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Doctor Who Magazine

Reviewed by Paul Scoones

Doctor Who Magazine 225 (10 May 1995)

The second part of the Andrew Cartmel interview from TSV sees print. Changes have been made, but these merely amount to certain recorded sentences, rearranged passages and all of the questions have been removed. Otherwise the interview is the TSV version, spread over three issues. Michael Craze is the lead interview subject, and the usually ignored role of make-up designer receives coverage in the form of an interview with Sylvia James, the most prolific Doctor Who person in this position. Whether Bill Baggs' Stranger video productions are in any way relevant to Doctor Who is a matter of individual taste, but DWM seems to consider the stories worthy of articles, such as the location report on Eye of the Beholder this issue. Whilst it can be interesting to read about what Colin Baker is doing now, the coverage seems unwarranted. Andrew Pixley gives his usual thorough attention to The Curse of Fenric in the Archive.

Doctor Who Magazine 226 (7 June 1995)

The highlight, for anyone interested in the prospect of a new series, has to be the interview with the man who currently owns the rights to make the show - Philip Segal. The article makes it clear that the 37-year-old British-born fan has a very real commitment to reviving the show in a manner true to the spirit of the original (he professes to be a big fan of the first four Doctors, but favours Tom Baker). Prelude has its last outing. In my view this is a good move as these introductions to the New Adventures rarely stood up well on their own, and usually only made sense if read after the novel to which it pertained - which rather defeated the purpose. Lately many new Doctor Who factual books and articles have been based on recently accessed BBC documentation. Marcus Hearn has tapped into the BBC's Audience Research Department reports dating back to 1963, and come up with the first in what may be a long series of articles printing the most interesting of remarks made by members of the public surveyed after watching Doctor Who each week. Nicholas Courtney is almost as much a icon of the show as the actors who played the Doctors themselves, so it is therefore fitting that he is allotted an interview of epic proportions, beginning this issue, and running to four parts. Finally, one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who stories, Kinda, gets the Archive treatment.

Doctor Who Magazine 227 (5 July 1995)

The Mark Strickson interview credits Jon Preddle and myself with supplying additional material. DWM's own interview apparently yielded very few anecdotes regarding Mark's time as Turlough, so TSV supplied DWM with passages from our interview with Mark conducted in 1990. The comic strip is a one-off tale that slots neatly into the continuity of 1993's Emperor of the Daleks strip, and is unusual in that all seven pages are a conversation between the Sixth Doctor and Davros within the confines of the TARDIS's cloisters. Philip MacDonald's highly insightful articles for DWM each examine a single aspect of Doctor Who in the context of the show's entire run. This issue's subject exposes the varied alien environments seen in the series. Interesting to see how many planets correspond to one of four types: desert, jungle, fire and ice. Out of the TARDIS is a new feature in which celebrities are given twenty random questions to answer. The questions are mostly unrelated to Doctor Who, so for a change the interview ends up being more about the person's own life and interests. Not being much of a follower of the show's actors, this isn't to my liking, but it is nice to see what Sophie Aldred (the first subject) looks like now. Another great Davison story, Snakedance, is the Archive subject.

Doctor Who Magazine 228 (2 August 1995)

A TSV reader currently studying Egyptian hieroglyphics informs me that those appearing in the comic strip The Curse of the Scarab are gobbledygook. This aside, the first part of this Fifth Doctor and Peri story set in Hollywood with a strong Egyptian flavour looks promising. The main interview is with John Leeson, the often heard but seldom seen voice of K9. Leeson provides some very interesting insights into what it was like to work alongside Tom Baker. Once again I'm more intrigued by the modern day photo than the twenty random questions in Out of the TARDIS; Matthew Waterhouse looks very different today. The Ark is examined in the Archive.

Doctor Who Magazine 229 (30 August 1995)

Anyone interested in Downtime, the forthcoming Yeti video drama, ought to check out this issue for the great behind-the-scenes coverage and many photos. Turlough's introductory story was at first going to have been The Song of the Space Whale by comic strip writer Pat Mills. In an insightful interview Mills exposes the script editing approach of Eric Saward in a less than complimentary manner. All praise to DWM for printing such a frank view; illustrating just how far it has matured in recent years. The magazine scored a major coup in interviewing the costume designer of the hugely expensive epic Kevin Costner movie Waterworld; none other than John Bloomfield, who worked on two Tom Baker stories. The epic four-part Nicholas Courtney interview comes to an end. Far from being a trotting out of the standard Brigadier anecdotes, this series was a fresh look at Courtney's part in Doctor Who, examined via video clips played to the actor, and resulting in some jogging some fresh observations about his experiences. Also ending this issue is the excellent telesnap archive for The Abominable Snowmen. This particular collection has yielded a number of images never before glimpsed by those not fortunate enough to have seen the episodes before they were destroyed. We now know, for instance, what Padmasambhava looked like. The Face of Evil - a very good story in a season of greats - gets the archive treatment. There are only two more Season 14 stories for Pixley to cover now.

Doctor Who Magazine 230 (27 September 1995)

No less than seven interviews in this issue, most of them with people associated with Paradise Towers, including actors Richard Briers, Judy Cornwell and Howard Cooke. and director Nicholas Mallett, who also covers his work on The Trial of a Time Lord and The Curse of Fenric, and tells his side of the story about the infamous accidental deletion of footage during the making of Fenric. Mallett also claims that about 45 minutes was cut out of the finished story, which is at odds with other accounts, but then as the director, he is perhaps the best authority on the subject! The Mutants is the subject of the archive, and backing this up is an interview with set designer Jeremy Bear, who recalls a startling amount of detail about his work on this one story, over 23 years later! This interview also features a number of Bear's design plans and drawings, but overlaying the plans with the text was not a good move as it makes reading the article rather distracting to the eye. Caroline John gets the Out of the TARDIS treatment, which should appeal to those who want to know about her school days and her love of gardening... The other interview is with John Levene, who gives a very entertaining and frank account of the ups and downs of his career. Just one question - where have the telesnaps gone to...?

Doctor Who Magazine Summer Special 1995 (13 July 1995)

Billed as A complete guide to Season Sixteen of Doctor Who, the description is a little misleading as only two stories receive Pixley's archive treatment. There is however a very interesting interview with Douglas Adams dating from the time when he'd only just become script editor. The six pages of quotes pertaining to each story are very obvious space filler; blank space coloured yellow is still blank space. The comic strip was also disappointing, with no point to it other than to link into the issue's theme. The Ted Willis unused storyline, The Lords of Misrule, was most intriguing; it's a pity that Willis has passed away, as it would have been interesting to learn more of the circumstances of its development (could Ted Willis and the often-mentioned Ted Lewis be one and the same...?) The one feature that comes close to living up to the promise of a 'complete guide' is Philip MacDonald's overview of the themes and icons of the season. Well worth reading.

This item appeared in TSV 45 (September 1995).