Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 11 - 1972

"I reversed the polarity of the neutron flow."
 - The Doctor, saying his catchphrase for the first time, The Sea Devils

On Screen:

They're back!  For the first time in nearly 5 years, the Daleks returned in the opening story of Season 9, the appropriately titled 'Day of the Daleks'.  Producer Barry Letts had wanted something big to kick off the season and what could be bigger than the long awaited return of the series' most popular monsters?

That said, the Daleks appearances here are fairly minimal, at least until the final episode.  This story was originally conceived as a Dalek-less time-twisting story about an alternate future created as a result of a temporal paradox.  It was only later that Letts asked for the Daleks to be added as they took advantage of the time-travel shenanigans to invade Earth for a second time.  So really it's a time-travel story that includes the Daleks rather than a Dalek story that features time-travel.

Having the Daleks in the background actually works to their advantage as there were only three Dalek props used in the story.  Fine when you want a small committee of Daleks ruling over everything.  Not so good when you need an army to use in a big action sequence, as happens at the climax of the story.

It's also worth pointing out here that this is the last we will see of the Brigadier and the rest of UNIT until the end of the season.  Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks were increasingly frustrated at the hindrance of having the Doctor exiled to Earth and it was something that were keen to remove as soon as possible.  Consequently in this season we see the Doctor and Jo travelling the TARDIS in two out of the five stories.

The first of those trips takes place in 'The Curse of Peladon'.  Peladon is a medieval type world that is about to join the Galactic Federation (not to be confused the Federation of Star Trek or the Federation from Blake's 7).  A group of alien delegates is on Peladon to decide whether it will be allowed to join and the Doctor and Jo are mistaken for the Earth delegation.

Jo and King Peladon (played by David Troughton)

This is in essence a sort of whodunnit.  Someone wants to stop Peladon joining the Federation and is prepared to kill to do so. The Doctor is immediately suspicious of the Federation delegates from Mars, a.k.a. the Ice Warriors.  Given what we and the Doctor have seen of the Ice Warriors in their previous appearances  in the series, we're very much of the Doctor's side when he suspects them of causing trouble.  So it comes as a surprise to everyone, not least the Doctor, when it turns out that the Ice Warriors are the good guys here.  That said, given that the Doctor was so willing to give the Silurians the benefit of the doubt two years earlier, it seems strange that he's not a little more open-minded here and willing to do the same for the Ice Warriors.

The delegates from Earth, Alpha Centauri and Mars

I should also briefly mention one other character in this story, who has proven surprisingly popular amongst fans, the delegate from Alpha Centauri, or just Alpha Centauri for short.  Alpha is a brave attempt to create an alien who looks properly 'alien' - in other words they don't look even vaguely humanoid.  And it works for the most part.  Unfortunately, while it does look suitably unearthly, it also resembles a giant penis in a dress.  Which is unfortunate.  Luckily, Alpha's character and personality more than make up for these shortcomings and ensures that the character would return in future sequels.

'The Sea Devils' returns us to Earth and out to sea in 'The Sea Devils'.  This story marks the return of the Master who has imprisoned in a remote island fortress since he was captured at the end of the previous season.  He appears to be a changed  man although possibly his incarceration has started to affect his mind as can be seen here:

Or possibly he's just bored.

Anyway, not surprisingly the Master hasn't really turned over a new leaf and is working to re-awaken the Silurian's aquatic cousins, the Sea Devils.  It up to the Doctor to stop him but rather than bringing in the Brigadier and UNIT for assistance, the Doctor instead turns to Captain Hart of the Royal Navy for help.  And in many of the nautical scenes that really is members of the Navy you can see alongside the Doctor and Jo as the RN were more than happy to help out the production team in order to add some authenticity to proceedings.

A Sea Devil

The penultimate story of the season, 'The Mutants' sees the Doctor and Jo sent on another  mission for the Time Lords.  This time they're sent to the planet Solos to aid the indigenous population who going through strange mutations.  A nameless Marshall from Earth wants to remove these mutants and colonise the planet and the Doctor and Jo have to stop him from doing so.

A Mutant

Finally, we come to 'The Time Monster' which features the return of UNIT and the return of the Master who, in another of his cunning disguises is conducting time experiments in order to capture a powerful being called Kronos who feeds off time.

