500 issues! What an amazing (and record-breaking) achievement! I’ve loved Doctor Who Magazine/Monthly/Weekly for as long as I’ve loved Doctor Who itself and I still look forward to each issue with eager anticipation. Without DWM there would be no @WhoSFX. My interest in special effects was triggered by an article in Issue 30 of Doctor Who Weekly which offered ‘a look behind the spaced-out scenes of Dr.Who!’
Since then there have been many articles and interviews about the effects work in Doctor Who over the years. Here are a few of my favourites:
23rd Season: The Visual Effects (Issue 123): Patrick Mulkern took an in-depth look at the Visual Effects in The Trial of a Time Lord and spoke to the three designers responsible, Mike Kelt, Peter Wragg and Kevin Molloy. This was a brilliant centre-spread article with many beautiful colour photographs.
Geoff Powell Interview (Issue 130): As well as an interesting interview, this article by Patrick Mulkern included many colourful behind-the-scenes photographs from Time and the Rani. I remember staring at pic of a model Tetrap, trapped in a bubble, for hours. I didn’t get out much. And who can forget Swedish actor ‘Lit Roundels’?
Monsters from North London (Issue 138): Gary Russell interviewed Susan Moore and Stephen Mansfield about their work on the visual effects in Season 24. I remember being enthralled by the details of how they achieved Kane’s melting face in Dragonfire. “One of his eyes popped out and slowly rolled down his cheek…”
Season 25 Special Effects (Issue 148): A complete rundown on the BBC Visual Effects Department’s work on the silver anniversary season. This incredibly detailed article by Saul Nasse included interviews with Stuart Brisdon, Perry Brahan and Steve Bowman. There were a number of fascinating photographs including the legendary shot of Sylvester McCoy walking calmly away from a massive explosion in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.
SFX (Issue 158): ‘A complete run-down on how the visual trickery in Season 26 was put together’ by Justin Richards and Peter Anghelides. Another in-depth season retrospective with fascinating photographs and interviews with Malcolm James, Dave Bezkorowakjny and Graham Brown. There was also an alarming claim that the effects budget for Season 26 was less than that for a single episode of Red Dwarf!
The 1972 BBC Visual Effects Exhibition (Issue 209): Peter Hart presented an exclusive look back at the exhibition that served as an inspiration for the long-running displays at Blackpool and Longleat.
Mike Tucker – Behind the Scenes (Issues 209 & 211): Great articles by Mike Tucker providing a unique behind-the-scenes view on the making of Dimension in Time and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.
Sleight of Hand (Issue 293): Philip Newman interviewed VFX designer Clifford Culley about his work on Planet of the Daleks, Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Robot.
Pixel Perfect (Issue 358): Benjamin Cook chatted to the CGI wizards at the Mill about their work on some of Series One’s most memorable new creations.
Special Effects – Special Edition: DWM’s effects coverage recently culminated in a superlative Special Edition which looked at the entire history of Doctor Who special effects. This awesome publication includes dozens of rarely seen photographs and interviews with visual effects designers Peter Day, Tony Harding, Mat Irvine, Peter Logan, Colin Mapson and Eric Alba.
Here’s to the next 500 issues!