DOCTOR WHO WEEKLY UK MAGAZINE NO 2 OCTOBER 24TH 1979
WAR OF THE WORLDS : RETURN OF THE DALEKS :
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DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE
DOCTOR WHO WEEKLY : DOCTOR WHO MONTHLY:
Doctor Who Magazine (abbreviated as DWM) is a magazine devoted to the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. Its current editor is Marcus Hearn, who took over from the magazine’s longest-serving editor, Tom Spilsbury, in July 2017. It is currently recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest running TV tie-in magazine.
Officially licensed by the BBC, the magazine began life as Doctor Who Weekly in 1979, published by the UK arm of Marvel Comics. The first issue was released on Thursday 11 October with a cover date of 17 October and priced 12p.
The magazine moved from weekly to monthly publication with issue 44 in September 1980, becoming Doctor Who Monthly with a cover price of 30p. Styled on the cover as ‘Doctor Who – A Marvel Monthly’ the tagline was not part of the name, but simply a descriptor which appeared on many of Marvel UK’s monthly titles at that point. The copyright notice continued describing the publication as ‘Doctor Who Weekly’ until issue 48. The cover title changed to Doctor Who Monthly with issue 61. The title changed to The Official Doctor Who Magazine with issue 85 in February 1984. It became The Doctor Who Magazine with issue 99 in April 1985, and simply Doctor Who Magazine with issue 107 in December 1985. The magazine has remained under that title ever since, although an exception was made for issue 397 in June 2008 when the cover only featured the words Bad Wolf following transmission of the Doctor Who episode “Turn Left” on Saturday 21 June. In 1990 the magazine started appearing once every four weeks (13 times a year). Despite the BBC discontinuing production of Doctor Who in 1989, the magazine continued to be published, providing new adventures in the form of comics. The television programme was revived in 2005, providing a new generation of fans which the magazine was seeking to attract.
Originally geared towards children, DWM has grown into a more mature magazine exploring the behind-the-scenes aspects of the series.Due to its longevity, it is seen as a source of ‘official’ and exclusive information, sharing a close relationship with the television production team and the BBC. In 2006, however, it lost its exclusivity when BBC Worldwide launched its own comic, Doctor Who Adventures, aimed at a younger audience.
DWM is now published by Panini Comics, which purchased the title along with the rest of the Marvel UK catalogue in 1995. Panini has begun to digitally restore and reprint older DWM comics in trade paperback format. Twenty-five volumes have been printed so far: two featuring the comics adventures of the Fourth Doctor, one with the adventures of the Fifth Doctor, two featuring the Sixth Doctor, five with the adventures of the Seventh Doctor, four focusing on the Eighth Doctor, one with the adventures of the Ninth Doctor, three featuring the Tenth Doctor, four collecting the adventures of the Eleventh Doctor and three with the adventures of the Twelfth Doctor. Panini also published a one-shot magazine-format reprinting of the complete Ninth Doctor strips in 2006 and most of the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones strips in 2008. DWM issue 426 reported that the series had been postponed; it eventually resumed with the publication of “The Crimson Hand” in May 2012.
DWM’s 400th issue was published in September 2008, and the publication celebrated its 30th anniversary in October 2009. In April 2010, it was confirmed in issue 420 that Doctor Who Magazine now holds the Guinness World Record for “Longest Running Magazine Based on a Television Series.” The magazine reached its 500th issue in May 2016.
In April 2011, Panini Comics released a new monthly magazine titled Doctor Who Insider; although it was made in Britain the magazine was published for North America. It was announced on 27 January 2012 that Doctor Who Insider had ceased publication after nine issues. Doctor Who Insider returned for a special edition issue in 1 November 2012.
DWM features an ongoing comic starring the current incarnation of the Doctor, though for a period between 1989 and 1996, when the series was off the air, it featured previous Doctors. Notable writers and artists who have worked on the comic include John Wagner, Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Dave Gibbons, Mike McMahon, John Ridgwayand Ian Edginton. Selected stories from the comic were also reprinted in North America by Marvel Comics. Supporting characters that have crossed over from the comic to other spin-off media include Frobisher, the shape-changing companion of the Sixth and Seventh Doctors; Abslom Daak, the Dalek Killer; the Special Executive, who would later appear in Marvel’s Captain Britain; and the villainous Beep the Meep.