The Doctor and Jo look at the face of Kronos

It's difficult to sum up this story in a few words.  We have strange time experiments that cause people and objects from the past to be appear in the present and for Sergant Benton to be temporarily turned into a baby; two TARDISES materialising inside each other and the legends of the Minotaur and Atlantis all squeezed into six episodes.  It also has one of the worst looking TARDIS interiors in the history of the series and the story (and indeed the season) ends on a slightly surreal shot of a naked Benton.  So really the whole story has to be seen to be believed. 

The TARDIS's new pudding bowl theme

Perhaps fortunately, naked Benton wasn't the last that we saw of Doctor Who in 1972.  On 30th December the series returned for its tenth season and, by way of celebration, the opening story of that season was 'The Three Doctors'.  Only the first episode was shown in 1972 so I'll say nothing more until next time.

Benton - the final shot of Season 9

On Audio:  

1972 was that the year that the Doctor (or at least Jon Pertwee) entered the pop world.  Backed by the Doctor Who theme, Pertwee "does a Shatner" for his effort entitled 'Who is the Doctor'.  Or, to put it another way, he doesn't so much sing as speaks the lyrics.

And what lyrics they are!  This isn't your typical cheesy pop song that's for sure.  There's a lot of evocative imagery here with references to travelling 'the void beyond the mind' and using the 'sword of truth' to fight the 'Satanic power of the night'.  And, according to a recent Doctor Who Magazine article, the last verse seems to imply that the Doctor is in fact God.  Food for thought.

Incidentally, the video above is my favourite of the many that I've seen on You Tube which have been created to accompany the song.  I can't claim any credit for it though and must give due credit to Nintenpelican

In Print:

Besides the regular Annual, which made its return after a year's break, there was one other book of interest published in 1972 - 'The Making of Doctor Who' written by script editor Terrance Dicks and regular script writer Malcolm Hulke. Generally considered to be the first 'behind-the-scenes' book about the series (and I've no reason to doubt that) Dicks and Hulke do just that, with a particular focus on the making of 'The Sea Devils'.

In Comics: 

Countdown  decided to cash in on the return of the Daleks by producing back to back Dalek stories in the comic strip.  The first of these, 'Sub Zero', had the Daleks based at the South Pole, where they have been for hundreds of years, waiting for a suitable Earth weapon to be developed that they can use against the humans.  Why the Daleks should want to use human weapons rather than just invading using their own superior technology is a bit of a mystery, nevertheless they do end up in control of a nuclear submarine and use it to blow up Sydney, or at least the harbour bridge.  Fortunately the Doctor stops them before they can blow up any more landmarks.

By way of revenge the Daleks capture the Doctor and take him to the ' The Planet of the Daleks' (presumably Skaro, though its never named) where they attempt to turn him into a human Dalek.  Naturally they fail.

One thing to note in particular was that, part way through this story, Countdown underwent something of a transformation as it was renamed TV Action + Countdown.  What this meant for the comic strip is that it gained an extra page, namely the front cover.  Each week the main picture of the strip would be painted rather than simply drawn and inked.  This resulted in some quite impressive pieces of artwork from artist Gerry Haylock such as the following:

Of the other strip stories published in 1972, I must make reference to 'The Ugrakks'.  This is particulary notable because the Ugrakks themselves are the creation of TV Action reader Ian Fairington, who won a competition to design a new monster for the strip.  Such design-a-monster competitions had been done before, on Blue Peter back in the late Sixties but this was the first time the winner of such a competition would have their creation appear in an actual Doctor Who story.    

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 10 - 1971

"I am usually referred to as the Master...universally."
 - The Master, Terror of the Autons episode 1

On Screen

Season 8, beginning in January 1971 was the Year of the Master.  Played by Roger Delgado, the renegade Time Lord made his debut in the opening story of the season, 'Terror of the Autons' and appeared in every story that season as a recurring villain.

The Producer at the time, Barry Letts, and script editor Terrance Dicks felt that the Doctor needed a nemesis during his enforced stay on Earth.  Certainly, it would provide a reasonable explanation as to why the Earth was being invaded seemingly every other week.  The Master was the end result.  Ruthless, cunning, intelligent and yet there was still something strangely likable about him.  Even though you knew he was going to get beaten over and over again you did sort of want to eventually get one over the Doctor.  And although he does get one or two small victories over the Doctor this season, he still ends up losing the big battles.

The Master isn't the only new arrival this season though.  With Liz Shaw having between seasons, the Doctor is in need of a new assistant.  Or at least the Brigadier thinks he is which is why Jo Grant ends up being seconded to the Doctor.  Jo is about as different from Liz as it's possible to be.  Initially she comes across as an atypical dizzy blonde (despite not actually being blonde) who makes mistakes and generally gets in the way.  But of course there is more to Jo than that and, through the course of her first story we learn that she is brave, resourceful and loyal - in short everything a Doctor Who companion should be.

