The Doctor Who Ratings Guide: By Fans, For Fans

The Completely Useless Encyclopedia

Author IBSN #
Chris Howarth, Steve Lyons 0 426 20485 9

The Plot:An encyclopedia of interesting and cynical facts about the show's heroes, villains, monsters, settings, and more.


A Review by Jason Boulter 17/5/00

TCUE is, in short, an excellent book. Please allow me to tell a tale to illustrate why I liked it so much.

I did a unique thing last year. I admitted to my girlfriend that I was a Doctor Who fan. This was a very brave move for me, as I had never admitted this to any body previously, and it took living with and having a baby with her that convinced me I had to spill the beans.

I had covered up this fact throughout six years of big school, and four years of University. I'd hidden my novels from seventeen different housemates over this time, bought DWM at newsagents where nobody knew me, and even missed the TV movie because I had dared not admit I wanted to watch it.

The reason for this was simple; liking Doctor Who is not considered cool. No matter how much I loved the programme, when you're trying to pull women and impress the lads, you don't need something like this on your CV. The only thing worse is being a Star Trek fan.

Reading TCUE, was the fact time I had ever heard this admitted. Yes, being a fan is uncool, yes we love Peri because she's got nice bits, yes, there has been some appalling acting, and yes, obsessive fans get right on our wicks. Instead of brushing this under the carpet, we should rejoice in this fact.

The great strength of TCUE is that no matter how sarcastic or cynical the authors get, their obvious love, respect and knowledge of the programme shines through. The book is very, very funny, and despite it's humorous tone, succeeds in delivering many unknown facts and gems of info about DW. The lists of computer games, bad items of merchandise, comic strips of note etc that are interspersed throughout the book, are of particular note. All in all, an excellent, witty, fact filled tome that, ironically, makes you proud to be a DW fan, and is not at all useless.