Sunday, 27 December 2009

More of those little ident clips...

Long before Tennant got power crazed and took over everything that is Who, the job of publicity was shared around a bit more. Even the bad guys got a chance.

The daleks (well, dalek influenced '2's) got a special ident for Doctor Who Night (13 Nov 1999), hosted by Tom Baker, and its popularity meant it went on to join the roster of regular idents. A variant on this ident, named Exterminate, has the sequence opening with the Dalek '2' shouting the familiar phrase.

I've gone for a longer intro version, complete with Tom Baker introducing the evenings shows and edits of all the ins and outs. One thing leads to another, as they say, so here's one of those shows, the comedy sketch with Mark Gatiss.

And another, 'How to build a TARDIS', of note for another couple of Delek idents at the beginning and end.

I couldn't find the other shows...

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Whomas

Framegrab from the BBC Xmas 'idents' (one of three done with Tennant and TARDIS).

Watch on YouTube...

Thats the first time I've embedded a video link! Easy. Now to take over the known universe...

You can see them all on the official BBC Who site here

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Doctor beats the Daleks, at last...

So far we´ve looked at the first Who related merchandise, all of which has been Dalek themed, from ´The Dalek Book´ and Cadet collectors cards, to the first novelisation, in which he at least got the headline over the Daleks. However two days after the publication of that first story, the Doctor appeared in his own comic strip, published in TV Comic magazine on the 14 November 1964, and without a Dalek in sight. So far, David Whitaker, series script-writer, had played a key role in writing supporting Who material, but here he is notably absent. The artwork was by Neville Main and later Bill Mevin.

Starting in the 10 part The Klepton Parasites, and joined at the beginning by his grandchildren John and Gillian, the Doctor embarks on a run of stories which would continue in the magazine through to the end of the second Doctors reign, including also Annual and Holiday specials.

Many stories were later reprinted by Marvel UK under the Classic Comics series launched in 1992.

The best place to start getting to know these stories online is the excellent Who website In the Comics, with story briefs and example artwork, and presented to us by Altered Vistas. I´ve also found the odd scanned story to download, but few and far between. Perhaps there´s scans of the Classic Comics out there somewhere.

[UPDATE SEPT 2010: For several months now a blog has been building up a great archive of the early comic strips, scanned from the reprinted and colourised 'Classic Comics', along with all out other Who comics strips. Check out Doctor Who Comic Fun, and show your appreciation!]

I should probably post up as list of the stories, but I think I´ll tackle them Doctor by Doctor rather than all in one go... sooner or later...

Friday, 18 December 2009

Another Dalek ´first´...

Published on 12 November 1964, just in time for the second arrival of the Daleks in the TV series ´The Dalek Invaision of Earth´, was the first ever Who book. A novelisation of their first appearance almost a year earlier, Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, was written by David Whitaker and published in hardback by Frederick Muller. The first edition of 20,000 copies, with pink dustjacket, soon sold out and was quickly reprinted in December (the second, and later third, editions have grey covers).

Twelve internal black and white illustrations were by Arnold Schwartzman (a detail from one was reused on the cover).

A paperback edition was issued on 4th October 1965 by May Fair Books Ltd, under the Armada Paperbacks imprint. This version did not use Schwartzman's artwork, instead having a colour cover and 6 line illustrations by Peter Archer. This was the first Doctor Who novel to be published in paperback.

On 2 May 1973 it was the first Who title published under the Target Books range, renaming it as ´Doctor Who and the Daleks´, although the full title was still given on the inside frontpage, and with the subtitle "Based on the popular BBC television serial". From 1977 onwards reprinted editions, now complete with the arched Who logo, dropped the full title completly. All of the Target editions included the 12 illustrations by Schwartzman.

The now classic cover illustration was by Chris Achilleos, who has acknowledged the influence of Ron Turner's artwork for The Dalek Chronicles comic published in TV Century 21 (more about that soon!), in particular the two Daleks were modelled from Issue 60 (The Rogue Planet, part 2) and the title graphic from Issue 76 (Legacy of Yesteryear) onwards.

In January 1992 it was republished by Virgin, retitled ´Doctor Who - The Daleks´ and released with a new cover by Bruce Pearson.

BBC Audio used the Achilleos artwork on the cover of their 2005 audio CD release as part of the ´Doctor Who: Travels in Time and Space´ collectors tin, with actor William Russell (Ian) reading the novelisation.

Probably one of the best Who related websites, On Target, has jacket details and cover examples, including a section on foreign editions, complete with scans of inside illustrations by varying artists. Definately a site to booknmark!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Smokin´ Who

Hot on the heals of ´The Dalek Book´, Dr. Who and the Daleks sweet cigarettes were produced by Cadet in mid 1964, with artwork heavily inspired by the Dalek Book, and each packet containing a free collectors picture card.

