23 March 2016

The Making of Doctor Who 1972

A look back at one of the best ever Doctor Who non fiction books.


For the first eight years of Doctor Who there was precious little in the way of behind the scenes information beyond whatever appeared in Radio Times. Then in 1972 a book appeared that changed all that and really started the momentum of the series moving from popular to iconic. The Making of Doctor Who was published by the Piccolo range of Pan Books, penned by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks and sold at the princely price of 25p! The cover features a rather odd photo from `The Sea Devils` of the moment where the Doctor is a prisoner of the titular creatures. Hardly the heroic posed stance you might expect it has the Doctor looking rather worried and sharing the cover with a Sea Devil rather than Jo Grant. Nonetheless the red on Jon Pertwee’s cape matches that of the series logo above it and the end result is a charismatic photo that was also rare at the time.
Considering the joint author’s pedigree on the series the text at the start of this book is somewhat less loquacious than you might imagine. Obviously written with a younger reader in mind it nonetheless sometimes resembles something translated from another language. The content may seem basic to the modern eye yet bear in mind that in 1972 nobody outside of a few primitive fanzines had undertaken any archiving of the series nor detailed the production process. In 2016 even Mrs Putey in the corner ship is aware of arc stories, CGI and the like but in the Seventies people just watched telly, enjoyed it, chatted about it and that’s all. A book which offered a window into the way the programme is made was a rare treat and a half. If the prose early on is sometimes awkward, the authors go on to achieve a nimble mixture of fact and fiction presenting some of the history of the series in the form of supposed found documents produced by the Time Lords or UNIT.

14 March 2016

Should he stay or should he go?



Peter Capaldi’s dilemma is nothing new.
Last week Peter Capaldi declared that he had been asked by incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall to stay on after Steven Moffat leaves. Normally such matters are decided behind closed doors and announced afterwards but for reasons unknown Mr C chose to share it with us. As if that wasn’t enough the actor expressed public criticism of the way last season was scheduled. All of which left The Guardian for one suggesting that the choice of remaining may now be whipped away from him (and Chibnall) given how the sensitive the BBC is these days about, well, anything really. As a current leading BBC actor Peter Capaldi is not really expected to comment publicly about his ongoing contract situation or indeed programme scheduling. At the very least there will be stern faces at this week’s senior BBC executives orange beanbag meeting. What probably lies at the heart of the actor’s outbursts though is that he probably genuinely doesn’t know what to do. This is not a new dilemma for an incumbent Doctor. Very few of them have left either at the right time in retrospect or at least the time when they wanted to. Of course some have had no choice yet having the luxury of choosing when to go is perhaps just as difficult as having no choice at all. 

3 March 2016

New Doctor Who Book!


Saturday Night Monsters is a compilation of fan written articles and reviews about Doctor Who originally published in the zines Faze and This Way Up. Covering the whole span of the series from the early days right up to recent episodes, this 260 page volume is packed with comment, analysis, opinion and flapdoodle about different aspects of the programme. It builds into a complete hovercraft and It is a book. You'll love it!
Features include: The triumphant 2005 Return ,The 1985-6 Cancellation Crisis,Hartnell’s Historical Stories, The Philip Hinchliffe Era,The stories of Robert Holmes & Robert Sloman, Season 21,The road from Survival to the TV Movies and more… 
Reviews include: Talons of Weng Chiang, The Dalek Masterplan, Spearhead from Space, The Macra Terror, The End of Time, The War Machines, Dalek, Remembrance of the Daleks, Blink, The Tenth Planet,  The Name of the Doctor, Logopolis, Tomb of the Cybermen, School Reunion, Pyramids of Mars, Human Nature / Family of Blood, The Dominators, Day of the Doctor, City of Death, Amy’s Choice, Earthshock, Day of the Daleks, The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon, Carnival of Monsters, Trial of a Time Lord,  The Android Invasion,  Deep Breath,  Castrovalva,  The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, Death to the Daleks, Horror of Fang Rock,  Vengeance on Varos, Dragonfire, The Three Doctors,  The TV Movie, The Doctor’s Wife,  The Ice Warriors, Heaven Sent, Turn Left, Web of Fear, The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End and many more...
Writers: Tim Worthington  David Rolinson, Sean Alexander, Matthew Kilburn, Daniel O’Mahony, Colin Brockhurst, John Connors, Ashley Stewart, Roger Jones, Chris Orton, Adam Povey.
The book is available from Amazon in either print or electronic form. The links below should take you to the very actual place where you can buy it.
For more info about the book including excerpts check out the Saturday Night Monsters Book page via the tab at the top of the blog.