Doctor Who Magazine
Reviewed by Paul Scoones
Issue 246 (18 December 1996)
In the aftermath of the first new Doctor Who story in seven years, Doctor Who Magazine launches a major two part article examining why the TV Movie got made, and most importantly, why there might not be any more new stories. Appropriately, the first part of this revealing expose is accompanied by an interview with Paul McGann, a man who remains apparently quite laid-back about the possibility of being the series shortest-duration Doctor.
Andrew Pixley archives The Time Warrior, but disappointingly is unable to shed any further light on the mystery of the unknown actress originally cast as the new companion. Elisabeth Sladen has stated that work had begun on the story before this actress was replaced. Who was this person and why was she removed? Pixley has access to the most detailed of BBC documents, so it seems odd that he hasn't been able to unearth the truth of this apparent cover-up.
John Nathan-Turner offers his own perspective on the controversial Season 24, in which he points out that the jokiness of the stories was not his decision, and Pennant Roberts talks about the trials and tribulations of directing several memorable Tom Baker tales.
Issue 247 (15 January 1997)
Harking back to the sometimes frivolous issues of Doctor Who Magazine of the eighties, this is a Christmas special, complete with a newly shot photo of Sylvester and Sophie on the front cover - in each other's costume! The issue kicks off however with Gary Gillatt's detailed and sobering examination of the reasons behind the relative failure of the TV movie, accompanied by a short interview with Philip Segal in which he provides a small glimmer of hope for the series' future. Gary maintains in the conclusion to his article that the show will return, but it is hard to see this as little more than wishful thinking.
The pantomime-esque The Horns of Nimon makes an appropriate Christmas archive, and the ever-delightful Sylvester McCoy is the subject of the Out of the TARDIS interview.
Issue 248 (12 February 1997)
Glossy cover paper and a cover photo not long ago used by the UK magazine Dreamwatch contribute to giving this issue a slightly different look than usual. Proving that there's always unpublished material to be featured, the magazine has unearthed a major three-part interview with the long since departed Graham Williams, dating back to 1984. Williams' era has received a great deal of coverage in the past, but it is nonetheless fascinating to read this 'voice from the past'.
The Sensorites is archived, in which, disappointingly, New Zealand actress Ilona Rodgers is described as 'a rising Australian actress'. It's interesting to see that BBC documentation shows that the story was sold to New Zealand, even though the NZBC apparently never acquired it.
For my own part, the return of fanzine reviews to the pages of the magazine is very welcome, as I'm always keen to see what my overseas counterparts are producing. Regular writer Dave Owen provides his own perspective on the history of fanzines in the UK, much of which I can easily relate to.
John Nathan-Turner provides the penultimate instalment of his epic memoirs, including some hitherto little-known facts about the stage play, and Pennant Roberts talks about Shada, Errinella, Warriors of the Deep and Timelash.
A particularly packed and satisfying issue.
Issue 249 (12 March 1997)
The unparallelled coverage given the McGann movie aside, the most revealing, thought provoking and unmissable feature of Doctor Who Magazine this last year or two has been the epic John Nathan-Turner memoirs, which concludes this issue, in which the show's most highly controversial producer has given his perspective on his many years of association with Doctor Who. In the process he has debunked the so-called facts behind many fan criticisms of his tenure, and emerges as someone who always sought to do his best for the programme he loved.
Probably not entirely coincidentally, one of JNT's most controversial stories - Parts Five to Eight of The Trial of a Time Lord - is the featured archive. Elsewhere, the magazine examines the many and varied forms of cliffhanger seen in the series. It's an interesting feature, but a great deal more can and should have been made of the subject, especially in light of the fact that two of the article's allotted eight pages are given over to a single photograph and the article title alone.
This item appeared in TSV 50 (February 1997).