BOOK REVIEW: Doctor Who: The TARDIS Handbook



Author: Steve Tribe
Publisher: BBC Books
RRP: £12.99

Published in 2009, this was the first in a series of two (so far) Doctor Who Handbooks. The book describes itself as containing “everything you need to know about the TARDIS” – do the contents live up to this bold statement?

The page count of this tome is 127 … not a lot for everything you need to know about a Timeship that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside is over a thousand years old and has been on the Television screen off and on since 1963. The page-count is somewhat lessened by the fact that quite a chunk of the book is taken up with brief summaries of the first six episodes of Series five of the new series. These descriptions do little or nothing to add to the reader’s knowledge of the famous time-space capsule and their inclusion seems to be for padding purposes only.

Having said that, the book does contain some interesting bits of information, including a brief history of Gallifrey from the Old-Times through to the destruction of Gallifrey which may be of interest to the newer fan to provide some background. Also on offer is a history of the Police Box itself – followed by a presentation of the various TARDIS designs that have appeared in the TV show over the years. Again, though brief, this is an interesting read.

The intended audience for this book is clearly the child – young-adult range and for this audience, the content is well pitched. The list of TARDIS controls mentioned over the years and their function is a fun read and offers a range of techno-babble to be spouted in the office … I mean playground and the present console is presented with labels indicating some of the key controls. Of course, there’s not really anything here that can’t be found (possibly in more depth) by a good Internet search, but I actually think it’s nice to hold an “official” printing of such material.

I also appreciated the fact that although the book is “new-series” focussed, the classic series is not ignored. To the contrary, photographs and notations abound from “An Unearthly Child” through to the TV movie of 1996. The book also presents a screen-shot and discussion presentation of each Doctor’s regeneration (except the eighth to ninth!) which although a nice inclusion, again seemed out of place in this book to me.

To sum up, considering the content, I think the RRP of this is high, but would recommend it for the (very) serious Who fan or as a present to a younger fan – clearly the audience this is intended for. A nice introduction to Doctor Who? Yes. TARDIS Handbook? Definitely not.

Rate It: 3 / 5
Dry Slaps: 2 – Doesn’t live up to it’s own hype. Contains too much non-relevant padding.
GS Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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