Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
TARDIS Eruditorum - A Unauthorized Critical History of Doctor Who Volume 1: William Hartnell Paperback – November 11, 2011
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
First, a caveat: as other reviewers have noted, the book version is missing a chapter, and sadly, it's for a fantastic story (and good essay), "The Massacre." You may wish to get the Kindle version if that omission will bother you (Sandifer has put his revised essay up for free on his site, and will include it in the next volume.) Also, the restrictions of self-publishing are evident in places. I wished for some different fonts now and again, some pull quotes or something to break up what can seem like an endless run of identical-looking pages. But that's really minor stuff.
What's great about Phil's book is his fearlessness, his willingness to stake out a jaw-dropping argument (e.g., that "The Ark" and "Celestial Toymaker," two fairly revered Who stories, are irredeemable racist garbage) and make his case clearly and succinctly (and convincingly). His take on the "Tenth Planet" argues that serial has been entirely misunderstood by generations of fans, and that it's in fact the horrifying sudden demise of the show, from which Who has never quite recovered. He analyses the much-maligned "The Chase" as postmodern goof. He rightly praises Maureen O'Brien, the oft-forgotten, secret Mod heart of Hartnell's best era. With great insights into Nineties novels that attempted to reclaim the era.
Essential stuff. Buy this book.
It's a fascinating and thought provoking ride - not always fun, as Sandifer is unafraid of challenging quite a bit of received fan wisdom, and of bringing to light painful topics such as the blatant racism in several early stories, but honest and interesting, with a voice that invites discussion.
To be fair to the reader, I'd point out that there were some printing mistakes in the paper edition of this first volume, including an entire missing chapter. If you've got a kindle or e-reader that will support the electronic edition, I'd go for that first since you'll get the corrected form.
Sandifer does a wonderful job of balancing the historical aspects, the summary, and his opinion on each episode. He's not shy about giving his opinion and comparing/contrasting them with the others who've published. Sandifer also critiques some of the "extra" Who of the time (movies and other tie-ins) and some of the Missing Adventures written for Hartnell.
One of the two things that really made this book for me was the fact that Sandifer made sure to look at each of the episodes through the lens of how the episodes were first viewed. When talking about the Daleks, it was in the context that no one had ever seen them before. We didn't have the Genesis of the Daleks or the Time War with which to paint the experience. Taking time to pause and look through the eyes of a viewer from the 1960s was wonderful especially when other things going on in England at the time politically and socially was mixed in. A wonderful perspective.
The second part was the look at the behind-the-scenes. The filming pace was almost year-round - some individual episodes were written without a principal or two to give them time off. The changes in lead producers and the effect it had on the show was significant. What was the thought behind the Dalek Masterplan arc? Too many people in the TARDIS? Was William Hartnell really more racist than most people at the time? All of this painted how early Who was made, and it's fascinating history to read.
I can't wait for the Troughton volume to come out. If you like backstory, history and behind-the-scenes by all means buy this.
For example, I am fascinated by his discussion of “the problem of Susan”, (i.e. the problem of sexual maturity in children’s stories) drawn originally from Susan in the C.S. Lewis Narnia stories but equally applicable to the Doctor’s granddaughter. I find his connections between pop culture and the development of various episodes quite interesting. He also has been the only writer I’ve read so far whose been able to get me thinking about some of the Doctor Who materials beyond the episodes themselves. I don’t really care about the novels and stories that have been written to fix continuity mistakes and flesh out the characters (often with a lot of bare flesh), but at least Mr. Sandifer has some thoughtful connections to make between the stories and the show, though it gets a bit much for me after a while.
As to my disagreements with Mr. Sandifer, most are minor; however, I do believe he grossly overreacts to the racism in “The Ark” and “The Celestial Toymaker” to the point where he considers them “not canon”. I’m glad he discusses the racism in these episodes because most modern viewers would likely be ignorant of this; particularly in “Toymaker”.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic concept (psychochronography - a stroll through time) and even better execution. Sandifer places the stories in their proper context and looks at them with a sympathetic... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gregory Burie
I've not seen much of the Hartnell era because what I had seen prior to reading this book did not make me want to explore it further. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Nathan Lynch
I keep getting these for my boyfriend (There's one for all of the early Doctors, but not the new ones...yet?) and he devours them (260-460 pages) in a couple of days. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Laura Jinn
For my graduate thesis, I'm writing a feminist analysis of the female companions of Doctor Who from 1963-1979. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Landon Pool
An excellent series of essays, tightly argued and without pretence. Restores due focus to the Hartnell Era - well worth reading as a Whovian!Published on February 21, 2014 by Mr. Ian Sharpe
Philip Sandifer is an academic and a lifelong fan of Doctor Who. In the TARDIS Eruditorum he provides unique insight into Doctor Who and its legacy. Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by Isaac Adams
I do love this book, which I am in the middle of reading right now, although the editing for it was imperfect. Read morePublished on May 10, 2013 by The Smiling Stallion Inn
Sandifer is a genius. An obvious first sentence, perhaps, but one worth mentioning. Through the Eruditorium, Sandifer breaks down a lot of fan misconception and gives a fresh, new... Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by MNix