Friday, 30 April 2010

Fancy a pint?

Following on our recent theme of Daleks in advertising, here's a fun little oddity... a Dalek beer matt! As per usual this is an image I found whilst browsing the net a while ago, and I've not noted where I got it from or any details (one of my main reasons starting blog was to create a structured way of recording such details and reminding myself!).

All I do know is that the Higsons brewery is based in Liverpool, and I am guessing that the use of the Dalek image was not authorised by the Beeb or Terry Nation's estate. If I had to put a bet on the date I'd go for late 70s, but it's just a feeling... anyone else know more?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Dalek Invasion of Lincoln, 1965

One of my favourite Who bloggers, Combom, has posted the following image which he discovered going through a local history book.

He asks if these are the costumes that were commerically available for kids at the time. The red Dalek 'playsuits' which are shown in the photograph were manufactured by Berwick in 1965 and sold for £3 6s 6d (£3.32). I guess they were popular Christas presents back in 1965, as part of the wave of 'Dalek-mania' mechandising which invaded the country. Surprisingly, considering their flimsy PVC looking nature, they still occasionally pop up on ebay and in collections, some complete with box and packaging. Below is a pic I captured off ebay some time ago - one sold for two hundred pounds in 2003. There is a link to another one here, currently for sale from Metropolis Vintage Toys, at a nice £675.

There's an odd little piece by a proud (?) owner of one of these playsuits back in the day here. Apparently, Marc Aldmond (lead singer of 1980's group Soft Cell), used to walk around wearing one!

I've also found reference to an earlier blue Dalek playsuit, manufactured by Scorpion in 1964 (I think - need to check this!).

Photo from The Skaro Toy Musuem. Apparently this Dalek playsuit from Scorpion Automotives, complete with flashing eye, survives only in limited numbers as the factory that made them suffered a fire which destroyed nearly all their stock and many of the parts required to make the suits. Only a couple are still in existence. Should one come up for sale, expect a price tag of thousands rather than hundreds. An article here refers to one sold for £3,000 several years ago, and estimates a value of £5,000 (2008 price).

I dont know any more than this at the moment, but will add details to this post as I get them!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Time of Angels

OK, I've had to watch this twice as on first impression it didn't quite get me. But second time round, and ignoring the Bishop character, oh, and the religous references, it felt much better.

Second time round I forced myself to watch the scenes as Song is picked up by the TARDIS - on first viewing I cringed and had to look away as floating in space scenarios always burst the disbelief bubble for me (think fifth Doctor 'Enlightenment' and bouncing cricket balls). And what were those opening scenes? All a bit unecessary when what we really needed was a bit more background to the gravity of Song's predicament and that results in her taking such a risky plan of action as jumping off a space ship in the hope of hitching a lift.

We get good screentime inside the new TARDIS, which still looks a bit clumsy to me, but then I was a fan of Davies 'organic' TARDIS interior. Moffatt's mechanical version still has to grow on me. But I loved the scenes with Song taking control of the TARDIS and landing her, very nicely done, and couldn't help but feel the foundations of the season finale are being set with much of this episode, which is obviously set in Song's recent past, and the Doctor's not too distant future - so she's met Amy before as well. And obviously Song has some secrets.

I've got to say I loved the regenerating angels, all decayed and distorted. I didn't really like the original angels that much - a bit to plastic - but these evolving forms were really well done. And good to see them develping the angels story and their behaviour, as they were a bit one dimensional in their first outing.

And the direction and filming was good, especially considering so much of it was filmed on location and underground.

I think I'll save the rest of my musings for next week and after epsiode two, but a solid 7/10 (or perhaps seven and a half) on first (or second) impressions.

As ever there's some odd little design and graphic artwork pieces on the Beeb website, some of which I'm guessing relate to gadgets and stuff for next week...

New 'ident' with animated Doctor, Dalek & TARDIS

New ident launched tonight to celebrate BBC's Saturday night lineup: All New Total Wipeout, Doctor Who and Over the Rainbow. Created by Aardman, in collaboration with Red Bee Media, it features animated versions of Graham Norton, Richard Hammond, the Doctor (with Dalek and TARDIS) and Charlotte Church.


The Runaway Train

Now I like a freebie, especially one as good as this - a new who audio, read by the new Who, Matt Smith, free with The Daily Telegraph today.

