Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord - Craig Donaghy

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Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord - Craig Donaghy

Film & TV - ISBN: 0723294364

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Review of "Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord - Craig Donaghy"

published 26/02/2016 | Chippytarka
Member since : 04/06/2013
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I've been so busy recently I didn't fully understand the changes that were going on with this site. I've thoroughly enjoyed it on here and the place has helpedcme so much with my writing skills. Time to say goodbye.......
Pro Easy, informative and humourous read, bright and fun pictures, perfect for young Dr Who fans
Cons Picture of the 13th Doctor on the back but not mentioned in the book
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How interesting was the book?
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"Time Lord Treasure!"

Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord - Craig Donaghy

Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord - Craig Donaghy

Children change a lot. It’s amazing how over a few short years my young children have grown not only in height but of mind too. This time last year my daughter did a scribble for her name. Now she writes her full name clearly, correctly and beautifully. My son is getting more cleverer by the day ( and cheekier too ), and somehow drags me into quite complicated debates about how did the earth change over millions of years naturally if God made it as its not in the Bible! Along with these changes I accept the fact that they outgrow certain things. Cbeebies has gone, Ben and Holly replaced with the utter rubbish of iCarly and The Thundermans ( I hate them! ). Thank God for small mercies as my son still loves Doctor Who the TV series. With this in mind we picked this book up at the local library, but it can be purchased. On Amazon this book costs just short of £10.00.

Why did I pick this up?

It was a trip to the local library during the most recent half term which made this book come into our possession. We haven’t been for awhile for various reasons, but we were there, and being in the children’s section I couldn’t help but find my eyes fixed upon a dark coloured blue book with gold symbols on it. I knew exactly what it was and who it was about but thought it might be for a much older child so dismissed it. When I gave it to my son he flipped through a few pages, said it was perfect and wanted to take it home.

What is this book supposed to be about?

Does anyone know what it takes to be a Time Lord? Want to become the next Doctor? This book tells you what you need to know about how to become one, where the race of the Time Lords come from, what The Doctor has been through as a Time Lord plus much more.......

Not sure who The Doctor is?

A BBC TV show called Doctor Who that has been on our screens continuously since its relaunch in 2005 but is well over 50 years old. The Doctor, a human looking alien from a race of people called The Time Lords, who come from the fictional planet of Gallifrey. The Doctor travels through time and space in his trusty TARDIS ( part time machine part space ship, looks like a police telephone box ), while trying to protect planet Earth, fight alien invasions and pick up a few friends along the way that he nicknames his companions

Before you open the book.....

This book measures 9 inches in length, just over 6 inches in width and just over ½ inch in depth. This book is also in hard back form.

The main colouring is dark blue, almost with a denim affect as its not one complete block colour because when you look at it closely you can there’s lighter and darker areas to it almost giving a slight aged look but with a modern edge.

On the front very clearly you can see the BBC logo along with the words ‘ DOCTOR WHO ‘ both in bold white lettering. Underneath is the title of the book, which is ‘HOW TO BE A TIME LORD OFFICIAL GUIDE ‘, with most of the wording being in a striking gold colour. To tie in with the gold theme, there are various sized circular shapes/patterns sparingly fitted around the cover. These look very much like visual representations of where planets are positioned, a map almost.

On the back, right at the top, are coloured pictures of two versions of The Doctor ( Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith ), are evident, with a picture of what appears to be a member of the High Council sandwiched between them. These pictures are centred within a gold coloured hexagon. Underneath these pictures are a few brief paragraphs explaining in a way what this book is about, along with a comical cartoon at the bottom showing what the aim of being a Time Lord really is ( avoiding extermination! ).

What does the book contain?

p1 Glorious picture of the TARDIS sits underneath the title of the book.

p2 Usual publication information mentioned, copywriter information and all that jazz.

p3 The title of the book again emblazed across the page with a picture of a member of the Time Lord council.

