Monday 25 January 2016


From April 1984: the ninth issue of fanzine DOCTOR WHO BULLETIN, published in the UK.

I recently acquired a fairly comprehensive run of this 1980s zine for STARLOGGED. This is the earliest issue in the collection. 

DWB is, looking back, pretty remarkable and something of a wild ride. Launched the previous year, the monthly news zine was already looking pretty polished at this point and embracing its role as the tabloid (albeit published as an A4 magazine) of DOCTOR WHO fandom. 

Just the sheer achievement of getting past those difficult first few issues (most fanzines traditionally imploded after the first few outings once the realities of economics and effort overtook enthusiasm) and sticking to a (pretty much) monthly schedule should be celebrated. 

Even more of an achievement is that, as the decade went in, it really gave Marvel's officially licensed magazine a run of its money and forced it to up its game in order to appeal to the show's core fan base. 

That fine line between the licensed and the unlicensed brought it into conflict with BBC ENTERPRISES (forerunner of today's BBC Worldwide) who, for a while, lent on London retailer Forbidden Planet to stop carrying copies. 

DWB did little to help its standing with the BBC (and, indeed, the show's standing within the BBC) by launching an impassioned, and obsessive, campaign to oust John Nathan-Turner from the show. What DWB didn't realise was that the Producer was the only thing standing in the way of the Corporation's desire to shutter the series at the first opportunity. Just how much did DWB contribute to creating "the lost years"?

DWB broadened its scope at the end of the decade (when I started reading) to cover other telefantasy shows. It morphed into DREAMWATCH (with a new issue 1) in October 1994, secured national newstrade distribution and was eventually acquired by Titan Magazines. It closed after 150 issues in March 2007. 

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