Friday, 21 December 2007

Fiction - The Wheel Turns

"The Wheel Turns"
by David Ronayne

NOTE: The characters and events of the Chung Kuo Universe are copyright Dave Wingrove and New English Library books. They are used here with the utmost respect. (Except for the bit with the horse in Book 1 — very nasty Mr Wingrove, very nasty indeed.)

Bremen, City Europe, The Middle Kingdom, July 2207.

The man in black stood amongst the smoke and the smell of death. The 'uppers' remained in ruins, the vents sealed and still the fires had raged. He had read all the reports and seen all the files, but he had known he would have to experience the event first hand to be sure, to see the full consequences of his actions, and to strengthen his resolve to complete his plans. It would be a very dangerous undertaking and if his nerve ever weakened ...

Someone started calling for acetylene torches and ice-cutters to try to cut their way into the sealed lower levels of the stack, there may still be survivors down there ... He sat down and wept — they still had no idea who or what they were dealing with. Forces he had set into motion long ago, blinded by the righteous belief that he was improving things, running the tracks of history onto new and alien futures. Here it was comparatively settled, Draconia and Skaro had ceased to exist, at least Earth was still here, just with a different name. It was all number Seven's fault, the gaudy Welsh one, with the suspect ties and ridiculous waistcoat. If only someone had kept the meddlesome fool in check before he had wrecked havoc over the timelines, if only someone had told him, if only ... The man shook his head sadly knowing that he wouldn't have listened, locked in a cosmic crusade with a temporal mandate from heaven. And as a result fifteen thousand people died today.

"No, it was all our own fault, we all brought these futures on ourselves," he muttered quietly to himself. He felt a consoling hand on his shoulder and turned to see Tolenen, the ageing Marshal of the Tang's forces looking down, smiling weakly at him. The man in black flinched back. He had read the other's reports and journals and knew the general had mistaken the middle aged HungMao in the fine black tunic and pau for an off duty officer who had rushed back to the base at the alarm.

"There was nothing any of us could have done. Kuan Yin help us."

The man-in-black's wild laughter startled the elder. Then followed a torrent of facts and accusations. Tolenen was a good man and didn't deserve this, apart from breaking almost every law of time, the resulting conflicts of interest would cause the old man considerable strain. But his hearts had almost broken at the sights around him, and his anger and rage, more at himself than anything else, needed to be vented. Anyway had not such interference caused the problem, and if his plan succeeded this world was lost. And someone had to know the full extent of his folly.

He told the old man everything, past, present, and future. Wan wu, all things of heaven and earth. His involvement with the formation of the Cities and The Seven, the birth of the Ping Tau, and of Devore's treachery, the secrets of the Shepherd family and the upcoming assassinations. The Clay, the shell, and the Wiring Project, the developing situation in America and the things that could be found there.

He swore at the deaths on Mars, the destruction of the palaces, Lienmann in the Undercity, everything and more. Marshal Tolenen turned away unheeding, the conversation written off in his personal journal as the shacked ravings of a man who had seen to much at Bremen. There would be many of them. When the revelations came to light futile searches would bemade for the mysterious hei nan jell, the man in black, but he would be long gone by that stage.

He watched the old man leave. He knew he was preparing to meet Li Shai Tung within the hour. The man in black stood. His course was clear. He would have to sell and rebuy half his souls, and make pacts with various devils, but he was sure. It would be the ultimate treason in the eyes of his people and the greatest feat of temporal meddling ever performed. He would rewrite his own history, forcing himself into a different regenerative cycle, and hopefully set the past right. He may not even survive the process, but what was one life to save the countless world from the follies of his youth. Someone started screaming as the lower levels were uncovered, and as he turned to leave the Valeyard knew what he must do.


Monday, 17 December 2007

10 Years Redux

ZeusBlog have got in on the celebration, with a post about RTP!
Go and read it here:


Plus, Alden Bates gives a mini-review of issue 25 on his own blog here.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - RTP! #5

Another review of the fanzine from the pages of TSV, this time from issue 55 (October 1998):
RTP! #5

Wade Campbell bows out and coeditor Matt Kamstra ably takes the helm, aided by Alex Ballingall. Alex's epic Pulp Who comic strip reaches its wordy conclusion this issue. This Doctor Who-Pulp Fiction fusion strip has been a staple ingredient of RTP! for the last year and I hope Alex follows up this remarkable achievement with another comic strip adventure, original or not.

Peter Adamson interviews fellow NZ artist Alistair Hughes. Fan interviews such as this are a great way to get to know the person behind the work, and Hughes is a particularly interesting interview subject, having made the enviable leap to professional Doctor Who commissions in the UK, as well as contributing to fanzines in that country.

TSV's Karkus makes an appearance in RTP! - this guy sure gets around!

Graham Muir takes a fresh look at a much-maligned story - The Space Museum - and concludes that, yes, it really is as turgid as everyone says it is.

Peter Adamson continues his regular column examining the implications for the show if certain well-known unused stories had been made. This is a great concept for a series of articles - he's previously examined Donald Cotton's The Herdsmen of Venus, and this issue takes a look at the third Yeti story, raising some important questions about its place in series continuity.

Oh, and I'm envious that RTP! though of doing a South Park-Doctor Who crossover first - dammit!

Friday, 30 November 2007

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Issue 25 Update!

Issue 25 is complete and will be published/posted in the next week so most people should get it in the post by the start of December. What can you look forward to in the issue?

Part 3 of "One Flew Over the Hen's Nest" - A look at TARDIS Tales from 1991 to 1997
Interview with Kelly Buchanan about Faction Paradox and other things
The Fifth and Final part of Peter Adamson's "Cydonia" comic
A cartoon from new contributor John Moffat
and more!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Flashback - An Inky Nightmare (RTP! #8)

Primary images that remain of issue 8?

The first is Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra, and myself sitting on the floor at a Christchurch Chapter meeting, frantically stapling together copies of the issue so that those attending could leave with one. It had arrived part way through the occasion and we quickly discovered a problem with the printing - namely that the ink hadn't worked correctly for the cover and tended to come off on one's hands while you were reading. Which left readers with ink stained hands. The quality of the printing on the other pages wasn't particularly good either.

A second memory is that of writing the Editorial at Matt's place and using a book from Matt's bookshelf about various unusual words, which resulted in the Editorial being my usual nonsense. My back cover art meanwhile was a tribute to Nightmare Of Eden which I don't consider as bad as some people feel it is. I actually like the design of the Mandrels, even if they were not perhaps filmed or lit in a flattering manner.

Finally, issue 8 featured the return of Pulp Who, this time from the pen of Peter Adamson. This idea of a continuation had been discussed as early as issue 5 and the conclusion of my own contribution. So I wasn't surprised by it's appearance, but was more than a little flattered that Peter thought my idea was worth inflicting the task of drawing four new installments on himself.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

If - "The Laird of McCrimmon"

The second of Peter Adamson's articles on the impact some unmade Who might have had, if they had been made ...

The Laird Of McCrimmon
by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln

Perhaps the most surprising last story for any Doctor in the series after the regenerative The Tenth Planet must be the last story of the Patrick Troughton era, The War Games. Here was a story at the outset aiming to tie up the loose threads of the current series, namely the futures of the Doctor and his two young companions, while providing a new twist to the character of the Doctor himself, at the same time tentatively addressing the possible cancellation of the series. Had Doctor Who not been renewed for 1970, then viewers could be assured that The War Games, an epic ten parter in which it is revealed that not only is the Doctor one of a race of omnipotent beings called Time Lords, but that he is a fugitive from their world whose time has run out, would satisfy at least some of the questions asked since the show's very first episode. Perhaps it would even ask a few more, encouraging a new following into the Seventies.
The War Games was really a story of closure then; the Doctor puts things right by listing his past victories and achievements, he is reunited with his people who promptly put him on trial (though he is spared the same punishment meted upon the War Chief), and Jamie and Zoe are returned to their original places in time with only their first meetings with the Doctor left in their memories. With such a neat ending to the series then, it comes as something of a surprise that The War Games was a replacement for Season Six's potential finale The Laird Of McCrimmon, a story which perhaps sought to close as many books as its successor did, but with more focus on the Doctor's foes and companions than the Time Lord himself.
What ought to be mentioned here is that Laird is not an unused story because of a script editing decision, but because its writers chose to withdraw it having felt significant chagrin at the BBC's ill-consulted treatment of their previous creations, the Quarks. Their withdrawal from the series was a significant blow in that the incumbent story would have been a third outing for their more famous creations, the Yeti and the Great Intelligence. More significant was the fact that this story was the third in a potential Yeti trilogy, aimed not only at resolving the dilemma of the Intelligence's continued freedom at the end of The Web Of Fear, but in effect returning Jamie, at that stage the Doctor's longest serving companion, to his proper home in Eightenth Century Scotland. Had Laird seen production then there may have been no mention of Time Lords, and in fact no writing out of Zoe (the drafts still refer to the other companion as 'Victoria') who would surely have departed at an earlier stage. The Two Doctors apologists would have had nothing to try to explain away.
Laird then was also a continuation of the story first set up in Season Five's The Abominable Snowmen, although there would be some notable absences in the established supporting cast. Victoria had left shortly before the previous season's end to be replaced by Zoe, and as the new story was set in the past, a reunion with Professor Travers from the other stories would have been unlikely (although at this stage this was meant to be addressed by the Travers' appearance with Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in The Invasion. In fact, having the story set in the past would suggest a couple of interesting facts about the nature of the Intelligence: not only is it capable of travelling backwards in time (as in the story it is possessing the Laird, Sir James McCrimmon, kinsman of Jamie), but it would also be capable of being in two places at once - in theory, during the Eighteenth Century it is still located in the mind of Padmasambhava in Tibet! Had these issues been addressed in the story, then Laird would have shown the Doctor's enemy to be at its strongest yet; a fitting third encounter and final story for the series. Incidentally, the possibility that this would be a 'prequel' story is discounted by the Intelligence's interest in using Jamie (whom it knows from their two previous encounters) to replace the exhausted Laird as its new host.
Without question, this would have been a fine story for Jamie to leave to Doctor as the new Laird. What is intriguing is the coincidence it sets up with another similar story-arc later in the series' history; that of Ace and Fenric. Again, it is not certain as to whether this motivation was within the Intelligence's realm (nor that of the writers!), but it could be interpreted that Jamies' original arrival in the TARDIS in The Highlanders prefigures Ace's arrival in Dragonfire, with both the Intelligence and Fenric introducing the Doctor to a potential companion to the same ends. Perhaps like Ace, Jamie was to have been the Intelligence's pawn, a device with which to extract revenge upon the Doctor for a past unmentioned humiliation?
So strong is the idea, and so concentrated on one companion, that it is not surprising the story was reconsidered for Season Seven (some advance publicity by chance finding its way in Jon Pertwee's casting photocall, hamming it up with a Yeti). This never came to pass of course, and probably for the better given the 'new broom' that the third Doctor's debut season turned out to be. In the end there does survive a companion-heavy third Yeti story, boasting not only Victoria as the agent for the Intelligence, but also Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT, and Professor Travers as the surviving host of the Doctor's enemy. Marc Platt's Doctor-less Downtime succeeds in resolving the gap that the missing third Yeti story left, but for the same reasons above proves to show the Intelligence in a somewhat weakened state. As it stands, it is potentially the best replacement for The Laird Of McCrimmon, and precludes any possibility of a remount of the story for a future series, which is unfortunate given Paul McGann's noted media infatuation with the Yeti.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - TSV #53