The Master, the Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier

The Brigadier gets new companion as well, or at least a second in command - Captain Mike Yates.  Alongside Sergeant Benton, who had appeared previously in a few episodes of Season 7 as well as 'The Invasion' back in 1968, the regular cast for the next two or three years was now complete.

The Doctor with Mike Yates and Jo

'Terror of the Autons' as its title suggests also saw the return of those plastic monsters along with the Nestene Consciousness.  The Master is working with them to help their second invasion succeed but when he realises that the Nestene will destroy him just as they destroy everything else, he ends up siding with the Doctor to stop them and save his own skin - something that will happen regularly during this season.

Take, for example, the next story 'The Mind of Evil'.  Here, the Master has obtained an alien mind parasite that can suck 'evil impulses' out of people.  But when it gets out of control and starts killing people with abandon, the Master has to get the Doctor to assist him in bringing it back under control.  Or 'The Claws of Axos', where the Master is already in trouble before the story even starts.  As that story opens, the Master has been captured by a giant sentient being called Axos that wants to suck worlds dry.  Naturally the Master sends them off to Earth.  One suspects that at least part of his reasoning is that once they reach Earth the Doctor will be able to help him escape.  Which indeed he does.

The Master is absent for the first half of 'Colony in Space'.  As indeed is the Brigadier (aside from a brief appearance) and the rest of UNIT.  For this story marks the first occasion in two years when the Doctor manages to get the TARDIS working.  However, it's only working because the Time Lords have temporarily allowed the Doctor to travel to an Earth colony in the future to undertake a mission for them.  The files on a so-called 'Doomsday Weapon' have been stolen from the Time Lords and they want the Doctor to

Of course it's the Master who has stolen the files and he appears halfway through the story to try and gain possession of the weapon in question.  As ever the Master comes of second best again although, to be fair to the guy, he probably didn't expect to see the Doctor there given that he's supposed to be trapped on Earth.

It's back to Earth for the final story of the season, 'The Daemons' which seems to be the Doctor Who equivalent of a school outing.  A good chunk of this story was filmed on location in the Wiltshire village of Aldbourne and the cast really do seem to enjoy the change of scenery.

Here, the Master, in the not-entirely-convincing disguise of the Reverend Magister, is attempting to re-awaken the Daemon Azal who has been asleep for thousands of years.  Despite devilish allusions, Azal is an alien rather than Satan himself, albeit an alien with almost godlike powers.      At the end of the story, the Master is finally captured by UNIT and taken in custody.  We'll find out what happen to the Master next year but, for a while at least, he won't be around to menace the Doctor. 

On Audio

 Once again, nothing was produced in the audio medium. 

In Print

For the first time since 1964 there was no Annual published!  Indeed there were no Doctor Who books at all published in 1971

In Comics 

1971 was a big year for the comic strip as, in February, it moved from TV Comic to a brand new title, Countdown.  Countdown was aimed at an older age group than TV Comic had been, something which is readily apparent in the more sophisticated stories that appeared in the strip. In addition, the new look strip was written by someone who had a good understanding of the series and the character - Dennis Hooper who was also Countdown's editor. The artwork was also much improved and, for much of the year was in full colour.

Initially at least the Doctor was still stranded on Earth, as on TV, but here he seems to abandoned UNIT in favour of renting a small holiday cottage in Wales so that he can work on repairing the TARDIS. In the first strip, 'The Gemini Plan', the Doctor believes that he has finally repaired the TARDIS but it only takes him as far as Australia where he's just in time to stop a mad scientist from trying to blast Venus out of its orbit and closer to Earth.

The next story, 'Timebenders', sees the Doctor finally travelling in time again.  However on this occasion his travels are the result of a French scientist from 1942 who inadvertently creates a time machine that accidentally transports the Doctor back to World War Two.  This, of course, brings the Doctor into conflict with Nazi soldiers who want to use the time machine for their own evil ends.

