August Books 11) Doctor Who; the Unfolding Text

11) Doctor Who: the Unfolding Text, by John Tulloch and Manuel Alvarado

I guess this was the first book on Who from an academic point of view (published 1983). Better such books have been published since (in particular Time and Relative Dissertations in Space, and the meatier parts of the About Time series) but this is a decent enough start – easy to mock for its slips (“Mandragola”, “Castravalva” and variations, “Doug Adams”) and for its rather partial selection of stories from the black and white era, and for its occasional repetitiveness, but I found a number of really interesting points too: despite the authors’ somewhat uncritical acceptance of Ian Levine’s views, Graham Williams is allowed to put his side of the story and puts it well, and one gets a sense as in nowhere else that I have seen of Who as emerging from continual dialogue among its creators. Also they actually explain the phrase “semiotic thickness” and make it comprehensible. If you have read the Butler collection and want more you should try and get hold of this (though I have no idea how easy that is – kindly donated me her copy, which is signed by one of the authors).

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