Another review of TSV from the pages of RTP!:
TSV #53
Two issues for the price of well, two really, but it was good to get a double dosing at once. [TSV #54 was published at the same time as #53.] A great review for Reverse the Polarity! issue 2, considering we disliked it as much as issue 1! I can't wait for the reviews of #3 and #4. Moving on though, comprehensive coverage of Who classic The Leisure Hive went down well, but, although interesting, the long winded "A Question of Answers" didn't bode so well for me. Congratulations to Alden Bates and Peter Adamson for "Dominion" and the best characterization of Mel Bush ever! No evil fanboy fantasies here. 'That crazy twin from New Zealand', Edwin Patterson, provides a really interesting account of 'Panopticon '97' which really makes me want to go to a British con. I shall have to settle for 'Conquest 2' however. Even if Tom Baker seems to be the ONLY interesting guest of note, it should be worth going to.

- Matt Kamstra

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

10 Years

Yes, ten years ago this month the very first issue of RTP! was published by Matt Kamstra and Wade Campbell.

The fanzine was born in the aftermath of the 1996 TV movie and has managed to survive to reach today. Much has changed in those ten years, with the series returning to television (along with requisite spin-offs), the rise and fall of the EDAs and PDAs, the rise and plateau of the Big Finish audio adventures, and the rejuvenation of both DWM and the comic strip it contains. We've gained two new Doctors in that time and TSV has changed editor once. In 1997 the series was still confined to video tape releases and the idea of individual documentaries on stories a pipe dream.

Despite all those changes the fanzine has bumbled along at a rough average of two issues a year and a readership of about twenty. How long will the fanzine continue for? No idea ...

Friday, 28 September 2007

Interview - Fanboy Mastermind (Part Two of Two)

(Matt) How does NZ fandom compare on the world scene? Are we really very different from, say, British fans? And how come?
(Jon) I think the main difference between us and UK fans is that they get a more stable and regular diet of Who—eg. repeats on satellite TV, the books are readily available and they get to attend at least two conventions a year where they can meet stars from the show. They are rather spoiled because of this.

It is relatively easy to travel around the UK because they have such a splendid train system. This enables fans from all over the country to amass at these conventions. In New Zealand we don not have the same ability to get around the country to attend any sort of organized event, and as a result they don't get organized! Only local events seem to keep the interest alive.

We have been very privileged to get to see people like Tom Baker only because of circumstances rather than by design. Sadly, Baker has had to pull out of attending the 'Conquest II' convention in Auckland next year.

That's a great shame. And a blow for NZ fandom no doubt. Do you think the series itself will ever come back as new, or even repeats to New Zealand (as TVNZ no longer holds the rights)?
Ooo, tough question. If the show comes back to NZ screens it will probably be as an early weekend morning filler. I'd be very surprised to see it in prime time. Of course, the new Prime station or Sky's TV channel could be the new home for Who in NZ.

Will the show come back? It's possible, but I doubt it will happen before the turn of the century. Personally, I'd prefer to see a series of irregular TV movies (four a year?) rather than a twenty-two episode series. The idea of several two hour movies is more appealing as it gives scope for bigger and more epic stories.

If the show was to return full time, chances are it will adopt the now familiar concept of a story arc. There are very few SF TV shows nowadays that don't have some form of story arc in them (it's a very Nineties concept!). Doctor Who has previously used umbrella themes (Key to Time, E-Space) so the concept is not new.

What did you think of the telemovie and the new DWM regeneration?
From a production point of view the movie couldn't be faulted. It was a beautifully crafted piece of film with great direction from Geoffrey Sax. Sadly, the script didn't live up to expectations (but it was a darn sight better than some of the earlier scripts as seen in The Nth Doctor book). I've seen the film five times now and I still can't work out what's going on in the last few acts!

As for the DWM regeneration, I kinda expected it had to be a hoax. It's very healthy, I think, to give fandom a kick in the pants like this from time to time!

How about the BBC Books? As products of the BBC are the new books canon, and what do you think of them?
Technically, the books are a product of BBC Worldwide Ltd., which is a merchandising wing of the BBC, whereas the programme was made by BBC Drama, so there's no real reason why the two should even be considered part of the same continuity! But then of course the 1996 TV movie was co-produced with BBC Worldwide, so bang goes that line of thinking!

The subject of canonicity is one I prefer not to get too involved in, having already had my fingers badly burnt saying they aren't canon in the rec.arts.dr.who newsgroup!

Besides, it's all very good and fine to think about and then decide what is and what isn't canon, but unless you actually do something constructive with it, there isn't really much point in choosing, is there!

But, no, I only consider the TV episodes to be canon. That is not to say, however, that I don't enjoy other aspects of Doctor Who, such as the books and the comics. I read the books for enjoyment, not because I need a new fix of Doctor Who adventures; I don't need the books to be canon. I only get the books for my ever-growing Doctor Who collection. And with two new books a month, the pile of unread novels just grows and grows!

I've read only fourteen of the BBC books so far (a mix of both Eighth and past Doctors); some I've liked, some I've hated. I don't like Paul Leonard or John Peel's work, for instance, but I love Lance Parkin and Justin Richards' stuff. And before you ask, I have no intention to write one! While I do have some ideas, I don't have the time or the ability to write a novel.

You stole the questions right out of my mouth! Apart from Who, what else do you do outside of fandom?
I work for the National Bank; have been employed with them for fourteen years (although some times it feels like forever!). In terms of non-work interests, obviously there is my Doctor Who connections, but I should point out that I am a fan of general SF. I belong to a local SF club here in Hamilton. I love all SF films and TV. I don't get to read as much as I'd like to. (Probably 'cos I have far too many Doctor Who books still to read!)

I also collect merchandise. I have zillons of videos, plus books and magazines about movies and SF shows. In my overall collection I have novels, scripts, annuals, activity books, view-master slides, non-fiction reference books, film posters, lobby cards—I could go on but I don't want to bore you! I have a few rare items. My oldest Doctor Who collectible is the 1964 Radio Times with Marco Polo on the cover. But the oldest book in my non-Who collection is dated 1899. It'll be 100 next year!

What are your other science fiction interests? Why do you place Doctor Who at the top?
I think this was answered in the last question. My interests cover most media SF: Babylon 5, The X Files, Blakes 7, Thunderbirds, etc. And yes, I'll admit to watching and liking Star Trek! I'm looking forward to the new film, due either Boxing Day, or Easter next year—I'm not sure which. I am also very much looking forward to the new Star Wars films. There is just so much new SF on TV that it almost gets impossible to keep up with it all and still have time to sleep!

As for placing Who at the top, I think it's because it has such a rich continuity that is both complex and simple at the same time, and that makes it so much fun. Other long running series like Star Trek also have continuity structure but with Trek it is all spelled out for the viewer. Who still has a lot that is still a mystery. But now I find that I enjoy the behind-the-scenes analysis more than I do watching the show.

Why did you fold SF On Screen?
There are two reasons. Firstly, the idea of SF On Screen was that it was intended to act as an introduction to the TV shows and movies that were due to appear on NZ TV. The episode lists are a combination of stuff I get off the internet ad from the various SF magazines that I subscribe to, so I was pretty much up to date. But trying to predict what new shows TVNZ and TV3/4 were going to screen in the new year proved a nightmare. Neither broadcaster was prepared to divulge advanced screening information, so SF On Screen was either too early with info (Space Precinct has still not been shown in NZ!), or too late (Dark Skies screened before I had covered it). I simply got frustrated with this.