"Arriving on Earth in the midst of the American Civil War, the Doctor and Amy must get a posse together to help them retrieve an alien artefact that has fallen into the clutches of the Confederate Army. The terraforming device belongs to the Cei, a race of invaders who plan to use it to turn the planet into a new home world.

But neither the Army nor the aliens are keen to let the Doctor and his gang interfere with their plans, and give chase across the Wild West. The only hope of escape for the Doctor and friends is to catch the 3.25 to Arizona and race along ther newly-built transcontinental railroad."

This title will be officially released by BBC in October (pre order from their online shop here) and at just over an hour long it looks like we have the full unedited version. The first in the series, Ring of Steel', is released in August.

I'm listening to it at the moment and am very impressed with Matt Smith, who is a joy to listen to.

Rainbow Daleks revamped to 'target toy shops'

The Daily Mail

On screen, they have undergone a multi-coloured makeover as part of their continuing plan for universal conquest.

Critics are claiming, however, that the revamp of the Daleks may have more to do with the BBC's wish to increase its share of the merchandising market.

The alien menace has seen a number of changes since first appearing in Doctor Who in 1963, but these have generally been minor.

But the new Daleks unveiled in last week's episode now not only come in a range of eye-popping primary colours but are considerably bigger.

Fans complained that they looked like Fisher Price toys, with one adding: 'It's a padded Dalek. A soft toy Dalek. It looks like half marshmallow and half plastic.'

Another added: 'What a shame to see a genuinely menacing Dalek design scrapped.'

Some fear that they have been changed simply to generate more toy sales, a point reinforced by the fact that the Doctor himself has been given a new-look Tardis and sonic screwdriver.

Merchandise connected to Doctor Who has always been a big seller for the corporation, from sweets and bubble bath to DVDs of episodes.

A BBC spokesman said: 'The scripts always come first and the coloured Daleks were in the script. This is not new, we have had different colour Daleks on the show before.

'The script specified the colour of the Daleks.'


Friday, 23 April 2010

Free Who BBC audio CDs

From this Saturday, April 24, claim free Doctor Who stories on CD, with The Daily Telegraph.

A brand new, exclusive story - The Runaway Train - read by new Doctor, Matt Smith. The Runaway Train also features his companion, Amy Pond.

Then inside The Sunday Telegraph - Part One of Pest Control, a thrilling story read by David Tennant and featuring the Doctor's companion, Donna Noble.

From Monday, April 26, you can claim a further five free CDs at WHSmith using a voucher printed each day in The Daily Telegraph - take each day's voucher to your nearest high street WHSmith to claim.

Saturday, April 24 - The Runaway Train - An original story, read by Matt Smith.

Arriving on Earth in the midst of the American Civil War, the Doctor and Amy must get a posse together to help them retrieve an alien artefact. The duo are chased across the Wild West by the alien race, their only hope of escape catching the 3.25 to Arizona.

Sunday, April 25 - Pest Control - Part One. An original BBC audiobooks story, read by David Tennant.

Monday, April 26 - Pest Control - Part Two. An original BBC audiobooks story, read by David Tennant.

Tuesday, April 27 - Slipback - Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Valentine Dyall star in this BBC Radio 4 adventure from 1985.

Wednesday, April 28 - Exploration Earth - Tom Baker and Sarah Jane Smith star in this special BBC School Radio episode from 1976.

Thursday, April 29 - Geneisis of the Daleks - Tom Baker narrates an abridged audio version of the 1975 television adventure.

Friday, April 30 - Mission on the Unknown - The soundtrack to a Doctor Who adventure from 1965, but which famously does not feature the Doctor himself, with linking narration by Peter Purves.

Whilst the new story, featuring Matt Smith, is obviously welcomed, you have to wonder why they are giving away stories like 'Slipback', and the odd 'Exploration Earth'. Is the idea to put people off buying audio dramas? Why don't they give away some good stories instead of these left-over oddities?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Jo to join SJA

Katy Manning is to reprise her role as Jo Grant is the Sarah Jane Adventures. Now I don't normally cover the SJA, especialy as I haven't seen any of them yet, but I will definately be watching this one! Jo was the main companion of the third Doctor, and infamously posed naked with a dalek for a men's magazine (must stick those pics up one day...). Now I liked Jo, and thought she was a great character, if not the best.

