Adam Watson's Reviews > Doctor Who - The Vault: Treasures from the First 50 Years

Doctor Who - The Vault by Marcus Hearn
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really liked it

This book was a Christmas present from my wife, and began gobbling it up immediately as the 11th Doctor Matt Smith was saying his goodbyes in the recent special.

First, some context: I am a committed fan to Doctor Who, somewhere between the casual fan who knows the basic premise of the show and catches an episode here and there and the completist who has watched all the serials since 1963. As for myself, I began watching reruns on PBS in the 1980's, and the first and only Doctor I knew at the time was Tom Baker, who still remains my favorite. During the recent revival years, I caught the occasional Tennant episode and only started watching weekly during the Matt Smith run. Thanks to Netflix I plan on watching Eccleston and Tennant episodes in order in the near future. (Also, thanks to Netflix, I was able to watch a few "classic" serials from some of the older Doctors, which was great fun.)

Now to the book! As a collection, it is comprehensive and probably a great place to start for new Who fans. The "yearbook" structure of highlighting what happened each year starting with 1963 is helpful to keep the chronology right; the side-essays exploring aspects such as special effects and screenwriting is informative and engaging. The book is rife with photos, and my inner kid geek particularly liked the various Doctor Who toys throughout the years. By the nature of the book, however, it is not quite definitive as a "true" biography of the series. As an official publication, credit must be given that any "warts" are mentioned at all(some in passing, some with more detail), but more information on some of the behind-the-scenes stories about the difficulties of production would have been welcome. (For example, the DVD extras on "Logopolis" have some candid information about Baker's ups and downs with the Who crew.) In addition, I would have liked more background on each actor that has portrayed the Doctor. Where did they come from? What was some of their acting highlights pre- and post-Who? A 50th anniversary interview with the actors would have been illuminating as well.

In the end, still very recommended for Who fans both casual and enthusiastic.


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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 28, 2013 – Shelved

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