Jan. 27th, 2018

purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)

A very yellow book cover with the 1980s Doctor Who `neon' logo followed by Travel without the Tardis The Doctor Who fan's guide to England, Scotland and Wales.  Then there is a photo of the third Doctor in bessie, followed by the authors Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman


I'm not sure if this is the first of the Doctor Who location guides to get written, but it was certainly the first I came across. A novelty in the 1980s Who fandom landscape as I experienced it for being written a) by Americans and b) by women. "It is quite acceptable," they note, "for porters, newspaper vendors, and bus and train conductors to call a strange person of the opposite sex `Love (Luv),' 'Duck,' 'Dearie,' or even 'Darling'." (which is true, at least in some parts of the country, but I suspect a lot more visible to a female traveller than a male traveller in the 1980s).

The section of the book on British Terminology, as well as containing all the standard items, lists a definition for Underlinen (I'm sure this is the only place, outside a Victorian novel, I've come across this term in the wild - and why on Earth were they discussing their underwear with people (possibly I shouldn't ask)?). There is also a discourse on the difference between British and American bacon which caused me to look this up. The Internet tells me that British bacon is served in round slices, a claim I find odd. I get the impression that American bacon is what we would call crispy bacon, but it's all bacon. "Don't try to order a BLT," they warn but don't elaborate whether this is because of the strangeness of the bacon or that the term was a mystery to 1980s Britain.

Their packing list advises that the traveller bring a clothes line and toilet paper (! even in the 1980s I don't think the UK was so primitive that one did not generally find toilet paper in most toilets) and how long (and where) were they staying that they thought a clothes line would be necessary?

It's an odd book, half being a quick travellers guide to the UK (plus Paris, Seville, Amsterdam and Lanzarote) and half being a brief guide to Dr Who filming locations with particular emphasis on how to get to them. It was fascinating at the time and remains so.

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