Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reference Books

As I have already stated I have been a Doctor Who fan since before I can remember. Growing up in the United States in the 80s loving a show like Doctor Who was hard. I watched Doctor who on a PBS station out of Georgia and waited with bated breath each Saturday night at 10:00 when it finally came on. Saturday night was Doctor Who night. We recorded every story we could so we could watch them again and again. The problem was that we were limited to what we knew by what we saw on the screen which at that time would have been the Pertwee, Baker, Davison eras and later the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy Eras. There were a lot of assumptions being made.

At some point my dad had stumbled across a book called Doctor Who Illustrated A-Z by Lesley Standring and My brother and I would pour over the illustrations of the characters and try to piece things together. Each entry had a list of episodes the monsters or characters had appeared in. This book was my first indication that doctor who was bigger than what was on the screen every Saturday night.

Fast forward into the 90s I was now aware that there was Doctor who magazine and would try to get that when I could, but I still wanted more. I wanted to find out every thing I could about this show. Then I began to find Reference books like The Program Guide By Jean-Marc Lofficeir which gave a very good description of all the stories, and some background about what went into making the stories, such as people who wrote, produced etc. . . This was my initiation into the back end of Doctor Who, my first realisation about what went on to create any TV show.

as the years progressed I began to acquire Doctor Who stories on VHS as a store that carried them opened up in a near by city, so I would save my money and buy a second or first doctor story when I could. It was at that same store where I first stumbled across another great reference book. The Handbook: The Third Doctor by David Howe and Stephen James Walker is the book that really taught me about the behind the scenes goings on of Doctor Who. I read the book for hours, intrigued by the processes of television production. I was beginning to get a hold on the characters. . . not the character from the show but the characters that created the show. In the case of the third doctor it was Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts who were Script Editor and Producer respectively. I have said before that this is the book that made me want to go into Television production.

As I went on and began to find used copies of older books I found many of Peter Haining's books such as Doctor Who: A Celebration which were all great resources of information. I still wanted more. By this time the Virgin New adventures were out and the canon was becoming hard for me to keep up with. even with the advent of the Internet it was hard to keep up with things. I had been eying several books that I wanted, but could never seem to find, so I broke down and ordered what turned into one of my all time favorite Doctor Who reference books "Doctor Who: A History of the Universe" by Lance Parkin. This book was a timeline of almost every adventure the doctor had to date. It was incredible. I read the entries on Gallifrey history, loving every word of it. I tried to piece together the Dalek's Timeline. The book was an adventure in its self. This book has been updated in a new edition . I highly recommend it if you are the least bit interested in the long history of doctor who.

These are just a few of the books that got me through my exploration of Doctor Who since I was very young. Doctor Who reference books still hold a soft spot in my heart and I usually pick them up if I find them. There are still very good books coming out in regards to the new series, and even books for the old series. If you are interested in Doctor Who or any other Sci-Fi series give the reference books that are published for them a try, I think you will find them helpful.


"Doctor Who Illustrated A-Z" by Lesley Standring
"The Program Guide" By Jean-Marc Lofficeir
"The Handbook: The Third Doctor" by David Howe and Stephen James
"Doctor Who: A Celebration" by Peter Haining
"Doctor Who: A History of the Universe" by Lance Parkin

Further Reading
"Doctor Who: A History" by Lance Parkin and Lars Pearson
The About Time series by Tat Wood Lars Pearson and Lawrence Miles
"Doctor Who Encyclopedia" By Gary Russell
Justin Richard's Monster Guides

1 comment:

  1. I love reference books, and am currently reading and re-reading the About Time books by Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood. They are probably the best analysis of the show ever.

    The first Doctor Who reference I got was "They Key to Time." But my all-time favorite Doctor Who reference book is Jeremy Bentham's "Doctor Who - The Early Years," an in-depth look at the Hartnell stories with lengthy interviews from Verity Lambert, Carole Ann Ford, and Ray Cusick. It was a fascinating look at the distant past of the show and featured some amazing rare photos.