Secondly, for the past two years I've been working on a rather complex Doctor Who-related project which has taken up a lot of my spare time. I had to simply make a decision not to continue with the newsletter. It is possible—just possible mind!—that I will resurrect the newsletter some time in the future. We'll see.

Sorry, but its probably time we called it a day. That deadline is getting close! Last question—What is your most embarrasing moment (that you're willing to share!)?
One that springs to mind is when I phoned a friend to wish them a Happy Birthday only to discover that not only was I month late, but I had also phoned the wrong person ...! I guess you had to be there.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Interview - Fanboy Mastermind (Part One of Two)

Interviewed by Matt Kamstra (in 1998)

(Matt) Let's start from the beginning. What were your first memories of Doctor Who?
(Jon) I was born in August 1964. My first memory of Doctor Who comes four years later and is the scene from Planet Of Giants in which two figures (the Doctor and Susan) climb down a plug-hole and water pours past them. My only other memory of William Hartnell's Doctor is his regeneration at the end of The Tenth Planet. Curiously, despite their later impact on me, I have no recollections whatsoever of the Cybermen!

Patrick Troughton had more of an impact on me because I was older by the time his stories aired in New Zealand. I do have very vivid recollections of seeing The Moonbase, The Macra Terror, The Evil Of The Daleks, The Tomb Of The Cybermen, The Web Of Fear, and The Wheel In Space. If you chart out when the stories screened—as recorded in Paul Scoones' Listener guidebooks [now online here]—you can see that these Troughton stories aired around June through October 1969, 1970, and 1971. We didn't own a television set, we only rented one during the winter months, which explains the 'gaps' in my viewings.

And yes, I can honestly say—although it's an embarrassing cliche to admit to—I did watch the show from behind the sofa, or through a crack in the door! I can remember being scared to go to sleep one night, an eye on the open bedroom doorway, afraid that a Cybermen would come in and take me out of my bed (obviously after watching The Moonbase), and then almost having a fit when a dark silhouette suddenly appeared in the doorway—my father coming to bid me a good night!

So when was it that you first realised that Doctor Who was more than just a casual fancy?
There are two significant dates: one is 1979, the other 1984 ...

I had watched the programme on and off during the Pertwee years and the early Tom Baker seasons (we had bought our first colour TV during that period), but due to the show always screening on Saturday afternoons I missed a lot of episodes. I can say however that I did see at least one full episode of every story that screened between 1975 and 1979.

1979 could be considered the turning point as it was when I first started reading the Target novelisations. To cut a long story short I started collecting the books when I managed to buy about ten of the books very cheaply in a book exchange. New paperbacks were considered expensive back then at $1.25 (rather cheap by today's standards!) because I got only $2 a week pocket money! But from that point on I made it a goal to collect all the books as there were only about forty at that time.

I had no idea of the story order for the books, but in 1982 I got a copy of Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke's book The Making of Doctor Who which contained an episode guide up to The Hand Of Fear. Soon I was able to recite the broadcast story order off by heart—the first real sign of being a true fan! I also started to subscribe to Doctor Who Monthly around that time. So Who was becoming a hobby ...

In 1982 we got our first video recorder and I was able to tape Part Four of Logopolis a week later, which I played and played and played to the point where I could literally recite it all word for word. And then in 1983 I started taping the Peter Davison episodes.

As I stated earlier, 1984 was another significant year. It was when I met a fellow fan who had obtained 'bootleg' tapes of old Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee stories from another fan in Australia. You can imagine my reaction! After much pleading (!), she kindly made copies for me. From that point on I became a Doctor Who video junkie. And that would be when Doctor Who became more than just a casual fancy—I was now a FAN, in capital letters.

And, alas, now a super fan! You must have a favourite moment in fandom/as a fan? Would I be right or wrong in guessing your appearance on Mastermind?
Actually you're wrong! Mastermind would have been my favourite prior to 1990, but subsequent events superceded that experience.

I have three really favourite moments as a fan, and all of them took place in England! The first was in 1990 when I appeared on the fan quiz slot during the BSB Doctor Who weekend. I got to talk with many of the stars from the show during the set-ups. I'm still 'recognised' by British fans for that brief TV appearance.

Another favourite moment as a fan would have to be attending the 30th Anniversary 'Panopticon' convention in London since it was the fandom event of 1993. The five surviving Doctors were there (I even got to share a dressing room with Jon Pertwee!) as well as many of the companions. It was also a chance to rub shoulders, if you like, with some of the 'new' Who writers such as Gary Russell, Paul Cornell, Kate Orman, and Gareth Roberts, as well as a chance to meet up again with some ex-pat Kiwis like Warwick "Scott" Gray, and Alistair Hughes, who were there also.

The third moment was another convention, 'Space Mountain', which was also in 1993. Again, it was an opportunity to meet fans, and stars, and production personnel from the series.

As for Mastermind, that was ten years ago, and I see it now as having been a challenge from a personal level rather than as something I did as a fan. It's something which I'm a bit embarrassed to talk about now, especially with non-fans. It was still fun to do though.

But if I had to single out one of the above as my favourite, favourite moment, it would have to be 'Panopticon '93'. That was simply awesome!

Yes, well, not much has been written about either of your television experiences. Perhaps you could fill us in a bit?
I applied for Mastermind in January 1988 and was subsequently called up for an audition. A few weeks later I received a letter stating I had been selected for the series—incidentally the programme's thirteenth season (but I'm not superstitious!). I had about two months before recording to brush up on my general knowledge. I knew from studying previous series of Mastermind that they have a mix of recent current events, sports, history, pop culture, and music questions.

They record three editions of the programme at a a time. I was in Heat Seven, which was the second of three editions being recorded that day. They record the show from start to finish, with only two brief pauses between rounds. After the first round (the specialist topics) I was in the lead. After the second round (general knowledge) I was tied with one of the other contestants, but I answered one more question. If it had resulted in a tie, I think I would have still won on the basis that whoever had the least number of 'passed' questions wins.

I was more nervous watching the televised programme than making it. I hadn't told many people, only family and friends. I was a bit scared to show up at work the next day—I was hoping that no one had seen it. Unfortunately one of them had, and he'd told the others!

The semi-final was recorded a few weeks later. Unfortunately due to nerves, I stuffed up the first question which lost me valuable time. I came last! Judith Medlicott—who is a lecturer I believe at Dunedin University—was the winner that year. She got a 100% score.

As for the BSB appearance, I was on holiday in England for three months during late 1990. One of the satellite TV stations, BSB (now defunct), was running a forty-eight hour screening of Doctor Who episodes one weekend in September. They sent a film crew along to the Fitzroy Tavern, a pub in central London at which fans gather once a month, to film 'fans in action'. I was there and when they heard I was visiting from New Zealand they asked if I would appear in the fan quiz in order to give it an international flavour. Naturally I said 'yes'. I was picked up by taxi very early one Saturday morning and taken to the studios. During the day various Doctor Who people came and went to film interviews and links for the weekend. It was very long and tiring—but exciting day. I got to meet and get autographs of many of the actors from all eras of the show.

You mention Mastermind as something you did on a personal basis. How do you see your Mastermind appearance in light of your appearance on BSB?
While Mastermind was a 'serious' experience, the BSB quiz was nothing more than a bit of fun, something which only fans would even see or appreciate. I remember reading a review of the weekend in a UK fanzine which said the people in the quiz were a bunch of 'bores' (my fellow quiz members were John Nathan-Turner, and UK superfans Andrew Beech, and Jean Riddler. The questions had been set by David J. Howe.). Only two of the UK magazines that covered reviews of the weekend even mentioned the quiz, and one of them spelt my name wrong!

David Ronayne asked me to ask you if you ever got your prize from BSB?
No, I didn't! The swines. It was to have been a jersey knitted using one of the pictures from the Doctor Who knitting book. I chose a black jersey with a Dalek. Sadly BSB were subsequently bought out by Sky to become BSkyB, so obviously my prize wasn't seen as an important part of the merger! I did get paid for my appearance though.


Monday, 10 September 2007

Flashback - A Blur of Orange (RTP! #7)

Videos, Videos, Videos

By issue 7 Matt Kamstra's contact with Village Roadshow (distributors of the BBC Video releases in Australia/NZ from 1996 onwards) had developed to the point where we were receiving free copies of the current releases to review. This had begun with The Happiness Patrol (reviewed in issue 5), blooming to four video reviews this issue. Although it must be pointed out here that the review of The Ice Warriors release was based on my copy of the UK release. Rather amusingly I think Timelash came out better in my reviews than Horror of Fang Rock did.

I remember being quite pleased at how issue 7 turned out, feeling that the fanzine was really beginning to hit it's stride. The issue also featured our first, and to date only, survey of our readership. I'm of the mind to believe that if we had another survey today it would garner much the same result. I also recall Matt and I wasting much time coming up with silly things to take photos of which would accompany Jeff Stone's "A Day in the Life of RTP!" article ...

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Exit, Stage Left

And so Wade left ...

Between issues 4 and 5 Wade Campbell (co-founder of RTP!) chose to bow out as co-editor of the fanzine, Alexander Ballingall taking his place after stepping up from Assistant Editor. The cause of Wade's decision to leave the fanzine remains unexplained to this day, with the most notable effect of Wade walking away being a discontinuation of material appearing in the fanzine from the pen of Wade.

