30 December, 2005
Keeping the Spirit Alive
I've recently relinquished the editorship of Time Space Visualiser (TSV for short). TSV is a widely-read Doctor Who fanzine that I've been editing continuously since the beginning of 1991. In that time I've been responsible for over fifty issues. Many more than that if you want to start counting spin-offs and specials as well.
In early 1991 Doctor Who fans were just starting to come to terms with the loss of their series. The BBC ceased production of the programme at the end of 1989, but 1990 was spent in a state of optimism that the BBC might do an about face and bring it back or else it might find a new home in an independent production company. By 1991 the awful reality that Doctor Who had seemingly gone for good was sinking in. The series was still being released on VHS and would be for many years to come, and the Doctor was making the transition from television to the printed page with the launch of The New Adventures, a range of monthly full-length novels.
So that was the state of Doctor Who when I started editing TSV in 1991. I was in charge of a fanzine that was exclusively about a programme that, at least as far as television was concerned, was dead and buried.
Fast forward to late 2003. Well over a decade has passed and in that time we've had just one new television Doctor Who story (the ill-fated 1996 revival starring Paul McGann). I felt I'd served my time, helping in some small way to keep alive some degree of interest in a series that had all but completely slipped below the radar of popular culture. In 2003 I found an editor willing to take over editing TSV and we agreed that we would co-edit a few issues together over a couple of years whilst my successor found his feet.
With rather impeccable timing, no sooner had we done this than against all odds, the television series came back, fighting fit and full of life. TSV readers were not slow to see the irony, and comments were made that if this was what it took to get Doctor Who back, then I should have resigned a lot sooner. Ha ha.
Mind you, it does feel like in some way I was keeping the spirit alive through those 'wilderness years' and now that Doctor Who is well and truly back, my work is done. Time to pass the baton. I've earned my rest.