13 November 2017

Fan Scene- CT 1981 Part 3


Gordon is gone!  As might have been suspected Mr Blows does not retake the hot seat this month and Co-ordinator David Saunders explains he had returned to the publishing world and “therefore felt he did not wish to devote his Doctor Who time to doing that as well.” Nothing to do with his version of CT being unpopular with members and also upsetting the producer then? In case you think I’m being unduly harsh on Gordon, I should say his prior period editing the DWAS fanzine `Tardis` produced some brilliant material. Anyhow after proving more than capable last issue Gary Russell becomes the actual editor this time.

Sad news on the cover is the death of Kit Pedlar on 27 May of a heart attack. There’s also more new season news with Peter Grimwade scheduled to direct another story this year, guest stars for `The Visitation` including Michael Robbins and there is to be a book called `The Making of a TV Series`.

The Reference Department column this time includes a long list of things the recently published `Programme Guide` got wrong including, apparently, the idea that the Tardis is powered by a green crystal. Amongst the fanzines on sale this issue - `Experiential Grid` 3, `Web Planet` 8, `Pyramid` 1 and `Fendahl` 17.


Quite a thin issue this month with news including a cutting regarding the forthcoming season’s move to a twice weekly “cliff hanging format”. Not sure what the newspaper thought the format had been up till now!  Also `Kinda` guest stars will be Richard Todd, Nerys Hughes and Mary Morris and the headline for this snippet is ` A Kinda Liver Bird`.

Amongst the nuggets nestling amongst departmental columns is that apparently several members have written to the co-ordinator asking for details about other members. “This is not possible” states David Saunders though perhaps the DWAS was missing a trick here. Was this demand for information about other members really showing the need for some sort of dating service?!

Incidentally there is still a Swap Shop column each issue. Sorry, it’s Swop Shop with an O. This time round someone has  “a massive Doctor Who collection” to sell. Another member is trying to sell things like the Weetabix cards (gasp!), a 1971 Annual, badges and promotional items. What do they want for this stash that in the future would be worth a small fortune? Fanzines that’s what. Issues of `Tardis`, Gallifrey`, `Fendahl` and the likes. I mean fanzines are great but Bernard McCarty- if you’re out there somewhere- this was a bit of a mistake. You could have got loads more for those items had you stored them away for thirty years or more and then sold them on ebay mate.

It just shows how the early 80s were a fanzine time. There are loads of adverts in this issue. The latest one for `Oracle` is a bit arty with a picture of tracks in the snow and the line “footsteps leading where….?” Issue 4 of `Cygnus Alpha` contains the final part of a David Martin interview which I assume is the writer usually known as Dave Martin. David Howe pops up again with a Ref Dept spread at the end of the issue containing Doctor Who facts so  obviously everyone was too busy getting ready for PanoptiCon 4 this month to write anything.

Perhaps in preparation for this shindig you can buy DWAS merchandise. These items include 17cm long pens (a blow for those hoping for 22cm ones I guess) at 15p each, badges also for 15p and key fobs which are 25p. Postage and packing is a further 15p which of course doubles the price of those pens and badges.


One of the aspects of old school publications is the time lag between things happening and being reported upon. Even for a newsletter like CT there was always a delay which meant unless it was something reported in the national press this was still the first place we’d read about it. There simply was nothing like the sort of websites that now deliver every nuance concerning a series so that we constantly read rumours some of which are untrue.

So this is why if you see one of these old CTs from the 80s you may not realise this was where we first heard this news, it wasn’t on Digital Spy or anywhere else. This month sees first news of the Sarah Jane Smith spin off, at this stage titled `A Girl’s Best Friend` plus the fact that there were to be two annuals this year. As well as the standard one, World Distributors (whose moniker always makes me think of super villains) will release a compilation of material from previous annuals under the title `Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space`. We also find out the name of next season’s first story `Castrovalva`.

With full reviews of the convention more likely to appear in `Tardis`, references are confined to departmental columns though as that was my first convention I can testify to it being great fun. Various exec types too seemed to like it- “superb” and “wonderful time” are mentioned. The organiser of the event Paul Zeus includes a long list of thanks including thanking Deanne “for putting up with my tantrums”, Uncle “for his frayed nerves” and Chris “for running half way round the world”. Doesn’t sound too much like a wonderful time for everyone does it?  There is an ad for the next DWASocial though, it’s to be in Edinburgh.

Adverts this issue include issue 4 of `Experiental Grid` which has a fear poll and a full review of Panopticon4, issue 2 of `The Time Meddlar` which promises a surgically sounding “ fascinating look into the current producer”. There’s a Key to Time special from `Moonbase` which grandly promises to reveal hitherto unknown facts. This turns out to be the last issue and editor Philip Chant is not departing without passing on his tips to would be editors. The back page of CT includes a massive ad for the latest `Tardis` which is “photo packed.”

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