Even with Wade leaving, this left the editorship of the fanzine split between two and the new arrangement had the added issue of geography since Alexander didn't (and currently still doesn't) live in the same city as co-editor Matt Kamstra. This would continue to give the fanzine a slightly skitzo feel in terms of style and content for each issue (many readers noting that the fanzine has become easily more consistent and streamlined since it has been run by only one editor).

Wade wasn't the only editor to leave and we'll look at Matt's later ...

Monday, 20 August 2007

Flashback - Day Old Christmas Pudding (RTP! #6)

My primary memories with respect to issue 6 revolve around the comic Myrrh, much of which was written on holiday in Wanganui where I was visiting some family. I have a feeling that Matt Kamstra had more to do with putting together the issue that I did, most of it probably happening during the time I was away in the North Island. This might explain why Part One of Jeff Stone's The Red Menace fanfic is missing the end of the installment. I don't know who is to blame for the picture of Ace on the back cover, but I think the burden of guilt falls on Garry Jackson and Matt. Meanwhile Graham Muir reviewed The Feast of Steven (The Daleks' Master Plan Episode 7), which in retrospect was Graham already becoming bored with the repetitive nature of the Birdy comics. He'd only do one further adventure (in issue 7) with Birdy flying solo, Saucer returning with the comic in issue 11.

Issue 6 was another of those 'gear change' issues that happen every now and then, as after this point I would have more input into each issue than I had had for issues 4 through 6.

Friday, 17 August 2007

The Christchurch Chapter

The above illustration from Garry Jackson (published in RTP! #2, December 1997) depicts the recently reborn Christchurch Chapter as it was at that point in time. Starting clockwise from the top right are; Garry Jackson (at that point living in Queenstown and thus not-quite-yet a member of the Chapter, although within a year or so he would be), Alexander Ballingall (current editor of RTP!), Jonathan Park (editor of the defunct Telos fanzine and co-editor of the fanzine/blog Zeus Plug/Zeus Blog), Hayden Edwards, James Gibbons, Wade Campbell (co-founder of RTP!), Matt Kamstra (co-founder of RTP!), Philip J Gray, and Graham Muir (creator of the TARDIS Tales).

The start of the newly regenerated Chapter is described here, the local Chapter seemingly dying away around 1993/94 and the mini-con CyberCon. Thus the new Chapter officially turned ten last year in May! Since then people have come and gone, the Chapter remaining roughly at the same number of people this entire decade of time (hovering as it does at meetings between six to fifteen people attending). And the format had remained equally the same as well, following the usual pattern of:

Junk food & carbonated drinks
DVDs are put on that nobody watches (unless there is something to laugh at!)
Long and loud conversations about anything and everything
An outing to a local shopping mall

In the end the meetings of the Christchurch Chapter are more a social occasion than anything else, although the advent of the new series has meant that things may change a little due to the arrival of new, younger fans (the average of the Chapter today, excluding new, younger fans fans is around 27 years of age) who are more interested in simply watching the new episodes than gas-bagging.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

If - "The Herdsmen of Venus"

The first of Peter Adamson's articles on the impact some unmade Who might have had, if they had been made ...
The Herdsmen Of Venus
by Donald Cotton

Donald Cotton's last submission before leaving Doctor Who was Season Six's The Herdsmen Of Venus, sometimes referred to by him as The Herdsmen Of Aquarius. It is the former title which appeals more at the moment, for reasons which will be explained later. All that is known for the time being is that the story was based around the revelation that the famous Loch Ness Monster was one of many 'cattle' of Venusian farmers. Sound familiar at all?
Cotton's input into the series is generally recognised as being on the more humorous side - The Myth Makers has its moments, but these days is nearly known entirely for its overambitious episode title "Is There A Doctor In The Horse?. He was also responsible for The Gunfighters, a comedy which has only recently been defended by some in the fan community after decades of scorn. Against these stories then, "Herdsmen" must be a significant departure. There is possible humour in the revelatory aspect of the monster, but more significant is the possibility Spooner intended the story to be set in space. 'Space' in the Hartnell Era of course means 'the future'; rocket ships and British astronauts. This is just conjecture of course, the Loch Ness Monster's first recorded sighting took place somewhere around the Eighth century AD, so it's possible the story might well have been a third historical for Spooner. Returning to trends of the Hartnell Era however, pseudo-historical adventures with any aliens short of the Doctor, Susan and the Meddling Monk running around simply aren't a feature. The educational bent of the series may have been thrown out of the window by Terry Nation's monster creations, but even by Season Six the idea of a Davisonesque 'aliens in the olde days' romp seems a bit at odds.
The monster-as-cattle idea of course finally found its place in Robert Banks Stewart's Terror Of The Zygons (working title The Secret Of Loch Ness), though it was Robert Holmes who suggested the idea of fitting a story around Nessie in the first place. The rest is history, and it's intriguing that in the realised story the 'cattle' metaphor is worked as far as the purpose of the Skarasen's lactic secretions—'milk' for the Zygons. We can't of course assume that Cotton's story would have taken the same form; being a writer versed more in comedy the Herdsmen themselves could have been most un-Zygon in motivation. The whole concept, an escaped space cow let loose in a (Mediaeval?) Scottish loch could quite well have been the set up for a wonderfully mad cap Hartnell story. Admittedly already the scope is very large setting-wise. Much of Zygon's Highland action was cut to save on location shooting, and perhaps it was for similar over-ambitious writing that Gerry Davis rejected Herdsmen. The mind rebels against any envisaged 1966 BBC attempt at reproducing a working Nessie model. The Skarasen is not remembered fondly, and equally the glove puppets of Who's other Loch Ness story, Timelash.
And so to Venus, for surely if there's anything a Who fan loves as much as yet another version of the 'invaders from Mars' story, it's a mention of Venus. Paul Leonard's Missing Adventure notwithstanding, Venus is never seen in the series, though it is mentioned a fair bit. Indeed, previously the first Doctor and Susan list it as one of their visits made before picking up Ian and Barbara; and of course the third Doctor's more memorable anecdotes included, variously, Venusian Aikido (he is the only biped to have mastered it - another challenge for the BBC costume department?), lullabies, Shanghorns, perigosto sticks, and hopscotch. Interestingly, of those elements only the multi-limbed natives and the hopscotch made it into Leonard's book, though in the series Susan's memories (The Sensorites) also include seas of iron, the element which according to Leonard, was fatal to a Venusian. Tellingly, Leonard has the Venusians being extinct by the Twentieth century, their world finally resembling the hellish planet of boiling acid we know it to be in 'real life'; if Spooner's story was to have been set in the future, then we might have expected an updated version of the model of civilisations hidden under thick Venusian cloud, as in Edgar Rice Burrough's Venus books.
Had the story been made as The Herdsmen Of Aquarius, then naturally we'd have less call for inspection. Like many unmade stories, Herdsmen's exclusion inadvertently allowed Zygon's creation, and as the 'class of 4G' showed in a recent DWM article, the latter story continues to have significant appeal - there's even been a prequel written for BBC Books. No other unmade story comes to mind for whose exclusion would have had effects so far reaching as spanning three seasons. Of course, it's entirely possible that had Herdsmen seen production we might still remember an unchanged Zygons today; it's entirely in the nature of Doctor Who to repeat ideas, reinterpret them and stuff up continuity, and in fact it's what much of the series is all about. To this mind, might I add that even in 1998 we really could do with more space cows?

- Peter Adamson

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - TSV #52

Another review of TSV from the pages of RTP!:
I like it. TSV #52 is a vast improvement on past issues which I might have been a bit derogatory towards. Paul's editorial is very similar to one of our own articles, some some interesting comparisons can be drawn between the two. The Gary Gillatt interview revealed some interesting facts about the nature of the DWM editor and his 'story' contrasts with Gary Russell's from the previous issue nicely. How young is he again?

All 132 changes to The Five Doctors are listed! And at alst the comic strip has a plot, although some of the ideas are a tad unoriginal—eg. 'and much, much more'. "Galaxy Who" was kind of pointless, but so is our fanzine, so we can't talk! "Doctor's Dilemma" returns with the new "Rantings from the Padded Cell" and Bob Beechey couldn't convince me that "Patrick Troughton is the Doctor". Sorry ...

- Wade Campbell

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Pulp Who - The T-shirt

The above picture comes from issue 3 (March 1998) and helps to illustrate this post. Which is about a one-off T-shirt. Wade Campbell came to me around mid-1998 (his first year at university) and wanted a T-shirt based on Pulp Who. The result was a white t-shirt with a picture of the Master on the front pointing his TCE and exclaiming that he was 'The Time F**king Master!' Unfortunately the passage of time has meant that the t-shirt has long since fallen apart and the master copy of my illustration has gone missing. Still, for a brief while, Pulp Who was more than a cheap rip-off of a film, but also a t-shirt!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

RTP! #25 Status Report No. 2

Things are moving along slowly for the next issue. Of the material promised in the previous status report, the TARDIS Tales article is ready to go and a couple of letters for the letters page have been submitted. Peter Adamson assures me that Cydonia is still on track despite Real Life™ issues. The interview is in the drafting stages as I've seen an early draft, so that looks on target to appear as well.

