Obsessive “Doctor Who” fans, your wish has been fulfilled.
In honor of the golden anniversary of the show’s first broadcast comes a new volume from BBC Books, “Who-ology: The Official Doctor Who Miscellany” by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright.
The BBC television series “Doctor Who” started Nov. 23, 1963, with the venerable William Hartnell as the first Doctor.
The Doctor, an alien with two hearts, regenerates into a new body when the show needs a new actor in the part. In 50 years, there have been 11 Doctors, numerous companions and visits to a fantastic number of planets and time periods. The latest Doctor, Matt Smith, has just announced he’s leaving as of the 2013 Christmas Special, so the search is on for the 12th Doctor.
“Who-ology” goes through the Doctors in exhaustive detail, down in such details as the music used in various episodes. Incredibly, the only thing it neglects to include is an index. But if you need to know about the “Edwardian roadster” the third Doctor drove in 1973, check page 289.
Need for a gateway book into the world of science fiction for a young fan who enjoys “Doctor Who”? The BBC has also delved into its archives for the printed word.
It has reprinted 11 novels, one for each Doctor. Of note with these books is that they reflect the time of the Doctor, and the period that the writers were writing in.
For example, Stephen Cole wrote “Ten Little Aliens” in 2001. The plot was formulated earlier when he was an editor of a “partwork magazine” dedicated to Agatha Christie. Thus, as he explains in his introduction, the pitch was “‘Starship Troopers’ meets Agatha Christie.” He ended up using the First Doctor, played by Hartnell.
Hartnell’s elderly Doctor is more physically fragile than, say, Jon Pertwee’s younger and more robust Third Doctor who stars in the “Last of the Gaderene,” originally written by Mark Gatiss in 2000. Here, the Doctor nearly gets minced by a large fan — something that the First Doctor would never survived.
Finally, for the devoted fan, there is “Summer Falls,” a young adult novel written by Amelia Williams. “Who” devotees know that this is the married name of Amy Pond, a companion of the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. The Ponds, wife and husband, were lost to one of the Doctor’s great enemies, the Weeping Angels.
But in the latest season, one of the characters is reading “Summer Falls.”
“Summer Falls” is an entertaining fantasy novel with a female protagonist, a talking cat and exciting finale. One could easily see it as a “Doctor Who” episode.