My Review of “Doctor Who: The Early Years”

Doctor Who: The Early Years by Jeremy Bentham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This large-format paperback does what the title says. It starts with Sydney Newman, the father of Doctor Who, who came from Canada to eventually wind up as Head of Drama at the BBC. He had an idea for a show about a mysterious character who traveled through time and space in a ship that was bigger on the inside than on the outside. When no one at the BBC wanted to be the producer he grabbed a young lady who had been a production assistant for him at ITV, and talked her into being the producer. That of course is Verity Lambert, who went on to a very successful career in TV and film production. Then they had to assemble a cast, and a production team, and get the show going. The book discusses all of this and is a good introduction to this historical material. This is useful, but honestly there is nothing in this that is really unique.
Then the book goes into discussions of selected stories from the run of the first Doctor, played by William Hartnell. It isn’t all of the stories, but it mostly picks the ones that are significant to get this attention. It is the illustrations that make this book something you want to have in your library if you are a fan. While there are a few color photos, most are in black-and-white, but then so was the show itself in this time. What you will particularly enjoy are the production drawings and models, and the discussion in particular of Raymond Cusick, the Production Designer for some of the most important stories including “The Daleks”. I am rating this 4 stars out of 5 and recommended for the true Doctor Who fan.

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