Review: Who Goes There – funny tales in the tracks of The Doctor

whogoesthere_50anniversary_Who Goes There would make an absolutely brilliant blog. It would make a deeply entertaining series of magazine articles. But it’s a book, and therein lies a problem.

Nick Griffiths uses looking for Dr Who set locations as a reason for travels with friends and family around England. It was that Dr Who link that got me interested in the book, but really it proves to be a thin thread joining together some entertaining travel writing. You see I think I’d like to go for a road trip with Nick; I’d certainly enjoy a beer with him – he’s clearly a witty and engaging bloke. Some of his one-liners had me laughing out loud and there were many entertaining anecdotes in the book. But after a while it all began to seem a bit tenuous – Nick would set forth having done bugger-all research to find a location, get wildly and imaginatively excited when he got there, and then move on via some diversions into his family and childhood.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like this book: In fact I enjoyed it a great deal; but I couldn’t help feeling that I’d have enjoyed it much more as an episodic series of blog posts rather than sitting down for hours with a book.

I do have one serious criticism of the book. It refers to a series of photos that sit on a linked website. The photos are hard to find and almost impossible to navigate. They are referenced by number but the number doesn’t appear anywhere. And if you try to look at them from an iPad, which is where I was reading the book, you can only see a limited set. Really, I’d have preferred it if Nick had skipped the frequent cross-references to photos I couldn’t find and stuck with his excellent prose descriptions. Or, to repeat myself with Dalek-like insistency, made the thing a blog and included the photos.

Overall I enjoyed Who Goes There and I’d happily recommend it to anyone interested in Dr Who, travel writing, or just an amusing read. If you hit the trifecta on those, then you really should simply get this book.

I read a review copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition which features a vast new chapter, including visits to various of the Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary locations. It is available on Amazon.

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