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Doctor Who Gifts (1: Books)

It’s that time of year when we think about what to get our loved ones. Here are just a few suggestions for that Doctor Who fan in your life. If you have found other Doctor Who related gifts, pleaser feel free to comment. Thank you.

This post , I shall be looking through a few books that I have that bought/received as gifts/on my wish list that have put a smile on my face.

Biographies

One of my favourite Doctor Whos is second Doctor, Patrick Troughton and there is a new biography about this very private man written by his son, Michael. Patrick Troughton’s importance to the world of Doctor Who cannot be over emphasized as it was a bold move to not only change the lead actor but to make it a deliberate change, no lookalike replacement here but a new man. Alas, many of his stories have been lost (more about that below) but I heartily recommend the stories that survive and the audio versions.

2011 was a sad year for Doctor Who fans as we lost two actors who played two of the most loved characters in the Doctor Who universe, Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) and Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith). Nicholas Courtney has written a few autobiographies, the best being Still Getting Away With It. Elisabeth Sladen has also written an autobiography which was originally scheduled to come out earlier this year (2011) but her sad death postponed the release. But the book is out now and will be a wonderful gift for those who fondly remember Sarah Jane Smith, the character that bridged “classic” Who and “new” Who.

Series Guides

If you are looking for an all in one series guide, it might be worth waiting a year or two until the 50th anniversary when, I’m sure, there will be several to choose from. In the meantime I shall suggest a few books that deal with classic Who.

There are a series of books called About Time that focus on certain eras of Doctor Who. There are 6 volumes altogether covering the original seven Doctors and the 8th from the TV movie. The authors go into detail about the episodes and also mention the context when the stories were first broadcast. With a lot of stories is an accompanying essay which can relate to the problems of dating the Dalek stories and what they would eat to what the BBC thought about the show. Volume 1 covers all but a few of the William Hartnell stories, volume 2 covers the final William Hartnell stories and all of the Patrick Troughton stories. Volume 3 covers the Jon Pertwee era. Volume 4 covers most of the Tom Baker years. Volume 5 starts from the “star field” opening sequence for Tom Baker and includes the Peter Davison era and volume 6 covers Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.

Doctor Who Related

I recently treated myself to a book that has been on my wish list for sometime, Wiped by Richard Molesworth. This book looks at how the BBC worked in the ’60s and ’70s and its policy of wiping taped shows so that the (expensive) tape could be reused. Doctor Who was only one show whose past has been lost in this manner (other shows include Not only but also and Dad’s Army). Some stories have been found (usually copies that were made for overseas sale) and there is always hope that one of the 108 missing episodes may turn up.

My quest to watch Doctor Who in order was partly inspired by Running Through Corridors by Robert Shearman and Toby Hadoke. Both have pedigrees in Doctor Who, Rob Shearman has written Doctor Who stories for Big Finish, one of which he adapted for the new Who story Dalek which saw the return of the iconic exterminators. Toby Hadoke has starred in several Big Finish stories and is also well-known for his one man show, Moths ate my Doctor Who scarf.Both have made entertaining contributions to the DVD extras of a number of Doctor Who stories.

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Patrick Troughton by Michael Troughton

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Elisabeth Sladen's autobiography

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The story of the missing episodes