"I do apps now; apps are cool."

"I do apps now; apps are cool."

App review: The Doctor Who Encyclopedia (BBC Books and Brandwidth; iPad only)

The wheezing, groaning TARDIS take-off sound that greets the user on launching this app bodes well for its contents, and the Doctor Who Encyclopedia doesn’t disappoint.

Richly visual – many entries are illustrated with photos from the series, and there’s an additional gallery section too – the app cutely adopts the quasi-Victorian “steampunk” aesthetic of the current TARDIS interior: when text entry is required, for instance, up pops a facsimile of the typewriter keyboard that currently adorns the TARDIS console.

The level of detail is remarkable. Even an obsessive of thirty years standing (such as, let’s admit it, me) is likely to discover facts that they’d forgotten: long-forgotten minor characters whose names will now be a mystery even to the actors who played them are here resurrected alongside planets once mentioned in passing and aliens whose fame doesn’t stretch to the next constellation. Though the app only covers the twenty-first century series – the basic app contains entries for Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor, with Ecclestone’s Ninth and Tennant’s Tenth available as in-app purchases – events and characters from its twentieth-century version are acknowledged where appropriate: the late Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, for instance, gets an entry despite not having appeared in the rebooted series.

The navigation is excellent too: in addition to text search, and the option to browse alphabetically, by series or even by episode, certain major figures – such as the Cybermen, Daleks or Amy Pond – have their own interactive portals gathering together all the entries relevant to them; the portal for the Doctor, comprising a scrollable 3D tableau of friends, foes, and locations, is particularly impressive. Trailers for individual episodes can be viewed with an internet connection, and the episodes bought online through iTunes.

Like any fan with far too much emotional investment in the series, I’ve a few minor quibbles – I’m yet to find, for instance, a picture of Amy in the policewoman outfit she wore in The Eleventh Hour, and it ruffles my feathers a little to see the spin-off adventure games apparently treated as canon – but none of these will matter to anyone but me. Everyone else will rightly be having far too much fun spinning the revolving TARDIS on the app home page, reading the exhaustively detailed entries, and looking at all the high-resolution images.

The basic Doctor Who Encyclopedia app is £4.99 from Apple’s appstore; content packs for the ninth and tenth doctors are £4.99 each through in-app purchase.