Just a reminder for people that the deadline for issue 25 was August 1st and those with bit & pieces they'd like to submit should do so ASAP.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007


And so the last gasp before the 'hiatus' was upon us. Published in March 2000, a mere two months before I departed NZ for the shores of England (the spiritual home of Doctor Who), issue 10 was another riotous explosion of material, hastily assembled by trained monkeys wrapped in a choice of five different coloured covers (cream, yellow, green, blue, & red). At this stage I guess the cracks may have begun to show with Matt, much of the issue being put together by myself rather than evenly shared as in the past. But I was quietly confident that issue 11 would see print around June/July 2000. More fool me. And the editorials:
Yes, it's me again! I bet you weren't expecting such a quick follow up after the gap between issues 8 and 9! I've just now recovered from RTP!'s 'realizing that we stapled it up wrong' party, and I'm busily preparing for our 'it's only two weeks away till the next issue's finished' party. Considering that next week is also the 'celebrating the three week anniversary of the founding of our evil media empire' party as well, expect drunken reviews and slagging interviews this issue. Oh, and it's our tenth issue anniversary to ...
We've decided to let things go and slip back an issue in our schedule. Due mainly to my immense slackness, and the increasing workload I seem to have put upon my back (I know that final straw is coming!), things have got a bit behind here at Sauceron Towers. But hopefully, fingers crossed, we're back on track for four issues this year, finishing with issues eleven and twelve. We've also got our very first special coming up in the next few months before Joe departs for his small island. It's The TARDIS Tales Collection parts one and two. If there is enough demand, we might even start printing Pulp Who way off down the track!
So, it's been ten issue huh? I remember way back when Wade and I had the idea to attempt this adventure. I was born out of a general science fiction newsletter I wanted to do with some friends in Fourth Form, but we didn't actually get around to doing anything until '97 when Wade and I thought to revive it. It's been three years, sometimes very long ones, but three very long enjoyable ones. it's been fun to write and communicate with everyone, and meet a lot of new friends along the way. I suppose that's one of the best things about having done RTP! That and all the parties we have to celebrate pointless benchmarks in our publishing schedule. Which reminds me, tonight is the 'we may have had to kill Matt to do it, but we've actually finished the issue' party. But I can't talk too soon, we haven't go there yet. I better go and get some supplies. (Returns from fridge). It's OK, we seem to have 49 vessels* left over from last night's party! Anyone fancy a Speights?

- Matt Kamstra

* We would like to remind younger readers that the editors do not condone excessive drunkenness, nor use of illegal substances. We do however, have plenty to spare.

Jonathan Park, esq (I've just finished reading Tom Jones (no, not the singer ..., so sue me) wrote in Telos #15, dated April 1997:

'15 issues isn't that bad. Telos is the longest running non-NZDWFC fanzine in New Zealand and I doubt that record will be passed in the near future.'

Well it's almost three years later and this is that all important issue 10. Only five more to go and we will have caught up with Jonathan! This may seem like a pretty pathetic goal, but they help us (Matt & myself) have something to work towards. Like with issue 16 we will have passed Jonathan (unless you count Telos Unearthed, in which case we pass him with issue 17). See how it enables us to just keep on going?
Onto other matters. From this issue onwards we now have an RTP! design book so that hopefully all the pages in one issue will be formatted the same instead of Matt using one technique and myself another. This also includes another rearrangement of the cover layout (our fifth). This was the cover format issue 9 was supposed to use, but Matt decided to print issue 9 the week I was on holiday, so my instructions on the cover layout were lost in the wash somewhere along the line.*
Hopefully included with this issue is a copy of our newsletter Critical Mass, which is supposed to cover TV science fiction and fantasy as well as filling the gap left by SF On Screen. If however it totally sux arse—tell us and we'll use Chinese bamboo torture to put it out of its' misery!
Other things have come to my attention lately is the new two volume TARDIS Tales Collection. This is slowly coming together (I'm such a slacker!) and should, finger crossed, be ready for publication by the end of the year - if not sooner.
One final note.
Please, pretty please, give us some fu*kkin' feedback so that RTP! can continue to inform and entertain you like it has done for the past ten issues—under the duress of a loaded shotgun.

- Alexander Ballingall

* Along with the idea that the next meeting of the Christchurch chapter was supposed to occur after I got back from holiday, not on the same weekend I flew back into Christchurch! Where did I put my Enya CDs ...
The Madness of King Guff:

Published: March 2000
Volume 4 - Number 2
Editor: Matt Kamstra, Alexander Ballingall
RTP! Logo Design: Peter & Bridget Adamson
Front Cover: Alexander Ballingall
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Alexander Ballingall, Brendon Bennetts, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Jeff Stone
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents ~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Story Shock Horror!
  • [09] REVIEWS: Unsung Classics of Doctor Who
  • [12] RTP! Retrospective
  • [15] CARTOON: Aquaman—In 'The Blue Peter Pilot Episode'
  • [18] Professor Splegg Strikes Back
  • [19] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 3 of 4]
  • [27] REVIEWS: The Scope/James' Corner [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs, videos, and TSV]
  • [30] REVIEWS [Revelation of the Daleks and Planet of the Daleks]
  • [34] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 5 of 8]
  • [38] INTERVIEW: The Mars Bar [Peter Adamson]
  • [41] The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who - The early TARDIS crew
  • [42] OPINION: The Good, the Bad, and the Just Bloody Stupid Looking
  • [45] FICTION: Invitation
  • [46] FICTION: Wednesday
  • [47] /full page advert/
  • [48] CARTOON: Cyber Person
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - The Clockwise Cuckoos
  • [52] COVER

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Flashback - The One with the Rubber Chicken on the Cover (RTP! #5)

Issue 5 (September 1998) is where I became Co-Editor with Matt Kamstra after Wade Campbell had left the fanzine. At the time I was in my second year at university (and Matt his first) and had undertaken to develop a website for the fanzine since I was able to intuit HTML quicker than Matt could (plus he wasn't as inclined to pick it up). Like issue 4, much of my memories of this issue are based around a computer lab on campus (although a different lab this time). There we were able to include the first scanned artwork for the fanzine (Garry's pic of the Seventh Doctor and Fifi), something that wouldn't happen again for quite some time.

It was I who introduced the 'Desdemona' font for the article titles in an attempt to provide a uniform style for the fanzine and had argued for Peter Adamson's Ergon illustration to grace the front cover (it just seemed to work so well with the logo we were using at the time).

The issue certainly felt to me then as a huge step up from the first four issues, Matt and myself feeling quietly confident in the growing readership.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


Some very nice comments from Paul Scoones (a long time editor of TSV) have been posted at his blog. Read them here.

Monday, 23 July 2007

A Cat has Nine Lives

Issue 9. What can I say? This issue was the one I'd had the least to do with after coming on board as Assistant Editor with issue 4. So some bits I had a hand in setting out, others I didn't, and the issue was eventually published while I was on holiday. This is possibly why the page numbers were hastily penned in by hand at the last minute and the majority of contributions carried no 'credit' tag to let readers know who wrote what. A very bitsy issue, perhaps a result of the longer than usual gap. Issue 9 had been planned for September 1999, but surfaced in January 2000, and claimed to be issue 8 published in June 1999! This is what happens when I let go of the tiller for a short while! Chaos!:
Please feel free to shoot me if you feel so inclined! No, we haven't died (yet), but it has been a damn long time since the last issue! The reasons are too numerous and personal to go into, and besides, excuses suck donkey balls anyway. But we're here, and Joe's here, to 'Put me back on schedule'. But I don't appreciate that heavy breathing Joe ... STOP IT!
Well, it's January and once again Paul McGann has saved us from melting glass and tacky New Year's celebrations, or enough so that you can sit at home without water or power and still read this FAB mag. But of course, if Y2K wasn't just a hoax to get Bill Gates more money, then you won't be reading this anyway! Enough with the crap!
We here at RTP! Towers are delivering to you, the consumer, a special treat to mark the millennium. That's right we're bringing your three issues within the space of two and a half months! You heard right! No, Joe, it's not because I'm so slack that we need to do it to get 'back on schedule', we're just generous, that's all.
On the news front, we have some. Yep, that's right, we're not just full of hot air, there's some excrement content too. Announcing 'Saucer Smith Enterprises'. Graham Muir doesn't know it yet, but we've thieved his star of the show, Saucer Smith and named our Evil publishing conglomerate after him. Well, that's not entirely true, our pathetic group of small time fanzines are forming into one organization to make a few things a bit easier. And besides, our logo looks really cool, and we didn't have any real legitimate use for it. So, what does this mean for you, the subscriber you ask? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Well no, I tell a small lie. With the addition of some pretty serious rendering hardware to our fleet by April (fingers crossed), the production standard of all the zines will jump. Our printer problem is still hanging over our heads, it seems that no one in Christchurch can offer a decent service for prices we won't laugh at. Unless you want to pay about $6 per issue. I'm sorry, but bear with us for a moment. We'll see it straight, even if it means printing in some small block of Shanghai using slave labor*. If anyone would like to submit to our evil empire, please let us know. We will enslave you promptly and inefficiently. Thank you.