Read all about it in SFX here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Daleks and zig-zaggy up and down things

Following on from the Dalek advertising theme, here's an advert for Volkswagen, featuring our tinpot friends. I think this came from the now deleted Cuttings Archive, as I can't find any references online, so can't tell you when this was... I'm guessing sometime in the eighties.

And obviously before it was revealved in Sylvester McCoy's 'Remembrance Of The Daleks' that they can travel up stairs... something many journalists had forgotten by the time the new series 'Dalek' arrived.

And just as we can, here it is

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Power mad?

2003 billboard ad for Energizer batteries with our special friends. Not sure if it was used in other formats, but I think I remember seeing it in magazines.

Again I guess this is a 'fan-made' Dalek rather than official Beeb version (it looks too good to be one of the crappy Beeb ones, even with a paint job!). No controversy over the use of their image, so I guess all the copyright boxes were ticked and royalties paid.

And to answer the question, yes. Obvioulsy.

Here be Monsters

I've just read an interview with Stephen Moffat, Who exec producer, 'The man with a monster of a job', from about a month ago in The Guardian (here - I've back-posted it as well). It's an interesting read if you hadn't found it before.

One line particularly caught my attention.

"If anyone said to me 'invent a new monster so we can sell more toys', I'd kick them out of my office."

So we can rule out the idea that the new Dalek design, and colours, had anything to do with marketing merchandise and making money! Thank goodness, and I should apologise to you all for having previously suggested it.

I've grown quite cynical of the marketing machine which has grown up around Who. There's just so much of it. It's become the monster that stalks the show. Back in the day (long ago!) when I started collecting Who stuff you didn't have much to fork out on. Just a fairly reasonably priced Target book, once a month, and the good old Who monthly magazine (as it had just become), and you were more or less done. OK, there was more than that, much more in fact, but anyway, I'm trying to make a point!

I've always been a bit of a collector of stuff, so naturally began to collect the books, magazines and occasional bits and bobs which came my way. But the appeal to me was (and still is) hunting out and finding second hand items, things you couldn't get in the high street shops, old things which might one day even become worth something. Although I found myself buying more and more stuff new as it came out. Typically nothing I have is especially rare, as I have never had the cash to invest in any serious collecting, as much as I would have liked.

Even when the videos started coming out I tried to resist, until of course they deleted half the titles and they became 'collectable'... and I suddenly found myself paying twice the original shop price (or more) for some titles. I really should have looked into DVD's... especially as the videos are hardly worth squat anymore.

Nowadays it's almost impossible to keep track of items released, especially stuff relting to new Who, and surely none but the most serious of collectors buys all this stuff new, when it first comes out, when it's top dollar price. Or do they? I guess they (you?) must. I suppose it keeps the wheels of the economy turning! I'm just too much of an anti-captialist anti-consumerist anti-everythingist.

Now I know there are lots of serious collectors out there with huge collections of stuff... have a look at the collector site RichardWho if you doubt me. But how many buy everything religously when released (CDs, DVDs, books, games, toys...). Seriously, that's an obsession! Perhaps even a monstrous obsession. (I'm just jelous, I want to buy it all...!!!)

And hunting down second-hand stuff isn't what it used to be... ebay has reduced the chances of finding Charity Shop bargins to zero, as they nearly all check the stuff they have online. But ebay also opens up a window on whats out there, and gives any collector the opportunity to get the items they want, instantly in many cases.

Luckily for me, or more to the point my wallet, I've not been based in the UK for the last five years, so haven't had that gravitational urge to pull money out of my pocket for all the new series stuff. Thank god. A man my age shouldn't really be buying action figures anyway. I've even weaned myself off my old favourite DW magazine, and given up on filling the gaps in my collection (for now, anyway!). There's just so much information online, that for me the magazine has become a bit defunct. Mind you, I've not looked at a copy for five years, so don't take my word for it!

However there's quite a bit of 'classic' who spin off stuff that I have my eye on (a never ending quest). So how to justify the expense?

And here be the real monster of this tale. I'm a smoker. Have been for most my life, and I hate it. So... time to give up... and just think of all that Who stuff I can buy with the money I save! Truth is it's the cost of the damn things back here in the UK which is forcing the issue, but anyway.