In 'The Vogan Slaves', the Doctor finally succeeds in  repairing the TARDIS, thereby massively contradicting the TV series where he'll still be stranded on Earth for a good while yet.  His first trip in the TARDIS is to an  alien space ship carrying slaves for the villainous Vogans, a group of blue-skinned aliens who look suspiciously like the Mekon from the Dan Dare comic strip.  I'm sure that it can't be a coincidence:

Speaking of artistic influences, the next story 'The Celluloid Midas' is clearly very heavily influenced by recently televised Doctor Who - most specifically 'The Daemons'.  Like 'The Daemons', this story is set in small country village where a number of the villagers are under the influence of a sinister individual who looks a little like the Master.  However it isn't the Master this time but one Professor Midas who has created a ray that turns people into a living plastic which he can mentally control.

This is one of the best stories of the strip to date and no doubt the influence of the TV series plays a large part in that.  It probably helped that writer Dennis Hooper was invited the village of Albourne when the Daemons was being recorded and go to meet with the cast and crew.  The experience was clearly a positive one as can be seen from this strip.

'Backtime' is interesting as it's one of the few pure historical stories, with no science fiction elements, that appears in the comic strip.  If you remember this type of story had been phased out on television back in 1966 with 'The Highlanders' so having such a story appear in the comic strip at this time makes it even more of an oddity.

I admit that I'm not as well up on my 19th Century history as I should be but, from what I remember, it seems that both the writer and artist have a good understanding of the period.  The Doctor takes a London pick-pocket from London in 1863 to America in order that the boy can start a new life.  However they arrive in the midst of the American Civil War and encounter individuals from both sides of the conflict, including Abraham Lincoln.

The final story of the year, 'The Eternal Present', sees the Doctor captured and taken to far future of Earth where he encounters a fellow time traveller.  No, not the Master, but the time traveller from 'The Time Machine' who, at the conclusion of the story returns to his own time to tell his friend H.G. Wells all about his adventures.

Overall then a strong start for the Doctor in pages of Countdown.  Things were about to change for the comic but, as far as the strip was concerned, it was going from strength to strength.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 9 - 1970

"You really believe in a man who has helped to save the world twice, with the power to transform his physical appearance? Who travels through time and space in a police box?!"
-Liz Shaw to the Brigadier, Spearhead from Space

The Brigadier, the Doctor and Liz Shaw
On Screen

A new year, a new season and a new format along with a new Doctor.  And all in full glorious colour for the first time.  It really was all change for the series in 1970.  In fact, on screen, the only link with what had gone before was the returning Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart who now became a regular character in the series.

The Brigadier, still in command of UNIT, is backed up by Doctor Liz Shaw as his Scientific Adviser.  However, it's clear that the Brig is pining for that other Doctor who had helped him against the Yeti and Cybermen.

The new Doctor's first appearance

Fortunately for Lethbridge Stewart, the Doctor arrives fresh from his trial (or being manhandled by scarecrows if you were a TV Comic reader) along with a new face.  Yes, Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor is here.  Once all the confusion surrounding his new appearance has been sorted out, the Doctor throws in with UNIT and agrees to help them out in exchange for the facilities he requires to get the now-disabled TARDIS working again.

Thus is the new format for the series forged.  The Doctor, for the time being at least, is a time traveller no more.  Fortunately, the Time Lords have chosen to exile him to a period of history where his particular skills and expertise are much in demand at various top secret scientific establishments.

The Autons advance

The first two stories of this season introduce races that will appear several times in the series right up to the present day.  'Spearhead from Space', as well as being the Doctor's debut, also features the introduction of the Nestene Consciousness and their plastic soldiers, the Autons.  Meanwhile, 'Doctor Who and the Silurians' (and yes that the is the title that appears on screen) marks the first appearance of, well, the Silurians - a reptilian race who inhabited Earth before humankind and who have now awoken after being in suspended animation for millions of years.

Of these two races, the Silurians are undoubtedly the  more interesting.  While the Nestene and Autons are simply alien conquerors who now want to invade Earth, the Silurians are a little more complex.  They too want the Earth as their own but, as they argue, the Earth was already  there's to start with.  Mankind only inherited it after the Silurians put themselves into hibernation and overslept.

It's hard not to fee some sympathy with their plight and indeed the Doctor does at least until one Silurian tries to wipe out the human race with a killer virus.  The Brigadier, however sees things differently.  Rather than give the Silurians the opportunity to negotiate some sort of peace with the humans he takes matters into his own hands and seals them in their underground base much to the Doctor's disappointment.

The next story, 'Ambassadors of Death', is similarly not as simple as it first appears.  Initially starting out as a story about missing astronauts, it quickly becomes something of a conspiracy thriller in which no one can be trusted and where the true villains are not the titular Ambassadors but the insane General Carrington and his followers.  For the second story in a row we are presented with a race of beings who are not the world-conquering villains that they at first appear to be.

