Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Issue 14 was all about coming to ground after three years overseas. I returned to New Zealand in the May of 2003 and promptly a month later published issue 14 which I'd been working on since the previous November whilst still in Japan. The choice of cover paper was dictated by the idea that I wanted it to be full colour on the back and bleed to white on the front to help sell the Ice Warrior-in-a-snow storm idea of the cover art. Like most things to do with RTP! it didn't quite work!

Bob the Suicidal Dalek is advertised this issue having been doodled whilst at work in Japan the year before and would see print in the following issue. Meanwhile this would prove to be the final issue to which Jeff Stone would contribute. He did have a further Doctor Who Bullsh*t lined up for issue 15, but upon being asked by myself to alter some names in the story so as not to alienate my tiny readership Jeff refused to allow the story to be printed unless unchanged. Stalemate. And life went on and RTP! was published without his efforts.

And the editorial:
Forty Years Young ...

The series has almost reached 40 years of age and is now at a point we generally call middle-aged. Which leads me to ponder two questions: 1) has the series aged gracefully?; and 2) is the series experiencing a mid-life crisis?
Can a TV series age gracefully? I think a series can, but most never manage this feat from either being cut short by management focused solely on ratings and demographics, or limping past their used-by-date and dying a painful death long after their audience has switched channels to watch something new. Everybody has their own ideas as to when the later happens, hence the book and web site Jump The Shark. Take a visit to the web site and have a look at when people think the series 'jumped the shark'.
However this is an editorial and, more importantly, it is *my* editorial. So I can waffle on a bit now about *my* thoughts on these two important questions. Given that I haven't seen Doctor Who rushing out to buy a sports car, getting hair replacement therapy or trying to be trendy buy cashing in on the latest passing fad, I can only assume that it is *not* having a mid-life crisis. (It can be argued that Star Trek on the other hand is having a mid-life crisis, hence the alleged emphasis on tits and arse in Enterprise.)
Is Doctor Who aging gracefully? Some fans would point to the maturity of the now twelve year old range of original novels and that it feels secure enough to 'reboot' the series, such as with the events of The Ancestor Cell. Others still will gesticulate wildly toward the Big Finish audios and the way in which the last four Doctors are making use of the opportunity to flesh out their characters far beyond anything they achieved on the small screen. Again other fans will point to the DWM comic strip and the fact that it is happy to play with big stakes and take risks such as the Wormwood saga or more recently with Izzy's transformation.
I can't comment of any of these developments in the Doctor Who universe as I don't get DWM, the Big Finish audios or the BBC books. So I'll stick with the TV series. I feel that maybe the series had its mid-life crisis in the Eighties where it tried to re-invent itself several times from the basics of storytelling to the extras like theme arrangements. Because of that, I believe that the series is *now* the 'crotchety old man' of the sci-fi world and therefore holds the revered place of 'elder statesman' with Star Trek as the pretender to the throne. This is subject to change should the series return to TV screens.
As a result of this mid-life crisis in the Eighties, the various spin-offs and continuations of the series in other forms of media are much stronger than they would be if that crisis hadn't happened. It turned out to be a much needed wake-up call that allowed everybody (both the fans and the people producing the series) and to step back and see the larger picture, something that hasn't happened with the Star Trek franchise yet.
So, yes the series has managed to age gracefully and no it is not having a mid-life crisis, but is instead planning of what to do now that said crisis is over. Should it make a big comeback or slip quietly into retirement? Time will tell, it always does ..."
- Alexander Ballingall
Monty Python's Life of Guff:

Published: June 2003
A Doctor Who Fanzine launched by Matt Kamstra & Wade Campbell in October 1997
Editor: Alexander Ballingall
RTP! Logo Design: Peter & Bridget Adamson
Front Cover: David Ronayne
Back Cover: David Ronayne
Internal Artwork: Peter Adamson, Alexander Ballingall, David Ronayne
Letters: Peter Adamson, Alden Bates, E. Cartman [aka David Ronayne], Jamas Enright, David Ronayne, Jeff Stone, Sal Yardley [aka David Ronayne]
Page Count: 52
Print Run: 30
Price: NZ$3

~ Contents ~

  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] The FIRST LAW of TIME
  • [04] The TARDIS Manual
  • [05] The BOOTCUPBOARD [Letters]
  • [09] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Report from the Front!!!!
  • [12] COMIC: Pulp Who - The Master and Saucer Smith's Wife [part 2 of 3]
  • [18] ARTICLE: The Fractious Paradox
  • [30] ARTICLE: Genre Benders
  • [33] FICTION: A Taste for Killing
  • [34] INTERVIEW: All Kneel and Praise Her [Jamas Enright]
  • [41] REVIEWS: The First Fifty [EDAs and PDAs]
  • [45] REVIEW: The Scope [DVD Review]
  • [46] CARTOON: Aquaman - In 'Crackerjack - A tragedy in Two Pages'
  • [48] The New RTP! Logo
  • [50] Are You a Fanboy or a Mad Scientist?
  • [52] COVER

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