So, inspite of my 'no new who' rule (well, rules are made to be broken, and the sooner the better), my first target will be all the new Radio Times Who covers which I've missed. I'm a 10 a day smoker, so for every two days I can survive without buying a packet of fags I'm hitting ebay to buy one issue!

Now I doubt I will be able to give up flat. In fact, I'm finding it hard to imagine how I can do two days... and this isn't the first time I've tried this! But it's the first time I have confessed here, in public. Sort of. (As if anyone reads this!)

All I have to do now is decide is when. Surely tomorrow is too soon! Perhaps Wednesday and Thursday...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

'Hands-free' Daleks

(Click for larger image.)

Can you imagine what the Health & Safety guys would say now... no choking parts? Well, apart from a self-detaching sucker and gun...

Restoration of the Daleks

Wow! What an excellent episode! And yes, we did get Daleks offering cups of tea on trays, but sadly Jammie Dodgers were not offered on the plate, but instead promoted to a major supporting role (I won't spoil the episode for those who haven't seen it!). Perhaps it will be an 'extra' scene added on the DVD release. Or more likely I shall just have to keep it as part of my personal imaginary world of Doctor Who. I am sort of glad - if the Daleks had offered "tea and Jammie Dodgers" then it would have started a whole debate about to dunk or not to dunk. As it is I am left wondering if the Daleks put milk in their tea first or last.

Anyway! The best episode of the new season so far, with perfect pacing of the storyline, delightful direction and awesome acting. 9/10! I must admit, I was slightly worried about Mark Gatiss writing this story, but he's done a damn good job, on what could have easily become a cringable cheesy charade.

I was suitably impressed by the speed at which the British war effort threw together the anti-gravity bubble technology that enabled Spitfires to fly in space - in less than the 10 minutes it took for the German bombers to cross the Channel. But this aside, the story was largely free of the logic-defying and explanation-deprived stuff which RTD had so regularly presented to us in the new series to date.

In fact I am detecting some hints that the new season story arc may be about to undo some of the RDT madness. Last week we had the Doctor referring to the Time War, or perhaps to the events of The End of Time, as a "bad day" and wishing that he could erase events. This week we have the loose end of Amy not knowing about the Daleks and the events of The Stolen Earth and Journey's End. Is Mr Moffatt planning to re-write a bit of recent Dalek history? Perhaps we (well, me and Amy) live in a different universe, and all that stuff happened in a parrallel one!

What else? Well, Scotland gets a mention again, for the third episode in a row, and also Post Offices, for the second time. And lots of Union Jacks. Again. And someone gets pick-pocketed, again, and Amy saves the day, again... all a bit too much two episodes in a row. Oh, and that crack...

And we're also left with a Dalek-made humanoid android pottering around on Earth. Now I am sure everything will be OK and they will all live happily ever after, but I just can't help but wonder if he picked up that Dalek gun off the table before he left... Now having Dalek controlled 'sleepers' left hanging around is not new to Who, in fact after 'Resurrection of the Daleks' we understood they had infiltrated our whole society... one day someone will pick up that loose thread!

I also found myself thinking about the superiority of the Phillips screw system, as opposed to the slotted screw, which the Daleks have obviously cottoned on to. Well, you would expect nothing less from the self-proclaimed master race.

Oh yes, and of course... new Daleks! (and ones which have obviousbly moved on from the Phillips screw to some sort of invisible press and clip system, I imagine). Now I'm not so sure about these, and I guess most Who fans will take some time to accept this new design. I'm not bothered about the colours, which I think is a nice throw-back to the classic old Dalek movies, but there is something about the shape which just didn't do it for me. There was a pleasing perfection to the proportions of a classic dalek, and these news ones just seam a little ugly to me, bulky in the wrong places (I can imagine the operators needed more elbow room). That and their overall 'plastic moulded' appearance bothered me. I must admit I examined this weeks Radio Times very carefully, half convinced that they had used toy models for the Dalek covers. I guess that this new 'simplified' version is as much to make the CGI and special effects easier (and replication by toy makers) as it is for the operators. Who knows, perhaps in years to come these daleks toys will still have their plungers and guns!

