With a new Doctor in the form of Jodie Whittaker about to take the stage, BBC Books decided to celebrate by releasing Doctor Who: The Women Who Lived. 'Amazing tales for Future Time Lords' it says ... but that's not quite what you get.
Several years back, I co-wrote a book called Doctor Who: Companions, which was a look at all the actors and actresses who had played the Doctor's companions to that time ... so basically Classic series, and including a couple from the original novels and comic strip too. My co-author Mark Stammers and I delved into the factual background of the characters, discovering their origins, BBC Outlines, their casting and so on, and also spoke to as many of the artistes as we could to try and gain a rounded and hopefully interesting view of the role of the Companion and what it meant to the many people who had played them.
Written by Chrystal Dee and Simon Guerrier, this new book takes the female companions only, along with many other significant female characters from the show, and presents a page or two on each, accompanied by a piece of artwork depicting said character. All the imagery is by female artists too ... so it looks like the only men involved are co-author Guerrier, along with all the book's production team.
And it's a strangely insubstantial affair. The text in each case is simply a brief description of who/what/where/how that character was presented. Written in very easy to read, child-friendly text, it's skimmable and doesn't contain anything really new. The 'Amazing Tales' promised by the cover are simply those which Doctor Who as a series has already presented. Maybe this is a storybook to read to children when they go to bed ... maybe ...
So what is it then ... perhaps an art book? When I penned Timeframe, that title was deliberately designed as a scrapbook of images, with the text playing second fiddle to the visuals. Here the text takes up more pages than the visuals, but seems to be secondary to them.
Published on the 27th September 2018 by BBC Books