A New Doctor for “Doctor Who” – and a New Doctor Who Magazine editor

Tom Spilsbury Doctor Who Magazine Covers

Panini UK have just announced longtime Doctor Who Magazine, editor Tom Spilsbury is stepping down from the role – but a name familiar to the title’s thousands of readers worldwide is stepping into his place.

Doctor Who Magazine, first published in 1979, celebrated its 500th issue last year, and is recognised by Guinness as the world’s longest-running TV tie-in magazine. Tom Spilsbury, editor since August 2007, is stepping down from his position after publication of issue 515 (on sale from Thursday 27 July 2017), and will be replaced by Marcus Hearn, a long-standing writer for DWM (I commissioned him as a freelancer!), who also previously co-edited the title in the 1990s, and has recently been the editor of the DWM Special Editions and the spin-off title The Essential Doctor Who.

DWM writer Benjamin Cook, Tom Spilsbury, Alan Barnes and incoming editor Marcus Hearn, and founding editor Dez Skinn at the DWM Day in Windsor earlier this year. Photo: Panini UK
DWM writer Benjamin Cook, Tom Spilsbury, Alan Barnes and incoming editor Marcus Hearn, and founding editor Dez Skinn at the DWM Day in Windsor earlier this year. Photo: Panini UK
“After 10 years as editor of Doctor Who Magazine, it’s time for a change – both for me, and for the magazine,” says Tom. “As the newly regenerated Second Doctor said in The Power of the Daleks, way back in 1966, ‘Life depends on change and renewal’, and I’ve made it a policy to always pay attention to my Doctor.

“Of course, it’s been a very difficult decision for me, to give up a job that I love so much. DWM has always been a part of my life – virtually my earliest memory of life on this planet was of my Dad buying a copy of issue 1 for me, way back in 1979, when I was just three years old. It was 2003 when I got the job of a lifetime as DWM’s assistant editor, and four years later, I finally got the top job.

“It’s been simply amazing to have had the honour to be producing the magazine over such a successful and eventful decade in Doctor Who’s history,” he continues. “However, having taken charge of 129 editions, including the 400th and 500th issues, it’s time for someone else to have a go in the driver’s seat. Marcus Hearn is a brilliant editor, and DWM is the greatest magazine in the galaxy. I’m so looking forward to being able to read it each month without already knowing what’s going to be in it! And I truly hope that I’ll still be around in the year 2054 to enjoy issue 1000, even if it’s beamed directly into our heads by then…”

“This magazine is unique, and it’s a unique honour to be entrusted with it,” Marcus Hearn comments. “We’re all grateful to Tom for his unparalleled dedication. I’d like to build on his achievements, and I can’t wait to start working with my colleagues at Panini. A new chapter is about to begin for the television series, and this will be a new chapter for DWM too.”

Mike Riddell, Managing Director of Panini UK added: “Tom’s contribution to the magazine over the past 14 years has been immense and we will miss his passion and knowledge of the brand which is second to none. Marcus brings a fresh approach to the magazine as well as a wealth of experience in magazine publishing.”

I’d like to thank Tom fro all his hard work on the title, and hope that whatever he does next he will enjoy almost as much as editing DWM. He joins a rather exclusive club and I think he’ll find it a bit of a wrench. And all the very best, too, to Marcus Hearn. I hope he has his hard hat and sonic screwdriver ready – he’ll need them!


Doctor Who Magazine 515 is on sale from Thursday 27 July, 2017, price £5.99. For more information about the magazine and other Doctor Who titles from Panini UK visit doctorwhomagazine.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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