24 December 2013

How Fanzines Helped Put Doctor Who Fans in Charge of Doctor Who



22 November 2013

An Adventure in Time and Space vs Verity Lambert, 28

a subjective review of the recent film for television by the editor of The Terrible Zodin (so don't blame anyone else for it)

Back when I'd heard about An Adventure in Time and Space being written by Mark Gatiss, I had bittersweet feelings, because I knew this TV version would hog all the glory and everyone would think I had ripped it off to write Verity Lambert, 28, even though I knew in my heart my audio play version would be just as good and at least as original (haha, if you can't big yourself up, who else will?). AAiTaS was quite enjoyable, and I'm glad to report that though it shared many things in common with VL28, it's quite obvious to say that AAiTaS is William Hartnell's story and VL28 is, obviously, Verity Lambert's story. It's obviously taken advantage of Jessica Carney's moving and interesting biography of her grandfather, William Hartnell, which is no bad thing at all—in fact, I do hope someone (ME!) writes a biopic of Hartnell that covers the period leading up to Doctor Who, in particular his earliest years through his 30s, which are quite fascinating.

AAiTaS is also a big cheese-fest, and in that sense it feels more Christmas-y to me than many a Doctor Who Christmas Special. This is due in part to the syrupy music by Edmund Butt which goes for overkill many-a-time when it should be calming the hell down. Despite the inherent sadness in the story they've chosen to tell (which, let's face it, hits a Who fan in the core of his or her heart; calculated tugging-o'-the-heartstrings), much of the programme has a light touch. Certainly there are dramatic moments, but, aside from the Hartnell conflicts, things waft along with hardly an obstacle (aside from a few racist and sexist minor characters). However, I, too, wafted along with a glazy-eyed smile most of the time—it was entertainment. And mostly true, too—at least from the research I've done.

I liked that there was a pally relationship envisioned between Verity and Waris Hussein, something in my gut I felt existed, too, and indeed Jessica Raine and Sacha Dhawan, respectively, were exactly as I had imagined the characters in my mind when I wrote them. Indeed, there are two scenes from AAiTaS that really stick out because, if I didn't know better, I would have said Mark Gatiss was reading my script from over my shoulder. These are the party scene that introduces us to both Verity and Jackie Hill (Jemma Powell), similar in a lot of ways to the party scene I had written in VL28. Amazingly similar—down to lines of dialogue like “We've got to stick this out together”--was the scene at the pub in which Verity and Waris bond to fight the Establishment. Granted, Gatiss' Verity reacts a lot more lightheartedly to hints that Waris is gay than my Verity did. I enjoyed their camaraderie in AAiTaS and could sense that the programme-makers didn't want this partnership to end after “Marco Polo” either.

I loved all the scenes set in the Hartnells' house, which looked exactly like I pictured it (though that must be due to Carney's photos in the book). I loved that Carney herself was there with her Sanpaw, and I loved the way the relationship with Heather Hartnell was established. Okay, for all the cheese, I did get a tear in my eye when Hartnell broke down with an “I don't want to go.” David Bradley made an excellent Hartnell. I do hope Carney's book is getting back in print because she is going to make a mint after this programme.

As did VL28, AAiTaS had to make judicious choices about cutting down its production team cast. It foregrounded Carole Ann Ford (Claudia Grant) and her relationship with Hartnell (as did VL28), though it's a shame we didn't get to see this relationship extended with Maureen O'Brien. Jeff Rawle was great fun as Mervyn Pinfield, the voice of reason (“My dear lady”), though where on Earth was Donald Wilson? And for that matter, David Whitaker? As Verity herself said in AAiTaS, so many people were there for Doctor Who's birth—flying credits due to Brian Hodgson, Delia Derbyshire, and Bernard Lodge—that not everyone could get crammed in. However, upon one thing I think we can agree: Brian Cox's was a star turn as Sydney Newman. And yes, he did say Verity was full of “piss and vinegar,” he did take them to lunch at a Chinese restaurant and tell them to shoot the pilot again, he did call up Verity and ask her what she knew about children. And Rex Tucker, at least from Verity's recollections, was a real jerk; and the sprinklers did go off in Studio D Lime Grove if it got too hot; Peter Brachacki did drag his feet on designing the TARDIS interior (though, to be fair, that was a brilliant scene). So, as far as I can tell, Gatiss didn't have much to invent. The story is a good one, and it's there to begin with. But certainly the framing narrative and the ability to condense four years into a few moments was a good way to summarize the heart of the Hartnell story.

