Happy tenth anniversary, Doctor Who!

Tides30It’s ten years since the return of Doctor Who to BBC One, which seems an opportune moment to link to Tides of Time 30, published in March 2005 just before the series came back, and Tides of Time 31 published in November 2005 (here represented by a revised 2010 version) and very much bearing the mark of that first Doctor Who series of the twenty-first century. Fantastic!

Police-Boxy Blues

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Questions to which the answer is ‘Yes!’ – back cover, with vaguely seasonal modern colour replacement.

This somewhat Quixotic retrospective project, the digitization and upload of every issue of Tides of Time, comes to an end with the upload of issue 24 as a pdf. This issue was first published in June 1999 and was the only issue edited by Alastair Harrison. The late 1990s and early 2000s were a very creative time as a generation brought up on the cusp of the satellite era dug into Doctor Who and other archive television as well as considered the onward development of Doctor Who across non-television media. Issue 24 reminds me just how long South Park has been around as David Bickley considers what it takes to be an easily-eliminated Doctor Who character; just how confident one can be about what works and what doesn’t in novel series when one is churning out two essays a week (see Pass Notes: The Missing Adventures); and what, three years after its broadcast, the TV Movie taught fans about what the spirit of Doctor Who is and what would need to be kept in any revival (John Wilson’s Police-Boxy Blues). There’s fiction (my favourite being Alice Dryden’s Lawful Wedded Wife) and metafiction (David Bickley again with Work in Progress) and ponderings on other subjects including Queer as Folk (the impending Russell T Davies-led revival of Doctor Who sometimes seems inevitable with hindsight and frankly it frequently looked imminent at the time) and Blake’s 7. A contents list with more information was posted here some years ago.

As the caption says, Tides of Time will return, but in 2015. I hope to be able to host a pdf here. More details as they become available. In the meantime, enjoy the archive from the past twenty-four years.

King Solomon’s TARDIS, and other arguments

Tides25_0001ccWorking backwards again, I’ve now added a PDF of issue 25 of Tides of Time, published early in 2000, to the website, It’s a large file as these scans go, of 25Mb or so, but is worth it. Matthew Peacock edited this one, and was responsible for the major piece of fiction in it, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, which Fiona Moore and Alan Stevens later cited in one of their academic articles on Doctor Who. Fiona herself writes for this issue, including looking at theexoticism and de-exoticisation of the primitive across twenty-six years of Doctor Who, on Lawrence Miles’s novel Alien Bodies as an allegory for Doctor Who as cultural commodity in the 1990s, and about the crisis of relevance which affected the programme in the 1980s. There’s a great piece on childhood memories and meeting Elisabeth Sladen by Mark Boyes, and a survey of the history of the magazine by me, as well as gossip, in-jokes, out-jokes and other fiction.

In the interests of variety, I had a go at tinting the cover illustrations for this edition, in an attempt to exploit the shortcomings of the photocopies I used as masters. I apologise in advance for the eye strain.

White Space: 1999

Tides23p0032The first issue of Tides of Time to be published in 1999 has now been uploaded.

Tides 23 features a look at Doctor Who-watching and its effect on character; several strong pieces of fiction; an assessment of Stephen Cole’s period as editor-in-chief of Doctor Who at BBC Worldwide; a look at the uncanny parallels between Doctor Who in the Jon Pertwee period and Babylon 5; a look at Hercules: the Legendary Journeys with a glimpse at its spin-off Xena Warrior Princess; an introduction to animated series Reboot; and much else. There was definitely a sense at this time that Doctor Who was over and done with as a TV series and that it now belonged to its fans who could do what they wanted with it, and much of that emerges in this issue.

‘ “Great balls of Fire!” said the Doctor, and floored the accelerator. One more time? Oh, he hadn’t even started yet.’

Tides21I’d hoped to have finished uploading the entire Tides of Time back catalogue by now, but work and other essential matters of life have intervened. Since my last post I have added two more old issues as PDFs to the online library. They are both from 1998, the first two issues of Tides to be edited by Matthew Peacock, and the beginning of a period of vigorous collaboration, ever more outrageous opinionating, a growing interest in other television series to which the cult label had been applied, and enthusiastically reproducing pseudonyms. Links and summaries below. Both are somewhat large files so right-clicking is recommended; the originals were photocopies of inkjet masters but were of a higher standard than many; I have done a minimal amount of clean-up.

Tides 21 – Sydney Newman memorialised, the Bodleian Library’s Doctor Who holdings examined, The Claws of Axos defended, and First Frontier reworked. The state of Babylon 5 is surveyed. The seventh Doctor goes looking for a new coat.

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Tides 22Get Smart! is celebrated; The Tenth Planet, Logopolis and Ghost Light are discussed; and the first Short Trips and the state of the BBC Books range a year after its launch are investigated. The first version of Fiona Moore’s Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Guide to Doctor Who is published. The third Doctor decides to make the most of what time he has left between his encounter with the Queen Spider and his regeneration; the second Doctor and Jamie find something nasty in a very particular nursery; and there is a now happily outdated list of BBC Film and Television Library Doctor Who holdings.