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Doctor Who - The Handbook: The Seventh Doctor

By David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker

Book review by Jon Preddle

Rereading my review of the first volume in this series (1992's Fourth Doctor Handbook) I was somewhat surprised to see that I was overly critical of that book, but I'm pleased to say that over the subsequent six years the Handbooks have each improved in quality and content (my favourite is still The First Doctor Handbook; but why couldn't the Production Diary be continued in the others, hmm?). It is pleasing to report that the last in the set is just as good as its forebears. It's just a pity that it couldn't be titled ‘The Seventh and Eighth Doctor Handbook’ as it is as much a celebration of McGann's time in the role as it is McCoy's.

As expected, there are all the familiar chapters and analysis. The sections on the making of Dragonfire, and the "wilderness years" leading up to the Paul McGann movie are my two favourites. There is quite a lot of new information in the latter, making this probably the closest we will ever get to seeing a book covering The Nineties. I was particularly surprised to read that there were many other attempts at a Doctor Who movie than those reported in Lofficier's 1996 book, The Nth Doctor.

The authors have also taken the brave move to include not only a handy index to all seven volumes, but also an errata section. The authors even invite readers to write in if they find any errors that might have been missed for inclusion in possible revised editions. Well, I have one! Steven Spielberg's name has on several occasions been incorrectly spelt as ‘Stephen’! Ooops.

Christmas won't be the same now that the Handbooks have ended, but at least Virgin stuck to their guns and got the series finished. Great stuff. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 56 (October 1998).