Produced back in the days when smoking was cool, confectionery known as ´sweet cigarettes´ were popular for kids who wanted to emulate their parents' addiction. In this politically correct era they are now marketed as ´candy sticks´...

The series of 50 cards were split in half into two stories, illustrated by different artists. The likeness (and character) of the Doctor is hard to match to the TV version, in the first story having white hair, and in the second dark, but neither looking much like Hartnell.

The first story features the Doctor and the Daleks visiting Marinus and the Voord, created by Terry Nation in the TV story ´The Keys of Marinus´. Notably the Daleks are in search of magic mushrooms to make them invincable... The second story features the Doctor on an equally bizarre rescue mission with the Daleks.

Apparently there are two imprints of the cards, first by Cadet and then Goodies, which are much rarer. There are also two versions of the box, with different back panel illustrations - the common one being a space rocket (above), and the rarer version a ringed planet.

Unfortunately there was no special album produced to accompany the cards. although you could send off for a generic album.

There´s not much about these on the net, although I know I have found stuff before, I can´t find anything worth linking here at the moment. I do have a downloaded collection of the complete set, but again I can´t remember where I found it! It contains a banner page listing it as a "Receptacle Presentation", and a notes page from which much of the info presented here has been edited. If you search around you´ll certainly find the odd card scan (eg. ebay and other collectors sites), and card number 50 is show above.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Beginnings of Dalekmania!

As most of us know, the Daleks featured in the second ever Who story, ´The Mutants´ (or ´The Dead Planet´, or even ´The Daleks´!), in late 1963 and early 1964, and were an instant audience hit. Terry Nation knew he had something big on his hands, and controlled the branding, marketing and promotion of the Daleks in a manner to which even Davros would be proud.

´Dalekmania´, as it became known, was driven by the huge commercial promotion of Dalek merchandise that took place from the mid 1960s and which followed the huge commercial influence of ´Beatlemania´. There were other manias to follow (Batmania in 1966, Monkeemania in 1967) but Dalekmania was probably the first TV grown merchandise boom. It was not until late 1964, when ¨The Dalek Invasion of Earth¨ arrived, that the tills really started ringing. From clockwork Daleks to Dalek soap, the shops were full of wierd collectables, many of which remain the most highly sought after items for Who fans with more money than sense (purely a mathematical equation, no disrespect to Who collectors, of course!).

One of the very first items of Dalek merchandise, and indeed Who merchandise, was ´The Dalek Book´. Published by Souvenir Press (Panther Books) on the 30 June 1964 this 96 page hardback annual was the first time The Daleks appeared in comic strip form. The Dalek Book contained both colour and black & white comic strips and illustrated text stories and told the story of the Dalek invasion of our solar system and their ultimate, and apparent, defeat. It also featured a new photostory with Susan and the Daleks using images from the first Who Dalek story. There´s no Doctor in any of these these stories.

The book was said to be "Based on the Dalek Chronicles discovered and translated by Terry Nation" and was co-written by TV Who script editor David Whittaker and Dalek creator and writer Terry Nation. The illustrations were by Richard Jennings (including the cover artwork), John Woods and A.B. Cornwell. [Jennings was also the first artist chosen to illustrate the regular weekly Dalek strip on the back cover of the new comic TV Century 21 which started in January 1965.]

The book showed the Daleks in flight over 40 years before they would gain the ability on TV - a major improvement in Dalek technology which BBC special effects (and budgets) couldn´t match at the time. Although in the comics they flew by means of ´transolar discs´, flying platforms which allowed the Daleks to fly through space, the imagery of a flying Dalek armada clearly inspired similar scenes in the New Who story ´Doomsday´.

The story was recently used as the vague basis for the backstory of the Dalek Empire audio series produced by Big Finish.

If you are lucky enough to find The Dalek Book you can expect to pay over 50 quid for it in good condition. If, like me, you´re still waiting to win the lottery, then settle for the downloadable scans which you can find here (along with most of the Dalek annuals from the 60s and 70s).


Invasion of the Daleks - comic strip
Red for Danger - text story with illustrations
The Oil Well - comic strip
The Message of Mystery - photo story
The Secret of the Mountain - text story with illustrations
City of the Daleks - comic strip
The Humanoids - comic strip
The Small Defender - text story with illustrations
Monsters of Gurnian - comic strip
Break-through! - text story with illustrations
Battle for the Moon - comic strip


The Dalek Planetarium
The Dalekode
Anatomy of a Dalek
Dodge the Dalek
Dalek War Machines
Dalography of Skaro
The Dalek Dictionary

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Those Radio Times (Part 1) : Classic Who covers

The Radio Times is a weekly TV listing magazine published by the BBC in the UK. Over the years it has included many articles on Who, and most notably, many covers (no other TV programme has had nearly so many). The Who covers are very collectable, and cover many years of the programme.

