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Doctor Who: The Vault REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW Better than Henry van Statten’s collection

Doctor Who: The Vault book review .

One day, there’ll be a museum dedicated to Doctor Who . Not an exhibition: a proper museum, with precious relics displayed under glass, and scholarly notes, something possessing a gravitas befitting the show’s immense cultural significance. Maybe when the 100th anniversary comes around?

Until that day arrives, this gorgeous coffee table book will do very nicely. Arranged chronologically, year by year, it celebrates the show’s history by presenting rare ephemera, including shots of props and costumes, costume designs and concept art, and – most delightful of all – masses of merchandise, from lolly wrappers and cereal packets to iron-on transfers and annuals.

Succinct essays cover every important aspect of not only the show itself – not just the companions, the TARDIS and The Master, but the directors, writers and musicians – but the rich culture that has accreted around it over the decades – the fanzines, the novels, the audio CDs. Casual fans couldn’t wish for a more accessible and complete beginner’s guide.

Doctor Who: The Vault

Doctor Who: The Vault

But this is an essential purchase for hardcore Who fans too, because it’s such a cornucopia of delights. In the early stages, every turn of the page brings fresh treasures that will have you oohing and aahing with pleasure: a rare Hartnell jigsaw which pits Daleks against fighter jets; a snap of an Ice Warrior giving companion Zoe a hug; a disintegrating Sea Devil head. The interest curve dips in the final third – a photo of a Character Options action figure is just less exciting than a photo of a ‘70s Denys Fisher doll. But that’s to be expected.

Here’s hoping that when that museum finally opens its doors in 2063 someone’s preserved Marcus Hearn head in a jar, Futurama -style, so that he can act as curator.

Ian Berriman

Read our Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet DVD review .
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