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About Time 4 was the fourth volume in the About Time series of Doctor Who reference books. It covered seasons 12 through 17 of the televised series, from Robot to The Horns of Nimon, as well as the untelevised story Shada.
Publisher's summary Edit
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.
Volume 4 of this series covers Seasons 12 to 17 of Doctor Who, focusing on the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who in mind-bending detail. In addition to the usual concerns such as the TV show's continuity (alien races, the Doctor's abilities, etc.) and lore (anecdotal, "Did You Know?"-style material), authors Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood will examine each Tom Baker story in the context of the year/historical period it was produced, determining just how topical the stories were.
Subject matter Edit
A critical and cultural analysis of every televised Doctor Who story from season 12 to season 17. Areas of examination include production notes; logical flaws in the story; detailed catalogues of facts; 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).
Most serials are accompanied by an essay, and the essays cover a very broad range of topics.
The essays in this volume are:
- Does this Universe have an ethical standard?
- Why couldn't they just have spent more money?
- Which is best: film or video?
- How badly does Dalek history suffer?
- September or January?
- What does anti-matter do?
- Where (and when) is Gallifrey?
- Why does Earth keep getting invaded?
- Who are all those strange men in wigs?
- Is he really a doctor?
- Does the Universe really speak English?
- Did Rassilon know Omega?
- Is this really an SF series?
- Cultural Primer #3: Why Top of the Pops?
- Bad effects: what are the highlights?
- When was Doctor Who scary?
- Cultural Primer #4: Why Blue Peter?
- Is this the Quatermass continuum?
- Just how involved are the Time Lords?
- How might the sonic screwdriver work?
- What do the Guardians do?
- Cliffhangers: what are the high and low points?
- The obvious question: how old is he?
- How hard is it to be the wrong size?
- War of the Daleks: should anyone believe a word of it?
- When did the Doctor meet Leonardo?
- How do you transmit matter?
- What else didn't get made?
- This was the second About Time book published, as the authors felt that it was an era well-remembered by the general public.
- The cover of this volume is artist Steve Johnson's rendering of The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
- In some printings, page 311 — a page of the section on The Horns of Nimon — was missing, replaced instead by a repeat of page 11 (the essay: "Does the Universe Have an Ethical Standard?").