- Matt Kamstra

* RTP! would like to say that we do not, in any way, condone sweat shops in Third World countries or anywhere else for that matter. It was just a joke. In bad taste. Well, kind of ...
Harry Potter and the Guff:

Published: January 2000
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Peter & Bridget Adamson
Front Cover: Peter Adamson
Back Cover: Peter Adamson
Internal Artwork: Alexander Ballingall, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra, Jon Preddle, David Ronayne
Letters: James Gould, David Ronayne, Jeff Stone, Tom Box [AKA Wade Campbell]
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: New Movie Confirmed!
  • [09] REVIEW [Review of The Curse of Fatal Death]
  • [10] REVIEW [Review of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy]
  • [12] REVIEW [Review of Revenge of the Cybermen]
  • [14] REVIEW [BBC 2 Doctor Who Night 1999]
  • [14] REVIEW: James' Corner [Pilots of the Deep]
  • [15] INTERVIEW: The Tomorrow People [Graham Muir]
  • [19] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 2 of 4]
  • [26] OPINION: Soap Box
  • [27] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of EDAs]
  • [30] ARTICLE: The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who: Nyssa
  • [31] FICTION: A Doctor's Tale
  • [32] ARTICLE: Meaningless Statistics
  • [35] OPINION: Grand Speculations and Musings
  • [37] /full page advert/
  • [38] CARTOON: Spliff and Nutmeg's Short Trips
  • [40] ARTICLE: Kaled Nazism
  • [43] Professor Spleg's Fun and Sillines!
  • [44] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 4 of 8]
  • [47] CARTOON: Cyber Guy
  • [48] OPINION: I BBC Book
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - Space Sargasso
  • [52] COVER

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Pieces of Eight

Issue 8 saw the conclusion of the two-part interview with Warwick 'Scott' Gray and the first part of further Pulp Who (spearheaded by Peter Adamson), but much of the issue was taken up with reference to the 1996 US telemovie. In other words (and not planned this time) RTP! was presenting another themed issue. Meanwhile I inflicted another strange editorial on readers:
As I sit here and write this issues editorial I am looking at the cover of the video release for Nightmare of Eden (well actually I'm not, but I could remedy that by going over to my shelf ... hello, I'm back again. Now I am looking at the cover). It's the stuff that dreams are made of. I've been waiting for the release of this title for so long that despite having sung it's praises in the video review this issue I still find myself rabbiting on about it. I promise that I'll stop now and talk about something else, especially considering that you have all contracted drapetomania towards this particular title.
This issue sees the return of Pulp Who, this time by Peter Adamson as I have Potomania and am not in the mood to apply pen to paper. But as I am quite attached to this keyboard I'll keep typing till I've run out of things to say or, more than likely, run out of space. However I'm sure you'll all find Peter's contribution more than satisfactory (but if you find it better than my own I may be forced to kill the poor fellow) and a continuation of New Zealand Doctor Who cartoonists' obsession with the cartoons of fellow New Zealand Doctor Who cartoonists (that was a fun mouthful). I will return to drawing cartoons soon, as I have a big (well I think it's 'big' anyway) Sixth Doctor comic strip that I am drawing up at the moment—the delaying of this strip allows me to work on it more leisurely and therefore I do not have to panic about deadlines, something which Pulp Who was notorious at passing, usually by a couple of weeks. I also promise that they won't be more than eight pages in length each issue!
Also this issue we have an eclectic collection of reviews celebrating the 1996 TV movie which is now three years old. One could summarize all these reviews in one word: Floccinaucinihilipilification. However that could be a little too hard on something that has led to a regeneration (ooh, I like that word) of Doctor Who, as the years leading up to the TV movie saw the Virgin New Adventures beginning to become tired and interest in the show waning. Matt pointed to some of the fruits of this regeneration in his editorial last issue and I feel that the existence of this fanzine itself shows that interest in Doctor Who hasn't gone the way of all flesh (either that or we're all really, really, really diehard fans. I personally prefer option number one). After all the buzz of the Comic Relief sketch things have gone quiet once more, although it was quite nice to learn that the Doctor Who sketch was the highest rating part of the Comic Relief screenings. There is yet again little news that could give any hope for a new series, a new missing episode hasn't turned up for at least five months now, and the BBC are slowing down their video releases. But despite this, interest in the show has really yet to drop to the level of The Prisoner and in fact it has been said that the show's popularity it at its highest since 1989! Why is this?
Well I could spend the rest of the editorial debating this question, but then I have run out of space once again. So I'll leave you hanging, like a good cliffhanger should, till next time ...

- Alexander Ballingall
There is Something About Guff:

Published: June 1999
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Jamie Campbell/Alexander Ballingall
Front Cover: Garry Jackson
Back Cover: Alexander Ballingall
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Martin Geraghty, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Jon Preddle, Jeff Stone
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] FICTION: The Wheel Turns
  • [08] REVIEW [Review of The Ark]
  • [10] REVIEW [Review of The Keys of Marinus]
  • [12] REVIEW [Review of Nightmare of Eden]
  • [14] REVIEW: Comic Relief?! [The Curse of Fatal Death]
  • [16] REVIEW: TV Movie Memories ... [Doctor Who]
  • [21] CARTOON: Cyber Guy
  • [24] INTERVIEW: Shades of Gray [part 2 of 2: Warwick 'Scott' Gray]
  • [27] REVIEWS: Stoatworld [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs]
  • [33] COMIC: Pulp Who—The Gold Star [part 1 of 4]
  • [41] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: DW Movie Confirmed ... Honest!!!!
  • [42] ARTICLE: The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who: Doctor Who
  • [44] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Missing Episode Conspiracy
  • [46] /full page advert/
  • [47] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 3 of 8]
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - The Enemy Within
  • [51] FICTION: A Tale of Comings and Goings
  • [52] COVER

Monday, 16 July 2007

A Bit of Ego Stroking

Yup, photos. These graced the pages of issue 2 as what Matt Kamstra would later describe in issue 3 as 'filler', and come from a Christchurch Chapter meeting (described here). One of the last at Hayden Edward's place. The top photo is a young me (ten years ago now!), the copy of issue 1 in my hands open to my review of The Five Doctors Special Edition. The photo below it is of Graham Muir (with half of Phillip J Gray off to the left), posing with his cover art for that first issue.

Just though I'd post these so that people could see them in all their colour glory.

Saturday, 14 July 2007


The contents page illustration had begun as a space-filler with issue 3. Matt Kamstra supplied the above for issue 4 (Matt's fascination with Japan can be noted in the way he signed his artwork).

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Seventh Seal

Welcome to issue 7. 1999 started out well with this issue, but, as subscribers from that year will remember, things didn't remain that way for very long with the fanzine stumbling about halfway through the year. The big feature for the issue was the NZ fan interview, this time being with DWM comic editor Warwick 'Scott' Gray. This interview blindsided me as I had had simply no idea that it was coming and all thanks has to go to David Ronayne for seeing the possiblity through to fruition. It was a very welcome addition to the fanzine. Not quite so welcome perhaps was the blatant page filler that was 'The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who', a lame last gasp event that somehow staggered on for several more issues. And below is a typical Matt editorial in which he reaches beyond himself with dreams of a publishing empire:
G'day and welcome to the first issue of 1999—we've got a few gems for you to start the year off with. An interview with DWM comic editor Scott Gray, detailing that infamous 'Threshold' decision, and we also have Birdy gracing our pages again. But unfortunately CyberGuy won't be able to join us this issue, but he'll be back in June! we also catch up on some of the latest and greatest video releases of recent months—kind regards to Carmel Bennett at Roadshow for all your help there! Next issue will be busy with reviews also, with a new title almost monthly recently—that's a lot to catch up on! At this time I'd also like to say congratulations to James Gould who won last issues' "Candid Caption"—your prize is on its way!
Plenty has been happening in Who lately. Well, plenty being a relative term - a lot more than usual has been happening lately. Sustained, yet unfortunately unfounded movie rumors, an announcement on new BBC sanctioned audio dramas, and most recently, only a little of a week ago in fact, the Doctor Who Comic Relief sketch with Rowan Atkinson. We'll be going into more detail next issue with a review and a few other bits and pieces. In other words things are looking up for the Doctor and his companions. Does this mean we will see a return to the small screen? Sadly I doubt it. I think many people share this opinion, but in reality is this dismal view merely because of the lack of BBC commitment in the past? Are we all just imagining that the Beeb couldn't possibly bring back the show? Well maybe. The prospect of Doctor Who audio dramas with original scripts and acted out by real series actors is for certain a very promising one. But what will it mean for us in New Zealand? Will mainstream booksellers and music stores be willing to carry this product, or will we be trapped in the position we are currently in, whereby it is only the few who are diehard fans (ie. you and I) that are willing to order these books through Whitcoulls, the Internet or other overseas book retailers. I seriously hope not. Judging by recent response of some independent bookstores around Christchurch, interest in the BBC novels is picking up. Scorpio regularly stocks new titles for a modest $16.95, and you can even pick up the odd copy at Whitcoulls or Dymocks (presumably nationwide). But does that really mean we are on the verge of these retailers taking notice of their small, yet dedicated market? With more and more new video releases, selling out quicker and quicker or so it seems, and a new range of BBC audio products, I seriously hope they will sit up and take notice. It wouldn't hurt for us to get together either and ask your local retailers to consider purchasing more of these lines. It we all did a little something, we could make a big difference. Sound lame-ass and cliche? Maybe it is. But we'll never find out unless we try.
Speaking of trying, Joe and I have had a crazy idea we want to try. We have been considering adding another string to our fanzine bow for a while now, and the idea of a general sci-fi telefantasy zine s forming in our minds. This will join a Manga/Hong Kong cinema zine, that I have recently undertaken editorship of, in a trio, collectively published. We would really like heaps of response on this. Due to our already extensive demands from university, work, other zines etc, we really need to know it's going to work before we take on anything more. We're hoping at least a few, if not all of you would like to write for us—the zine's focus is basically anything sci-fi/telefantasy, classic or recent, and basically anything about it. There will be huge scope for articles and so perhaps some fierce competition for space also. So hopefully this will up the quality hugely. So if you're at all interested, or know someone who is, give us a bell, we'd love to hear from you. Apart from that though, I can't think of anything much else to say this issue. You're back to Joe's sarcastic humor next time, and I'll see you again in September!"

