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‘ “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.


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regeneration; the second Doctor and Jamie find something nasty in a very particular nursery; and there is a now happily outdated list of BBC Film and Television Library Doctor Who holdings.


‘So they think that I am going to explain why the verb “to Tides” should exist. But I’ve beaten them.’

Tides15Tides13Tides20I’ve added a few more full issues of Tides of Time to the online archive, dating from the 1994-1997 period. They are some of the larger issues published, with the size of most of the files ending up in the 20-30Mb range. They tell of the rise of fiction writing in the society, of the improvement in laser and inkjet printing and of photocopying, of the Tides17 occasional internal squabble, and of multiple fan perspectives on the different paths off-air Doctor Who was taking in the 1990s, Somehow there is no great review of the TV Movie – Tides disappears for a year and then McGann is clearly established in the imagination of the writers as the current Doctor. I was a bit effacing about the contributors to Tides last time – the regulars or editors in this period include those who will become a novelist, a campaigning journalist, a churchman commended for his communication skills and many other talented people including someone hailed as the most underappreciated Doctor Who non-fiction writer.

Links and highlights:

Tides 13 (Hilary 1994) – madness and profanity abound as parody escalates, speculation and investigation of the missing episodes concludes, and Virgin’s New Adventures series continues to explode some established fan nostrums and cultivate others into exotic new forms explored in these pages.

Tides 14 (Trinity 1994) – exam season is upon us and this brings the Second Public Examination in Doctor Who. “‘A barely adequate substitute for a visit to a concert or music hall.’ Is this a fair description of the mighty Sontaran battle fleet?” A mother confesses the trauma of having a fan son, the Mara stories are dissected and there are quotes, in-jokes and a disturbingly accurate parody of TV Zone.

Tides 15 (Michaelmas 1994) – a new academic year and the first artwork cover for some time. The Grief Encounters fiction strand is in full swing, and sees the fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan return a panda to an old friend and Mrs Barbara Chesterton attempt to interest a problem class in the Aztecs and finds one student would have blown Tlotoxl up with Nitro-9. 1980s Doctor Who is reassessed and found wanting.

Tides 16 (Hilary 1995) – a familiar cover design but the new editor has yet to change out of their predecessor’s outfit. There’s something going down in Perivale with horses and cats. The Devil never keeps his promises. Zoe cannot be blamed for the disaster that is The Dominators. And don’t forget, when the new serving wench comes in, tell her to peel the potatoes.

Tides 17 (Trinity 1995) – the new editor has found their outfit and there’s a hatstand on the cover. OED editors are dared to beat causality. ‘The people who run the show serve themselves and the people who have been diligently watching since 1963.’ What does one writer feel so much better for giving up? Which series did not last long enough for its reputation to be tarnished by repetition and banality? Time paradoxes are debated, while James Robert McCrimmon suns himself by the Thames Estuary.

Tides 18 (Trinity 1995) – an older scan first uploaded some time ago. The editor lays into Doctor Who‘s standards of archaeology – thank goodness they hadn’t seen Bonekickers. The Doctor meets Shakespeare and tells Robert Cecil that a potato is more likely to cause a rent in the fabric of space and time than any other root vegetable. Out on Fandrozani, the missing episode smugglers are waiting. How far was the fifth Doctor the first female Doctor? An admirer of the New and Missing Adventures worries about oversupply.

Tides 19 (Trinity 1996) – one year later, and Paul McGann’s movie has just hit a stunned fandom. ‘It is a triumph,’ says the editor, ‘balanced on a knife edge between plot and technology, fan and fresh eyes, Who and glossy American SF’ and challenges us to review our attitudes to Doctor Who in general. Doctor Who tie-in fiction is compared to its Babylon 5 and Star Trek equivalents. (BIG NEON SIGN: HERE IS THE MESSAGE. DON’T MISS THE MESSAGE.) There’s a sideswipe against a columnist from then new-kid-on-the-rack SFX. There are worries about Philip Segal’s ‘kisses to the past’ and nostalgic fondness for old-fashioned videotaped studio drama, and a suggestion that what we already have from Doctor Who, new series or not, is already more than enough to wish for.