The magazine has also featured other comics over the years, most notably “Doctor Who?”, a humorous look at the series by Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett. This was principally a three-panel comic strip, though occasionally page-long parodies were featured. Doctor Who?’s spiritual successor, was a single-panel strip “Doctor Whoah!”, by ‘Baxter’. Embedded into the Galaxy Forum letters page, it lampooned a recent episode, DVD release of stories or other such event by showing alternative, exaggerated and expanded versions of Doctor Who scenes. For example, after the broadcast of “Partners in Crime“, the strip portrayed the Doctor’s arrival on the “Planet of the Hats”, referred to in the episode. The strip was known for its characters who are depicted as having no pupils in their eyes. Since 2014, “Doctor Whoah!” has been replaced by “The Daft Dimension”, a similarly sized strip in three panels by Lew Stringer. Between 1989 and 92 “The Comic Assassins” was a series of parody strips by Steve Noble and Kev F. Sutherland.
In the 1990s a secondary serious comic was featured on the inside cover; for many issues this was “The Cybermen”, a series of tales set on Mondas prior to the events of The Tenth Planet, explaining the back-history of the Cybermen. The TV Century 21 comic “The Daleks” was also resurrected, continuing the story from where it had left off by showing the Daleks attacking Earth; it was drawn in the same style as the 1960s original.
Other regular features of the magazine include the news section “Gallifrey Guardian”, which has run since nearly the beginning of the magazine; the letters page “Galaxy Forum” which – as well as containing the “Daft Dimension” strip – features other small sub-sections, such as “Ask DWM!” (where readers’ questions about the show are answered), “On This Month” (which looks at an old issue on the anniversary of its publication) and “WhoTube” (which highlights “Doctor Who”-themed videos which can be viewed online); reviews of television episodes and merchandise (in “The DWM Review”, known for a time as “After Image”, “Off the Shelf”, and “Shelf Life”); the “Time Team”, which involves four fans watching every Doctor Who story in order from the beginning; and, since production restarted on the series in 2004, a regular column “Production Notes” by the show’s executive producer. From 2004 to 2009 the column was written by Russell T Davies, and from January 2010 to July 2017, Steven Moffat took over the page, although other writers and production staff have from time-to-time written the column. Also, on the final page of magazine, there is a section called “Wotcha!” (compiled by ‘The Watcher’), a comedy page with such recurring features as, ‘A History of Doctor Who in 100 Objects’, ‘Supporting Artist of the Month’, a spoof ‘Top Ten’, the ‘Stockbridge English Dictionary’ (a variation on a game from I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue) and a true or false quiz “The Six Faces of Delusion”. Prior to this, the slot was taken up by a page called “Who on Earth is…”, featuring a short interview with someone previously (or currently) involved in Doctor Who (say, a member of the cast).
A single-page ‘opinion’ column has often been part of the magazine’s mix – past columns have included “Fluid Links” by Matt Jones, “The Life and Times of Jackie Jenkins” by ‘Jackie Jenkins’, “It’s the End… But” by ‘The Watcher”, “You Are Not Alone” by Jonathan Morris (as ‘Neil Harris’) and “Relative Dimensions” by author (and former “Time Team” member) Jacqueline Rayner.
The format has changed over the years, but the news, letters, reviews, and comic strip have all been present consistently since the early 1980s.
The magazine also features interviews with the cast and crew of the television show (including the old episodes), and reports from the set of the current series, written by Benjamin Cook or Jason Arnopp. The behind-the-scenes stories of all of the 1963–1989 episodes have been documented in Andrew Pixley’s “DWM Archive”, and detailed analysis of certain significant serials are covered in “The Fact of Fiction”, usually written by former DWM editor Alan Barnes, Jonathan Morris or David Bailey. “The DWM Review” is currently written predominantly by Graham Kibble-White, former editor Gary Gillatt, Paul Kirkley, Martin Ruddock and Matt Michael. Previous reviewers include Vanessa Bishop, Craig Hinton (died in 2016), and Gary Russell, who subsequently became the magazine’s editor.
In 2004 Russell T Davies offered to let the magazine write and publish the official regeneration scene from the Eighth to the Ninth Doctor as part of its ongoing comic strip prior to the relaunch of the TV series. Although work was done on this storyline, then editor Clayton Hickman and writer Scott Gray eventually turned down the offer as they felt they couldn’t do such an important event justice under the constraints imposed by the TV series’ continuity.
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