Continuum International Publishing Group
Through Time
An Unofficial and Unauthorised History of Doctor Who

Author Andrew Cartmel Cover image
ISBN 0 826 41732 9
Publisher Continuum International
Published 2005

Summary: In this history of the show, Andrew Cartmel looks into its social and cultural impact.


A Review by Terrence Keenan 4/9/06

Through Time is Andrew Cartmel's take on a small sampling of Who stories from Season one through the first season of the RTD version of Who. His concept is to analyze select stories form a script editor's point of view, showing the inherent flaws and moments of brilliance.

Unfortunately, the format turns into just another general review/critiques of stories Cartmel has selected, which turn out to be the usual suspects: An Unearthy Child, The Daleks, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Curse of Fenric, City of Death and so on....

I found this relatively disappointing, because his initial idea of script analysis is what made me order up this book in the first place. Instead we get lots of effects-bashing (something I find more annoying than most other Who critiques, mainly because we ALL know that Who had dodgy effects), and attacking the standard plot points of the show, without ever really acknowledging when they work.

Cartmel saves most of his venom for Davison and Colin Baker, claiming that these two actors were too average and normal to really play the Doctor right. The TV movie gets a good kicking as well. As for his own era, he chooses "strong" stories from his era -- Fenric, Remembrance, Ghost Light -- in what seems to be an attempt to show how his ideas for Who worked. A critique of, say, Silver Nemesis would have been far more interesting, as well as a chance for his to say "this is where we screwed up."

Overall, Through Time is a bit of a disappointment. Maybe because I was expecting something much different than what I read.