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Book Review: Terry Nation: The Man Who Invented The Daleks

Book Review: Terry Nation: The Man Who Invented The Daleks

Title: Terry Nation: The Man Who Invented the Daleks
Author: Alwyn Turner
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Aurum Press
Publication date: 3rd Janurary 2013
Goodreads Summary: Terry Nation was one of the most successful, prolific, and celebrated writers for popular television that Britain ever produced. His late 1970s science fiction series Survivors and Blake’s 7 have been durable, cult and critical hits, both being remade 30 years later.

His most famous creations, the Daleks, ensured, and at times eclipsed, the success of Doctor Who. Indeed, almost half a century after their first appearance in 1963, new additions to Dalek mythology continue to be made, while the word itself has entered the Oxford English Dictionary, passing into the language as the name of the most famous race of aliens in fiction.

While his science fiction work remains at the core of his appeal, Nation also had a role to play in the early days of radio and television comedy—as part of the legendary Associated London Scripts, he wrote for Spike Milligan, Tony Hancock, and Frankie Howerd—and in the internationally successful adventure series of the 1960s: The Avengers, The Saint, The Persuaders!, and others. This account of his life and contributions will shed light on a fascinating melting pot of ambitious young writers, producers, and performers without whom British culture today would look very different.

Book Review

When I first received this book, I thought it was about the creation of the Daleks and a history of the man behind their conception, but it’s so much more than that. The Man Who Invented the Daleks is actually a history of British television with a particular focus on Terry Nation and the Daleks.

There is lots of information about other works by Terry Nation such as Blake, The Avengers and Survivors as well as some information about other prolific writers during those years.

The Man Who Invented the Daleks focuses on the 20th century development of British television, particularly the BBC, but there are also some references to how American television was developing at the same time.

It even covers a lot of the history of Britain in general, i.e. the state of Britain after the war and how politics affected the media etc. A lot of this book is made up of quotes from writers about other writers and it is really interesting to see how they influenced each others work and, for lack of a better word, the bitch-fights they had.

I’m too young to have seen any of the shows that are talked about when they were originally aired on television. However, I’ve heard about the more popular ones or seen my Dad watching the reruns. This wasn’t a problem for me as it was fascinating to read about the sort of TV shows that made the 1960s Britain’s ‘Golden Age’ of television.

If you, like me, don’t have much more than a basic knowledge of the development of British television then these parts will take a little longer to read and absorb otherwise you’ll just get yourself into a muddle.

I absolutely flew through the parts about the creation of the Daleks and their popularity and I learnt so much about their significance for British television, which I hadn’t realised before.

There are lots of cool facts that Doctor Who fans will lap up, for example, Dalek means ‘remote’ or ‘alien’ in Croatian – a complete coincidence! I was astounded to find out that the Dalek’s popularity even rivalled that of the Beatles at one point and there was Dalekmania in Britain after their first appearance on TV.

For me, the best part about this book was the part about the first appearance of the Daleks on television. There are quite a few funny anecdotes and for the modern Doctor Who fans it’s astounding to see just how popular the Daleks were.

I think The Man Who Invented the Daleks will appeal to older audiences who lived through this time, as well as younger British television fans who’ll be fascinated by TV history.

If I’m perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have thought a non-fiction book about the history of British television to be that entertaining a read. I knew it would be interesting for sure, but I didn’t expect it to be gripping like this page turner of a book turned out to be.

Buy The Man Who Invented the Daleks:

Many thanks to Aurum for providing a review copy!

If you liked this post, check out these:
Doctor Who Series 6 Part 1
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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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  1. Jolina
    25th May 2016 / 4:12 PM

    Although I’m a big sci-fi fantasy fan, I’ve never warmed to Dr. Who. I want to! I don’t know why it won’t click with me. This looks like a really interesting read though. I may just give Dr. Who another go.

  2. 25th May 2016 / 10:07 PM

    I’ve never really seen Doctor Who but I’m certainly familiar with the Daleks. This sounds like a really interesting book.

  3. CourtneyLynne Storms
    26th May 2016 / 4:30 AM

    Oooo this sounds like one fabulous read!!! I need a new book for when I’m laying out by the pool, so I will have to check this out!

  4. 26th May 2016 / 5:28 AM

    I am not familiar with Dr. Who or the Daleks! This does sound interesting to me though. I will look it up!

  5. Alison
    26th May 2016 / 6:57 AM

    I have never watched Dr. Who but I am always open to a new book! I will have to check it out!

  6. Rakel
    26th May 2016 / 11:22 AM

    I’m not very familiar with Dr. Who but it sounds interesting! I’ll have a look!

