Item description for Doctor Who (Pocket Essentials) by Mark Campbell...
The longest running science fiction television show, with a cult following on a par with Star Trek, the story of Doctor Who is the story of British television over the past four decades. Every taste is catered for in the world of Who, and this guide covers every shocking revelation and melodramatic cliffhanger, every heartache and death, as well as the liberal doses of humor—both intentional and otherwise. With an informative introductory essay, each Doctor's era is put under the microscope with facts and opinions on all the stories. An in-depth reference section details further reading, fascinating and bizarre Doctor Who websites, and a short history of spin-off stories and merchandising.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.56" Width: 4.88" Height: 1.1" Weight: 0.66 lbs.
Release Date Sep 28, 2007
Publisher Pocket Essentials
ISBN 1904048749 ISBN13 9781904048749
Reviews - What do customers think about Doctor Who (Pocket Essentials)?
Doctor Who, the Essentials... What a Great find!!! Nov 22, 2007
Well, being from the USA, Doctor Who was never broadcast over here until the rereuns hit us. Being over 30, I can remember seeing some of the shows on various PBS stations. I have now become a lover of Doctor Who, and any merchandise I can acquire ... fantastic. This book, The pocket Essential, is the blow by blow of the whole series! (I own the original, autographed copy with a forward by the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker.) It has loads of info about each episode, the classic series,and the new series, too, plus the authors critique on each. If you get the chance to get this book, do it. It IS Essential for any true Doctor Who fan.
Too much style, not enough substance Oct 3, 2007
Mark Campbell brings us his fourth edition of his Doctor Who, Pocket Essentials guide. While looking better than his previous editions, due mainly to the hardcover with a bright, photo-adorned jacket, the substance is kind of disappointing. Don't judge a book by its cover. His first edition had more depth. In that first edition, he had a short paragraph on literary works or films that influenced each story. This paragraph has been removed, a pity because that was one of the aspects that separated his guide from others. Also removed was the paragraph on alternate titles for each story, not as big a loss, but a loss still. I'm assuming these sections were removed so Campbell could increase the type in this edition. Trust me; this was unnecessarily done.
Mr. Campbell falls into the trap of rating certain stories based on today's standards rather than the standards of the era in which it was made. For instance, under Web Planet he writes, "In 1965 this may have been a laudable attempt to create an alien world, but nowadays a huge suspension of disbelief is required". Well, duh! It was written in 1965. The technology for special effects in 1965 was not as advanced as it is today. You should realize that, Mr. Campbell.
Another baffler that plagues this book is that for Ghost Light, in his first edition, he rated it accurately when he gave it a 0/5 rating, a rating I totally agree with. Yet, in this current edition, in which his total ranking points have been upped from five to ten, Mr. Campbell gives Ghost Light 4/10. That left me scratching my head. Either Mark Campbell's opinion of the story improved over the seven years between editions, or he simply flunked the fractions section of math in school.
Lastly, Campbell shares the hypocrisy possessed by detractors of the Colin Baker era. Under Vengeance On Varos verdict section, he says, "The notorious acid bath scene, in which the Doctor makes a flippant comment after watching two men die hideous deaths, is deeply problematic". Perhaps. However, he mentions nothing about how in McCoy era's Remembrance Of The Daleks the Doctor manipulates Davros into destroying Skaro, with blatant disregard for any peaceful Thals still living on the planet. Isn't this "problematic", Mr. Campbell? Hypocritical? Very much so! At least the Colin Baker's Doctor never destroyed an entire world. The McCoy era gets away with acts for which the Colin Baker era is crucified by authors such as Mark Campbell.
However, all is not negative with this fourth edition. The look of this book is superb, at least on the outside. Also the inside cover is graced with a wonderful black & white photo of the Daleks marching on London, with Big Ben in the background. Campbell manages this extra size without rendering the book too bulky, thus keeping its status as a pocket reference guide. Also, there is a section on the episodes of the new series, up to and including The Runaway Bride, a two-page section on various Doctor Who reference books, and a two-page section on web sites geared toward Doctor Who. The section on the different Doctor Who spin-offs is expanded to include Attack of The Graske, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures from the new series.
All in all, despite the negatives, the fourth edition is a laudable effort, to use Mark Campbell's word. A bit of advice for your next edition, please lose your "verdict" section in favor of more factual info, such as the aforementioned sections that were removed. It's quite irksome seeing one of your favorite stories trashed with a 2/10 or 3/10 rating. The reason we purchase these guides is to relive the magic of Doctor Who, not to see our favorite stories ripped to shreds.
Fulfills Promise Apr 15, 2002
This convenient slim volume fulfills its promise - a basic overview that covers the essential elements of each show. While the author's reviews (or "verdicts") can seem a bit didactic, they always entertain. More importantly, Campbell delivers a fitting addition to this series of paperbacks: succinct, thorough, and easy to carry along on shopping trips. Could anyone have written this? Probably not. It's too short for sloppy writing. This type of brevity takes hard work!
Essentials? Hardly that May 15, 2001
I was greatly dissappointed in the book. While it has some interesting points of view, it is so slanted the book should be a trapizoid and not rectangular. I disagreed on several of the ratings. All in all, I much prefer The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping. While at times they disagree on their reviews, they are fair in their outlook.
Practical Guide Aug 11, 2000
This book is a practical guide which itemises detail, time, place etc, with precise storylines and opinion set out in an easy to read format for anyone wanting information. Surprise and interest for me was the number of well known actors "Dr Who" used.