P4-5 Contents...listed.

p6-7 The Time Lords. Explains who the Time Lords are. A highly advanced race from the planet Gallifrey. A race that created the ability to time travel.

p8-7 The Location of Gallifrey. These pages explain where the planet is by providing coordinates and a visual representation of its location.

p10-11 A Guide To Gallifrey. Provides information on the planet by mentioning specific places of importance, such as its key continent, The Death Zone and its main cities. Along with this information pictures are provided.

p12-13 Time Lord Biology. These two pages showcase the differences between the biology of a Time Lord against a human. Compared because on the exterior they look the same but internally totally different.

p14-15 Time Lord Regenerations. Explains the different ways a Time Lord can regenerate. Regeneration is something that all Time Lords go through in their life times. This is when their body ‘ dies ‘ and they basically transform into another body.

p16-17 The Time Lord Academy. This explains what the Academy is, which is basically a school for the smartest Gallifreyan children to attend to become Time Lords.

p18-19 The Lord Syllabus. Explains what the children would study at the Academy, for example languages, cosmic science etc.

p20 The Untempered Schism. A gap in the fabric of reality that all young Time Lords must look into as part of an initiation ceremony, a test.

p21-22 Time Lord Academy Examination. Some test questions that are an example of what would be in the final examination paper in the Time Lord Academy.

p23-24 The Time Lord Council. Explains that the High Council are a board of people that governs the planet of Gallifrey.

p25-31 Notable Time Lords. A number of pages that will explain the most prolific Time Lords in history, including of course The Doctor. Also mentions those special Time Lords that aren’t the traditional kind, such as Jenny ( created by using the DNA of The Doctor ), River Song ( child of the TARDIS. Created while her parents were in flight in the TARDIS thanks to Vortex Powers! ).

p32-33 The Protectors of Gallifrey. This mentions who protects the most important members of The High Council such as The Lord President, plus there is also reference to a group known as the War Council who are brought in to help when things kick off such as wars/battles.

p34-35 Time Lord History. Key moments more so on The Doctor in regards to very important situations that happened to him/to a Time Lord in general E.g when the 4th Doctor became the Time Lord President.

p36-39. TARDIS Guide. Explains what the TARDIS is, how it works and how it can be adapted.

p40 The Seal of Rassilion. Is an ancient symbol of power that The Lords hold in high regard.

p41-43 How To Be A Doctor. In the words of The Doctor. A shortened version of what it take to be a Time Lord direct from the mouth of The Doctor.

p44 The Doctors ( running from the first to the eleventh ). A couple of pages dedicated to each reincarnation of The Doctor. A picture taken from the show included along with a cartoon take on the characters. Mentions keys aspects, so as an example for The Second Doctor it says how he regenerates and why, The Seventh Doctor always carried a umbrella and his companion was called Ace.

p68-89 Companions. Mentions all the companions that the Doctor has worked with and mentions his relationship with them. Some are given more information than others E.g the more recent ones have more time spent on them, but they all include at least one picture of the companion and even includes the less human type such as K-9. Some good tips included as well in regards to how to find the perfect companion as for future Time Lord reference.

p90 Never Leave The TARDIS Without. Items that any respected Time Lord shouldn’t leave his TARDIS without, such as a jammie dodger biscuit and of course the iconic sonic screwdriver.

p92-93 Under Protection. A very simple few words added on top of our solar system which of course includes a picture of the Earth, with The Doctor explaining this planet is, has been and always will be protected by HIM!

p94-113 Enemies Of The Time Lords. Descriptions and pictures of creatures, aliens and characters that have not exactly been on the side of The Time Lords, more so against The Doctor, such as the Daleks, Weeping Angels, Zygons.

p114-115 How To Run. Although I wouldn’t describe The Doctor as being a coward, far from it, he has done lots of running in his time. This comical description along with cartoon drawings explains the different type of running motions needed for specific situations!

p116-117 Doctor Exercises. 2 pages of exercise suggestion along with pictures to help those newly regenerated Time Lords to test out their new body parts!

p118-119 Things Not To Say To Humans. 15 quotes/sentences that are suggested NOT to say to a human such as “ Sorry sorry..I sometimes get confused between humans and sofas. You’re very comfortable, though “.

