Doctor Who: Essential Guide to 50 Years of Doctor Who - Justin Richards

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Doctor Who: Essential Guide to 50 Years of Doctor Who - Justin Richards

ISBN: 1405914009

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Review of "Doctor Who: Essential Guide to 50 Years of Doctor Who - Justin Richards"

published 09/05/2016 | Chippytarka
Member since : 04/06/2013
Reviews : 419
Members who trust : 74
About me :
Pro Lots of information included, great pictures, easy to read, represents the TV show well
Cons Suitable for a fan but not for everyone
Would you read it again?
How does it compare to similar books?

"A Trip Down Doctor Who Memory Lane!"

I think its quite rare to have something in common with young children. When I say young children, I don't mean just anyone, but I'm thinking about shared likes with my son. He's what I would call a typical boy, always full of energy, has a strange fascination with play fighting, loves the genre of superheros and like most children these days could quite happily spend his whole life sat in front of a tablet or PC playing games and watching his favourite shows. What we do have in common, although I do actually like superhero based films and shows, is the TV show Doctor Who. I introduced it to him when he was around 2/3 years old thanks to a marathon being shown after Christmas one year and he's never looked backed! This book he picked up from our local library but available for purchase from places like Amazon for £12.99.

Why did he take this out?

We try to buy less and less books and borrow more from our local library. It saves space and of course money. I love taking both kids to the library so they don't get too engrossed in modern day technology, improve on their literacy skills and general selection when it comes to reading, but also for the experience. Where my son is concerned he enjoys reading, but shove a Doctor Who related book in his face the kid goes mental! He loves learning new things about the show, confirm what he already knows and generally finds the whole brand fascinating. So it's no wonder he sees books like this in the library and within seconds he's running to take them out!

What is this book based on?

This book is based on the BBC TV show Doctor Who. Time and space travelling alien who has a habit of dying occasionally, regenerating into a different body, which is the perfect way to swap or upgrade on the actor playing him. Doesn't like travelling alone, so normally drags with him a friend or two who are affectionately called 'Companions '. This TV show celebrated its 50th year a few years ago, which was a massive thing for the show and fans alike. This book gives a glimpse on those 50 years in regards to the 11 Doctors featured, characters who stared in it and other must have information any fan would want to know!

Before you open the book!

This book is hardbacked and measures 9.5 inches in length, 8 inches in width and around 3/4 of an inch in depth.

Both front and back of book is dark blue in colour, smooth but matt in look. On the front in silver lettering is the BBC logo, and the name of the brand/book, which is Doctor Who 50 The Essential Guide. Lettering is slightly raised in look and feel. The number 50 is large and in the middle of the cover, and within the lettering there are coloured images of some of the characters/creatures that have been featured within the 50 year period of the show, such as Davros, the Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and The Silence.

On the back is the following sentences in silver flat lettering... " All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start? "

Contains 208 pages.

Structure of the book

p3 Contents. Segmented by Doctor chronologically.

p4-5 An Adventure in Space and Time. A brief introduction on the TV show, when it first was broadcasted, and how it was quite a new concept in regards to what was shown on our TV screens. Along with this intro are pictures of each of the Doctor's in colour.

p6-7 How it all began. Some informatiom explaining who created this, how and why. A full page of more pictures of The Doctor's are shown.

p8 The First Doctor. Information on who played him and basic background on the actor. Then it breaks down the year, season and episodes featuring Doc number 1. It then goes into mentioning the first few episodes in particular, furthermore the First Doctor's companions in regards to names, who they are and which episodes they starred in.

The First Doctor's enemies are included in the form of information and black and white pictures.

His beloved TARDIS is mentioned and the relationship he has with it, and this is under a few pages that focuses on the technology that this particular Doctor used.

How and why the Doctor regenerates ends this section.

p24 The Second Doctor. All the following sections on each Doctor are formulated in the same way as the First Doctor. Differences being the pages focusing on technology talk about different things such as the sonic screwdriver, or if talking about the same piece of tech as in a previous chapter, it will have a different take on it due to the Doctor who used it and the circumstances it was used under. Other changes are the colouring of the pictures included after the first two Doctor's, are mostly in colour. And due to the special effects and amount of money increasing as the series goes, and of course technology being more advanced, the pictures become much more crisp and vivid.

p40 The Third Doctor.

p58 The Fourth Doctor.

p80 The Fifth Doctor.

p96 The Sixth Doctor.

p112 The Seventh Doctor

p128 The Eighth Doctor

p154 The Tenth Doctor

p182 The Eleventh Doctor

What does my son think?

My son can't get enough of this book! It's been on loan for months from the library and I'm dreading the day we have to take it back. Everytime I've asked can we take it back he flatly refuses and says he hasn't finished reading it!

My son gets very engrossed in this book. He can sit and read it quietly for 5 minutes or an hour, depending on the day, his mood or what he's doing. He obviously enjoys it as no one tells him to read it he does it off his own back.

There's many times he will grab my attention and tell me a new fact that he's found out through reading this.

Still no idea when this will be returned, but thankfully I have bought him a few Doctor Who books for his birthday to enjoy and keep....possibly including this one!

What do I think?

