Monday, 25 November 2013

The most forgettable comics I have ever owned. Part 10: Dr Who Annual 1978.

Dr Who Annual 1978, Tom Baker
As we all know, Saturday was the most important day in human history.

It was the 50th anniversary of the first ever broadcast of the first ever episode of Dr Who.

To celebrate, the BBC flung everything but the kitchen sink at us, creating the impression that it was impossible to switch on the TV without being confronted by a show about the Gallifreyan gallivanter.

Even their rivals Channel 5 got in on the act by showing the second of Peter Cushing's 1960s Dr Who movies.

For a Doctor Who fan, it felt like Christmas always felt when you were a kid.

As for the various shows, I generally enjoyed the 50th anniversary episode. Multiple Doctor stories are always going to suffer from the fact that no story really needs more than one infallible hero in it, meaning the need to give each of them things to do, and say, forces the inclusion of dialogue and actions that are fun but not vital to drive the story forward, causing a certain saggage in the pacing.

But it had the return of the Zygons, the return of Totters Lane, the return of the old opening titles and Susan's old school.

And what sort of madman wouldn't be excited by the sight of all incarnations of the Doctor turning up to save Gallifrey - especially when we get a cameo from Peter Capaldi's rather terrifying eyeballs?

And then, of course, there was the return of Tom Baker; as barking mad as ever.

I also enjoyed Adventures in Space and Time, the drama about the show's creation; and also The Five-ish Doctors, Peter Davison and Georgia Moffett's side project about Davison, McCoy and Colin Baker desperately trying to force their way into the 50th anniversary episode in defiance of all opposition. It managed to be funny, touching and oddly sweet at the same time, with all concerned coming out of it well, with their willingness to send themselves up. I especially enjoyed John Barrowman's horrific secret and Ian McKellen's Sylvester-McCoyless scene with Peter Jackson.

"This is all very well and good," I hear you cry. "But what does this all have to do with comics?"

Well, you cry right because this is what it has to do with comics. As well as once owning a copy of TV Action in which Jon Pertwee decided to teach a six-legged camel a lesson by head-butting its feet, I once also had a copy of the 1978 Dr Who annual.

I'd love to regale you with tales of its magical contents...

...but I can't remember any of them.

I know it, "starred," Tom Baker because it says so on the cover above. I have a feeling it also co-starred Leela, the most well-spoken woman ever to have been raised in a jungle. I suspect it may have included crossword puzzles and the odd Ludo style board game because such books always did. It possibly had some educational content about space travel and science. Who can know?

Were the daleks in it?

I fear not - or I should surely have remembered.

Strangely enough, despite my childhood love for the show - and my still burning ambition to be a Sea-Devil when I grow up - I never owned another Dr Who annual. I suspect that I feared such books might not live up to the knuckle-chewing drama of the TV show and therefore stayed away from them.

Still, I like to feel that, in purchasing it, I made my contribution to the Dr Who industry that has made the show financially viable enough to last for as long as it has.

According to one of those online, "Work out how long you're going to live," things, I'm expected to die at the ripe old age of 92. But those people are fools! There's no way I shall ever allow myself to die before the 100th anniversary episode. Even if I have to turn myself into a Brain of Morbius type monstrosity to do it, I shall be there to see it.

To be honest, I'm counting down the days already.


Red shadow said...

Ah, Christmas mornings, the tearing open of wrapping paper and what's inside?
The latest Doctor Who annual chock full of bizarre pscychedelic art, story's that never quite made sense, random facts about science and the future ( it's 2013 why aren't we all living in a moving city on Venus).
Kids don't know what there missing out on.

Kid said...

Stories that never quite made sense - welcome to Steven Moffat's version of the show.

Red shadow said...

Kid, had to chuckle at that.
I try to love new who like I do the original series but I always feel like I've just wasted 45 minutes of my life on loud bangs and flashing lights.
Real case of style over substance,give me a pertwee six parter any time.

Canaryboy said...

This was my one and only Dr Who annual too, and similarly I can't remember too much about it. I have a feeling the 3rd Doctor might have been in it as well - maybe a text story which was always a let down for me. Many of these spin-off annuals were disappointing of course compared to the TV series. I liken the experience to watching motor rallying on Grandstand on a Saturday afternoon, then getting your Scalextric track out only to find it wasn't as much fun.

Joe S. Walker said...

Did that annual feature a story in which a tiny helicopter lands on the Doctor's head and a leprechaun jumps out and starts kicking him in the temple? That would be several hundred times better than most of the last couple of years' shows.

Red shadow said...

Sorry Joe that was the 1979 annual, this annual contains the story where the 4th doctor travels forward in time to 2013 to appear in a pointless and fan boy pleasing cameo on a rubbish fictional t.v show.

Dougie said...

I usually got the Dr. Who annual at Xmas - or more often, in September- between 1974-79. But not in 1978; I think my parents thought it too juvenile.
As I say, they changed their minds the next year however.

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