BOOK REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Time Lord Letters

The Time Lord Letters
by Justin Richards

Released Sept 24, 2015
Buy HERE [Amazon] | Buy Here [BBC Shop]

Review by Emrys Matthews

Since Doctor Who's more recent rise to fame, there have been a plethora of supplemental, reference and fiction books out in the world from which to chose. The Time Lord Letters is a wonderful combination of both, where through the medium of letters from the Doctor we get a glimpse in to the befores, afters and middles of some of our favourite televised adventures. Justin Richards is the perfect person to put together such a novel idea and has scoured the 50+ years of  Who to add comical, conclusive, touching and fascinating insights in to some moments that weren't elaborated upon fully for the telly.

Some highlights are: a letter from The Doctor to his lecturer Borusa, discussing his performance report at "school,"; a letter explaining the "borrowing" of the TARDIS; and written transcripts of all those times The Doctor sent telepathic messages to the Time Lords.

Some of the following were touching additions: goodbye letters from The Doctor to Susan, when she was left behind after the thwarted Dalek invasion of Earth; to Dodo (who never received a proper on screen exit); to Victoria Waterfield, and Nyssa. Also, a goodbye letter from Martha when she chose to leave The Tenth Doctor, and a letter for the Brigadier on his deathbed.

There are also some hilarious instalments: an application form for admittance to Coal Hill school for Susan; a letter of thanks from the replacement and acting interim Deputy Chief Caretaker at Paradise Towers; a letter of complaint to IMC Mining; and a letter to the milkman from The Doctor's time spent living with Craig Owens.

Richards has done fantastic work to find so many opportunities to bridge the gaps in so many of the televised stories, he's also carefully positioned each letter as to where or when it was believed to have been found or who it was written by, so as to keep each letter open to interpretation and not necessarily set in canonical stone.

Actual letters that appeared across the last 50 years are beautifully recreated, and wonderful new angles are postured through letters discovered after the fact or filling in gaps to which we never had answers.

My only criticism, is that it seems like a missed opportunity for a more tactile, interactive book, with envelopes and removable letters and fold out sections. I'm sure this was probably floated and abandoned due to cost, but it would have taken this great book to the next level.

It's a great book for all ages and lovers of Who old and new with a good balance of classic and post-2005 series Doctors and stories, and a terrific sporadic read to flick through and read a letter or two. With 128 in total, there's a letter for pretty much everyone's favourite story that'll elaborate or answer an answered question. The mood changes from page to page and it'll keep you laughing, sighing with joy and wiping away a tear as you read.

Thanks to BBC Books

Review by Emrys Matthews

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