Ambassadors...of Death!

And so season 7 concludes with 'Inferno' the Doctor Who version of Star Trek's 'Mirror Mirror' episode.  The Doctor, in a desperate attempt to get the TARDIS to work uses power from the Inferno project, a top secret scientific project to drill down to the centre of the Earth.  Unfortunately the Doctor finds himself flung 'sideways in time' to a parallell Eath and a parallell Inferno project, albeit one that is a few hours closer to penetrating the Earth's crust.

Just like all good parallel world stories the Doctor ends up meeting alternate versions of people he knows.  Thus Liz Shaw is now a soldier rather than a scientist and the Brigadier had become the Brigade Leader, complete with an eyepatch and a lack of facial hair.  He's also a thoroughly nasty piece of work in this alternative fascist world.

The Doctor here is faced with a difficult moral dilemma.  The Inferno project in this reality has failed and primordial forces from beneath the Earth's crust are threatening to destroy the world.  The Doctor can't save this alternate world from its grim fate but he can go back to his own reality and stop the same thing from happening there.  But can the Doctor really abandon the alternate versions of his friends to their fate or should he try and save them too?

In the end, the Doctor is forced to return to his own reality alone, just in time as it happens to save his version of the Inferno Project from going the same way as the alternate universe version.  But seeing another world destroyed in flames while he was powerless to do anything to stop it is something that will haunt the Doctor for a while yet, as we shall see next season.

What we won't see next season though is Liz Shaw.  Actress Caroline John had decided to leave because she was pregnant however producer Barry Letts had decided to write the character out anyway as she was apparently not proving particularly popular with the viewers.  The decision to write out Liz was taken quite late in the day so there wasn't the opportunity to give her a proper leaving scene.  Thus Liz simply disappeared after 'Inferno'.  Perhaps fittingly though the final shot of the season is of Liz, laughing at a bickering Doctor and Brigadier.

Inferno marked the end of Season 7 of Doctor Who, quite a different season from those that had gone before.  When Doctor Who was commissioned for its seventh season it was by no means guaranteed that it would continue beyond that.  However, the new, arguably more 'grown-up' direction of the series, along with Jon Pertwee's dashing, debonair, dandy version of the Doctor had won the viewers over and Season 8 was on its way. 

On Audio

Once again there was nothing released in terms of audio this year.

In Print

Just the Annual again this year.  The stories all follow the new format of the TV series with the Third Doctor stranded on Earth, working alongside UNIT. 

In Comics 

In TV Comic, it was more or less business as usual.  The TV series might have adopted a more grown up approach but the comic strip stories were still firmly aimed at the very young, making the contrast between strip and TV series ever more obvious.

As on TV, the Doctor was ably assisted by the Brigadier and, for a short time at least, Liz Shaw.  Unfortunately the artwork on the strip by this point was rather poor and it was at times difficult to recognise the main characters.  Liz actually looked quite good however both the Doctor and the Brigadier look like caricatures of themselves.

But change was in the air for the comic strip. 19th December 1970 saw the publication of the first episode of the final TV Comic Doctor strip for some time.  From 1971 the Doctor would appear in a new comic aimed at older children -  Countdown...

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 8 - 1969

"You can't just change what I look like without consulting me!"
 - The Doctor, The War Games Episode 10

On Screen

The end is nigh

And so we approach the end of the Second Doctor's era.  Beginning with the final three episodes of 'The Krotons'.  This story has been much maligned in the past, despite the fact that it's the first story to be written by someone who will come to be considered as, arguably, one of the best writers the series ever had - Robert Holmes.  Granted it's not a great story but neither is it as bad as some have made out.

One of the chief objects of ridicule is the Krotons themselves.  Looking like a cross between a Dalek and a fire hydrant with spinning crystalline heads, they may be possibly the most ridiculous looking monsters ever to appear in the series.  And given that they're up against the likes of the Quarks and the Mechanoids for that title that's no mean feat.  The 'interesting' choice of giving these aliens South African accents may also count against them.

A Kroton

Nevertheless, don't judge a book by its cover (or a story by its monsters) as I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this story for the first time recently.  It's actually quite fun and the TARDIS crew are on fine form with a lot of good banter between them.

One thing that has just occurred to me: the next story 'The Seeds of Death' is the last 'monster' story for the Second Doctor.  After this story it's humanoid villains all the way for our hero.  And the choice of monsters for this story?  The returning Ice Warriors who invade Earth (just for a change) with seeds that explode and somehow cause the Earth's temperature to fall to suitable levels for the warriors.  For some reason the seeds also create lots of foams which gives Patrick Troughton the chance to fall over a lot and get covered in bubbles.

