The Tales behind TARDIS Tales

By Graham Muir

The Doctors' Challenge!
TSV 14 (July 1989)

I've always wanted to do a multi-Doctor story, and this one was a bit of a hit at the time - meaning that I got more feedback than usual in the TSV letters pages. The story was originally meant to have been spread over two issues.

The Homemade Time Machine
TSV 15 (September 1989)

This story continued on from The Doctors' Challenge, and deciding that I wanted a more personal touch to the stories, I dropped Ace as the Doctor's companion and introduced Saucer Smith, a character I have been drawing since I was five years old (he didn't look as good back then!). Retrospectively, the decision to drop Ace was a wise move as she has rapidly become one of the most over-used characters in the show's history, especially in Season 26 and the New Adventures books! Interestingly enough, Ace's fate in this story was mirrored in real life when, as Warwick Gray pointed out in TSV 33, Sophie Aldred (who played Ace), turned up in EastEnders!

The Batbloke!
TSV 16 (December 1989)

My favourite story! The Batman craze was in full swing at the time, so I couldn't resist a poke at parodying it. The Beano was included as it (as well as The Dandy, Sparky, Topper, etc), was one of my favourite comics when I was young (and I think the influence shows in my artwork).

TARDIS Tales was absent from TSV 17 because, to be honest, I couldn't be bothered - so three of my earlier comic strips (from TSV 9, 10 and 11) were reprinted instead. Editor Andrew Poulsen thought I had died!

On the subject of honesty, I have to admit that I'm extremely slow at sending in my stories; if you look at the deadline dates in some of the TSV issues and compare them with the dates on my stories you'll see that some were done at the last moment - or even after the deadline!

Back to Reality
TSV 18 (May 1990), TSV 19 (June 1990), TSV 20 (December 1990)

A three-part epic which fizzled out at the end! The fact that Part 3 appeared some six months after Part 2 didn't help matters either! Personally, I think Part 2 is the best piece, especially due to the completely pointless sub-plot about Jerk (talk about just being an excuse to blow someone to bits!).

The Doctor meets the Young Mutated Marine Reptiles!
TSV 20 (December 1990)

Another parody, this time it was of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of 1990. This is another story I'm quite pleased with even though it was badly printed in TSV 20. This reprint should redress the balance.

The Lady Doctor!
TSV 21 (February 1991)

Ace is back and wanting revenge! The first story published from Auckland, this one pokes fun at the idea of a female Doctor. By the way, what Saucer pointed out is true - I'm not very good at drawing women! This story was meant to be spread over two issues, but after the long delay between Parts 2 and 3 of Back to Reality, that idea was dropped.

The Bird Hunters!
TSV 22 (April 1991)

It was bound to happen! Saucer gets captured by an intergalactic takeaway chain which is very similar to a wellknown Earth-bound one! Many people had suggested it to me, and the story ranks as another of my favourites; mainly because I brought back my own character of Birdy Smith, Saucer's fat nephew. Saucer and Birdy worked as a team in all the stories I drew back in the early 1980s.

The Doctor Meets Bart!
TSV 23 (June 1991)

Ah oh! Not one of my favourites. The premise seems forced and the story seems squashed into two pages. Sorry, Bart!

The Ice Warriors on Ice!
TSV 24 (August 1991)

The idea of an Ice Warrior invasion force inside a butcher's shop chiller seemed ludicrous, so I drew a story about it! I worked at a butcher's shop for a time so the butcher seen in the story is a faithful representation of my boss! I thought it made a change to use the Ice Warriors as the story's villains - I always seem to use Daleks!

The Missing Episodes!
TSV 25 (October 1991)

It must be every Who fan's dream to get hold of the missing stories from the sixties, so this story was done as a little bit of wishful thinking on my part (plus a dig at BBC Video). Interestingly enough, The Tomb of the Cybermen was found a few months later hmm, I wonder...?

At the Beeb!
TSV 26 (December 1991)

Another dig at the BBC. The Beeb has treated the series badly over the last few years, so it was good to have my say on the matter. The ending seems rushed and forced, though.

The Nightclub!
TSV 27 (February 1992)

Another silly story with another ludicrous premise. My main blunder in this story was the use of the time vector generator from The Wheel in Space. It would have made more sense to call it the dimensional stabiliser. I quite liked the story and it was good to use the Master again, even if I didn't explain how he survived the ending of The Batbloke! ... a bit like the series, wouldn't you say?

Dr Who II: Attack of the 50 ft Dalek!!
TSV 28 (April 1992)

Another favourite. The target of this story is, of course, the long-awaited (ahem) Doctor Who movie, as well as a put-down of the film industry as a whole. Incidentally, The Wild Women of Wongo is a real film. I chose the name from a book of the world's worst movies!

Dr Dalek!
TSV 29 (July 1992)

Another Dalek story. Originally this story was meant to be a K9 tale in which K9 was the villain (I always seem to be turning companions into villains), but I couldn't make it work. The deadline was looming up, and I was desperate for a plot. Then I remembered that my brother, Paul, had jokingly suggested a story about the Doctor turning into a Dalek so I wrote and drew the whole thing in just under two hours and sent it off to Auckland. That's why there's not much to it!

The UNIT Reunion
TSV 30 (September 1992)

I had never done a UNIT story (I don't count the Brigadier in the Planet of the Spiders strip), so I wove a tale which involves the death of two of the series long-running characters, as well as an alien who gets drunk very easily! I love the way that the Doctor couldn't give a toss about the Brigadier's death!

The Underground City!
TSV 31 (November 1992)

For this story I re-used an uncompleted story I did back in 1986. The story only ran for four pages but I thought it had potential so I re-wrote it slightly and used the Doctor and Saucer, rather than Saucer and Birdy who were in the original. While I was drawing this I started to get carried away and wanted to do a much longer story but I was already over the deadline, so I couldn't have the aliens invade New Zealand (sob!). Amazingly enough, neither the aliens nor their city get blown up at the end.

Sauceron!

Given the choice between writing several short stories or one long epic for this collection, I chose the latter option, but later wished I hadn't as it took longer than I'd thought to finish. The plot was one that I had wanted to do from around 1984, but I chopped and changed it so much that there's not much of the original storyline left. It's got a bit more 'plot' to it; I hope it's enjoyable. Trivia: Cup, Saucer's brother, first appeared back in 1978 in The World Trip, a story I drew completely in pencil in an old Holly Hobby notebook!

The Final Chapter!
TSV 32 (February 1993)

...Or is it? I had kept this story in reserve just in case the zine folded and thus this story would finish the Tales. I used it earlier than expected for several reasons - a) one or two people wanted TARDIS Tales rested (but who cares about one or two people?); b) I wanted a rest!; c) I wanted a story to round off this collection. The best thing about this story was Ace's death; something I wish some other writer had done years ago!

And that leads us to the end of the tales from the TARDIS. Will the Doctor ever get out of Saucer's stomach? Will Saucer go searching for him? Will Joe the Gnome become a regular? Who knows? There are a few stories I haven't done yet. I have the plot outline for a parody of Stingray somewhere, as well as an idea to continue the strip... oh well, if you want TARDIS Tales to return, just write to TSV and let me know!

Finally, I've just realised that I haven't told you how I came up with the ideas for the stories - I thought them up at work! Always get a boring, monotonous job; it does wonders for the imagination!

[Underground City comic page]

A page from the original version of The Underground City drawn back in 1986. Compare this with the second page of the TARDIS Tales version. As you can see, I didn't change much.

This item appeared in The Tardis Tales Collection (May 1993).