Tides 20 (Trinity 1997) – another year over, and a new editor lavishes display fonts all over the magazine for one of the most baroque issues ever. Nicola Bryant stares seductively out of one page while Peri is tied to a stake screaming on another. There’s a fascinating article by an American student on ‘Winners and Losers of Cult Television’ – but which series is loved by his friends but he finds ‘refried pulp’, ‘as exciting as watching a sick cow die of a venereal disease?’ Better-loved is a series where most of the leading characters are sociopaths with no time for ‘namby-pamby moralising’. The continuities of Star Wars and Doctor Who are compared, and we meet ‘Gothic Phil’ Hinchcliffe along the way. McGann’s Doctor arrives in the universe of Crime Traveller and runs rings round Holly and Slade. Lance Parkin’s A History of the Universe is praised, Babylon 5‘s Shadow War assessed as if it were fit for the pages of The Cambridge Ancient History, and the Valeyard reassessed in the light of the later New Adventures and the TV Movie.

Tides of Time issue 18, June 1995

As a belated way of marking Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary, here’s a PDF of issue 18 of Tides of Time, from one of the magazine’s most creative periods. From its editorial, where Corinne Berg muses on archaeology and the Doctor, through several pieces of fiction (look out for mutilated air bleeding blue) and commentary which represents where several Doctor Who fans found themselves and the concept less than a year before the TV Movie (note that people were still thinking in terms of a series from Amblin at this point), the variety and quality of the contents make it one of my favourite editions, though of course there is a certain amount of nostalgia involved in this too.

Twenty years ago: Tides of Time, issue 8

Those of you visiting the page looking for the pdf of issue 36, please be patient; we hope to upload it within the next few weeks.

In the meantime, a voyage (without TARDIS) back in time to 1992, when we still weren’t sure that Doctor Who was off the air for good in its BBC form, when Virgin Publishing’s New Adventures were still a cautious experiment, when a generation raised on Target novelisations hung on the words of a visiting Terrance Dicks, and when Tides of Time lost its definite article and embraced the brave new world of desktop publishing. Goodbye Courier New and hand-drawn headings, hello whizzy computer graphics – and hello to the second editor, Julian Mander.

Here, then, is issue 8, published in Trinity Term 1992. There’s a contents listing back here. Thanks to those who have given permission and apologies to those I have not contacted. All opinions expressed are those of the authors in 1992, and they may not necessarily hold them now!

Tides 1

The Tides of Time, issue 1, was published in January 1990.  It was cover dated Hilary Term 1990. It was edited by Louise Dennis. Its cover price was 70p.

In May 2014, to mark the society’s twenty-fifth anniversary, I rescanned and uploaded the entire first issue.

Download issue 1 as a PDF here.

Earlier versions of this post included links to first two, later three and eventually four articles as PDFs.  These links are retained below.

In every case I was working with scans from a photocopy which is over twenty years old. This is reflected in the quality of the images, and though there has been some minimal editing, grey tones and the occasional paper discolouration still appear.


Cover illustration by Louise Dennis

Format: A4 folded to A5, cover pages on light green paper, photocopied, 20pp.

Tides 12


Cover of internet edition

Cover of original paper edition

The Tides of Time, issue 12, was published in January 1994. It was cover dated Hilary Term 1994. The editor was Paul Fisher and the deputy editor was Gary Meehan. Its cover price was £1.

Download this issue as a PDF here.


  • Editorial by Paul Fisher
  • Deputy editorial by Gary Meehan
  • Pertwee’s European Adventure. The Common Market and Peladon, by M.J. Ritson
  • The Sylvester McCoy Years. A Reassessment by Ian Fellows
  • Quiz #5. Crossword
  • The Axeman Cometh, part one. Satire by Ryan Hemage
  • The Doctor’s Greatest Fan. Fiction by Gareth Cornell
  • Unhand Me Madam! Era review of Jon Pertwee by Mark Hanlon
  • Sylvester (with apologies to Abba and Fernando). Song by Ian Fellows
  • Sentence of Death. The search for the lost episodes of Doctor Who, part one. by Paul Lee
  • Missing episodes listing
  • Sadness of the Sontarans. Satire by Paul Groves
  • Sex, Drugs, Violence & Swearing (and a bit of rock n’ roll). Survey of the New Adventures by Anthony Wilson
  • Answers to quizzes #3 and #4 by Stephen Drape

Format: A3 folded to A4, photocopied, 28pp (with two blank pages)