- Matt Kamstra
Around the Guff in 80 Days:

Published: March 1999
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editors: Alexander Ballingall, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Jamie Campbell/Alexander Ballingall
Front Cover: Matt Kamstra
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Martin Geraghty, Garry Jackson
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, Garry Jackson, Jeff Stone, John Williams [AKA Matt Kamstra]
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [07] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: DWB Returns!
  • [09] ARTICLE: Dimensionally Transcendental
  • [10] CARTOON: Birdy - In 'A Slightly Greem Death'
  • [12] REVIEW [Review of Timelash]
  • [14] REVIEW [Review of Horror of Fang Rock]
  • [16] REVIEW [Review of Planet of Fire]
  • [18] A Month in the Life of RTP!
  • [21] ARTICLE: Time Travel (And All that Jazz)
  • [23] FICTION: A Sense of Irony
  • [24] REVIEW [Review of The Ice Warriors Box Set]
  • [27] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of EDAs, PDAs]
  • [30] FICTION: The Red Menace [part 2 of 8]
  • [33] INTERVIEW: Shades of Gray [part 1 of 2: Warwick 'Scott' Gray]
  • [41] ARTICLE: Paul McGann is the Doctor
  • [43] ARTICLE: The Sexual Misadventures of Doctor Who: Planet of Fire
  • [44] CARTOON: Teletubbies in the Death Zone
  • [46] ARTICLE: A Touch of Class
  • [48] 1998 Survey Results
  • [50] ARTICLE: If - The Killer Cats of Gen-Singh
  • [51] FICTION: A Tale of a Second City
  • [52] COVER

Monday, 9 July 2007

Oh My God! A South Park Crossover!

Remember when South Park was the fresh new thing on the block? Twas a while ago now. Here's the two crossovers that RTP! produced, coming from issue 6 (January 1999) and issue 5 (September 1998) respectively. The first, by David Ronayne, was part of a short series of cartoons that included a crossover with The Fast Show, while the second is a rare artistic contribution from Matt Kamstra. Matt's piece was intended to be the first of a series of crossovers (I'd even thought of one myself involving some Daleks killing the crew of the Enterprise D (Next Generation)), but as with many of Matt's ideas it never came to fruition. Still, these two cartoons stand testament to the impact that South Park had managed at the time.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Questions Must Be Asked

One feature of RTP! since its second year has been that of interviews with noteworthy NZ fans of the show. This is something that was seemingly began out of the blue with Peter Adamson's interview with Alistair Hughes, and not as something planned by either Matt Kamstra or Wade Campbell. Since that first interview, they have been a mainstay of the fanzine alongside serialized fiction and the comic. Here's who has been interviewed so far:
#5 - A Brush with the Doctor ... [Alistair Hughes]
#6 - Fanboy Mastermind [Jon Preddle]

#7 & 8 - Shades of Gray [Warwick 'Scott' Gray]

#9 - The Tomorrow People [Graham Muir]
#10 - The Mars Bar [Peter Adamson]

#11 - Confessions of a Melophile [Alden Bates]

#12 - Modern Art [Jeff Stone]
#13 - The Importance of Being Phillip [Phillip J Gray]

#14 - All Kneel and Praise Her [Jamas Enright]
#15 - The Right of Reply [Jonathan Park]

#17 - Neil, Neil, Jonathan Peel [Neil Lambess]
#18 - The Life and Opinions of Paul Scoones [Paul Scoones]

#19 - But it's not Really Science Fiction ... is It? [Adam McGechan]
#21 & 22 - Hand-operated Paper-type Fanzine [Matt Kamstra & Wade Campbell]

#23 - The Other Dave (?) [David Lawrence]
#24 - NZ Fandom (Original Andy Pulzar Mix) [Andrew Poulsen]
Why not email myself and let me know of a future potential interviewee ...

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - TSV #51

Another flashback to an old review:
TSV #51

TSV changes its fonts and layouts more times than Matt changes his underwear. I still believe that they haven't found the right balance. I noticed a lack of artwork in this issue. Is TSV going towards a text only basis? The comic strip is something that is usually looked ofrward to, but In Bloom didn't strike the right chord. The Karkus seems to have established itself as the cartoon regular of TSV now and should be so for quite some time.
Once again TSV have an interesting interview with a New Adventures author, being Gary Russell. The fiction count has increased and includes a nice wee Star Wars crossover story by Alistair Hughes. A large proportion of this issues pages is taken up by a tribute to Terry Nation, but I feel the overall make-up of issue 51 suffered as a result.
News is so comprehensive in TSV that we here at Reverse the Polarity! don't feel we need to include it, unless something groundbreaking occurs. An alright issue, but still doesn't come anywhere near issues 47 or 49.

- Wade Campbell
Not quite a brutal as the review of issue 50, but not hugely positive either. I am left wondering if, as newbies to the whole fanzine editing thing, Matt Kamstra and Wade Campbell could have possibly written a 'nice' review of TSV. It certainly seems like an extension of their grudge against Telos.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Interview - A Brush with the Doctor ...

Interviewed by Peter Adamson (in 1998)

Alistair Hughes scarcely needs any introduction in Doctor Who fandom; his highly distinctive watercolour and scratch-board compositions have appeared in such mainstream UK Who publications as the In-Vision series of Doctor Who production studies (for which he produced many covers and countless interior illustrations), The Frame, DWB (an imaginative concept illustration for the unmade story The Masters Of Luxor, David Howe's 1993 Thirtieth Anniversary Doctor Who calender (a dynamic interpretation of the summoning of Azal from The Dæmons and the DWM Yearbook from the same year (for Mark Gatiss' story Urrozidnee).

In slightly smaller circles he has contributed to Glasgow's Paisley Pattern and was a founding subscriber to the late Who View. But the publication with which he is now most popularly associated is TSV, for which he supplies commissioned cover art as well as interior illustrations, the odd review, and even some fan fiction.

When he isn't exercising his artistic brilliance in TSV, Alistair works as a designer in Wellington, and his non-Who work can be seen in such magazines as Next and the New Zealand Chartered Accountants Journal.

(Peter) So tell me about your family. Any artists among them?
(Alistair) I'm adopted, so if it were a genetic thing, there's no evidence of it whatsoever in any other member of my family! Perhaps it's because this ability was unusual in my family that they were so encouraging when I showed some early interest in art.

So are you a Scottish Kiwi or a New Zealand Scot? There seems to be some confusion there ...
Yeah it's true there is a bit of confusion. I don't really know how to answer that one. When I returned to Scotland I naively expected to be welcomed with open arms, but soon found that it's the country you grow up in that moulds you rather than the place you were born ... although being born in Scotland is very important to me—in defining my sense of identity.

Were you allowed to watch Doctor Who as a child?
Practically encouraged! It was the classic BBC television programmer's image—Doctor Who was saturday night tea-time family viewing, and for me that meant the whole extended family—as we usually gathered at my grandparents' on the weekends. We'd all be crowded in front of the telly—real textbook British childhood stuff. So I've got very warm memories of being scared to death.

My earliest memory is of the Silurians, but (textbook stuff again!) I'll never forget my first impressions of Terror Of The Autons; that bloody troll doll and faceless policeman—it deserved to be raised in the Houses of Parliament ... terrifying stuff! I always believed it had been the Brigadier's face that was peeled away by the Doctor (of course, it was actually the Auton policeman - must be a uniform thing), and I remember thinking "God, if it can happen to him ..."

Every Who fan seems to have a defining Doctor for their generation. Yours would appear to be Jon Pertwee. Any thoughts on that?
Um ... I knew you were going to ask that question! I think regardless of the fact that it was Doctor Who, he was the earliest character who I wanted to be like and tried to identify with. I felt a connection and only later discovered that there were Doctors before him and others after him - but in this context it didn't matter, Pertwee was the only Doctor around on those scary Saturday tea-times.

Incidentally, I like to think it says at lot about Doctor Who fans that their hero is a cultured gentleman who uses his brains to confront oppression and evil, rather than someone who flies about with his underpants outside his suit, or blows things up with giant guns. I think that's a hopeful sign.

I bet your schoolbooks were covered in doodles ...
Yes, but doodling is one of the few things that I really feel retentive about. To me doodling is a lack of discipline, and you should be using that creative urge for something worthwhile. Even as a child there had to be a definite purpose for me, a brief, if you like. Or maybe I'm just unimaginative!

So what's your favourite monster to draw?
Oh, that would be the Sontarans.

Any more confessions?
First time I saw the Daleks (age 6—Day Of The Daleks) I was hideously disappointed. I couldn't believe it - they were as exciting as a talking fridge. I loved them by episode four, though! And I thought the Ogrons were homicidal old men—must have been the baldness!
Am I the only person who thinks Leela became less attractive when she changed the colour of her eyes? Or am I alone in preferring Romana 1 to Romana 2?

Then there's my belief that Logopolis utilises Christian themes as heavily as Planet Of The Spiders uses Buddhist ones ...

The TARDIS. It's a bugger to draw, as are Daleks. Easy to draw badly, hard to draw well. Agree?
Well, yes, but I'd say with the Daleks less so. The line that nimrod says in Ghost Light about 'a forest of straight lines' describes the appearance of the TARDIS pretty well, beloved as that police box is, but the Daleks have definite character!

Any trade secrets?
Only just get your composition sorted out before your reference material, rather than the other way around, a la Alistair Pearson (although he was under enormous pressure with his deadlines and did extremely well considering this). Good reference photographs should only be raw material to help create an illustration—not the sole reason or purpose for creating one!