    Rakel ♥ http://www.alovelystyle.com

  7. 26th May 2016 / 12:35 PM

    I’m not a Doctor Who fan so this doesn’t sound up my street but I know plenty of people this would appeal to x

  8. 26th May 2016 / 12:36 PM

    im not great with dr who but im sure this would be fantastic for all the fanatics out there lol

  9. Jessica Dearnley
    26th May 2016 / 12:45 PM

    I’m not a massive fan of Doctor Who, but I have quite a few friends who are – this would make a lovely gift.

  10. Leanne Dolan
    26th May 2016 / 2:02 PM

    Im just going to echo the other comments… I’m not a Dr Who fan but I can see how this would appeal to someone who was!

  11. FOMO Queen
    26th May 2016 / 5:23 PM

    My fiend loves Dr. Who! I’ll definitely have to recommend this book now!

  12. 26th May 2016 / 6:05 PM

    I am a massive Doctor Who fan so this is so me. Great post.

  13. Harriet @ Toby&Roo
    26th May 2016 / 8:59 PM

    This sounds interesting – I’m not a Doctor Who fan but I do like non-fiction!

  14. 26th May 2016 / 10:09 PM

    Totally not my thing at all, but I love the way you’ve laid out your review and I love your blog so I’ll be back 🙂 x

  15. Kira L Curtis
    26th May 2016 / 10:55 PM

    I loved doctor who (not a big fan of peter capaldi now though so I lost interest) and used to collect and watch/read everything about it so I’m sure I’d find this book very interesting. And then it would probably make me want to watch all the other shows mentioned :’)

  16. kitty kaos
    26th May 2016 / 11:40 PM

    I don’t watch doctor who but this still sounds like a really good read x

  17. Renna Creighton
    27th May 2016 / 12:43 AM

    Definitely for a Doctor Who fan. It’s such a classic TV programme, we’ve all grown up with it.

  18. FabZlist
    27th May 2016 / 2:11 AM

    Not a big fan of doctor who..but this still sounds like a good read!

  19. Maria Louisa Mae P. Mercado
    27th May 2016 / 4:05 AM

    I’m familiar with Dr Who but not a fan. Seems like an interesting concept though.

  20. Anamika Ojha
    27th May 2016 / 4:57 AM

    I don’t watch doctor who and this kind of book is not of my genre. Though thanks for sharing the review!

  21. 27th May 2016 / 8:25 AM

    I am not a fan of Daleks but I have a friend whose birthday is coming up and this would make the perfect pressie!

  22. Hungry_Healthy_Happy
    27th May 2016 / 10:06 AM

    This is not my kind of book, but my husband would love it. I am adding it to his Christmas list!

  23. Jessica
    27th May 2016 / 10:19 AM

    No idea about this book but some points are itneresting. Not my type of genre but perfect to give to someone I know who loves this kind of book.

  24. 27th May 2016 / 10:32 AM

    I am not the biggest fan of Daleks and the whole Dr Who thing in general, but you have a way of reviewing books which makes me want to give them a read x

  25. 27th May 2016 / 10:46 AM

    ive never been a dr who fan but my friend is the biggest fan! i’ll have to recommend this book to her 🙂

  26. 27th May 2016 / 12:47 PM

    This sounds like a really interesting book! Thanks for sharing the review!

  27. This Chic African
    27th May 2016 / 4:48 PM

    I watch Dr Who but never read the book. I’ll now have a look

  28. Laura
    27th May 2016 / 9:13 PM

    I think that this sounds like a fab book for Dr Who fans. I’ll be sure to remember it for when I need a gift for a Dr Who watching friend! xxx

  29. 27th May 2016 / 10:05 PM

    Not a Dr Who fan, but this book sounds great!

  30. 28th May 2016 / 6:01 AM

    I am a huge doctor who fan and this was really interesting read, now need to go rewatch some doctor who episodes

  31. 28th May 2016 / 11:29 PM

    I’m not hugely into Doctor Who but this looks great for a fan!

  32. Melanie Edjourian
    29th May 2016 / 3:37 PM

    I used to watch Doctor Who although thatw as years ago before the kids. This sounds interesting.

  33. 29th May 2016 / 3:59 PM

    My hubby loves Doctor Who and he loves his books. I need to email him your review as the book might really appeal to him.

  34. Hello Beautiful Bear
    29th May 2016 / 9:17 PM

    A lot of my family are HUGE Doctor Who fans and I know that some of them have read this and praised it so it’s definitely been well received X X

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