTHOR: ROBERT HAMMOND / PUBLISHER: MIWK / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 1ST
Attention Whovians! Did you know that the giant ant prop featured in 1964’s Planet of Giants story belonged to the former helicopter pilot of the King of China? Did you know that William Hartnell was so cross with Peter Purves for leaving the series that he dragged him by his ear from his flat on the first day of rehearsal for The War Machines and forced him to help build the serial’s War Machine prop? Did you know that when plans to shoot several of the episodes of 1973’s Frontier in Space on the film stages at Ealing proved unworkable, director Paul Bernard decided to shoot them in space and on the Moon instead? Did you know that the dry ice in 1979’s Nightmare of Eden had been bagged up and saved from a recording of Top of the Pops? Did you know that Mark Gatiss submitted his script for 2005’s spooky The Unquiet Dead under the pseudonym of Hector Plazm?
Of course you didn’t. How could you? None of it’s true. In fact, Time & Space & Time is a pack of lies from start to finish; we’re not even sure the title is genuine. Robert Hammond, co-creator of the irreverent Who fanzine Auton, has applied his apparently-warped sense of humour to every single Doctor Who story ever made - right up to the end of the most recent season - and just…well, made stuff up. Humour being entirely subjective, of course means that it can’t help being a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the ‘gags’ have a touch of the Harry Hill about them - did you know that location filming for episode one of 1988’s Silver Nemesis was halted when Sylvester McCoy opened the door of the TARDIS prop to find three alligators gorging on a corpse? - others are predicated on reader knowledge of arcane bits of Who gossip and apocrypha. Some entries are a bit tortuous, some a bit random, some just a bit desperate. But every now and then a little gem pops up which can‘t help but raise a smile or even a proper belly laugh - did you know that the realistic pulsating effect of the Giant Brain in 1987’s Time and the Rani was achieved by filling the latex prop with thirty-four semi-anaesthetised ducklings?
Time & Space & Time is a pointless and utterly inessential Doctor Who book and whether it presents value for money is open to debate - you’ll race through it over a skinny cappuccino or two so it’s not going to take up too much of your time. But on the flip side it’s nice to see Doctor Who’s sacred text pinpricked for a change, and whilst not every bit of truthless bilge hits the spot there’s just about enough funny stuff here to justify the book’s place as a potential throwaway stocking-filler for the more cash-rich Doctor Who completist.
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