Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull takes a look at the 50th anniversary fan book.
The golden anniversary of Doctor Who has seen an upsurge in projects spearheaded by ardent fans keen to celebrate the special year in their own way. The latest fan production is this lovingly crafted book, Celebrate Regenerate edited by our very own Lewis Christian (whose superlative article can be found here). It’s a melange of articles, pasted together with adoration and endearment (each author, myself included – just for the record – clearly has a great passion for Doctor Who, and it shows).
From An Unearthly Child to The Name of the Doctor, Celebrate Regenerate chronicles each of the Doctor’s multitudinous adventures throughout time and space through the eyes of his devotees, Whovians (*shivers*). A lot of effort has gone into the writing of these articles and the same can be said for the prepossessing artwork that accompanies many of the pieces. The illustrations range from elaborate sketches of scenes from the show, to little cuddly manga dolls of the Doctors that so adorn the front cover; everything in Celebrate Regenerate is a labour of love.
What separates Celebrate Regenerate from the multifarious range books released for the 50th is that it is entirely fan-made. The editor isn’t a big name in the BBC, the contributors are largely anonymous and the whole thing is printed via a DIY website, but that’s great. It shows just how well the Whoniverse can pull together and work as a mass. Celebrate Regenerate may not be made by a large institution, it’s made with love, and not in a soppy Closing Time-ending way. To recite an ancient phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover, in this case, quite literally.
Aside from covering every story produced (yes, even Dimensions in Time) Celebrate Regenerate includes some marvellous interviews with past Who alumni, Anneke Wills (the First Doctor’s companion, Polly), writers Joe Lidster and Tom Macrae (Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and The Girl Who Waited) and the Series One director, Joe Ahearne. Each of these talks are easily readable, enjoyable and simply engrossing. To top this all off, you have an interesting section of miscellaneous features where the editor contributes his outré conjecture on Melanie Bush, Chameleon Circuit bandmember Alex Day talks about his band and a zealous fan thanks the companions for their work over the years.
Some Doctor Who TV members are in the book, having submitted stunning art and articles, and I thank you all (I’m not thanking myself, just to clarify…) for your wonderful efforts. I thank everyone from around the globe who put this book together, you make me proud to be a… Whovian.
Celebrate Regenerate is an essential piece of merchandise for Doctor Who’s 50th year, and I would encourage you to buy this over mainstream products like Who-olgy (even though it’s very good) or next year’s annual, go for something more low-key and homely. Kudos to everyone involved in Celebrate Regenerate – you did us all good.