We also have different designations of Dalek:

White - Supreme (complete with 'Emporer' style voice)
Blue - Scientists
Orange - Strategist
Red - Drones
Yellow - Eternal

With Gatiss and Moffatt apparently having no idea what an 'enternal' Dalek is or does. Do we believe them? And after such a definate "We'll be back" ending? Surely they are lined up for either the season end or Christmas special...

The official Who website has the usual collection of clips to watch, galleries to browse and other bits and bobs to explore, including some nice concept art and graphics, and a 'must watch' Blue Peter clip on how to create your on Dalek cakes!

Eating Dalek cake with your cup of tea probably tops having it with a Jammie Dodger, although for me KitKats still win.

Note to self - must do more on bits from Blue Peter!

Take a break...

If you're not a fan of Jammie Dodgers (like me) then go for a Kit-Kat! I find they go very well with a nice cup of tea.

A 2001 advertising campaign for KitKat, featuring Daleks chasing people saying, in the standard Dalek tones, "We love you!" and "Give us a cuddle!", while the final shot had Daleks following a group of Hare Krishna devotees, chanting "Peace and love!".

Wikipedia states that the Daleks' use in this advert was brought to an end by the estate of Terry Nation, who had not been aware of the usage. The advertising agency had mistakenly believed that the creatures were in the public domain.

However the excellent DalekLinks site states that it was endorsed by both the BBC and the estate of Terry Nation...

The Daleks used are 'fan-made' rather than Beeb props.

Nearly tea-time

"Would you care for some tea?"

Damn, I should have popped out today and got myself some Jammie Dodgers in preparation for tonight's episode. Anyway, time to make a cuppa and warm the tellie up (who rememebers when you actually had to do that for a minute or so before you watched your programme, unless you wanted distorted shapes and funny colours)...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

I just can't wait...

I am confidently predicting that Daleks will offer the Doctor tea and Jammoe Dodgers in Saturday's episode. I'm going to be so dissapointed if not...

The original Dalek tea time

Now that last post and photo of Dalek family having tea stirred a memory, so a quick dig around and what do we have... a proper Dalek tea party with the original Doctor!

This is again from the RT, this one dating from Christmans 1964. Now I usually go to one of my fav linked sites, The Cuttings Archive, to get this sort of info, but the site HAS GONE! I'm hoping its only temporary, as it was a wonderful archive of early who RT stuff, and I can't stand to think of it gone! I should have donwloaded everything!!

So if I remember rightly, this was some little girl who won a RT comeptition and got to go and have tea with Dr Who and a couple of daleks. Wow. I'd kill to be able to have done that. Or maybe it was taken for a fictional story of a girl visiting the BBC and having tea with some daleks. I definately remember something about a fictional story... damn, something else to look up...

EDIT: 19/04/10 - I've found another little clipping relating to this, the article was called 'Alice In Wonderland' - a "fantastic journey into the world of television".

Dalek tea time

Just browsing the RT website gallery linked in my last post, and amongst the images of old RT dalek covers, there's a couple of odd images which I haven't seen before.

"Anyone for tea?"

And another...

I'm guessing due to their Christmassy theme they have been on the gallery for a while (perhaps since around Christmas time?).

De ja vu Daleks on RT cover

This week's Radio Times celebrates the Daleks, with a cover recreating the 2005 cover (which in itself was a recreation of a 1966 RT photoshoot and cover!). There are three different colour versions available, red, blue and yellow (representing our three main political parties) all with the slogan 'Vote Dalek!' a reference to our forthcoming elections. If only we could, I'd be tempted - it would make a change from the androids we have as MPs.

The Radio Times website has covers and photos here. Combom has scans of the articles here

And here's the double page scan from 2005 - with the 1966 black and white photo insert, again with 'Vote Dalek!'.

And yes, we have new style Daleks, but so far those seen in the clips for Victory of the Daleks have been the usual style to date for the New Series...

The Changing Face of Who

A new archive of early classic Who documents is published online today by the BBC, including internal memos on the first regeneration. The documents have resurfaced following research for this weeks Radio Times, which features a Dalek cover and articles (more about that in my next post...)

The Doctor's transformation was meant to convey the "hell and dank horror" of the hallucinogenic drug, according to papers published on the BBC Archive.

In an internal memo dating from 1966, producers outlined how the original Doctor, William Hartnell, would be transformed for his successor Patrick Troughton.

