EDitorial ± 4-Mar-2002

Radiophonic Workshop

Scouring through the loft at the weekend for old music magazines that might fetch a couple of quid - yesterday was free listing day on ebay - I chanced upon one of my oldest possessions: the Dr Who Radio Times Special from 1973.

I dimly recall being with my dad when we bought this from Smith's in town. I was all of seven years old. This remarkably detailed full colour magazine celebrated ten years of the good doctor, featuring Jon Pertwee on the cover being pursued by a Dalek, a Cyberman and a Sea Devil. And you think you're having a bad day sometimes!

You are the doctor. You are the enemy of the Daleks. You will be exterminated.

Cover price was 30p, much more than any pocket money I used to get (half of which went on Shoot! each week). Significantly for the real fans, it was among the first publication to list each of the individual stories, starting with An Unearthly Child in 1963:

Susan Foreman, 15, is Dr Who's grand-daughter and goes to Coal Hill School, London. Two teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, go to investigate her home background. Home is a police box which is in fact a Tardis (standing for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), Dr Who's dimensionally transcendental spaceship. The old doctor plunges them all back to the Earth of 100,000 BC - and capture by a skin-clad tribe which has lost the secret of fire. Two leaders, Kal and Za, are in a power struggle. The Doctor shows Za how to make fire, by rubbing two sticks together. Za wants them to stay, but by a ruse they escape to the Tardis.
Sample stories include:
  • Claws Of Axos - 1970/1
  • The Curse Of Peladon - 1972/3
  • Planet Of The Spiders - 1973/4

I remember watching The Three Doctors, a big telly event, round my Nana's. More vividly there was one particular storyline - perhaps The Daemons? - where some small creature came to life in the back seat of a car. That gave me one or two sleepless nights.

Don't think I was ever a huge fan, and I drifted away once Tom Baker and his scarf had departed. I always did enjoy the change from one doctor to the next, though they started to tumble like Premiership managers as time went by. Given that it's been off our screens for so long, I wonder how many 16 year olds have ever seen it?

Can't stop thinking of that creature in the car now. I might leave the landing light on tonight.

Be seeing you!