Sunday, September 03, 2017

Review: More Mr Men/Doctor Who titles and Paper Dolls

Sometimes this crazy programme that we love throws up some brilliant things. The most recent are the 'Mr Men/Doctor Who' Mash-Up books from Penguin.

Four were published earlier in the year, and now we have four more!  Covering Dr. Second, Dr. Seventh, Dr. Eighth and Dr. Ninth.

In Dr. Second, the Doctor teams with Jamie and Victoria to solve a problem of Yeti in a museum ... Dr. Seventh is with Ace battling the Cheetah people and the Master ... Dr Eighth solves a problem between the Sea Devils and Silurians, and Dr Ninth sees an alternative first meeting between the Doctor and Rose, with Autons and Captain Jack thrown in for good measure!

They are excellent little books, nicely drawn and observed, and for fans of Doctor Who, of course a must-buy.  I heard that there will be actual models of the Mr Men Doctors available soon ... what will they think of next!

The other book which arrived this week is something of a curio ... back in the day, perhaps the most tenuous book to be released tying in with Doctor Who was perhaps the Doctor Who Pattern Book or the Doctor Who Cook Book ... well now there is a new contender with Doctor Who Paper Dolls!

It's a simple idea ... cut out, stand-up figures of various characters from Doctor Who with clothing choices to also cut out and apply to the standees. On the plus side, the book is well constructed from stiff card (so stiff in fact that I wonder how easy actually cutting the figures out would be) but it's a shame they are not perforated to assist removal.

There are 26 characters represented here: all twelve Doctors; Jo Grant; Sarah Jane Smith; Romana; Ace; Rose Tyler; Donna Noble; Martha Jones; River Song; Amy Pond; Rory Williams; Clara Oswold; Petronella Osgood; Missy; and Bill Potts ... and the outfits range from a cleaning lady that the third Doctor dressed as in 'The Green Death' to Sarah Jane's Andy Pandy outfit.  I feel that some opportunities have been missed though: Bill Potts does not have a Mondasian Cyberman outfit, for example, and Clara's red dress from her debut in 'Asylum of the Daleks' is missing (though arguably you could say that that character was not Clara but Oswin ... but wasn't Oswin meant to be one of the Clara 'splinters'?).  Donna doesn't get her Roman outfit from 'Fires of Pompeii' and Romana, queen of the outfit changes, has just three represented. It's interesting that Rory stands out as the sole male entry in the book (aside from all the Doctors of course) ... what about all the other male companions from Ian to Steven, Jamie to Harry?

Alongside the artwork images by Ben Morris, there are brief notes by Simon Guerrier about the costume elements which pull in facts from behind the scenes on the show. Thus the first Doctor's hat is said to be a karakul ... I always thought it was an astrakhan hat (Googling suggests they may be the same thing) and that Jon Pertwee's green velvet jacket sold for £8400 at auction in 2009!  There's also a caption to the cleaning lady outfit suggesting it's a milkman, which was a different disguise that the Doctor used in 'The Green Death'.

There's also a rather nice piece all about cosplay from Christel Dee, who presents the BBC's 'fan show' on Doctor Who ... and while I can understand the connection between a book of characters from Doctor Who as dressing up dollies, and cosplay, it does seem a little misplaced ... maybe a book actually on cosplay would be a better idea ... showing fans dressed up and explaining how they created and cobbled together their outfits.

Overall, I'm afraid it's a book that I just can't see the point of. There might be an audience out there for it, but I really don't know what age group they are aiming it at. It's certainly not me!  Sorry people ...

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