Like a lot of artists (including Alistair Pearson) you like to use your vast collection of reference photos. Do you ever worry they'll run out?
Constantly. In fact it's the only reason I buy magazines! In Britain, magazines appear on the shelves the same week they are printed and they're more valid as a news source. But in New Zealand where we receive magazines months later—I buy and use them purely as photographic reference material.

Okay, so tell us about England. How hard is it to get noticed there?
I was living in Scotland of course. Very, very difficult. I had this huge flare of good luck at the start, because I was something new. But it was sustaining publishers' interest and proving myself deserving of it, that was the real challenge.

And of course, when you do land a commission from a client you have been courting for months, it's absolutely guaranteed that three other important jobs will arrive at the same time. I was fortunate to find a good deal of illustration work, not all of it Who-related, of course, and learned a lot about technique, and business in general.

At a Doctor Who convention the actor Julian Glover was speaking about acting, and he said something to the effect that of you have acting in your blood, you have no choice and have to live that life. But he felt sorry for anyone who did because it was such an enormously difficult way to earn a living. I found working as a freelance illustrator to very like that—when it's good (ie. when you have work) it's the most fun and rewarding thing you can ever do, but when it's bad it's truly horrible!

I'm happy to say that I did finally find myself in the equally difficult position of having too much work, but was able to give some of my clients to other illustrators whom I knew—I got a great bottle of whisky out of that!

What was your perception of British fans as opposed to New Zealand fans?
The Brits are far more irreverent. It's a kind of feeling where they hide their true enthusiasm behind a kind of skewed cynicism. At the conventions you'd have somebody dressed as the Doctor, coolly reluctant to talk about the very thing they were dressed up as—it was hilarious in a way. But I met a lot of really great people in UK fandom too. Very clever, very funny people.

Did you pick up any favourite fanzines?
I was involved in the local one called Paisley Pattern. It was incredibly irreverent ... maybe it was naivete, but I thought it was bordering on sacrilegious [against the programme]. I was quite shocked to read some of the things they said (particularly about 'Pertles' which was a 'mock affectionate nickname' for my favourite Doctor; it sounds quite amusing when said with a strong Glaswegian accent) ... but the emphasis was on comedy and fun throughout. Perhaps a backlash against the 'fanboy' image, an expression which was coined about this time.

You certainly did well while you were over there. A calender contribution, several In-Visions, DWM and DWB ...
I was lucky, and I certainly had a great time with it all. David Howe was very challenging and stimulating to work with on the calender—which will always be one of my favourite pieces. In-Vision was always more of a family atmosphere: Jeremy Bentham and especially Justin Richards became friends to me although we only ever spoke by phone (and Justin even mentioned me in his first New Adventure novel [Theatre Of War]—not many people know, or care about, that!) Their regular commissions really helped me develope my skills (and they still send me issues, bless 'em).

The real highlight was probably the Marvel Yearbook illustrations. It's not my best work, but I'd hounded Gary Russell for so long that gettin the commission was enormously satisfying! On the other hand I would have to say that DWB was the least pleasent experience, but that was due to an unrealistic deadline and my own inexperience in not saying so at the beginning.

So who's the guru in terms of Doctor Who artists—Chris Achilleos, Frank Bellamy or Phil Bevan?
Chris Achilleos was possibly the first artist who I learned the name of and looked for his work. But now I would probably say I admire something from them all, rather than any single artist: Phil Bevan for original composition and Alistair Pearson for technique, 'cause Chris Achilleos went on to do that horrible airbrushed stuff!

When Skilleter was good, he was very very good, but my favourite Target artist, and perhaps closest to my guru, was Jeff Cummins. His covers (The Face Of Evil, The Talons Of Weng-Chiang) are beautiful—moody and technically brilliant. I wish he'd done more!

Phil Bevan was of course renowned for going to extraordinary lengths to avoid copying established reference shots and stills, even coercing his friends into posing and taking main character likenesses from programmes outside Doctor Who. Is this sort of thing a concern of yours when so many photos and still are now availiable?
I think as far as likenesses are concerned you're on dangerous ground when you try and fool around with them in any way. You know yourself, if your illustration doesn't instantly resemble the person it's supposed to depict, you've failed as an illustrator in the most complete and basic way. But as far as the figure is concerned, absolutely anything goes - dress your friends and partner up, sketch your own reflection, use figures from completely different sources, take shots of the TV screen. Good figure drawing is important, but have fun!

There's also been a bit of a move into more stylised art, like Adrian Salmon's "Cybermen" strip in DWM ...
I think it's great. It's the backlash to the Alistair Pearson 'the likeness is the illustration' movement, I think. There should be more to Doctor Who art than just copying reference photos. Personally, I try to depict an atmospheric composition first and foremost, then choose the technique and reference material. If the composition suggests a stylised technique—all good and well. I love your line art, by the way ...

I've been asked to put this to you: What do you think the state of NZ Doctor Who fandom artwork is at the moment?
It just gets better and better. Kiwi fan artists are developing their own styles instead of just trying to be Andrew Skilleters or Alistair Pearsons, and the recent new emphasis on strips is great to see because this encourages a whole different way of looking at illustration. I think Paul's policy of encouraging artwork contributions which have a bearing on an upcoming issues articles, rather than just accepting yet another fan drawing of a Dalek or Tom Baker, has helped turn TSV into some more professional, which can give the glossy British magazines a run for their money.

You're a clever sod you know. You get to do video reviews and you've also written fiction ("A New Hope", TSV #51). Why don't we see more of your other talents?
Because I can't write. That fiction piece was something I did years ago and wanted to bring to light simply as an indulgence. I leave the writing to those whose talents obviously lie in that direction. Apart from writing there's really no other way I think I could contribute except for a comic strip, but I would have some very tough acts to follow. I love reviewing. It's basically talking about your favourite programme and forcing your own opinions on other people, but in text instead of speech. What's not to enjoy?

How about "Eckersley and the Badgermen" [Hughes' TSV #52 review of The Monster Of Peladon]?
I still enjoy writing about it! I guess I'm talking about enjoying the action of reviewing instead of the actual subject!

What's Paul Scoones like to work with? Any unreasonable demands? Death threats? Private commissions of Peri and Ace, something like that?
I think if there is anyone in New Zealand most suited to editing fandom, it's Paul Scoones. He's got extreme confidence in himself, but he extends that confidence to his contributors as well. I think that's the balance required. He's devastatingly honest but always in a constructive and positive way (is that a contradiction in terms?) He's also incredibly busy—how do you do it Paul?

We've all got our dream actor to play the Doctor. Who's yours?
Definitely Michael Palin. I think he's so suited to what the next Doctor should be, especially as he's older and crustier these days. As a cross between Phineas Fogg and a mature Indiana Jones he'd be perfect.

We're almost done. Doctor Who—where's it headed?
I'd really like to know if anyone finds this question easy to answer. I believe it should be British made, though not necessarily by the Beeb. Perhaps an independent company, which understand the importance of a solid story and somehow has the necessary budget without having to pander to overseas networks or audiences. I also think that Doctor Who should head backward. By this I mean that I don't think it can be a Nineties entity (I could be very inflammatory and say it wasn't an Eighties entity either).

A friend of mine once said that if he could make a Bond film he would set in the Sixties, because that's where James Bond belongs. To some degree I think Who worked best in the Sixties and Seventies, against that particular social background, and it if were made again it should have that same kind of sensibilty (although in a more enlightened way. Sexism, for example, existed far more blatantly back then, but it can still be depicted as wrong). This Who could be almost a period piece and not even try to be modern or updated (I don't try to write New Adventures, so I can say that), but obviously still make use of state of the art technology where the script required it.

I would like to see historicals (or at least quasi-historicals) and moody, witty drama, not Star Wars or The Terminator. Let's start again with early Sixties London and the junkyard—that's what I'd like to see, even if no-one else does! Having said all that, I thought Paul McGann was great!

If TSV were to end tomorrow ... DWM, RTP! and all that, could we expect you to cope? Would you fill your time finishing renovating the house, or would you just crack up?
TSV is definitely a valuable outlet—the house will always be there, but I'd like to flatter myself by believing that I do keep my leisure activities diverse enough to keep me on just the safe side of Fanboyism!

Could we expect you to draw other characters in Who's absence—perhaps the cast of Babylon 5?
I can't imagine myself sitting down and drawing anything else in the same way I do for TSV. I guess I'd just have to grow up and find some paying freelance work!

Of course you're not the only one to suffer for your art. How does your wife Rose cope with all this Doctor Who nonsense?
As other people apart from myself have said, she's a saint. I've been lucky throughout my life that others have not tried to change me, and Rose is notable in that way. On the other hand, I wouldn't expect her to share my fanaticism either, which makes it all the more satisfying when she does enjoy the odd scene or episode.

One of the hardest things to draw must be a pair of feet, could you draw us some?
Finally, the million dollar question. Alistair Hughes—is there anything you can't do?

Um ... sing? Cook. I thought I could do a Sean Connery impression until someone recorded it, and now I'll never do one again. I still have huge trouble with a roundhouse [karate] kick. And that tounge-curling thing—I can't do that. It's unnerving and absurdly flattering to be interviewed like this, but in the words of Wayne's World: "I'm not worthy!! I genuinely don't think I am any more talented than any other artists who grace the pages of TSV. I've just been fortunate to have professional experience, and I hope that these other artists continue to develop their own talent and find similar opportunities - good luck!