The Doctor Who Ratings Guide: By Fans, For Fans

The Second Doctor Handbook

Author IBSN #
David J. Howe, Mark Stammers, Stephen J. Walker 0-426-20516-2

The Synopsis:An examination of Patrick Troughton's reign as Doctor. Includes a biography, interview materials from a variety of sources, a detailed episode guide along with the author's ratings of each story, and an in-depth examination of the production of The Mind Robber.


A Review by Tom May 21/8/98

"There's only one man in England who can take over, and that's Patrick Troughton."
William Hartnell

The latest handbook from Virgin is probably the best, in most respects. The subject matter-- the missing yet wonderful Troughton era- was more interesting than the other handbooks in the respect that i knew comparitively little about '60s Doctor Who. Despite getting the book in December '97, i only properly read all of it recently on holiday, and it was a most informative read.

What little Troughton interview material there is stands in the first section, and the interviews paint a picture of a reclusive, dedicated actor with a wicked gleam in his eye.

"You're press. I heard you were coming. It's no good. I never give interviews. Never. Just tell them that I am that mystery man of television, Doctor Who. I've only talked to you because you're a girl. And I like girls."
Patrick Troughton, 1966

The book goes on abruptly to dwell on the second Doctor's character. The production team's determination to provide a contrast to Hartnell's Doctor is put across fully. Interestingly, the focus of the second Doctor's character changed from a verbose, dry humour and long deliberations of a Sherlock Holmes type of character to a more off-beat, clownish exterior- -the "cosmic hobo." The second Doctor's clowning was useful in manipulating the enemy into underestimating him, and the character didn't take centre stage.

The stories are reviewed reasonably, yet I was surprised at David J Howe's reluctance to rate The Macra Terror more highly, just because he thought that the visuals could drag it down.

Season 5 is rated very highly indeed, which is good to see. Production development is neatly described, and next there is a finely crafted examination of the realisation of The Mind Robber, with help from great Doctor Who director, David Maloney. Overseas sale of the Troughton Era is expertly described, yet the actual destruction of the episodes could've been looked at further.

Overall, it's the single most fascinating handbook, and sheds required light on a sadly depleted era. One bonus is that it convinced me to first get the Fury From The Deep reconstruction and then others from the magnificent tenure of Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.