p120-121 All About UNIT. Unified Intelligence Taskforce. Top secret arm of the military who guard the Earth against alien invasions/attacks. The Doctor at one point worked closely with them, and him and a few of his companions have crossed paths with them over the last few years.

p122 How To Play The Recorder. Apparently Time Lords are very musical, and Doctor Number 2 was quite partial to this instrument, so some basic steps are laid out for the wannabe Time Lord to tap into their musicality.

p123 Know Your Jelly Babies. Doctor Number 4 had a thing about this confectionary, apparently these are very useful to keep a few in the old pocket, and this page tells you how and why.

p124-125 How To Eat Fish Fingers and Custard. Lots of fun ways to eat and try this unusual combination. Doctor 12 after regeneration found that this was the food of choice.

p126 A Guide To Gross Things. 4 disgusting alien gooey yuckiness in the form of bogies, spit and flesh that you should be aware of and avoid as much as possible.

p127 How To Use Your Celery. Despite this being a humble vegetable it seems to have many uses, and also a massive fashion trend for Doctor Number 5.

p128-131 How To Spot Aliens In Disguise. There are some tell tale signs to let you know if an alien has decided to impersonate our species and these pages tell you some of those DALEK puppets, Siltheen, Family of the Blood..all races that have tried to be something they aren’t.

p132 Why Bow Ties Are Cool. A page that tells you why they are cool...literally.

p133 How To Use Your Umbrella. This page tells you the traditional and non traditional way of using such a mundane thing, and where to find it in the TARDIS.

p134 How To Stop Alien Invasions. Very silly suggestions to help deter aliens deciding to throw us out and squat. Example, if aliens want to eat humans then get loads of cactuses, put wigs on them, shout ‘ look humans ‘ and sit back and watch!

p136-141 Guide To Awesome Gadgets. A few pages dedicated to some of the most useful forms of tech in Doctor Who history, such as the iconic screwdriver, in its many forms as there has been at least one per Doctor..not to mention other Time Lords with their own version ( The Master, River Song ). Also the Vortex Manipulator that a certain time travelling Captain Jack Harness used to help him teleport from place to place and time to time.

p142-147 How To Fly My TARDIS. Mix of pictures from the show and descriptions of different aspects of the flying spaceship and time jumping machine.

p148-155 My Photo Album. A lovely collection and somewhat of a trip down memory lane. Pictures showing the different Doctors, companions, certain scenes from the show in specific episodes. Very much in the traditional style of a photo album with some fondly scribbled sentences darted about giving an extra pinch of information.

p156 My Quick Guide. A dictionary of sorts explaining some of The Doctors own lingo and what it means.

p157-158 Things I Can Do. From the weird and the wonderful, a few things mentioned that The Doctor excels in, such as being able to smell and taste exactly what time an item has come from or cheese making. A last note from him wishing the wannabe Time Lord good luck on their new adventures is also included.

p159-163 Time Lord Technology. Some of the most chilling and powerful Time Lord technology featured and explained, such as the Chameleon Arch which can rewrite a Time Lord's biology if under threat and the Psychic Container which houses emergency messages from Time Lords directed to other Time Lords.

p164-167 Time Lord Myths And Legends. Some truthful and some fairy tale like stories that run deep in the Time Lord culture.

p168-169 Time Lord Rules. Quite self explanatory, a list of things a Time Lord without question should do, being careful travelling between parallel worlds plus a list of things not to do as well, like run away from situations and don’t mess around with time.

p170 Find Your Time Lord Name. Sometimes Time Lords receive their name while in the Academy thanks to being given a nickname, some have to come up with their own. These couple of pages help you find your own personal Time Lord Name ( apparently mine is The Challenger, my son's is Professor Shield and my daughter’s The Athlete! ).

p172-173 Time Lord Pledge. Almost contract like..the studies have been completed, you’ve learnt what it takes to be a Time Lord, now you are signing your newly founded name and promising to put those lessons to use.

p174-175 Doctor's Certificate. A reminder that being The Doctor is the best in regards to being a Time Lord, and a gentle reminder to be the best Doctor you possibly can be.

What did my son think?

