Whilst there are many fine official Doctor Who books available, the real heart of the show is in the unofficial, fan made books. The Unofficial Doctor Who Limerick Book, by Long Scarf Publishing, is a collection of poems that has been put together by Jenny Shirt and Christopher Samuel Stone to raise money for the charity MIND. Since it’s a great example of creativity being done for a good cause, we bought ourselves a copy.
If, like me, you like Doctor Who and you like poetry, then I will say from the outset that this is the book for you, as it is full of hundreds of Doctor Who themed limericks. A limerick is a type of poem that follows a specific rhyming pattern. Here’s an example from the book:
Travels in space and in time
In verses which end in rhyme
Our limerick book
Which is raising money for MIND
Originally a more serious form of poetry, limericks are now more commonly used for silly poems, with the last line generally being the punch line. This book contains a good mix of serious and silly limericks, as well as a nice balance of clever wordplay and terribly contrived puns.
In the TARDIS the Doctor has pride
Its beauty can’t be denied
But it’s always a chore
To get through the door
When the damn thing lands on its side
Whilst the limericks are not exactly Shakespeare quality, they never claim to be and that is what is so endearing about this collection. The limericks are the sort that one would come up with on a whim to make someone smile and indeed most of them achieve this. The poems have all been sent in by fans, evidenced by the writer’s name accompanying each limerick. It’s easy to tell from reading them that these people have a passion for Doctor Who and are enjoying expressing it in five rhyming lines. They also cover a range of themes from the show, including the Doctors, companions, villains and specific episodes.
Susan, Vick, Barbara
Polly, Zoe and Sara
Leela, Romana, Ace
Nyssa, Tegan, Grace
Rose, Amy, Martha and Clara
The limericks are also accompanied by a number of fan made illustrations. Again, whilst they may never hang on the wall of the Louvre, they are great pieces of fan art in their own right. They could have easily used photos to illustrate the limericks, but the author has extended the personal touch by inviting people to contribute their own drawings and sketches. This adds to the feel that it is made by the fans for the fans and encourages those of all abilities to be creative.
The only place this book does fall down a little, in my opinion, is the organisation of the poems. Although the limericks are grouped together – so all the Second Doctor poems are together, for example – there is no clearly defined structure, so the poems flit between a specific Doctor, a favourite alien or a chosen story. It would have been nice to have the different Doctors, companions, aliens and so on grouped together under headers or in different chapters. However, this doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book and it is the sort of book that you are more likely to just open to a random page to read a few now than rather than use as a source for referencing facts, so it is not such a big deal.
Whilst visiting the Post Office Tower
The Doctor discovered a great power
It controlled Dodo’s mind
So he left her behind
And he’d forgotten her within the hour
The Unofficial Doctor Who Limerick Book is available from £8 on the Long Scarf Publishing website. If you would like to buy copy of the book or for more information their other charitable publications, visit the website here
For more information on MIND, visit the charity’s website here