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Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today)

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1992-10-01 Stage and Television Today.jpg

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RELATIVELY speaking, there are not many television programmes with sufficiently devoted followers to guarantee a market for spin-off merchandise: some children's rides, soap operas, a few long-running dramas -- and, of course, the cults that will just not lie down and die.

To the latter group must surely belong BBC 1's Dr Who, whose feverish devotion has at times done little to endear them to the Corporation's drama department, but also has its positive aspects, as is manifested in a new book published later this month.

Dr Who - The Sixties chronicles the programme's birth and development during the years when WILLIAM HARTNELL (right) and Patrick Troughton were in the title role, and, it must be said, does so with an eye for detail that other television-related books would do well to try and emulate.

Not content with the standard format of television books, authors David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker appear to have done a remarkable amount of research into their subject. As well as the usual profiles of the show's stars, they have given space to writers, script editors, producers and directors, all of whom build up a picture of the programme which makes a fascinating read.

And, unusually, the book tackles its subject warts and all: the ratings for each season are given in full, with some appreciation figures thrown in for good measure - and not all of them are too impressive. It also brings to light some of the difficulties which plagued some stories, particularly the budgetary constraints and the extremely tight deadlines to which some writers were forced to work - in one instance, supplying one script every two days.

But, more controversially, Dr Who - The Sixties reveals that holding the show up for substantially longer runs than it enjoyed in the seventies and eighties had an adverse effect on both Hartnell and Troughton, both of whom claimed the stress of the part made them difficult to work with.

While the attention paid to the programme's flaws may upset Who fans who wear rose-coloured spectacles, it offers a seldom-aired objective view of show - and, more importantly, makes this book one of the best about television that Diary has ever seen.

Doctor Who - The Sixties is an essential buy for any devotee of Dr Who, and an informative and entertaining read even for somebody with no interest in the programme whatsoever.

Dr Who - The Sixties by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker is published by Virgin on October 15, price £14.99.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: (1992-10-01). Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today). The Stage and Television Today p. 20.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today)." The Stage and Television Today [add city] 1992-10-01, 20. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today)." The Stage and Television Today, edition, sec., 1992-10-01
  • Turabian: "Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today)." The Stage and Television Today, 1992-10-01, section, 20 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today) | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Just_what_the_Doctor_ordered_(The_Stage_and_Television_Today) | work=The Stage and Television Today | pages=20 | date=1992-10-01 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=30 March 2020 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Just what the Doctor ordered (The Stage and Television Today) | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Just_what_the_Doctor_ordered_(The_Stage_and_Television_Today) | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=30 March 2020}}</ref>