If I was to purchase this for the rrp I think the price is fair. Its not a book you would necessary see anywhere nor a brand that is widely available. Its also quite a substantial book and doesn't look cheap.

Before opening the book, its quite eye catching without it being too obvious. To me it screams Doctor Who in regards to the colouring of it and of course the images on the front gives you a pretty good idea what this book will feature and potentially what its about. As a fan, I would want to know what was inside this book purely from its under stated appearance on the outside.

I like how this book is laid out. Doctor Who sometimes isn't the easiest show to get your head around sometimes, and it can get complicated. So having each chapter be dedicated on each Doctor was perfect. The information given is actually above and beyond what I thought would be included. Things like the companions I expected to see, but not mentioning all the companions for each Doctor. How they regenerated was a lovely touch and quite an important one which made the book very fluid, and allowed the movement from one Doctor to another to be quite seamless and makes sense. Background information on the actors who played each Doctor I thought was quite touching and thoughtful. The overall amount of information given in each section is impressive.

Myself and my son have managed to watch this show over the last ten years without not watching the earlier seasons. Its not a requirement to watch it from the first ever episode, because the show is clever enough to drop bits of the Doctor's past in the storylines, or feature creatures/aliens/organisations that have featured as an example during the reign of the 5th Doctor then bringing them back to feature in the 10th's.The same can be said with this book. You can read it from start to finish or, as I have I dip in and out of sections I specifically want to read, but then may hover over certain areas as reference because I can see specific connections from one chapter to another.

This book doesn't alienate fans from the original, older series or most recent ( Matt Smith's Doctor ). As a fan of the show when rebooted in 2005, anything in this book connected with this era I am very familiar with and is my son. Its impossible to remember everything that happened so a great jog down memory lane. But the show obviously had been on much longer prior too this. I've watched some episodes from various series but not in order, with some of it making sense but most of it not. This book gives me some excellent background knowledge to earlier series and gives me this insight in a digestible and easy-ish way that I can understand. I find the earlier stuff quite fascinating, and I can understand why my son loves reading this so much because there's lots in this that is fresh and new.

The style of writing is quite factual. Unlike the other Doctor Who based book my son read previous to this one, this doesn't have a jokey feel to it and is more like reading and watching a documentary on a loved but very complicated character. It tells you what you need to know in a reasonably condensed way but doesn't lose quality in its writing.

Language wise this is aimed more towards adults. Going back to not having the youthful humour in its writing, the language confirms this fact. I can read this quite easily with no issues, whether its general language or the made up sci fi stuff. My son hasn't struggled with this book either, which I finds quite surprising. I doubt he can read every single bit but most of it definitely. The pictures will always aide in the story telling plus my son's Doctor Who knowledge is impressive, so if language is an issue he can fill in the blanks. Ability wise he is coming to the end of Key Stage 1 in school, but his reading and writing is very good to the point he performs higher than the national average for his age group and is one of the top performer's in his class. So on an educational front this is a good book for him because it focuses on what he loves, great mix of language and pushes his natural skill and reinforces everyday words and language that he will already know.

This book could be double the amount of pages and could go on and on and on, but it doesn't. Quite short and snappy are the paragraphs which are balanced very well with the pictures. For any fan it mentions key episodes or people, such as the companion Sarah Jane, various incarnations of The Master, the episode which starred the first 3 Doctors and much much more.

Pictures are varied in size but all are very clear and give a great snapshot of the person or scene it's based on. Varied sizes with each image being taken directly from the show itself so as true to life as it gets. Most of the pictures are in colour except for some from the first two series due to TV broadcasts being done in black and white at the time. Its nice that most of the pictures are based on actual episodes and are mid action as it brings back memories on the episodes watched. Also gives a good idea on what past episodes would have been like.


This doesn't include the most recent Doctor which is Peter Capaldi. It isn't a negative as such purely because he didn't coincide with the 50th celebration as such ( wink wink ), but the main thing is he wasn't playing the role officially therefore he couldn't be included in this book. So something for fans to be aware of just in case they think this will feature all of the Doctors which it doesn't.

No surprise but this book won't appeal to everyone. It will be great for someone who loves the show but that's about it. It's a very niche market so if bought or borrowed for someone, you would have to be confident this is what they would want.

Would I buy this myself?

Don't quote me on this one but I think I've bought this for my son's next birthday! So the answer is yes. Its a great read for any Doctor Who fan ( depending on age and reading ability ), it goes through the whole history of the show ( except The War Doctor and the Doctor played by Peter Capaldi ) in a very easy to read format with great pictures to boot. Excellent and informative read and potentially a good collector's piece.

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Comments on this review

  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 19/06/2016
    Great way to get boys into reading!
  • Dentolux published 17/05/2016
    Wonderful review
  • mikemelmak published 16/05/2016
    It's great when a book can engross and captivate a youngster! Excellent gift purchase on your part!
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Product Information : Doctor Who: Essential Guide to 50 Years of Doctor Who - Justin Richards

Manufacturer's product description

ISBN: 1405914009

Product Details

EAN: 9781405914000

Author: Justin Richards

ISBN: 1405914009

Title: Doctor Who: Essential Guide to 50 Years of Doctor Who

Publisher: Penguin

Edition: Hardback


Listed on Ciao since: 12/04/2016