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DWM Review

By Jon Preddle

293 (26 July 2000): Hollywood Who, Target Books 2, Cliff Culley, The Time Team 12, Timewyrm: Revelation, The Androids of Tara Archive, The Glorious Dead 7

294 (23 August 2000): Big Finish, Farewell Great Macedon, Justin Richards, The Time Team 13, The Apocalypse Element, Imperial Moon, Time-Flight Archive, The Glorious Dead 8

295 (20 September 2000): Target Books 3, Morals of the Tom Baker era 1, Steve Gallagher 1, The Time Team 14, The Fires of Vulcan, Festival of Death, Casualties of War, The Savages Archive, The Glorious Dead 9

296 (18 October 2000): Writing ‘Part One’, Nightmare Country, Jeremy Young, The Time Team 15, The Shadow of the Scourge, Independence Day, The Turing Test, The Robots of Death Archive, The Glorious Dead 10

297 (15 November 2000): Travellers Guide to Gallifrey 1, The Tenth Planet Restoration, Target Books 4, Cybermen Poster, Sarah Berger, The Time Team 16, The King of Terror, The Turing Test, Revenge of the Cybermen Archive, The Autonomy Bug 1

298 (13 December 2000): Free Trading Card! Writing ‘Part Two’, Morals of the Tom Baker era 2, Kate O'Mara, The Time Team 17, Death Comes to Time, The Holy Terror, Black Orchid Archive, The Autonomy Bug 2

This set of issues marks the first six months of Alan Barnes' tenure in the editor's chair. And it is obvious that Barnes has from the word go stamped his own style on the magazine. And it's a style that looks very promising indeed.

The most evident change is the increase in articles acknowledging the BBC novelisations (previous editor Gary Gillatt having made it no secret that he wasn't pro the books). Accordingly, #294 begins a new regular feature which previews that month's two BBC novels with mini-interviews with the authors.

I assume another Barnes' influence is the return to thematic issues: the story Archives in issues 294, 296 and 297 all tie-in directly with the video or DVD release that same month. (Ironically, the Time-Flight issue was also published the very same week of the fateful Concorde crash in Paris...); and the Kate O'Mara #298 cover story links in with the release of the new Rani audio adventure from Bill Baggs' production house.

Continuing with the thematic issues, 294 is a Paul McGann special, featuring no less than three items dedicated to the Eighth Doctor: alongside the on-going strip is an interview with BBC Books' editor Justin Richards. It amazes me how Richards finds the time to edit as well as write so many books plus the occasional audio. Doesn't the man ever sleep?! The third feature is an in-studio account of the recording of the forthcoming McGann audios. The photo on page 26 is rather nice (the goatee suits Courtney). In fact, I think McGann looks even more Doctorish with his natural hair that length than he does in a long wavy wig! In the previous issue, McGann — not altogether surprisingly — was voted as the most popular choice of actor to portray the Doctor in a movie. Personally, I think Sir Ian McKellen, following the success of The X-Men movie, would be ideal if a big-name was needed to attract US interest.

#297 is another Cyberman issue, with the 1960s, 70s and 80s each represented by a feature article. There is also a pull-out double-sided poster! (There is a free trading card with #298, so it looks like the Barnes era of DWM could be noted for lots of give-aways!)

DWM again explores the world of the forgotten tale, with the long-overdue return of the Missing Stories series. Farewell, Great Macedon (#295), an unmade Season One story by Moris Farhi — or is it Fahri?; the spelling fluctuates — in which the TARDIS crew meet Alexander the Great, has all the hallmarks of a standard historical of that era. It would have been interesting to see how the BBC would have done the scene where the Doctor walks on fire. I'm sure Hartnell would have made a big fuss over this! Issue #296 features Steve Gallagher's unmade story Nightmare Country, which was covered briefly in TSV 27. A third ‘lost story’ feature is incorporated into The Robots of Death Archive as Andrew Pixley examines the pre-production history of the doomed Doctor Who Meets Scratchman film.

The Watcher's article about unintentional (?) connections between Doctor Who and David Bowie (294) is rather fascinating — and ironically, in the same issue, although no mention is made of it in the Watcher's page, Gary Russell is wearing a David Bowie t-shirt on page 28!

The longest-ever strip story, The Glorious Dead, FINALLY comes to an end in #296 (see if you can spot the Gary Gillatt look-alike in the final panel). But, please, no more 10-part epics like this again, unless the storyline supports such a length. I don't think this one did (sorry Scott). Thankfully, the next strip, drawn by Roger Langridge's unique hand, looks like it will be the first strip tale in a very long while NOT to centre around an extra-dimensional villain with god-like powers...

In January 2001 DWM will celebrate its 300th issue. These milestones have traditionally meant a nearly total revamp for the magazine, so I wonder what freebies and goodies Mr Barnes has lined up for us. I can't wait!

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).