Doctor Who: Who Graphica by Simon Guerrier, Steve O’Brien and Ben Morris (book review).

There are the occasional books I look at and wonder who they are targeted at. As my fellow reviewer, John Rivers, pointed out, there is usually a batch of ‘Doctor Who’ books put out to cash in on the yuletide market this time of year. Thinking about that, he’s probably right although I’ve also seen other books on the subject out at different times as well. So, with ‘Doctor Who: Who Graphica’ by Simon Guerrier, Steve O’Brien and illustrated by Ben Morris, we have the sub-titled ‘An Infographic Guide To Space And Time’. I think it is primarily for parents or relatives who think they are buying something as a stocking filler for sprogs. One only has to hope that the younger viewers have seen all the early shows because you are exposed to all kinds of data that they might not have heard of or seen on DVD.


Don’t buy this book expecting a lot of photographs, there aren’t any, from the series as its essentially a bunch of statistics and information from 1963 to the present in graphic, read that as literal graphs, form. Some of it is not helped by the wrong colour contrasts or small print to read the text. Don’t try reading under a night light. With ‘The Companions’ Jobs’, it would also have made more sense to enlarge the circles and put the names in them put the text in the various section. Considering the repeated double pages between chapters, I would have been happy with less of these and the data being much larger.

This doesn’t mean to say that the information isn’t accurate and I’m sure your sprogs will have a happy time spouting info in the school playground. For us adults who know the info, we can often point out things that are missing. Take the anatomy of the Doctor, they could quite easily have included his body temperature from ‘Spearhead From Space’ or quoting from the text of the 70s book ‘The Making Of Doctor Who’, 59F or 15C, much lower than human at 97F or 37C. Shaking hands with a Time Lord would be very much like shaking hands with a cold fish.

In geek mode, there’s a fair chance you’ll read and ponder on errors, there aren’t many as such. However, just to give them something to think about, take the ‘One-Shot Wonders’. Has anyone considered that the Animus from ‘The Web Planet’ has all the hallmarks of the Great Intelligence? After all, why should it be confined to only attacking Earth?

Some things, you do have to wonder, why they are there? Why should there be any significance in the letter ‘A’ being in a companion’s name. Vowels are pretty common and there are a lot of ‘I’s as well if you wander through the list.

Other things are useful, like knowing who has ever been inside the TARDIS, not all are companions, although it might have been interesting to also have indicated who hasn’t travelled in it.

A puzzle with Gallifrey and a note that it might be in part of another dimension doesn’t seem that unusual to me. After all, TARDISes/time capsules are also interdimensional. Knowing something exists in nature makes it a lot easier to do create something similar or exploit it.

The guide to missing episodes is a lot easier to make sense of and although I doubt you can see them, if you watched all that’s available, with sleep, it will take you 16 and a half days. Personally, I prefer to spread them over a few years. Too much of a good thing tends to dull the brain.

If you’re well-informed on the ‘Doctor Who’ mythos then you might not want this book. For younger and less informed fans, it might fulfil your inner geek and give you something to debate. Even so, it’s a lot better than the current Annual offering.

GF Willmetts

September 2016

(pub: BBC Books/Ebury. 221 page illustrated indexed largish hardback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-785-94062-0)

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