There were some excellent moments from director Terry McDonogh: gazing up inside the Dalek shell will no doubt have delighted many, as will the Daleks on Westminster Bridge and the many views of BBC Television Centre. Playful blink-and-you'll-miss-them touches abounded, “Tenth Planet” Cybermen and Menoptera smoking being but a few. It was great fun to see the cameos (Carole Ann Ford, Anneke Wills, Jean Marsh, Nicholas Briggs, Tony Robinson, though I confess I completely missed the William Russell one—shame on me!). And certainly the BBC knows how to recreate the BBC from 1963 as only the BBC can! Definitely going to need to do some Verity Lambert paper dolls; as she said herself, the woman could shop for England! And oh yes, managed to figure out that the farewell party to Verity was filmed in the Tivoli Ballroom, near where I live.

Though I get the drift of trying to describe visually and in a few seconds the way Hartnell said he knew Doctor Who would go on forever, Matt Smith making a guest appearance was like so much cheese as to make a cheese-vomit sandwich. IMHO. And the Patrick Troughton bits felt very alien; that's a whole different story, surely? (A dramatisation of Michael Troughton's biography would make a bombshell companion piece of AaiTaS.)

I hope it doesn't seem like sour grapes that I keep bringing up the parallels to VL28 (I'm only human, after all). I guess I should take it as a compliment that Gatiss and I had many similar ideas of how to tell this story. Time will tell (haha!) if this dramatisation cloys with age, but I found it to be an ego-caressing (mine!) enjoyable piece of entertainment.

11 October 2013

Doctor Who Day at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea

The Dylan Thomas Festival to be invaded by Daleks

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the 2013 Dylan Thomas Festival in Swansea, Wales will be hosting a Doctor Who Day on Saturday 2 November.  Yours truly (TTZ's editor) is organising it, and we'd love to see you there.  

We have historians Matthew Kilburn and Alwyn Turner talking about 1963 and Terry Nation.  We have Peter Miles, he of many villainous Who roles but especially remembered for Nyder from "Genesis of the Daleks," in conversation with Phil Parsons and his Dalek collection.

We have comics mastermind Mike Collins giving an art workshop for kids (it's practically sold out so get your tickets now!).  

We have a Writers' Panel with Phil Ford of The Sarah Jane Adventures, James Moran, Joseph Lidster, Una McCormack, David Llewellyn, and Simon Guerrier.

We have an evening celebration with the one and only Louise Jameson reading Dylan Thomas poetry (you don't get that very often!).

It looks to be a fun and interesting event, a little different from your traditional conventions and a little different from the other events during the Festival.  It's also a fair bit more affordable than the average convention.   

We would love to see you there! 

The Dylan Thomas Festival runs from 27 October – 9 November. 
Visit www.dylanthomas.com for more information on the Dylan Thomas Centre.

2014 will mark the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas in Swansea and a series of events are being planned to commemorate one of the world’s greatest poets.

07 October 2013

The Terrible Zodin #16 (Fall 2013)

We’re back! And it’s about time too!

Issue 16 of The Terrible Zodin is now available for your delight and edification.

As the only issue we’re putting out this year TTZ16 clocks in at 125 pages, full of Doctor Who goodness as we approach the 50th anniversary of the show.

In this celebratory issue we bring you 50 Brilliant Things About Doctor Who (And 11 More!) Our review panel tackle Season 7.2 and we bring you interviews with Nick Briggs, India Fisher and Marnix van den Broeke. We also bring you the results of our Classic Series poll – find out which story our readers voted their favorite and we didn’t just stick to the TV show, the wider Whoniverse is celebrated in audio, novel and comic strip form.

We’re pleased to bring you a brand new column focusing on the Past Doctor Adventures novels and the Back2theWhoture team tackle The Aztecs. In these pages you’ll also find a reappraisal of Dodo Chaplet, Captain Jack’s Guide to the Second Doctor, the politics of the Swampies and the Case for the Return of the Rani. All that and Richard Hurndall too!

