About Time is a series of reference books written by Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles (with additional material by Lars Pearson and contributions by Dorothy Ail and Robert Shearman), billed as the largest single work of reference on Doctor Who. According to the publishers, the series stands at 1.7 million words. The series currently features nine volumes, the first six covering the run from 1963 to 1989, plus the 1996 Movie, and the latter three covering the run of stories from Rose to The End of Time.
In About Time, the whole of classic Doctor Who is examined through the lens of the real-world social and political changes — as well as ongoing developments in television production — that influenced the series in ways big and small over the course of a generation. Armed with these guidebooks, readers will be able to cast their minds back to 1975, 1982 and other years to best appreciate the series' content and character.
A critical and cultural analysis of every televised Doctor Who story up to The End of Time, as well as the Peter Cushing films, assorted one-off specials, and The TV Movie. Areas of examination include production notes; logical flaws in the story; detailed catalogues of facts about planets, alien races, the Doctor, the TARDIS and the companions; and an attempt to examine where each story came from, and why each was made in the contemporary cultural climate of Great Britain and Earth.
- Each story is broken down into many segments, including: Which One Is This? (very brief introduction, as the writers eschewed dense plot summaries), Firsts and Lasts, Continuity - encompassing The Doctor, The TARDIS, The Time Lords, The Supporting Cast, The Supporting Cast (Evil), Planet Notes, Non-Humans and History -, Where Did This Come From?, Things That Don't Make Sense, Critique (often divided into Prosection and Defence), Facts (writer, director, ratings, guest cast and list of cliffhangers) and The Lore (behind-the-scenes notes).
- Complementing most serial entries are essays on a number of topics, such as timelines for Daleks, Cybermen, UNIT and the Earth Empire; the science of regeneration, Gallifreyan history and time travel, sexual relationships between members of the TARDIS crew, the absence of Torchwood from the UNIT stories, and examinations of why the BBC and the production team made the decisions they did.
Authors Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles initially published volumes 3, 4 and 5 (as they were aware that these volumes covered the most well-remembered eras) in 2004. In 2006, volumes 1 and 2 were published. Miles subsequently left the team, and Wood wrote Volume 6, with additional material supplied by Lars Pearson, which was released in 2007.
In 2009, Wood authored a significantly expanded edition of volume 3, which — as it was published first — had not been as in-depth as the following works. This second edition, at almost three times the size of the original, included much of Miles' original material. Since 2013, three new volumes have been released, covering the Ninth and Tenth Doctor's eras. An original note in Volume 7 suggested that volume 8 would cover the remainder of the Tenth Doctor's era, with volume 9 covering an unspecified amount of the Eleventh Doctor, but this plan later changed.
Rather than dividing each volume by Doctor, the authors instead focus on the "production era". The books are broken down as follows:
|Title||Writer||Subject matter||Release date|
|About Time 1||Lawrence Miles, Tat Wood||1963 - 1966 (Seasons 1 - 3)||30 June 2006|
|About Time 2||1966 - 1969 (Seasons 4 - 6)||30 November 2006|
|About Time 3||1970 - 1974 (Seasons 7 - 11)||December 2004|
|About Time 4||1975 - 1979 (Season 12 - 17)||30 December 2004|
|About Time 5||1980 - 1984 (Seasons 18 - 21, plus K9 and Company)||30 June 2005|
|About Time 6||1985 - 1989, 1996 (Seasons 22 - 26, Doctor Who, Dimensions in Time, The Curse of Fatal Death, Dr. Who and the Daleks, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.)||5 December 2007|
|About Time 7||2005 - 2006 (Series 1 - 2)||10 September 2013|
|About Time 8||Tat Wood||2006 - 2007 (Series 3)||7 November 2017|
|About Time 9||2008 - 2009 (Series 4)||23 April 2019|