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DWM comicartist Mike Collins reveals the secrets of his work storyboarding TV Doctor Who!

Sunrise over Gallifrey. Then: a gun falls to the floor. Then: two feet, marching to the right. Finally, a confrontation: a bald man in robes faces down the Doctor, while troops in armour look on.

DWM is admiring the dynamic storyboards from last year’s series finale, Hell Bent. There are four panels here, making up scene 23, page 1. They’re the work of artist Mike Collins, who has a long association with the TV show – and with DWM itself.

But before we get to that, there’s something striking about that last image, and the man in the robes. The fact he’s bald means these sketches were done quite late in the day, when the production team knew that President Rassilon would by played by actor Donald Sumpter – and not, as in Rassilon’s last appearance in 2010, by the not-bald Timothy Dalton.

“Yes,” says Mike Collins. “I was having a meeting with [director] Rachel Talalay, going through that sequence set outside the farmhouse. While we were talking, she had a phonecall to say that Donald Sumpter had signed to play Rassilon. So I knew from that moment, actually during that meeting as she was explaining what she wanted me to draw.”

On a programme like Doctor Who, full of complex sequences, special effects and all made very quickly, storyboards are vital to help the cast and crew understand how scenes will look and feel. Given the limited time, does it help that Mike has a long association with Doctor Who, and so knows, for example, the way Gallifrey and Time Lords have been shown before?

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About Doctor Who Magazine

DWM 502 looks forward to the new TARDIS team of the Doctor, Bill and Nardole! Contents include exclusive interviews with showrunner Steven Moffat and with casting director Andy Pryor; artist Mike Collins shows how he created the storyboards for the 2015 series Doctor Who; the new comic strip, The Pestilent Heart by Mark Wright continues; the history of DWM with BBC Enterprises in the mag's earliest days is revealed; the Time Team watch Amy's Choice; The Fact of Fiction focuses on the 1973 Third Doctor adventure, Frontier in Space; plus prize-winning competitions, official news, reviews, previews and much, much more!