Doctor Who archivists Nick Goodman and Alan Hayes have just launched a new website focusing on Doctor Who tapezines – and it’s off to an impressive start.
Tapezines were quite a phenomenon in Doctor Who fandom in the 1980s and 1990s. A natural progression from printed fanzines, which had been produced in celebration of the series since the mid-1960s, tapezines fell somewhere between audiobooks and radio broadcasts. Many consisted of articles that were spoken rather than appearing in print, while others exploited the audio medium to its full potential, including dramas, comedy sketches, and musical items.
The first known Doctor Who tapezine was called, simply, Dr. Who: Tapezine and was issued in May 1983. The one-hour cassette was produced by David J. Howe, who now runs Telos Publishing, the successful company specialising in original fiction and reference works based on Doctor Who and other series. Dr. Who: Tapezine could be obtained by members of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society for free – they just had to send a C-60 cassette and a stamped addressed envelope to the production address.
The idea caught on – although Dr. Who: Tapezine itself did not return for a second issue – and before long, there were several Doctor Who tapezines on the market, such as Zero Room, WOTAN, The Logopolitan, UNIT Tapezine, CVE Tapezine, Sonic Waves, The Master Tape and Tranquil Repose, competing for listeners. It was actually a very friendly rivalry, with tapezine producers often contributing material to the audio productions of others.
Who’s Listening is essentially a history of the Doctor Who tapezine – now something of a dead art, replaced by podcasts just as fanzines have been superceded by websites. Within these pages, visitors will learn of many of the tapezines that were produced in and around the world. You’ll see covers, photos, read the opinions and memories of those who produced and listened to tapezines, and, where possible, hear examples of the audio productions under discussion.
If you remember projects like The Black Box Club, Rayphase Shift and Who’s Company, this is definitely worth a visit.
This site’s producers, Alan Hayes and Nick Goodman, have first hand experience of creating tapezines, having produced Sonic Waves and Rayphase Shift respectively.
“Nick edited Rayphase Shift in 1989 and into the 90s, and I ran Sonic Waves in the mid-80s – from their beginnings in 1983 to their demise in the late 90s,” Alan explains. “We’ve been researching the subject for a very long time and are hugely grateful to a great many people who have helped us along the way, sharing their stories of tapezine production and how they forged friendships and more.”
“The project is dedicated to our much-missed friend Matt Dale, who passed away at Christmas. We hold you in our hearts, chum.”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.