We have potentially very exciting news for you: a new Doctor Who partwork is currently being tested, ready for publication nationwide!
Previous partworks have included the DVD Files, and The Doctor Who Figurine Collection (which we found less than satisfactory), but this latest one, Doctor Who: The Complete History, looks the most promising yet. Each issue is a full hardcover book, detailing a mass of behind-the-scenes information from all of the Doctor’s adventures. Each volume contains more than one storyline, and features:
- Introduction: A specially written introduction for each story, highlighting the contributions that each one has made to the mythology of the series.
- The Story: A full, episode-by-episode synopsis of every story, including quotes from the characters and illustrated with images from the TV broadcast.
- Production: A detailed account of the production process, from scripts, through casting, rehearsals, location filming, studio recordings and editing and music.
- Publicity: How each story was promoted in the papers, on TV, in magazines such as Radio Times, and by personal appearances from the cast and production team.
- Broadcast: Details of when and where each story was originally shown, along with viewer ratings, plus the reaction from the newspaper critics.
- Cast and Crew: A complete listing of each story’s cast members and the characters they played, including those not credited on screen, along with the production personnel.
- Profiles: A biography of a key crew member, actor or author for each story.
- Merchandise: The extended life of each story and its characters, featuring in reference books, full-length novels, video games, DVDs, gadgets, action figures, and toys.
There are 80 in total, focusing on all twelve Doctors. Obviously, the Eighth Doctor will only have one volume to his name, while long-running Doctors have more: Tom Baker has 12, as does David Tennant, while Matt Smith has 13. The collection builds up, with interlinking spines, so the final thing will display the Doctors, framed by images of their respective title sequences, all side by side.
It looks an incredible, comprehensive, and definitive (yes, I know that’s a big word, but it really is impressive) partwork – sort of like the Encyclopedia Britannica of Doctor Who! Plus, they look stunning: fully illustrated with well-known pictures and new compositions.
The first issue, with the Tenth Doctor on the front, covers Gridlock, Daleks in Manhattan/ Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment, and 42, and is priced just £2.99. Obviously this, like all partworks, is just to get you hooked: issue 2 is £6.99, while #3 goes to its normal RRP of £9.99. Volumes are released fortnightly. I know this sounds a lot, but the quality looks astounding.
Issue 2 focuses on the Third Doctor adventures, Colony in Space, The Dæmons, and Day of the Daleks; issue 3 stars Peter Capaldi’s debut as the Twelfth Doctor, Deep Breath, alongside Into The Dalek; and issue 4 takes us right back to the beginning: 100,000 BC (aka An Unearthly Child), and The Mutants, better known as The Daleks.
Volumes that begin new seasons (like 100,000 BC and Deep Breath) also feature an overview of that complete run of episodes.
Okay, so unless you live in selected areas in the North, you can’t buy this yet. Its publishers, Hatchette, are running it as a test, to gauge the reaction (and so how many need making to go nationwide), and to iron out any problems. The only one I see right now is with 100,000 BC and The Mutants. People generally know them by other names, most likely because otherwise it causes confusion with the Third Doctor serial, The Mutants, from 1972. Surely it’s advisable to stick with the names listed on the DVDs? Yes, in America, the DVD covers are different, but this partwork is only available in the UK and ROI – for now.
There are also bonuses for subscribers; at the moment, these are:
- Free issue with your 1st delivery
- Limited edition print with you 1st delivery
- Travel mug with your 1st delivery
- Doctor Who Wallet with your 2nd delivery
- Exclusive audio adventure with your 2nd delivery – produced by Big Finish!
- TARDIS bookends with your 4th delivery
As we say, it’s going to cost a lot. All partworks do. But we feel it’s going to be worth it. Hatchette has had issues in the past with customer services, which makes us dubious about subscribing, but placing a standing order with your local newsagent would be advantageous. Even Hatchette reportedly don’t know when this’ll go to national release, however. The sooner the better!
Anyone currently collecting The Judge Dredd Mega-Collection knows the quality of these books. If anything, Doctor Who: The Complete History looks more thorough and in-depth. But if you want to learn more yourself, head over to the series’ site.
Personally, this is the sort of partwork I’ve been waiting for. Frankly, I’m chomping at the bit to start the collection!
(Thanks to The DW Site.)