By Paul Scoones
A year ago when I first began to consider the content of TSV 50 I felt that a TSV retrospective, whilst highly appropriate (especially in light of the fact that 1997 also marks the magazine's tenth anniversary), would not be enough on its own to make this milestone issue really special. However even as late as the planning stages for TSV 49 Nicholas and I still had no idea what we could do to make the fiftieth issue that extra bit special. In the end, it almost fell into our laps.
Rochelle Thickpenny happened by chance to meet the managing director of a company that was planning to bring Tom Baker out to New Zealand to make a series of Doctor Who-themed commercials. Rochelle put him in touch with the club. There was our content, but the commercial sensitivity factor - as well as the fact that it had yet to be confirmed - meant that we were unable to publicise it last issue. Go back and read the 'Next Issue' section on page 3 of TSV 49 and you'll see that we knew, but were unable to say anything.
Although I organised the event that we dubbed 'An Afternoon with Tom Baker', which took place on Saturday 25 January 1997, the initial impetus came from Tom himself, indicating to the film company some days in advance of his arrival that he would like to set aside a few hours to meet the local fans. Once the date was confirmed, we contacted as many club members as possible at short notice.
I had the privilege of attending the first day of filming, and met Tom four days before the club event. He was very approachable and quite unlike the temperamental no-nonsense character I'd been led to believe he was. Perhaps it was just that he was enjoying his time in New Zealand so much.
Even more thrilling for me than meeting Tom was the pleasure I received from watching other fans get their chance to meet him and hear him talk a few days later at the event I'd organised. The sheer delight on the faces of the fans said it all. If you couldn't make it to, or didn't know about 'An Afternoon with Tom Baker', then I hope that this issue's interview helps in some small way to make up for what you missed. And if not, there's always the video.
This item appeared in TSV 50 (February 1997).