Back in Time: A Thinking Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who

by Steve Couch, Tony Watkins and Peter S. Williams; published by Damaris Books, 2005

Doctor Who is a television classic which returned to TV screens in 2005 in a freshly-minted new form. Russell T. Davies gave the show a contemporary refit while retaining all the traditional strengths, making it the TV event of the year. Stunning special effects, mature storytelling and great characters combine to make a thrilling ride through space and time, best viewed from behind a sofa.

Back in Time tells the story of Doctor Who, helping to identify why it is loved so much by so many, and exploring the recurring themes and ideas that underpin this most intelligent of popular science fiction shows.

Steve Couch, Tony Watkins, and Peter S. Williams write extensively on popular culture from a Christian perspective and have all been avid Doctor Who viewers for as long as they can remember.

Back in Time: A thinking fan's guide
to Doctor Who by Steve Couch, Tony Watkins and Peter S. Williams is published by Damaris Books (an imprint of Authentic).

Book contents


Part One

1. A Brief History of Timelords
2. Time's Hero
3. I Only Take The Best
4. Doctor Who 2005: Episode Guide

Part Two

5. You Lot
6. Dancing With Death
7. Terrors From the Deep
8. More To Learn
9. The Empty Battlefield
10. A Great Life
11. Monsters from Outer Space
12. Conclusion: The Strands of Time

Appendix 1: Who's Who in New Who
Appendix 2: Further back in time

Select bibliography
About the Authors


Fascinating and intelligent - a must for anyone who's ever considered the why of Who.

Rob Shearman, scriptwriter on the 2005 series of Doctor Who

This is a fun book for fans of the Doctor who want to go further into the programme's history, its trivia and its big questions of God, the universe and what it means to be human.

David Wilkinson, author and lecturer in Science and Theology at the University of Durham

The account of the development of the Daleks as a metaphor for various cultural terrors, from 1963's atomic Nazis to 2005's religious zealots, is splendid, and similar gems (including an examination of the Doctor's attitude to violence, killing and self-sacrifice) are scattered throughout. As fans, the authors clearly know their stuff. The style is very readable, and leavened helpfully with humour. Although I frequently disagreed, the book persistently challenged me to consider and to justify my own opinions. In that respect, for this thinking fan at least, Back In Time achieves its purpose.

Philip Purser-Howard, review on

Back in Time is the latest in the Damaris Thinking Fan's Guide series 'written by fans for fans'. Couch, Watkins and Williams are established Christian writers on popular culture, and self-confessed avids of Doctor Who . With rigour and humour, they demonstrate their encyclopaedic knowledge. Whilst the facts, figures, obscure references and cross-links will delight Who fans of all generations, the book's purpose is to encourage readers to ponder the themes and issues the series raises. Back in Time is accessible and well-written, designed to be read by Who aficionados regardless of background. It offers a cringe-free 'way in' to the Christian faith, grounded in concepts and language which will be familiar to sci-fi devotees. It's also a good introduction to Who for anyone wishing to keep abreast of this most contemporary of cultural phenomena.

David Giles, review for Salvation Army

Additional resources

Supplementary material related to Doctor Who were all available on the CultureWatch website, which is no longer online.

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© Tony Watkins, 2020
The Tony and Jane Watkins Trust oversees and supports the ministries of Tony and Jane Watkins in Christian training, education, and communication. It is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 1062254.
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