"The metaphysical change... is a horrifying experience - an experience in which he relives some of the most unendurable moments of his long life, including the galactic war," it said.

"It is as if he has had the LSD drug and instead of experiencing the kicks, he has the hell and dank horror which can be its effect," the memo added.

The archive is padded out with old Radio Times cuttings, but includes other interesting internal documents such as audience research reports for new Doctors and internal memo's detailing new characters for Pertwee's second season (Jo and the Master).

View the archive here. BBC News have picked up on the story here.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Beast Below

Well, what can we say, a solid episode, great acting from the cast but for me the direction lacked something... our new production team settling in still?

Certainly some positives, with a strong storyline, a welcome improvement from previous seasons, although suffering slighly from lack of time to explore the complex ideas presented, but it somehow lacked dramatic impact. Perhaps I spoiled it for myself, by having already gathered enough information on the episode to put most of the plot toether!

I liked the last Star Whale concept, but couldn't help wondering what those sharp pointy teeth where for. Or those 'tendrils' whilch kept popping up, which I think had been visualised poorly.

One of my little pet hates are aliens which seam to break concepts of evolutionary biology, and whilst I can stretch to inter-planetary 'Star Whales', the teeth just made me cringe. Why would a space dwelling organism need teeth? Are there bigger things out there that they eat? Would it not have been better for it to be a filter-feeder, just like our oceanic whales?

I also didn't buy the concept of the whole UK nation being on the starship. A city, perhaps (I'm sure we can all imagine Liverpool or Manchester being left beind on Earth), but for the whole UK nation to have had no evacuation plan seams a little shortsighted. Surely we would have come up with something? Or perhaps the national debt got too much and we couldn't afford anything. And again, the visual representation just didn't do it for me, not being nearly big enough in scale or imagination to carry the concept. From the size of Starship UK I'm a bit worried about our future gene pool and inbreeding.

Another worrying trend is that the Doctor is again recognised, by Liz Ten, and then called at the end of the episode by his 'old friend' Winston Churchill. And as we know, we still have the return of River Song, Daleks, Wheeping Angels and Silurians to come. Is our new Doctor going to be recognised wherever he goes? I hope not, I prefer it when we forget all this super hero stuff.

So, whilst I enjoyed the show, I'm gonna give it a pessamistic 6/10, with hopes for improvement - perhaps even a mention of tea - in the next episode.

The BBC official website has all the usual photo galleries and stuff, including online viewing (if your in the UK!), as well as the odd production images which I find interesting.

Political Who 2

A couple of months agos Who made the national news with revelaions of the hidden agenda in its late 1980's incarnation - to bring down the then current Tory government no less.

Now new Who is in on the act, with tonight's episode to feature a message blasting the Conservatives.

A livid Doctor says: "Once every five years everyone chooses to forget what they have learned. That's democracy."

A source said: "This almost echoes what Labour has been saying about how people should not forget what they learned in the 80s. They think the Tories will drag the country down again and it looks like the Doctor feels the same."

The show's new star, Matt Smith, has declined to reveal who he will be voting for but executive producer Steven Moffat said this month: "I hope the Tories don't win."

I say we need to overthrow the system, not just the government!


Monday, 5 April 2010

Too sexy for Who?

Scandal! Our new Who is too sexy! According to the good old Telegraph, it led to a host of complaints and comments on online message boards that it is 'too sexy'! Makes a change from too violent I suppose.

"The first show of the new series, broadcast on Saturday, featured a kissogram, a naked Doctor and a “sexed up” Tardis. Amy Pond, was revealed as a kissogram dressed in a skimpy policeman’s outfit, complete with mini-skirt and handcuffs. In one scene, Amy, played by the actress Karen Gillan, told the Doctor that her kissogram repertoire also included nuns and nurses’ outfits."

Worst of all, "Even the Tardis had a racy revamp, newly equipped with a walk-in wardrobe and swimming pool. Upon seeing the interior of his updated time machine, the Doctor declared: “Oh, you sexy thing.”"

Well, considering the amount of sex our society already exposes young children to, it seams pretty tame to me. Just for the record, I think we need another photo of Karen in her outfit to remind ourselves...

Image from screencaptures gallery linked through Combom.


