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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 536 > WHO TELLS YOUR STORY

WHO TELLS YOUR STORY

In the second part of a candid interview to mark the Blu-ray release of Doctor Who’s 1980-81 season, former script editor Christopher H Bidmead recalls the day he almost made Terrance Dicks cry.

Christopher H Bidmead

Images from some of the Doctor Who stories script-edited or written by Christopher H Bidmead: Martin Fisk as Vargos in The Leisure Hive (1980); Tom Baker as the eponymous Meglos (1980); Marshmen in Full Circle (1980); the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward) in State of Decay (1980); the Melkur (Graham Cole) in The Keeper of Traken (1981); the Master (Anthony Ainley) in Logopolis (1981); the Doctor (Peter Davison) and Mergrave (Michael Sheard) in Castrovalva (1982); and the Doctor and Norna (Lesley Dunlop) in Frontios (1984).

My dad is what some people would call eccentric,” 24-year-old Evie Bidmead wrote on her blog, Bidmead Bites, in 2016. “A great writer, computer brain and general know-it-all, he’s special in many ways.”

Isn’t he just? Evie’s dad is Christopher Hamilton Bidmead, the journalist, scriptwriter, former actor, master of the humblebrag (“I thought my old girlfriend, Helen Mirren, would make a good Doctor,” Chris told us last issue) and all-round clever-clogs who, shortly before his 39th birthday, took over as Doctor Who’s script editor for Tom Baker’s final season. All this despite being a self-confessed ‘hack’. (Last issue: “All the best writers are hacks,” Chris humblebragged.)

Chris and his wife of 32 years, Ros, have two daughters together: Annie, 30, and the aforementioned Evie, who’s now 27. In January, Chris turned 78. “You might suggest to your editor that he hold off our interview until he can run it as an obit,” he teases, as we chat over coffee in his living room. “With a bit of luck, Ben, your word rate may have gone up by then.” It won’t have, I say. “Oh well,” he replies, “in that case…”

To understand the man that Chris had become by the time he landed the Doctor Who gig, I want to find out more about his formative years. “It’s the haunt of my youth,” he says of this part of north London, “in the sense that I lived, as a boy, in Hampstead Garden Suburb.” But he was born in Bolton, Lancashire, in January 1941. “The bombs were not falling heavily enough for my father,” he explains, “so we moved to London.”

Chris never knew his mother (“I think I was about two when she left; I really know nothing about her”) and he doesn’t hold his father, who raised him, in high regard. “Divorced from my mother since the war.

Not sure he deserves a namecheck. I grew up in spite of him. He was also a part-time journalist, who evangelised the cause of federalism – the European variety – and world government, movements promoted by, for example, [the philosopher and radio personality] CEM Joad, who my father persuaded to be my godfather.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Issue includes: • An exclusive preview of the animated Macra Terror • Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines recall the making of the original Macra Terror • A lost Dalek story from 1966 – and the previously untold story of its celebrated writer • A tribute to 1960s Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd • An interview with Mark Troughton about his famous father • Writer Stephen Gallagher tells DWM about his new take on the 1981 story Warriors' Gate • The second part of an exclusive interview with Season 18’s script editor Christopher H Bidmead • How did the Doctor become such a rebel? DWM investigates how the series changed during the 1960s... • Part Two of Herald of Madness, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends • Cosplayers recreate the Fourth Doctor's Season 18 style • The Fact of Fiction delves into the 2007 story Gridlock • Our verdict on Tom Baker's Doctor Who novel Scratchman and the Season 18 Blu-ray box set • The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!