The Nth Doctor

I’ve told the story many times of how I sat wide eyed in my grandparents’ living room as I watched the first Tom Baker episode (‘Robot’) of Dr. Who. At that point I had a whole 20 years or more of Dr. Who lore to catch up on. Little did I know that across the Atlantic the show would be cancelled in less than 5 years.

I watched it all, going back to the old black and white Hartnel and Troughton years and then forward through the PBS’s sporatic showings of Colin Baker and McCoy. Then they stopped showing them altogether. Years later Dr. Who popped up again for made for TV Fox special. It wasn’t great but I loved that too.

There is a new Dr. Who show on the air now but this book is not about that. This book, the Nth Doctor, is about what happened in those years between the cancellation of the television show and when Paul McGann showed up on Fox as a half-human doctor.

Though the behind the scenes stuff is interesting, particularly Leonard Nimoy also directing Pierce Brosnan as the Doctor, the real treasure of this book is the synopsises of the various drafts that were written. We get several versions of the Doctor fighting against Varnax (who reminds me quite a bit of Zod from Superman), several attempts at reboots, and even a few treatments that attempt to reconcile the reboots with the classic television show.

For anyone who is a fan of classic Doctor Who, this is a fun read. It isn’t without its issues though. The kindle version suffers from some formatting problems, mostly paragraph breaks where they don’t belong. Additionally, I found the author’s attempts to reconcile all of the various drafts into a single universe a little distracting. Sometimes you just have to accept that different drafts (especially drafts of an origin story) are mutually exclusive.