October introduces us to The Sixth Doctor, 40 year old Colin Baker and the lead story has a brief resume noting he’s the first actor to play the Doctor who had previously had a role in the series. There’s nothing especially unusual in this announcement which comes accompanied by a shot from the official photocall though it’s impossible not to think of what happened next. As often is the case, the actor looks Doctorly enough in what he was wearing that day but, oh no, someone had to conjure up a costume! That’s all in the future in October 1983 though. Other news this month includes news of the theft of an art display from the Blackpool exhibition with over £1,000 and guest star news for the forthcoming `Resurrection of the Daleks`. The DWAS’ 20th anniversary party event which had barely been mentioned in CT has now happened as well and it seems was successful.
CT's 1983 editor Gordon Roxburgh did not have a way with headlines. Or perhaps he just didn’t have a lot of letraset. The July edition has the headline `Return`. A big picture of a Dalek sort of gives away what is returning but couldn’t he have at least managed something a bit more dynamic than `Return`. He does go on to describe `Destiny of the Daleks` as “dreadful” too which it isn’t. Tucked away deep inside the issue are the results of the 1983 season poll. It seems an oddly quiet way to declare them especially as the editor has said on the cover it is a slow news month. He probably didn’t have enough Letraset to add the story `Mawdryn Triumphs in Season Poll`. Yep by a margin of almost a thousand votes it is spaghetti head’s deserved victory in a poll I remember was the easiest to vote in for years given the varying qualities of the stories. Despite some peoples’ griping over the dating, `Mawdryn` struck me as the season’s only classic, a rich mixture of nostalgia and ideas. “Brigadier was superb” is the write up it gets in a tiny summary of some views below. In second place was `Enlightenment` whose visual extravagance masked a rather slow story but the surprise for me was seeing `Snakedance` coming fifth beaten by both `The Kings Demons` and- gasp- `Arc of Infinity`. The latter which I have always seen as the real turkey romps in third though if you re-ran this poll today I bet it would trail last. You only have to see it a second time to remember just how bad the Ergon is and how little sense the story makes. All of which means `Terminus` is bottom proving that disrobing companions and a giant cuddly bear are not certain to win people’s hearts!
Well actually April and June as for some reason my copy of the May issue is nowhere to be found. It probably turned out to be the most newsworthy month of the year unlike April which apart from further additions to the ever growing cast of the anniversary special is scant on news. And still nothing about the enigmatic Tacecon! One of the more interesting things that CT always did was include press clippings and its surprising how much coverage Doctor Who got from the nationals in those days. You’d imagine a fair proportion of it came from the production office pro-actively pushing stories as the guest casts often included well known names of the time. For example Lynda Baron’s turn in `Enlightenment ` is the topic of a Daily Mirror piece reprinted this issue in which the actor discusses what real female pirates were like. Elsewhere there’s a piece about Mark Strickson joining the series and one concerning the Longleat Celebration event in which Lord Bath is seen signing the contract under duress from a Cyberman.
Exactly 54 years after it was broadcast, `Mission to the Unknown` or `Dalek Cutaway` or `The Beasts from UGH` is back, Back BACK! The most stunning aspect of this faithful remounting of one of many missing episodes is that after less than a minute you believe you’re watching something from 1964. The tone of the picture, the way it is acted, the tight sets and most of all the odd tilt of those old heavy cameras all seem so authentic. Perhaps the only thing that betrays this as a product of 2019 is that the cast are younger than possibly anyone looked in the Sixties! The product of painstaking research courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire this is quite an achievement.
Things had changed a lot in the DWAS by the time the anniversary year of 1983 began. The Society was now nearly seven years old and its newsletter CT had moved on from the fannish enthusiasm which earlier editors had deployed. It was now very much a factual newsletter albeit one that showed just how much activity there was in fandom at the time. Edited by Gordon Roxburgh, the 1983 CT maintained the same look throughout the year and was home mostly to news, longer departmental columns, shorter headlines and zillions of fanzine adverts. Averaging 6- 8 pages per issue ensured each was packed with material. The January issue was Gordon’s first as editor and means both the DWAS’ publications were helmed by Scotsmen. The year started with some bad news as the last story of season 20 was cancelled due to yet another industrial dispute at the BBC. At that moment there was no certainty even that `The Kings Demons` would be able to be completed (don’t say anything….).