The beginning of the TV series was marked only with a cover tag "DR WHO - a new Saturday-afternoon television series of adventures in time and space" (Radio Times 23rd - 30th November 1963). The first Who cover publicised the now lost classic ´Marco Polo´ (RT, 22-28 February 1963).

This was followed by the first Dalek cover promoting ´The Dalek Invasion of Earth´ (Radio Times 21st - 28th November 1964) , with the slightly misleading cover tag: "DR. WHO and the Daleks Saturday TV". A feature depicts the invaders trundling across Westminster Bridge in a classic photoshoot, and mistakenly refers to them as 'robots' throughout. The last first Doctor cover promoted ´The Web Planet´ (RT 13-19 February 1964).

Patrick Troughton´s arrival as the Doctor was marked with another Dalek cover, promoting his first story, ´Power of the Daleks´ (RT 5 - 11 November 1966). Patrick was interviewed the following month for the launch of ´The Highlanders´ (RT 15th - 21st December 1966).

1967 marked the first Cyberman cover, (RT 2-8 September 1967), supporting the ´Tomb of the Cybermen´ story and featuring the cover blurb: "DR. WHO and his companions face their old enemies, the Cybermen. Saturday BBC 1 see page 3". "My instincts tell me that terrible danger awaits us," the Doctor writes in his diary for the story preview. [A copy sold for over £100 on ebay in April 2010].

Another lanmark cover, this time the first in colour, portrays Troughton´s doctor (RT 20-26 January 1968) marked the ´Enemey of the Wolrd´ story, with the cover headline "Monstrous world of Doctor Who - RT talks to the BBC wardrobe and effects people".

From 1970 to 1973, Each of Jon Pertwee's seasons as the Third Doctor were heralded by a Radio Times cover (RT 1-7 January 1970, 2-8 January 1971 (below), 1-7 January 1972 - the highly collectable Frank Bellamy ´Day of the Daleks´ cover - and 30 December - 7 January 1973, with the 10th anniversary story ´The Three Doctors´).

Pertwee´s final cover (RT 15th - 22nd December 1973 - "Who´s your friend") marked an appearance on Parkinson, with a feature looking at the Doctor's popular appeal, together with his appearance on the Five Doctors cover, he achieved six covers.

For ten years, Who was without a RT cover - the show under Tom Baker was deamed so popular that it didn´t need promoting!

The next cover celebrated the 20th Anniversary adventure The Five Doctors (RT 19-25 November 1983), illustrated by Andrew Skilleter. This particular issue was hit by a printers strike that meant a reduced number of copies were available and indeed some regions received no issue.

Another 10 year gap was followed by the 30th Anniversary of Doctor Who, marked by ´Dimensions in Time´ in association with the BBC's annual Children in Need appeal (RT 20-26 November 1993).

Three years later, Paul McGann got his cover promoting the TV Movie (RT 25-31 May 1996). This issue, began a regular page sci-fi feature that included ongoing comic strip adventures for the Eigth Doctor in anticipation of a new relaunch for Doctor Who. The page was later abandoned and the comic strip had its run ended early.

Even after the cancellation of the classic series, a Doctor Who Night, with over three hours of programming presented by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, provided the excuse for another Dalek cover (RT 13-19 November 1999), featuring a specially commisioned Dalek portrait, shot by Lord Snowdon, which was originally used as a postage stamp design. A readers' offer included a full set of high quality postcards each depicting Radio Times Doctor Who covers to date.

In 2003 a set of four different covers were released to celebrate the series 40th Anniversary (RT 22 – 28 November 2003). Finally Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy all has their own individual Who covers, although on a shared issue, which joined together to form a single image. Tom even got himself a new redesigned costume, for obvious reasons. A 16 Page centre pull-out celebrated the series, containing features and competitions - win a (replica) dalek and also original illustration artwork by Mark Thomas from the 20th-anniversary RT special (I wonder where this is now!).

There have also been two RT special anniversary issues, marking the 10th and 20th anniversaries of the series. The 10th anniversary RT Who special was reprinted and available to order as part of the 40th anniversary issues above. I´ll cover these in a future post.

Radio Times website has a gallery and details of Who covers here. For those of you who want to see inside the RT issues covering Who, visit the Cuttings Archive here, which appears to have the most comprehensive online library of Who related scans, as well as a ´covers´ section here (this site is a mine of information and well worth exploring).

A three page Doctor Who Magazine article, ´Those Radio Times´ appeared in issue 161 (June 1990), highlighting the coverage of Who inside the RT.