After defeating the Ice Warriors it's back into outer space for 'The Space Pirates', the second Robert Holmes story this year.  This definitely seems to have been influenced by some of the big budget American TV shows that were on television at the time - particularly Star Trek -  with it's extensive use of model spaceships, characters with dodgy American accents and opera singers warbling over the soundtrack.

Gene Roddenberry once said that he'd originally sold 'Star Trek' to the TV networks as a 'space Western' and while the series didn't really end up that way, Robert Holmes seems to have taken that idea literally with 'The Space Pirates'.  There's lots of talk of mining and the Doctor's chief ally, Milo Clancy, looks like he's just been out panning for gold in the hills of California while the pirates themselves are more like cattle rustlers than traditional pirates.

Milo Clancy
The one main complaint that most people have of this story is that the TARDIS crew don't really get involved in the story proper until almost halfway through.  Fortunately that's one criticism that can't be levelled at the final story of the Second Doctor era, 'The War Games'.  Fittingly, for a finale, this is an epic story, an impressive 10 episodes in length, and also provides some background to our mysterious hero.

It begins in 1917 at the height of the First World War and initially appears to be a fairly standard historical adventure.  But quickly the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe realise that not everyone is who or what they appear to be and that they aren't where they expected to be either.  They are in fact on a world made up of different zones where humans are used to enact historical wars (World War I, The American Civil, The Crimean War and so on) for real.

The leader of the aliens running these war games is the appropriately named War Lord and he is being aided by a man calling himself the War Chief who as we later discover is another renegade Time Lord, like the Doctor.  And, yes this is the first time that the words 'Time Lord' are spoken and that the Doctor admits to being one.

The War Lord
The War Chief

What makes this story so epic is the sheer scale of it.  The Doctor manages to get soldiers from all of the different war zones to work together defeat the War Lord and War Chief.  But even after that is done, the Doctor realises that he'll never be able to return the thousands of kidnapped human soldiers to their own time without help.  And so the Doctor reluctantly calls on his own people for help.

The final episode of the story goes off in a very different direction.  With the War Games ended the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe now try to outrun the Time Lords who want to bring the Doctor back home.  Once they finally catch up with him, the Doctor is put on trial for, amongst other things, interfering with history.  Despite a spirited defence, the Doctor is found guilty of interfering.  Jamie and Zoe are sent home to their respective times with their memories of the Doctor erased and the Doctor himself is exiled to 20th Century Earth.  He's also told that his appearance will change...

And so off he spins, our last glimpse of the Second Doctor, for now at least.  And this is the last we'll see of Doctor Who in 1969.  For the first time since the series began there would be no new series starting in the Autumn.  The new season would instead begin in January 1970.

On Audio

Nothing at all this year.

In Print

As with last year, the only book published in 1969 was the usual Doctor Who Annual, the final one featuring Patrick Troughton.

In Comics 

Although TV Comic can be criticised for many things such as an out of character Doctor, juvenile writing and existence of John and Gillian, one thing that one has to admire is how they handled the Doctor's regeneration and exile to Earth.

On TV 'The War Games' had come to and end in early June 1969 with the Doctor being exiled to Earth and being told that he would regenerate.  However the next series, complete with a new Doctor wasn't due to begin until January 1970.  With the comic strip running all year round what was TV Comic to do?

In a rare attempt to actually tie with the TV series, they decided that the strip would show the Doctor exiled on Earth and having adventures there.  However, crucially, he had managed to give the Time Lords the slip so that they couldn't force him to change his appearance.  So from July to November 1969 readers could thrill to the Second Doctor's adventures in exile.

And the Doctor seems to be enjoying himself.  He appears on TV and makes the headlines of newspapers, generally becoming a bit of a celebrity.  He's basically Professor Brian Cox 40 years early.  But ultimately his fame ends up being his undoing.

In his final TV Comic appearance, the Doctor appears on a TV panel show and is asked to investigate some scarecrows that appear to be moving by themselves.  In turns out that the scarecrows have actually been animated by the Time Lords in order to capture the Doctor and carry out the rest of his sentence.  The last panel of the strip sees the Doctor being carried into the TARDIS by the scarecrows whilst his face starts to blur...

...All of which rather cleverly ties into the opening episode of season 7 which was due to air on TV just a few weeks later.