Dr Who iPad Encyclopaedia: Awesome And Awful

Dr Who iPad Encyclopaedia: Awesome And Awful

I woke up this morning excited to discover that the GTA V trailer was out… and that I could get an interactive encyclopaedia of all things Doctor Who for iPad. My excitement, sadly, abated all too quickly. I’m a huge (and entirely unashamed) Doctor Who nerd. Fanboy. Geek. Call me what you will (and worse), the chances are if it’s got a TARDIS stuck somewhere on it, I’m going to get excited by it.

At one level, the Encyclopaedia is excellent; it gets the idea of a touch interface down pat and mixes it with impressive visuals for an enjoyable browsing experience. Contextual links are sensibly placed, and it’s easy to browse through the content on offer. Yes, it’s iOS only, but I can’t see a specific reason why this couldn’t run on Android for what that’s worth. My problem’s not with the layout, but the content and pricing.

$7.49 is pretty cheap for an Encyclopaedia, but there’s a catch. That covers some 800-odd entries, but they’re entirely based around the eleventh Doctor’s run. If you want David Tennant’s entries, that’s another $7.49. Christopher Ecclestone’s content? Another $7.49, please.

Those other chaps — you know, Messrs Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, Baker, Davison, Baker, McCoy or McGann? Don’t exist.

For my money, an encyclopedia — even one that comes in distinct parts — should cover all that could be known about a subject. We’re only a couple of years off Doctor Who being fifty years old, so treating it like it’s only been going for seven years is a bit off-putting for a purist like me.

It gets even worse than that, though — look up a long-running series stalwart like, say, the Silurians, and there’s no mention of their first appearance at all; just the new series stuff. It’s not like the author (and former editor of Doctor Who Magazine) Gary Russell is ignorant of Who history after all, but then he’s almost certainly written the tome against a commission from the BBC, who clearly want to push the new series — and only the new series — for all it’s worth.