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The Handbook: The Second Doctor

By David J Howe, Mark Stammers & Stephen James Walker

Book review by Paul Scoones

There's not a lot to commend the Second Doctor Handbook that doesn't apply equally to every other volume in this reference series. Quite simply, the Handbooks are an outstanding example of how to chronicle the making of Doctor Who; incorporating massive amounts of detail - often from primary sources - and yet still remaining very readable.

A highlight of this, the penultimate volume in the series, is the mostly new information on episode junkings - a subject that has been discussed repeatedly by fandom but rarely documented as exhaustively as in this book. There's also an entire chapter devoted to the subject of visual effects, revealing through BBC internal memos the inter-departmental fighting that went on during this era.

I'm delighted that my favourite of the surviving Troughton tales - The Mind Robber - is featured in 'From Script to Screen' and that there is just such a wealth of detail in the 'Who Fax' after each story synopsis.

The only quibble I have with this book is my own contribution: the New Zealand section of the 'Selling the Doctor' chapter has gained a final paragraph which was not my doing and which I believe is factually incorrect. Still, it's a minor point and there's every chance that it'll be corrected in the final volume. I'm looking forward to completing my set with great anticipation! [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 53 (March 1998).