The Doctor Who Ratings Guide: By Fans, For Fans

The Discontinuity Guide

Author IBSN #
Paul Cornell, Keith Topping, Martin Day 0-426-20442-5

The Plot: An attempt to reconcile some of the many continuity issues raised by the series.


"Indispensible" by Matthew Watson 26/8/99

First of all, a little about the format of the book. It's the antidote to the formal episode guide of Jean-Marc L'officier. (Though that is a valuable resource in itself). It's the difference between reading the encyclopedia brittanica and going down to the pub with your mates for a view of Doctor Who story by story.

Each story is split into sections. The first looks at some of the most memorable things for fans in the series. The goofs, puns, dialogue disasters and triumphs and fashion victims. The second sections looks at continuity established within that story. And thirdly is a personal view of each story.

Much of this genuinely funny, you don't have to be an anorak to pick out the humour. However, some of the innuendo that the authors find in each story, can be very strained. Also some of the continuity points, in the Dalek histories for example, is more a possibility of what could be rather than what the TV series showed. But these are minor quibbles.

The authors' own views are honest and open. There are no snide remarks here about certain adventures you sometimes find in newsgroups.

The best time to read the book, is to look up an adventure before you watch it. You'll spot things you never watched before, I have trouble watching some of the programs in the same light. But read at anytime, it's still great. The fluffed Hartnell lines, had me rolling on the floor with laughter.

Probably more relevant, but just as funny as The Completely Useless Encyclopedia. Beg, borrow or steal a copy!

Laugh A Page by Robert Frederick 19/12/00

A very good book which examines all of Doctor Who's continuity, as was established on screen. It can be viewed from different angles as a text book or a joke book. All the conitunity is examined and surprisingly a few myths are dispelled. However I enjoyed reading it for the mistakes. This actually gives a new light to watching old episodes. Watch them and then try to spot the goofs, then look up the goofs in the goof section of the story. Surprisingly however the authors did not notice my favourite goof of all time. Namely the camera coming on too early in The Two Doctors - before Nicola Bryant has put her top on giving us a few seconds of Peri uncovered.

The book that brought me back to Who by Terrence Keenan 7/3/01

It's a common occurence to many a Who fan. You stop being a fan for a while. My moment of fandom ended with seeing Sylvester McCoy's first season as the Doctor. I didn't like the stories, the acting, and after Colin got fired, it would have taken the return of Tom Baker to bring me back to Who. That was in the late eighties.

Fast forward to the mid 90s. I'm wandering around through the local big chain bookstore, and find myself in the Sci/Fi section. As I am glancing through the NAs -- which didn't impress me then -- I see an odd book called The Discontinuity Guide. The name made me chuckle, so I looked at the back cover. Once I saw the Anorak-Pocket-Sized-Edition note at the top, I knew this might be a fun little read.

Fifteen minutes later, and I'm reading entries and laughing and learning something new about Who. And all those fanboy urges came back in a flash. I was hooked again. I had found a fun reason to go through all my episodes one more time.

The Creators; Cornell, Day & Topping, did an excellent job of theorising for the fanboys, demystifying the legends, and showing that what you might remember isn't always true. They list the memorable quotes (good and bad) and defend what they consider good Who and bad Who. It's a book that should be at your side every time you pop in an episode, or if you're a fanboy who writes fanfic.

This should be in the hands on any Anorak, young and old.

And if you're scoring at home: 10/10