Eclectic Gypsy: An Unauthorised Biography of Dr. Who
by Dave Thompson
Review by EJ McClure
Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1894959892
Date: 01 November 2008 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The more you know about Dr. Who, the more you will enjoy Eclectic Gypsy: An Unauthorized Biography of Dr. Who. If you have a neglected penny whistle in a drawer, a 13-foot scarf in your closet, or have ever used a stalk of celery as an accessory, you'll revel in the cheeky insider humor in the purported excerpts from interviews, tabloid stories, and academic journals documenting the peripatetic Gallifreyan's multiple lives and loves.
For those who first met the Doctor in 2005 his ninth incarnation, played by the saturnine and sardonic Christopher Eccleston, the section on the Doctor's early years will be an illuminating and amusing read. The titillating tidbits of the Doctor's backstory, only hinted at in the current television series, are sure to intrigue new fans. But the following chronological sections on the early incarnations will be heavy going for readers who have not seen those episodes, despite the snappy writing and laugh-out-loud hilarity of some of the quotes. If you are a seasoned fan, the quips will tease your memory, perhaps enough that you'll dust off those bootleg videos from that long-ago fan club gathering. Other readers will probably skim those sections to get to the chapters highlighting the ninth and tenth incarnations of the Doctor. Fortunately, Eclectic Gypsy is so tightly constructed that even a cursory reading will pick up on the juxtaposition of the enduring enmity between the Doctor and the Daleks, and the transiency of the Doctor's companions, a theme central to understanding the Doctor.
Dave Thompson, author of a number of best-selling biographies of pop icons such as Kurt Cobain and David Bowie, was evidently denied an interview with the Doctor. Without direct access to his subject, he set out to illustrate the complexity of the Doctor's character through the eyes of his friends, enemies, schoolmates and few surviving relatives. The resulting jigsaw puzzle of quotes from sources ranging from The Daily Telegraph to the Gallifreyan Gazette presents a brilliant, contradictory man often at odds with himself and his universe. Until the Doctor decides to give interviews, or pen an autobiography explaining some of the curious and troubling gaps in his public history, Eclectic Gypsy is as close as fans are going to come to an inside scoop.