Doctor Who Fun in the 1990s…

I recently came across this spoof Doctor Who Magazine cover in my archive, which once graced my office wall at Arundel House, Marvel UK when I was editor of the title in the 1990s.

Do you think it will sell on eBay along with my other weird items?

Doctor Who Magazine Issue 160 - Alexei Sayle and Wendy James "Dummy Cover"

I have to confess that, knowing some TV crew or other was coming to record a “When is Doctor Who coming back” spot (and there were a few of those) after the show went on ‘hiatus’, I’d put things like this up to send some fans squealing to their friends to reveal the “latest news” about Doctor Who. The TV crews wouldn’t notice them, not being Doctor Who-savvy, but fans might just catch a glimpse of them and they would soon, perhaps, be the talk of the Fitzroy Tavern, one of London’s fan haunts once a month.

(In reality, fans back then were much more savvy than they are now in the days of wild Internet-inspired rumour and were not, I think, ever fooled by these antics. But I kept trying).

The full-size Dalek in the Arundel House window was just one of those, making think the building was part of the BBC. (I seem to recall we eventually had to move it, because so many tourists wanted their photograph taken with it).

Of course, all of this chicanery was pre-Internet, but imagine what would happen these days if someone thought this was a real DWM cover suggesting Alexei Sayle was to be the new Doctor and Wendy James of Transvision Vamp would be his companion? How many fans would simply “Walk on By”, without a glance?

John Freeman and Nicholas Briggs - early 1990s

John Freeman and Nicholas Briggs in the Doctor Who Magazine office in the early 1990s, recording a Reeltime Pictures Myth Makers documentary

Other wicked wind ups were suggesting John Levene (UNIT’s Sergeant Benton) worked for the magazine as a receptionist (as seen in an Reeltime Pictures Doctor Who Magazine Myth Makers) and hinting the Magazine held complete copies of The Daleks Master Plan and The Power of the Daleks (Myth Makers again).

You can’t see the folders that were supposed to contain these tapes in the screengrab featured here, unfortunately – they’re behind Nicholas Briggs‘ head – but they were there.

I still have the (empty) folders.

Better not tell you about the “China to remake Doctor Who” April Fool we considered either, should I?

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Doctor Who, downthetubes News, Magazines, Other Worlds, Television

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