June Books 29) About Time: The Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who, 1970-1974, 2nd edition, by Tat Wood
I read the first edition of this two years ago, since when it has been sitting on the shelf with the other volumes of this superb series of handbooks to Doctor Who, looking a bit thin in comparison with its fellows. This second edition is massively expanded from the first, with most of the new material simply being more of the same excellent analysis of the programme's context (in this case the early 1970s) plus a lot more analytical essays and 147 endnotes (which is 142 more than in the first edition; though I repeat my complaint about them being endnotes rather than footnotes). There is loads more information about what was going on behind the scenes, most of which is very interesting; my own recent back problems make me very sympathetic to Jon Pertwee. A welcome shift in Wood's attitude has him attempting to incorporate New Who continuity into Old Who analysis, rather than the invective he was previously lapsing into; this offers him room for writing such essays as "All Right, Then... Where Were Torchwood?" and additional evidence for "When are the Unit Stories Set?" There are a couple of other standout pieces, "Why Did We Countdown to TV Action?" on the early 1970s Doctor Who comics, and "Why Didn't Plaid Cymru Lynch Barry Letts?" which ostensibly attempts to explain Wales to Americans but actually has a lot of good points to make.
When I read the first edition of this I hadn't yet seen all the Pertwee stories, and tended to go and look them up in Wood and Miles after I had finished watching them. Now I want to watch several of them again to see the things I missed first time around. An excellent handbook, and I am very glad that Wood is planning a seventh volume to cover the first years of New Who.