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Doctor Who Magazine

Reviewed by Jon Preddle [258-261] & Paul Scoones [262-263]

[DWM 258] [DWM 259] [DWM 260]
[DWM 261] [DWM 262] [DWM 263]

Issue 258 (19 November 1997)

To tie-in with the publication of his autobiography, Tom Baker speaks: a ten-page interview which gives away none of the secrets from his excellent book, so you'll still have to buy it! In his introduction to the piece, interviewer Gary Gillatt acknowledges how Baker illustrates his stories with exclamations, gestures and profanity, something which is difficult to convey in written speech. Having seen the man himself speak in New Zealand in January of last year (gosh, is it that long ago?) I found it quite easy to 'hear' Baker's words when reading this piece. And Baker's opinion of NZ actor Sam Neill is, er, interesting, to say the least! In the second part of three, Christopher H Bidmead continues his recollections about Season 18, and the creation of the fifth Doctor. To link with the interview and the archive feature on Logopolis last issue, the world of Castrovalva is pulled apart by Andrew Pixley.

Issue 259 (17 December 1997)

The Valeyard appears for the very first time on the cover of DWM. Unfortunately the associated feature on Doctor Who villains tries to be funny when it isn't. Even the photographs are boring. BBC Worldwide editor Stephen Cole gives a 'day in the life' account of his job, illustrated with proposed and rejected book slicks and video covers. This is a dream job - not! The story about the search for 'Sam' was rather amusing. Andrew Pixley takes a look back in time to The Crusade. This archive has an extremely eye-pleasing layout design. Chris Bidmead recalls his short association with the Colin Baker era, but appears to be confused about his two unfilmed scripts written for Season 22 and Season 23. The Anneke Wills 'Out of the TARDIS' interview is one of the funniest in this series.

Issue 260 (14 January 1998)

The cover feature is Bonnie Langford's first DWM interview, conducted by none other than her replacement, Sophie Aldred. (That just leaves an interview with Kamelion to complete the set of companions - but I'm sure he would have very little to say.) Sydney Newman's contribution to the development of Doctor Who is given by way of a tribute / obituary. It is sad to see that the man who had created some of the most loved television shows never had a more satisfying career after the golden sixties. The layout of the story 'Archive' is revamped again, incorporating mini-interviews with supporting actors, this time Stephen Thorne in The Three Doctors. The highlight of the issue is the long-awaited return of the 'Telesnap Archive' with The Faceless Ones episode 1. Once this story is complete, the only Troughton Telesnap-adventure that has yet to be published in some form or another is The Enemy of the World.

Issue 261 (11 February 1998)

The highlight of this issue is the frank and honest interview with script writer Chris Boucher. His personal comments about Graham Williams, Robert Holmes, and especially Tom Baker, are revealing; this is the sort of 'dirt' that I think has been missing from DWM for quite a while! Low light of the issue is the tedious and pointless article about the Doctor's companions; however the 'Where Are They Now?' side-panels are amusing, especially the one on Dodo! The 'Out Of The TARDIS' interview with John (Sgt Benton) Levene only supports my opinion that he is an utter dork who completely over-estimates his importance in Doctor Who. As a link to The Three Doctors archive last issue, Omega returns in Arc Of Infinity. I like this inter-issue linking by a common theme, which DWM were unwise to abandon several years ago. With the addition of the mini-interviews, this archive runs to 10 pages. At this rate of expansion the archive will soon dominate the entire issue! Although I have little interest in computer games, the tips on how to play the CD-ROM game Destiny of the Doctor appear to be useful to those who have. This issue lacks a comic strip - which frankly I did not miss (the artist still has problems capturing McGann's likeness), however that said, I am looking forward to next issue's return to Marvel's version of Gallifrey.

Issue 262 (11 March 1998)

Mary Tamm's distinctive face looms imposingly out of the cover of this issue and inside she gives a full and frank account of her time on the series. The Dominators, which must rank as one of the most troubled productions in the series' history, is the featured Archive. Pixley's story-by-story history of Doctor Who is always extremely informative but this issue's instalment is particularly fascinating as the full facts behind Haisman and Lincoln's decision to adopt a pseudonym finally come to light. Publicity for this issue promised a tour of London's Who locations, so I was disappointed to find that this was simply this issue's theme for the regular essay, rather than a site by site location guide which is what I really need for my trip. The comic strip is not an area I usually pay much attention to, but the story beginning this issue is worth a look. The Eighth Doctor is visiting Gallifrey - the same Gallifrey that appeared in the Davison strips of the Monthly all those years ago. It's loaded with continuity, so be ready to dust off those Classic Comics issues (or even the Monthly itself if you're lucky to have 1982 issues lying around), to really appreciate what's going on. I found it a little ironic to see that in the same issue that Matthew Jones makes the point in his Fluid Links column that it's easy to disparage Doctor Who if you look for the 'dodgy moments', that Dave Owen gives an extremely harsh review of Battlefield, a story which has some lovely dialogue and great set pieces; if you just look at the story a little less cynically.

Issue 263 (8 April 1998)

The 'scary monsters' issue has the latest in a line of 'Media Studies'-style essays, each on an aspect of the series. Lance Parkin gets to grips with the presentation of monsters and other alien creatures in the series, making some very interesting comments along the way about the differences in Star Trek's approach to the subject. I came over all nostalgic and regretful at the sight of the Weetabix Doctor Who collectible 'action cards'. I owned almost a full set of these many years ago... One of my favourite stories - The Seeds of Doom - gets the usual excellent Archive treatment courtesy of Mr Pixley, Shayde makes a long awaited return to the comic strip, Stephen Wyatt talks about writing Paradise Towers and Greatest Show - with a satisfyingly detailed breakdown of the various drafts the latter story went through in the storyline process, and Michael E. Briant shares his memories of working on some sixties and early seventies tales. Elisabeth Sladen comes 'Out of the TARDIS' - isn't she just a little bit overexposed in this magazine? I mean, it was only a year ago (to the issue) that there was another interview with her! Oh, and Dave Owen, literate reviewer that he is, would do well to note that it was E.M. Forster and not Olaf Stapledon who wrote The Machine Stops.

This item appeared in TSV 53 (March 1998).