Time And Space Visualiser by Paul Smith REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW Doctor Who data diagrammed

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Time & Space Visualiser book review .

In a market already saturated with histories of Doctor Who , graphic designer Paul Smith has, to his immense credit, come up with an original approach. This slim, pricey tome presents all manner of scrupulously researched facts and figures (drawing on every episode up to and including “The Angels Take Manhattan”) in the form of “data visualisations”, like a Who -themed spin on David McCandless’s book Information Is Beautiful (opens in new tab) .

The results are by turns fascinating and quaint/dry and rather pointless. Sometimes the presentation is endearingly quirky and fun – like the infographic which represents cliffhanger categories via differing-sized Sylvester McCoys, dangling a la “Dragonfire”’. Other times it’s altogether more intimidating – unless you’re the sort of stats buff whose heart leaps at the sight of five pages of ratings graphs.

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For hardcore Whovians there are “Fancy that!” discoveries dotted about, as you learn that, for example, the series has visited the USA more times than northern England, that the Pertwee era didn't have a single female villain, or that (thanks to repeats) the series was only off the air for four weeks in 1968. (Warning: do not try using these facts to impress people at parties)

But other times you're more likely to declare, “Why bother?” Even the most avowedly anal aficionado may baulk at a bar chart of the word counts of the novelisations, or a detailed analysis of the time differentials between all the VHS and DVD releases (13 years and one month on average, apparently). Information may be beautiful, but sometimes life is too short.

Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman

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Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.