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Doctor Who Magazine Review

By Jon Preddle

DWM 274 (10 February 1999) The Pertwee Era Part 2, Spoofs and Adverts, William Russell and Peter Purves, The Enemy of the World telesnaps 2, The Seeds of Death Archive, The Fallen 2

DWM 275 (10 March 1999) Fan-made films, Michael Craze obituary, Terrance Dicks 3, Marcus Gilbert and Angela Bruce, The Visitation Archive, The Crusade: The Lion found in NZ, The Enemy of the World telesnaps 3, The Fallen 3

DWM 276 (7 April 1999) Dalek comics and strips, Robert Sloman, Malcolm Kohll, Ron Turner, The Enemy of the World telesnaps 5, Inside the Spaceship Archive, The Fallen 4

DWM 277 (5 May 1999) Surprised?, The Missing Adventures, Andrew Morgan, The Enemy of the World telesnaps 6, Fury from the Deep Archive, The Slide, Unnatural Born Killers

DWM 278 (2 June 1999) The Curse of Fatal Death, Video Sales, Survey Results, Anthony Read, Death to the Daleks Archive, The Road To Hell 1

These five issues contain a pot-pourri of interesting articles, interviews and features. On the interview front, we hear from two writers, Robert Sloman and Malcolm Kohll, neither of whom have been interviewed by DWM before. In fact, long, long ago I was under the impression that ‘Robert Sloman’ was a pseudonym because I had never read an interview with the man or seen a photo. There is no photo here, but the elusive writer finally speaks about his four contributions to the Third Doctor's era (The Dæmons, The Time Monster, The Green Death and Planet of the Spiders) although there is no mention of his unused ‘Daleks in London’ storyline or The Avenging Angel, written for the Fourth Doctor. Odd that.

Script Editor Anthony Read is interviewed for the third time, but at least the ‘Ted Lewis or Ted Willis’ mystery is finally resolved. (See A Question of Answers, TSV 53.)

Four of these issues feature articles that go beyond the usual boundaries of Doctor Who by looking at spin-offs, spoofs, fan-made films and Dalek comic strips. An article on comedy take-offs is an obvious one that has surprisingly never been covered by the magazine before. The Tom Baker New Zealand superannuation adverts even get a mention. The highlight of DWM 278 has to be the 10-page exclusive on-set report on (And) The Curse of Fatal Death. The full-page photos of the five actors in suitably Doctor-ish poses are absolutely fab!

Fan-made films, on the other hand, are something else - usually bad or really bad!! Having been involved in this strange activity in the long-distant past it is something I would want best not made too public! (Cue the flood of memories of a slightly wacky group of fans making idiots of ourselves in front of a video camera on One Tree Hill. My Gary Downie impression even later spawned its own video spin-off, The Gary Downie Show!)

Reviewer Dave Owen bows out in DWM 274 and his replacement is Vanessa Bishop, editor of the fanzine Skaro. Her review style is, er, different to say the least.

Part two of the Pertwee era (274) brings forth some hitherto unknown facts about the origins of some of the Third Doctor's TV adventures. It would be great if similar features could be done on the other Doctors as well (depending on the resources of the BBC document archives, of course).

I've said in these pages before that I've always enjoyed seeing new behind the scenes photos, so the ones illustrating The Seeds of Death and Fury From the Deep Archives are no less than impressive. I am sure that there is more of this sort of visual material out there waiting to be found (just like missing episodes really!). Way to go DWM! And I still reckon that the Archive has the most attractive layout design of all the pages of the magazine. Whoever is responsible for this, please take a bow.

It is also great to finally see a piece on The Slide, (277), the radio drama that influenced Fury from the Deep. It is also an eye-opening revelation that at the time of production Victor Pemberton disliked the way his scripts had been rewritten, and yet now his script is regarded as a classic - and he takes all the accolades!

Paul's article on the discovery of The Lion is featured in 275. I note that Graham Howard's and my own name both appear in the ‘With Thanks To’ credits box on page 3. How nice.

DWM 277 has a thought-provoking article by Stephen James Walker, which examines the way in which today's new fans perceive Doctor Who (see Brad Schmidt's letter this issue for an example of the type of new fan that Stephen is referring to).

And finally, a word about the comic strips. Not being content with killing off Ace and ‘regenerating’ the Doctor, our own Warwick (Scott) Gray has a surprise twist in store for fans of the Master in 276...

The next issue sees yet another revamp for the magazine. This seems to happen every 30 or so issues. My views on this new-look will appear in the next TSV...

This item appeared in TSV 57 (July 1999).