08 March, 2007

TSV 44

TSV 44, which was first published twelve years ago, in June 1995, has now been added to the online archive, closing the gap to just 20 issues from here until the earliest of the issues still in print.

The cover features a rather splendid piece of artwork by Alistair Hughes and marks the beginning of a long run of issues with Alistair's work gracing the front cover. Over a ten year period he drew 24 out of 26 covers, as well as numerous back cover and internal illustrations.

Alistair's two pieces of artwork for this issue depict The Android Invasion and Carnival of Monsters, as these were the two that most recently released on video at the time that this issue was published. Both pieces of art were submitted as potential front covers, and I remember spending some time deciding which one to use on the front and which to use elsewhere in the issue. So in an alternate reality, here's how the cover appears...

I had just established a liasion with the local video distributor (at the time Polygram, and later Roadshow), and reasoning that many fans would be rediscovering these stories afresh through the videos I started themeing each issue's content around the most recent releases, with long reviews of each story, cover artwork and the behind-the-scenes Story Files (which are not at present included in the online archive).

Graham Howard reviewed The Android Invasion and I reviewed Carnival of Monsters. I was particularly pleased with my review at the time, and was delighted when parts of both mine and Graham's reviews were quoted in The Television Companion book by David J Howe and Stephen James Walker. The text of this book (first published by the BBC and now by Telos) was adapted for the BBC's online episode guide, so our comments now appear on the official BBC website - see here and here.

In addition to the aforementioned Story Files, there's a couple of other notable items omitted from this online issue. My own article, Restoring the Past, on the missing episode finds, had dated so badly that it doesn't seem worth reproducing. The first part of the survey results, which reported readers' views regarding TSV and the club also seems rather irrelevant now. The latter half of the results, which tabulated readers views on the TV series and books has been included however as this provides a fascinating snapshot of what was popular in 1995. I'm fairly sure that Sylvester McCoy would no longer rank fourth out of the first seven Doctors, and I'm even more certain that Ace would no longer win out over Sarah in the favourite companion stakes. The last question in the survey asks whether the series would ever return. Of course mere months after this survey was conducted the Paul McGann TV movie went into production and then ten years later the series returned in a rather enduring form. So the 53% who voted 'yes' were eventually proved to be on the money - even if they had a bit of a wait ahead of them!

By early 1995 the dust had settled on The Dark Dimension. Jon Preddle wrote a rather thorough article documenting everything that was known at the time about this troubled cancelled story. A couple of years later The Nth Doctor was published, which included a fairly detailed plot synopsis, but this aside it's worth pointing out that Jon's article still holds up well over a decade later.

Another of Jon's articles this issue was The Doctor's Wife, which chronicled some of the many rumours and hoaxes surrounding the series. I wince at some of the rumours reported here, simply because I naively reported these as fact in early issues of TSV. The Cybermen and the Ice Warriors were due to appear in Paradise Towers and Dragonfire respectively, if the news pages of TSV issue 2 was to be believed. In my defence the information came from an overseas fanzine which seemed at the time to be a fairly credible source.

Alden Bates, the IT mastermind behind the TSV online archive, was faced with a dilemma when it came to reproducing his article about the Master from this issue. The problem he faced is that when he wrote the original piece, the character had at the time only just made his debut in the New Adventures; in the intervening 12 years there have been numerous (and sometimes contradictory) appearances by the Master in novels, Big Finish audios and of course the TV Movie. Alden decided to let the original article stand as it originally appeared, appended by a footnote , which I think was the only sensible approach to take.

Alden also demonstrates the advantages of online publication over the printed medium with his rather neat application appended to the end of Morgan Davie's Doctor Who Story Generator. Have a play and see what you come up with. Alden also provides a new series version of the generator on his own blog.

Read TSV 44 here.

Fellow TSV 44 bloggers:
Alden Bates
Jamas Enright