With just under 50 days to go until the anniversary itself and with rumors abound that a stash of missing episodes have been found we live in exciting times. We hope TTZ16 will tide you over until the big day itself and we would really love to have your feedback, good or bad on what you think of the new issue. We’ve listened to your comments before and you’ll see we’re debuting a new font and column style in response.

Plans are already afoot for TTZ17 (But as the PHD ramps up in to the final stages, it probably won’t be any time before August 2014); if you want to be a part of it please drop us an email at theterriblezodinezine@yahoo.co.uk or join us over on Facebook and Twitter.


Click here to download The Terrible Zodin #16 (Fall 2013)

02 August 2013

What's she doing here?!


Apologies for the long silence!

The Terrible Zodin just keeps humming along, and we have another issue (our sixteenth, in fact) due out probably in October.  We are currently looking for submissions from anyone about anything (well, Doctor Who-related and do keep in mind that we try to be a family-friendly magazine).  Already there have been some smashing ideas for articles, and I've sent my gnome on a tricycle round to deviantART to scout out the best Doctor Who art there by talented individuals.  But we could always use more of each, so please do get in touch if you have an idea!

  • E-mail us at theterriblezodinezine AT yahoo.co.uk
  • Find us on Twitter @terriblezodin
  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/34701043842/
  • in "The Five Doctors" ... :-D
Also, do keep in mind that the deadline is SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER!

We look forward to hearing from you.

30 March 2013

The next issue of the Terrible Zodin

Hi, and how's everyone enjoying the new Doctor Who?

Life continues at its blinding pace at TTZ Towers, but we hope to have at least one brand-new issue of TTZ for you this 50th (!!) anniversary year. 

To give the most time possible to hypothetical contributors, we are setting the submission deadline as September 7, 2013.  This should give you plenty of time to come up with ANYTHING related to Doctor Who to send in for consideration.  We publish 99% of what is sent our way, so as long as it's family-friendly, why not give us a shot?  We are an inclusive Doctor Who fanzine and like getting different points of view.  We like looking at all eras, media, and fanon elements of the show.  We are looking for artwork, comics, poetry, and nonfiction articles.  We generally don't publish fan fiction, though we have been known to publish shorter pieces.

We'd love to hear from you.  The call out will start on Twitter and Facebook imminently.  And you can e-mail us at theterriblezodinezine@yahoo.co.uk. 

03 February 2013

The Terrible Zodin Doctor Who Meetup 3

We'd be delighted if you could join us for the third The Terrible Zodin Doctor Who fan meet up which will be on Saturday 6th April 2013.

Venue will be confirmed nearer the time (We'll be keeping an eye on TFL's plans for engineering work) but will most likely be The Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe as it was the last two times.

Follow the events page on Facebook for updates here

We'd love to see many of you there and in the mean time here's some photos from last years events which have been kindly provided by Marcus Judge and Craig Hanson

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Is it The Chase?

Over on Facebook TTZ scribe Aya Vandenbussche has invented a screen grab game which eventually became known as "Is it The Chase?"

Test your knowledge of clocks and blades of grass which have appeared in Doctor Who and see if you too can became the master of arcane attention to detail.

Join us at Is it The Chase? on Facebook

08 January 2013

The Terrible Zodin # 15 (Winter 2013)

Issue 15 of The Terrible Zodin is now available for free download for your delight and edification.

Celebrating Doctor Who around the world we hear from fandom in France and the Netherlands. Our team of intrepid reviewers tackle the most recent Matt Smith series and we're excited to bring you exclusive interviews with Who writers Andrew Cartmel and Nicholas Briggs.

The Dominators gets the No! Not the Mind Probe! treatment, the paper doll series presents Rory Williams and we've articles on everything from Roz Forrester to Igor et Grinchka.

We really hope you enjoy this issue and find it something bright and colorful in these dark winter days. Let us know what you think, we'd love to hear from you.

We're excited to be entering 2013 with the run up to Doctor Who's 50th anniversary in November and we'll be back later in the year to celebrate.


Click here to download The Terrible Zodin #15 (Winter 2013)