Doctor Who: The Time Lord Letters by Justin Richards (book review).

2015’s ‘Doctor Who’ whimsical hardback cash-in title is ‘The Time Lord Letters’ in which Justin Richards imagines letters written by the Doctor and some of his friends concerning events across his personal history. These letters usually refer to moments from stories that took place across ‘Doctor Who’s fifty year history.


Richards is a good choice for the author, having written for many of the Doctors in fictional formats down the years as well as having been a keen reviewer and writer in fanzines before that. Each Doctor’s personality comes across in the letters that they write. For example a letter from the Tenth Doctor to William Shakespeare begins with the line, ‘I’m so, so sorry…’ Responses from the first Doctor are rather more direct, though leave room for the odd ‘Hmm?’ in the text. If you’re familiar with the Doctors then you’ll get the idea.

The book is divided into sections such as ‘UNIT’, ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘The Daleks And Other Monsters’ which means than rather than pursue the Doctor’s correspondence in a chronological fashion, we are subjected to the fluctuating nature of his existence. It’s a credit to the book’s design that the jump from sixties story to a story from 2012 is handled well. In fact, the whole design means that there’s never a dull moment, flicking from page to page, packed with photos from the show.

While most of the letters are quite straightforward, some of them are from one Doctor, but contain references to a story undertaken by another Doctor. Bonus points if you spot the letter that references ‘The Ark In Space’. There are plenty of stories referenced, with 128 letters in total. Given that was the number of pages of your average Target book it can’t be a coincidence. It’s quite fun working out which stories didn’t make it in, eg there’s no letter solely about events in ‘The Space Pirates’ but ‘Fear Her’ does get a mention.

This book is a fun and mildly diverting title. Educational for the younger or more casual fan and contains the occasional Easter Egg for the more knowledgeable reader. If you’re looking for something fun for the coffee table or bathroom fodder to dive into ‘The Time Lord Letters’ is nice enough to while away ten minutes. Definitely one to come in and out of.

John Rivers

January 2016

(pub: BBC Books/Ebury Publishing/Random House, 2015. 256 page illustrated hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84990-963-1)

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