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Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who Magazine Holiday Special 1992: Who is Sarah Jane Smith?

Review by Paul Scoones

This is essentially a collection of DWM's regular features, minus news and reviews, all to do with Sarah Jane Smith and the actress who played her, Elisabeth Sladen. The fictional biography of Sarah is rather forgettable, and I couldn't spot anything in the interview with Sladen that she hasn't said before; Lis Sladen must be one of the most over-interviewed cast members from the show, other than the Doctors themselves.

The double dose of Archive features, covering The Hand of Fear and K9 and Company, are well researched and very informative as ever, but I detested the comic strip story, which reminded me of the superficial adventure stories of vintage DWMs. None of the Brief Encounter short stories or other filler articles particularly interested me, and if you are thinking of getting this extra non- subscription publication, I'd only really recommend it for the excellent Archive features.

Doctor Who Magazine 192

Review by Paul Scoones

My interest in Doctor Who these days is increasingly focused on the ever-expanding series of New Adventures novels so I was delighted to find no less than three features directly connected with Paul Cornell's Love and War in this issue. There was a very positive review of the book, an intriguing 'Prelude' story introducing the book by Cornell, and a second article by Cornell profiling new companion Bernice Summerfield.

The main topic of the issue was however the late Malcolm Hulke, whose story The Sea Devils was both archived and featured in a rather good cover painting (and poster). I found the Archive rather less enlightening than usual, but I believe that this has more to do with my familiarity with the behind-the-scenes details of this story than any deficiency in writer Andrew Pixley's research. Hulke's Who writing in general was covered in a thought-provoking but all too brief analysis of his characters and themes. Coincidence or otherwise, this topic has been covered before in DWM almost exactly 100 issues ago.

For the second issue in a row, our own Warwick Gray has something of his in print - this time it's a Brief Encounters story and accompanying artwork. I felt Warwick captured the two returning foes quite vividly in his writing.

The interviews of the issue are both last parts of on-going talks, one with effects man Ian Scoones and the other with script editor Donald Tosh, who continued to give some very eye-opening insights in to his all too brief time on the show. It was particularly surprising to read that Hartnell's Doctor was originally going to have regenerated in The Celestial Toymaker!

The two gripes I have with DWM are firstly the very obvious padding out of Gallifrey Guardian when there's nothing to report (why not just admit there's no news and condense the feature?), and secondly the increasing use of ridiculous and meaningless patterns and shapes imposed behind the text, often making it quite difficult to read.

Oh, and I really enjoyed Marc Platt's comic strip story. John Ridgway's art made it beautiful to look at as well. Bye bye, Ace...

Doctor Who Magazine 193

Review by Paul Scoones

Unfortunately this is far from being one of the year's better issues. I think it's the lack of any good main feature article that makes issue 193 quite a dull read. The Android Invasion was therefore a rather unfortunate choice of story to archive since it would have to be one of the most boring Doctor Who stories. Still, if DWM have the eventual aim of Archiving most if not every story in this new, fact-intensive format, then it is necessary to take the good with the bad.

The main feature of the issue is an interview with Roy Castle. Who? Oh yes, the guy who played Ian Chesterton in the first Doctor Who film. It is clear from his comments that he is unable to recall much from his time on the production, twenty-seven years ago.

The best piece of the issue was a two page discussion on what is canonical and what is apocryphal Who. Slipback was broadcast, so is that canonical? And what about The Pescatons, or more importantly, The Missing Episodes series of books - since those stories were supposed to have been made! This is an interesting topic I hope will be pursued further in TSV.

I was looking forward to the new comic strip story, as it is the first to feature the new companion, but Bernice's introduction has all the impact of a damp rag. The story looks promising, but the artwork leaves something to be desired. The Sontarans bear a striking resemblance to the Vogons from the TV version of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

This item appeared in TSV 31 (November 1992).