Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia - Jason Loborik, Annabel Gibson, Moray Laing This was a very disappointing reference work. I’ve mentioned in other reviews of similar books that I live for this kind of information. I’m not a follower of the Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire but I’ve got the encyclopedias. Nor am I a great fan of Peter Hamilton but I’ve got The Confederation Handbook. Now, I am happily anticipating Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Anyone who watches a lot of British TV will immediately recognize Capaldi. He’s one of those character actors who appears in everything. I first saw him playing Vera, a cross-dressing prostitute, in the original Prime Suspect series; and I most recently caught him playing King Charles II in The Devil’s Whore. And he’s no stranger to Doctor Who, having played the father in the Pompeii episode (“The Fires of Pompeii”). I’m looking forward to his interpretation of the Doctor.

It’s odd but recently I had been contemplating what I found lacking in the new Doctor Who, and I had come to the conclusion that – among other things – we needed a more mature incarnation (Capaldi is in his 50s) [note 2].

All this is rather beside the point and a long-winded way of getting around to why I found this particular book a disappointment, so ahead with the review.

My chief complaint is the author's appalling lack of discrimination. Each entry gets a page. This is fine for characters/races who appear for a single story (cf., the Zygons or the Krillitanes, to name two from the old and new series, respectively). But considering their central role in both series, don’t the Daleks deserve a bit more? And certainly the various Doctors deserve more than a page that is mostly white space and factoids?

There’s nothing substantive here. This book doesn’t hold a candle to [b:Ahistory: An Unauthorized History of the Doctor Who Universe|678268|Ahistory An Unauthorized History of the Doctor Who Universe|Lance Parkin||664262], a gloriously convoluted attempt to reconcile 40 years of TV shows that was informative and fascinating, and highly recommended for the Who fan.

As for this let-down, I can only recommend the book to Whovian completists (and even here, it’ll disappoint, since it doesn’t cover all of the myriad races and characters who’ve popped up since the first episode in 1963).

NOTE 1: If I were to commend any role Tennant’s played it would be his Hamlet more than his Doctor. I picked up Tennant’s Hamlet a few years ago not expecting much based on my experience with Doctor Who but was blown away by the performance.

NOTE 2: Assuming Capaldi is not the final Doctor, I was also thinking that BBC should push the envelope for his next regenerations. A nonwhite Doctor? (For some reason, I keep seeing Idris Elba in my head.)


And why couldn’t the Doctor regenerate as a woman? Alas, these will likely remain unrealized dreams limited to my fanfic version of the Whovian universe.

But speaking of canon. In the old Doctor Who, Time Lords were limited to 12 regenerations. In fact, one of the Master’s many crimes was stealing bodies so he could live beyond his final incarnation. Will the new series simply ignore the old rule or will they contrive some means around it? I look forward to the answer.