Issue 5 is my favourite of these pre DWAS issues because it has an absolutely gigantic, step by step account of the Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition. I know I’ve just run a series of posts about that but I wanted to save this one for here. Some people will find it dull to read, others of a certain vintage will find themselves re-living every sight and sound. There's even a clip from Tom Baker's column for the magazine Reveille in which he describes switching on the Blackpool Illuminations. This mega feature, reprinted at the end of this post, was treated like a separate wraparound booklet inside which the rest of the issue resided. It’s a cool fanzine idea that was surprisingly not done that often by any editors though few will have published such a lengthy article! Its penned by Stuart Glazebrook, better known back in the day for his artwork, but his account here certainly shows how he could perfectly capture an event with words too.
Elsewhere in this issue Jeremy Bentham looks at the enigmatic Susan. Like large parts of JJB’s early fan written work, this feature takes some liberties and extrapolates all kinds of things that to my knowledge were never actually mentioned in the show. I could be wrong as my knowledge of Sixties Doctor Who is sketchy at best but the article describes a period the Doctor spent studying Edwardian England at the behest of the Time Lords. During his stay he resided with the Foreman family. After her parents died in a fire (this leaps over `extrapolation` into the place known as `making it up`) the Doctor decided to look after Susan becoming her ersatz grandfather. There’s something rather quaint about fans of the 70s dismissing the very idea that the Doctor `danced` as it were and could not possibly be an actual grandfather. It makes about as much sense as much of Clara’s storyline I suppose(!).
The issue also contains a rather knotty competition in which readers are invited to `examine Doctor Who in relation to the idea that it is the object of the myth, as of science, to explain the world and make its phenomena intelligible”. The prize for this somewhat ambitious task is not, as you might expect, a degree but a tape cassette of the History of Doctor Who (hopefully not penned by Jeremy Bentham). Now if you’re laughing, don’t, because the value of soundtrack clips from the show forty years ago was huge because there was little else.
This fantastic issue concludes with the results of the season poll for the 1975-76 season. Can you imagine trying to vote in this one? It’d be easier to imagine silver leaves I’d say. Anyhow in reverse order the results were in last place with 81 points `The Android Invasion`. Even then I suppose people talked for hours on the silliness of Guy Crayford’s eyepatch. Seriously though it’s a fab enough story in a season crammed with classics. Coming in at number 5 with 92 points were Ponti, De Haan and co’s cracking `Planet of Evil`.
At four with 107 points was the classic `Brain of Morbius`, surely a winner in any other year? I bet Solon sulked for weeks. In third place edging ahead with 110 points was the classic `Robots of Death`. Surely those extra three points were because of the “I heard a cry” “That was me” routine? The classic `Seeds of Doom` slithered in at number two with 136 points while the winner was of course the classic `Pyramids of Mars` which clocked up 166 points. You know what Sutekh’s reaction was to the win right? I don’t need to actually type it. I think these four stories are Doctor Who at its best and I find it impossible to separate them.
That Blackpool Exhibition account in full....