Telos, out now
An overview of Doctor Who in 2012 and 2013…
Walker’s previous books have covered just one year, but given the way that the BBC split Matt Smith’s third and final season as the Doctor so that it stretched into the anniversary year, this has had to expand to fit. Starting with a look at the two years “as they happened”, bringing together all the various pieces of press coverage into one place – perhaps wisely not getting into any speculation about the leak that prompted the release of the news of Matt Smith’s departure – it then deals with the principal cast and creative team before getting into the meat of the book: the episode guide.
As ever, Walker doesn’t pull his punches where he thinks things don’t work, but equally gives praise where it’s due. Continuity points from across the spectrum are analysed (Kate Lethbridge-Stewart gets a forensic eye cast over her timeline alongside a discussion of exactly what year the Ponds’ adventures with the Doctor take place), and evidence from all quarters – such as Moffat’s comments in DWM – brought in where relevant. Where the show contradicts previously established “extended universe” continuity and doesn’t do it as well in the author’s opinion (e.g. the Great Intelligence) then it’s challenged; even the fundamental decisions behind episodes are described at times as flawed. You may not agree with Walker’s opinions (for the record, there are a couple where we’d disagree quite dramatically, but mostly – particularly about The Time of the Doctor – we’re very much in synch), but they are put forward coherently and with due deference to the show’s weight of history. The final overview certainly contains some interesting theories on the way Moffat treated Russell T Davies’ version of the show during this season…
Appendices cover An Adventure in Space and Time as well as The Five(Ish) Doctors Reboot (which is interesting to read in light of Peter Davison’s recent DWM interview), as well as analysis of the ratings, and a look at the spin-off media (although only those featuring the 11th Doctor).
Verdict: A good retrospective of a key year in the series’ history. 9/10
Available in paperback or limited edition hardback from http://www.telos.co.uk