When he took this book home, he literally took his coat off, sat on the floor and started to read it. I didn’t hear a word from him for a good while, and even then that’s when he was explaining to me something he had read in it. My son likes books, but this one really grabbed his attention and sparked his imagination. Not a book where he would want to sit down and read it for just 5 minutes, bit a good chunk of time as there is so much in it to read!

Language wise I don’t think he has an issue with this. He’s read most of this quietly and to himself, but I have also heard him read it aloud. No issues with language, a few words he may have stumbled on but these are more likely fictional made up words. His grasp of what is being written and his retell has been excellent. Doesn’t surprise me considering he loves the show, has watched every episode multiple times since the first one in 2005, plus he has a very good brain on his shoulders despite his age, so ‘ he gets it! ‘. By no means is this a book for very little children, and maybe a year ago half of it he wouldn’t be able to read, so it’s still something that tests his reading and language skills which is great.

Children do easily get bored, although not bore with this, its an easy red for him to go in and out when he feels the mood to. The pictures are great in helping him connect the writing and the information to, and there is so much that he remembers from the show, its nice for him to still have that connection considering we will be waiting months for the new series that this nicely fills a void in some way.

Overall he loves it, reads it, adores it!

What did I think?

They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover and this definitely seems to be the case with this read. I assumed this would be for a child at least twice my sons age, so probably of teenage years. And I assumed this because of a few reasons. This book looked very grown up in appearances and quite hefty in pages that it didn’t look like a light read, and I mean that in all senses of the word. Even though the franchise is growing with each regeneration aka new actor playing the lead, I find that the books side of things are not always geared towards the younger fan, and are either for the older teens, adults or collectors. I’ve so far only found the annuals and the magazine’s being suitable and even then that really does depend on the age of the child and their reading abilities.

On the outside the visual look of this is stunning yet slightly understated. It sums up the show perfectly due to its colour, which will always have a connection with the iconic TARDIS. It has a slight old feel to it yet has elements of being quite modern, which for me ties in nicely with the whole idea of time travel which one minute can be in the past, and then the other in the future.

The idea of actually teaching someone, a child, in being a Time Lord is genius. A child like my son is very active physically and mentally, and his imagination like most children of his age is impressive and boundless. If he watches Power Rangers, he wants to be a Power Ranger. If he sees something connected to a superhero he has turned his blanket into a cape and now has it around his neck and throwing himself off the sofa. This book really taps into the whole idea of role playing for him, especially more so because he loves the show and the character, and the sci fi genre is very much his thing.

The fact this book talks about all the Doctors ( well, nearly ), is such a good thing. It keeps the book very fresh and interesting because each Doctor is so different. It’s also an important thing for maybe a fan like myself or my son, who won’t have seen all the previous episodes in the past, to get an idea of what the other characters were like, their traits and adventures and how the past incarnations still are quite relevant to the newer ones. Also nice to see the companions being mentioned as well. We all seem to have our favourite Doctor, but we also have our favourite companions to and they partly help make the show what it is.

I went through this book from page to page in order, but the way this book is laid out you can dip into different sections, which I think my son did. He would go to sections that he thinks he will find interesting, read it, and move onto something else. So the way it’s structured doesn’t mean you have to be very formal with it, and you can pick and choose where you want to start it and finish it. I do think though it’s nice to read the beginning bit first as it gives you a good basis and foundation, but not necessary.

The pictures are fantastic! Great mix of funny and upbeat cartoons, which are very light hearted and quite self explanatory in their appearances. The pictures from the show itself are great because they don’t focus on just one Doctor they seem to add pictures of all of them which is perfect for a fan. Some pictures are taken directly from the show which will jog no doubt lots of memories for the reader, and some press shots ( well, I assume these are as they tend to be of one character in a fixed non moving pose! ) which gives the book the opportunity to go into the character description wise in more detail. All pictures, regardless of what type, are vivid in look, lots of detail, mostly in colour and very eye catching. I also find the pictures very age appropriate. They aren’t too dark so safe for the younger reader to look at, by the cartoon element really breaks it up and adds lots of fun and comedy to it. There's also alot of pictures, at least one per page. Children are definitely more visual and I think this really makes this book !uch more easier and enjoyable to sit down with.

