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In the days before Doctor Who Magazine, the devotees of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society went to extraordinary lengths to chart the history of their favourite programme.


The experience of Doctor Who fandom was very different in October 1979, when the first issue of Doctor Who Weekly – now Doctor Who Magazine – was published. There had already been 14 new episodes of Doctor Who broadcast that year, with another 12 to be shown by the end of December. But while fans back then were blessed with numerous new episodes of Doctor Who, they were less well served for old stuff.

There was, of course, no iPlayer or catch-up in those days. Relatively few people had video recorders and there were no commercial releases of old stories on tape. Repeats were also rare. Over the summer of 1979, BBC1 screened eight episodes from the previous series of Doctor Who, comprising just two of the six stories. Episodes from earlier periods of the series weren’t repeated until the 1980s – again, only occasionally. While some past stories had been novelised, the books often varied from what had been broadcast.

There had been a handful of retrospective books, but by this time most of the research into Doctor Who’s already complex history was being conducted by the series’ fans. Organised fandom had existed since the mid-1960s, and from 1971 the Doctor Who Fan Club was actively supported and encouraged by the series’ then producer, Barry Letts.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The latest Special Edition of Doctor Who Magazine is devoted to the many non-fiction books based on the series. This comprehensive guide traces the history of the series’ reference works, from the very first episode guides compiled by Doctor Who story editors for their colleagues in the 1960s, to the fanzines of the 1970s, the first authorised books based on the series and the plethora of books available today. Exclusive interviews, behind-the- scenes features and numerous rare photographs tell the whole story, from the black-and-white days of Doctor Who to the 2017 series starring Peter Capaldi.