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DWM Review

By Jon Preddle

DWM 286 (12 January 2000): Season Seven overview, Morals of the Hartnell era, The Time Team 7, Trevor Ray, The Web Planet Archive, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Company of Thieves 3

DWM 287 (9 February 2000): Doctor Who novels, Doctor Who on radio and audio, The Time Team 8, Jessica Martin, The Masque of Mandragora Archive, The Scales of Injustice, The Glorious Dead 1

DWM 288 (8 March 2000): Making of The Genocide Machine, Morals of the Troughton Era, The Time Team 9, Nabil Shaban, Peter Jeffrey, State of Decay Archive, Head Games, The Glorious Dead 2

DWM 289 (5 April 2000): Theme Night Interviews, The Time Team 10, Paul Magrs and Iris Wildthyme, Fan-Produced Spin-Offs, The Trial Of A Time Lord 1-4 Archive, The Glorious Dead 3

DWM 290 (3 May 2000): Tom Baker Special; Seasons 12 to 18, Tom Baker 1, Robot Archive, The Glorious Dead 4

DWM 291 (31 May 2000): Target Books 1, Tom Baker 2, Morals of the Pertwee era, Donald Cotton obituary, The Time Team 11, Terminus Archive, Managra, The Glorious Dead 5

DWM 292 (28 June 2000): Unmade Stories, BBC Audios, Making of The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Gareth Roberts, DWM BBC Book survey results, The Time Team 12, The Highlanders Archive, The Glorious Dead 6

Two of the issues in this batch are thematic, each covering a particular Doctor's era. First up is #286 which is kind of a Pertwee special to support the (unexpectedly curtailed) Third Doctor repeats on BBC2. The lead article, Cutting a dash, which examines the dramatic styles and themes of Pertwee's first year as the Doctor, is one of the best written items I have read in the magazine. The sole interview this issue is with assistant script editor Trevor Ray, who throws a very blinding light on some lesser-known behind the scenes details about this season, particularly with his brutally honest opinion of writer Malcolm Hulke!

The other celebratory issue is #290, which acknowledges the 25th anniversary of when Tom Baker became the Doctor, and as such there is the ubiquitous interview and supporting Archive feature. Oh, dear, Marvel have done it again: this time there are four different covers to collect; but I'm not going all the way over to England to get the others! The cover I got was the black and white broody one, which says a lot about Tom! The feature essays are from seven well-known fan-writers, each covering a season (which, as with the cover title, Bohemian Rhapsodies, are named with Queen song titles). Gary Gillatt's rather poignant views on Tom's final year highlights the fact that the Doctor's letting go and falling almost mirrors the circumstances behind Tom's own departure from the series. And I think I'll take Gary's advice, and next time watch Season 18 in production order...

#286, 288 and 291 feature the first three parts in what I assume will be a seven or eight-part series taking a humorous look at the silly aspects and the ‘morals’ of the TV series. It's written by Gareth Roberts, so did you expect it wouldn't be silly? And speaking of Roberts, he was voted best author in the recent DWM New Adventures poll, and so is the featured interviewee in #292. It was pleasing to see that Frontier Worlds was voted best Eighth Doctor book - a book that is not reliant on the series' past.

As much as I love the Archives, with only alternating Hartnell and Tom Baker adventures being the featured stories for six issues in a row (#283 - 288), it was something of a relief to have different Doctors represented in the last three issues reviewed here! Andrew Pixley must have had fun writing the Terminus Archive, with all the juicy behind-the-scenes scandal and drama!

The piece on the making of Big Finish's forth-coming Dalek audio adventure (#288) certainly whets one's appetite for the return of the bubbling blobs of hate; I can't wait to hear this one! And The Spectre of Lanyon Moor gets coverage in issue 292. Again, this audio looks like it will be a lot of fun.

#289 sees the seventh and final instalment in Steve Lyons and Chris Howarth's highly enjoyable series on the ‘other canons’ of Doctor Who. This time they look at how fans have taken over making new Who because no one else will. I'm sad to see this series end, as I'm sure there are other areas of apocrypha that deserve to be explored...

And on that note, Richard Bignell makes a welcome return with his irregular coverage of unmade stories. #292 examines no less than five, including the two Christopher Priest submissions Sealed Orders and The Enemy Within. And tops marks for the clever cover design of this issue.

In #289 and 290 the on-going strip The Glorious Dead has the most surprising and shocking cliff-hanger endings the strip has ever had - with perhaps the exception of the arrival of the ‘ninth’ Doctor, of course... Oh, and some of the strip pages in #291 have to be seen to be believed...!!

And #291 begins David J Howe's multi-part history of Target Books, something I have always wanted to read about.

Oh, and #292 marks Gary Gillatt's final issue as editor. Gary's first issue was #223 back in February 1995. It has been an eventful five years and 70 issues, with the arrival of Paul McGann, the death of Pertwee, the shift of the new adventures from Virgin to BBC Books, and the arrival of the Big Finish audios. Er... so, why is he leaving, when it's just become exciting again to be a fan...?!

Seriously, Gary should be thanked for his hard work on reshaping the magazine. Gary's replacement is his old co-editor, Alan Barnes, so I'm sure the mag is in very safe hands. All the best for the future, Mr Gillatt.

This item appeared in TSV 60 (June 2000).