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The Key to Time

by Peter Haining

Book review by Nigel Flockhart

Although The Key to Time has been out in the UK since 1984, I have only recently purchased it. By now, many of you may have already read it and formed your own opinion, but seeing the NZDWFC has only just started I thought I would write this for those few (or many) that haven't.

It's interesting to note that Peter Haining is referred to by Doctor Who Monthly as a "self proclaimed expert", and they tend to state this fact (?) somewhat tentacle in cheek, whenever he writes another book. If you want an in-depth look at behind the scenes of Doctor Who then this is the book for you. It is set out in chronological diary form, which traces the origins of the programme up until the time of writing (April 23rd, 1963 to March 22nd, 1984). It opens with a brilliant comment on the Doctor from Starlog magazine, which is followed by the introduction and a brief tribute to Verity Lambert. Then the diary opens, and includes various dates, which each chapter being a different year. These entries are reasonably concise, and, unlike the Jean Marc Lofficier Programme Guide, it gives all the 'skeletons in the closet', rather than just the facts. Some items of interest are what the critics had to say, the public's view of the series and more. It is essentially a fan book and is full of fan illustrations. It also features 24 colour photos, and some 'never before published' ones. The Key to Time looks very nice, however is something of a disappointment if you want character studies, stories, etc.

It would make a perfect compliment to the more detailed Doctor Who - The Early Years. At almost $30.00 it is expensive, but a must for a die-hard fan.

This item appeared in TSV 7 (May 1988).