Saturday, 3 April 2010

Guinness World Record for Doctor Who Magazine

Guinness World Records has named Doctor Who Magazine the world’s “Longest Running Magazine Based on a Television Series”.

First published on October 11, 1979, with a cover date of October 17, the magazine began life as Doctor Who Weekly, but with issue 44 moved from a weekly to a monthly publication in September 1980. At this time, it changed its name to, simply, Doctor Who. Other title changes took effect from issue 61, when it became Doctor Who Monthly, and issue 85, to The Official Doctor Who Magazine. From issue 99, the periodical became The Doctor Who Magazine, then, in 1985, just Doctor Who Magazine with issue 107.

With one exception, this is the title it has remained under ever since. The exception occurred in June 2008, when issue 397 was published as Bad Wolf. The significance of the words “Bad Wolf” could be found in the Russell T Davies-penned Doctor Who episode Turn Left, which saw its first television transmission that same month in the UK.

Despite the television series being discontinued by the BBC in 1989, DWM – as it is affectionately known by Who fans – continued publication and, in 1990, moved from a monthly-publishing schedule to its current four-weekly one, resulting in 13 issues every year. Since the series’ return in 2005, the magazine has gained in popularity, and the Guinness award comes as it enjoys one of its most successful periods in its history.

The magazine, which is officially sanctioned by the BBC, was originally published by the UK arm of Marvel Comics. However, in 1995, along with the rest of the Marvel UK catalogue, Panini Comics purchased the title. Panini published DWM’s 400th in 2008 and celebrated the magazine’s 30th anniversary in 2009.

Doctor Who Weekly (DWW) was originally geared towards children, but, over the years, DWM has grown into a more mature magazine, exploring the behind-the-scenes aspects of the series. Its longevity and close relationship with the TV-series production team gives it official status, something Davies, when he became the showrunner for Doctor Who in 2004, insisted should remain. Closely linked to the magazine himself during his time as the show’s head writer and executive producer, Davies wrote a “Production Notes” column for it, which his successor, Steven Moffat, has continued with. In 2006, the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, harked back to the DWW days by launching its own comic, Doctor Who Adventures, which is aimed at a younger audience. Initially published once every fortnight, since 2008 DWA it has published weekly.

In 2005, shortly after David Tennant was cast as the Tenth Doctor, DWM revealed that the actor, himself a fan of the show, had been a subscriber to the magazine since he was a kid!

Doctor Who, itself, already holds the Guinness World Records for the world’s “Most Successful Sci-Fi Series” and “Longest Running Sci-Fi Series”.


The Eleventh Hour

Not sure about the new title sequence, or theme, but I'm sure it will grow on me. Good intro for Amy episode, and our new Doc, with the obligitory 'saving humanity from destruction' storyline thrown in as well. Really, he should know us all better than that and not bother. But if he's only got 20 minutes to save the world, I think it would have been nice if he'd done it whilst having tea and cake in a little English tea shop. Now that would have been impressive.

In fact I am dissapointed that tea wasn't even mentioned at all. I thought everyone knew that a freshly regenerated Time Lord liked a nice cup of tea. Shame, he didn't even realise he wanted a cuppa, no wonder the apple and yoghurt didn't go down well.

And I'm still confused by the duck pond... there must be more to that than meets the eye.

And we got a flashback sequence! OK, Cybermen and Daleks from the new series, among some others, but who spotted the old series style Sontaran, quickly followed by a Sea Devil, and then, more strangely one of those Hath fishpeople from 'The Doctor's Daughter', which as we all know was set on the planet Messaline, so very odd that they pop up here in a roll call of Earth invaiders.

I'll give it a generous 8/10, which considering the handicaps of having to introduce a new Doctor and companion (plus a new production team) gives me high hopes for the rest of the season. Really I think it should be less than this, but I've given an extra point for Amy's legs.

I'm hoping the new series will draw me out of my winter lethargy and that I may even get to develop this crazy little blog a little more... you never know, stranger things have happened...

11th Doctor gets his RT cover

As it should be, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan get their right of place on the front cover of this weeks Radio Times, announcing the arrival of the new season and introducing our two new actors and a new TARDIS interior.

The RT website has a gallery of photos here.

The ever reliable Who blogger Combom has scans of the pages, for those outside the UK to enjoy (and any who may have missed it) here.