The language is very important when it come to reading this. This was my massive concern and why I thought this would be a terrible read for my son but I obviously was wrong. The language of this is easy for an adult who has decent reading skills. The language isn’t dumbed down for very young children, but things are explained in a clear, factual but in a fun way. So an adult would read this and not be bored. Depending on a child's reading ability, its hard to give a specific age that this would be good for. I would say 8 plus should be fine. My son is slightly younger than that, but I’m being conservative in regard to the range.

The sense of humour of this book really stands out. It doesn’t take itself seriously despite the amount of information included, which makes the read very pleasurable and easy. It’s actually quite clever how this is written and injects a lovely feel to a show which actually can be quite dark and serious. I’ve noticed that the actual show has gone darker over the last few year which means it has moved away slightly from the traditional family viewing that it used to be associated to, but this book seems to bring it back which is a nice surprise, and means that even if my son couldn’t read this I could quite happily read this to him and not worry about whether its an appropriate story for him to hear.

Some of what’s in the book for me, and this will be the same for my son, is totally new so a great read just for that fact. Some parts are familiar and reminds me of specific episodes from the show so its nice to have that connection. The mention of the Third Doctor not being able to use his TARDIS and was stuck on earth made much more sense to me after reading this fact in his section. Myself and the kids were trying to watch some of the older episodes and we stumbled on a few of these starting Jon Pertwee, and I always wondered why the adventures we saw always were on Earth, not in space or on other planets. And the mention of The Untempered Schism, which was apparently what turned The Master( a very naughty Time Lord ) barking mad, I saw in a few episodes as it was explained and talked about by The Doctor. So no matter how much of a fan the reader is of the show, I’m pretty certain they will learn lots of interesting new facts but mixed in with many things they will already know.

Despite the fact there is a lot of information its the right amount of information. It’s given in small bites and doesn’t go into anything unnecessary or complicated which is great. Doctor Who can be a very complicated show as it is because of the nature to it, which means the storylines can be as crazy and out of this world ( literally ) as they like. But they keep the information descriptive, concise, humorous and easy to understand.


Disappointed that despite there being a picture on the back of the book of Peter Capaldi, the current actor playing the role of The Doctor, he doesn’t actually feature anywhere within the book. It’s something I assumed would be in it as I saw the picture, but after my son read it he told me he wasn’t!

Although this book is about how to become a Time Lord, really its about how to become Doctor Who. Of course I’m pulling hairs here and this by no means is a negative, I would call this more The Doctor’s diary! But throwing in more varied information about the background of his people, random written tests in the book and things like that mean it very much could fall into the category of what its suggesting to be. But for me this is all done through his eyes and in a way quite a personal journey about his travels, the people in his life and much more.

This isn’t a negative but this is a very particular book, and is probably directed more towards a fan of the show. May or may not appeal to someone who doesn’t watch it. But I would say if a child is into the sci fi side of things or loves things about space and things like that, they may find the read from a fictional point of view quite enjoyable, but this is definitely aimed at someone who knows, watches and loves the show.

Would I buy this book?

I actually would! And I am thinking about buying this for my son’s next birthday. This book surprised me as I assumed this would be very serious and not suitable for a child but I was wrong! It’s informative, the layout is great and easy to understand with a mix of fun illustrations and true to life pictures. It focuses on all of the Doctors ( bar the recent one ), and I think this is overall a fantastic reference book for any fan of the TV show who have a good grasp of reading and a limitless imagination.

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  • IzzyS published 29/09/2017
    Detailed review.
  • justarube published 13/08/2016
    Lovely review
  • duffatron published 16/03/2016
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Product Information : Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord - Craig Donaghy

Manufacturer's product description

Film & TV - ISBN: 0723294364

Product Details

Title: Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord

Subgenre: Film & TV

Publisher: Penguin Group

Author: Craig Donaghy

EAN: 9780723294368

Edition: Hardcover

ISBN: 0723294364


Listed on Ciao since: 16/02/2016