Russell T Davies and the Rejoining of the Ways

Posted today at the Tides of Time blog - Russell T Davies and the Rejoining of the Ways. which Oxford (University) Doctor Who Society members - students, alumni, and friends - comment on the return of Russell T Davies to Doctor Who. I'm pleased with how it all came together. Also posted at

The Hour of the Wolf

So, Bad Wolf Productions will be taking over Doctor Who once Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker leave... and not only does this mean the return of Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter in some executive capacity, but the beadline news is that Russell T Davies is returning as Doctor Who showrunner. This part of the news was completely unexpected to me, though I had wondered whether Bad Wolf might take over Who following the completion of His Dark Materials, series three of which is now in production. Also posted at

The Tides of Time 47 now downloadable

I hadn't realised that the PDF of the current issue of Tides of Time is downloadable now. The current issue of the Oxford (University) Doctor Who Society fanzine, published at the end of June this year, features lockdown reflections, views on Revolution of the Daleks, Sisterhood of Karn/Cyberman fiction, Time Lord Victorious, Doctor in Distress, and the 2020 Varsity Quiz, among much else. For more details see here, and download the actual issue in PDF here Also posted at

Jackie Lane, 1941-2021

Jackie Lane has died aged seventy-nine. She played Dodo Chaplet, travelling companion to William Hartnell's Doctor in Doctor Who, between Bell of Doom, the fourth and final part of the story the scripts and Doctor Who Magazine call The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve but which BBC Studios call The Massacre (26 February 1966) and The War Machines episode 2 (2 July 1966). Her character was created by a producer and story editor - John Wiles and Donald Tosh - who were exiting Doctor Who after their plans for the series were frustrated by the established character of the programme and the expectations of their managers. Dodo was written out as soon as was practical, unceremoniously being dropped by the new producer and story editor - Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis - less than half-way through The War Machines after Dodo was taken over by the supercomputer WOTAN and deprogrammed by the Doctor. Despite ever-shifting ideas about who Dodo was and how she should behave, Jackie Lane invested Dodo with humour, morality and bravery, and while she had little public interaction with Doctor Who fandom, only I think making one convention appearance, her contribution to the programme gained respect over the years as her episodes were released on video, DVD and audio. She was a point of brightness in a difficult time for the programme. Later in her career she was Tom Baker's voice agent, managing his successful career in advertising voiceovers.

Did I like Dodo? It's difficult to say, because I've only known the character as a mystery to be pieced together, not properly introduced in the second edition of The Making of Doctor Who, the first place I met her. Jackie Lane's biography was confused too, as nwhyte explored many years ago now. The character is overshadowed by the drama behind the scenes, at least for me. Yet she successfully renews the Doctor's compassion, damaged by the experience of The Daleks' Master Plan and exposed by his apparent indifference to the fate of the Huguenots of Paris in The Massacre, and renewed the 'space waif' granddaughter model of companion while reaching out to the contemporary model which would be better-realised later in 1966 in Anneke Wills's Polly. Jackie Lane made Dodo enthusiastic and innocent and helped bring back a sense of joy to the series. I wish we could see all her episodes, but we have some record of all her Doctor Who performances and that is very rare for mid-1960s BBC television popular drama. Also posted at

The Tides of Time 47 - another shameless advert

I'm no longer the editor of The Tides of Time, magazine of the Oxford (University) Doctor Who Society, having left it to younger hands in the shape of recent graduate [ profile] jamesashworth98, but have contributed to this latest issue, 104 pages on everything from Revolution of the Daleks to Gangsters via Time Lord Victorious. Details of the issue's contents can be found here. The society is collecting orders through this form - please complete if you are interested. Also posted at

Tides of Time 45&46 in print - a shameless advert

Back at the end of May, the locked down and locked out Oxford (University) Doctor Who Society published a double issue, 45&46, of our fanzine, The Tides of Time. We didn't expect printing it would be possible, so it was released online as a pdf. With matters being a bit more flexible in the present state of Covid-19 affairs in England, we have now been able to print the issue, with corrections from the pdf, and copies can be ordered on eBay from the page linked below. This is the first issue to be perfect bound, with 172 colour pages including a card cover.

Tides of Time 45&46 on eBay Also posted at

Lytton #1, by Eric Saward and Barry Renshaw (Cutaway Comics, July 2020)

Thoughts over here on the first issue of Lytton, the limited comic series about the mercenary created by Eric Saward for Doctor Who in the mid-1980s, written by Saward himself and drawn by Barry Renshaw, published by Manchester-based Cutaway Comics. Also posted at

The Tides of Time issue 45 & 46

The latest issue of Oxford University's Doctor Who fanzine is a double issue of 172 pages, and I've not told LJ about it yet...

The Tides of Time issues 45 and 46, Trinity 2020, were published together as one omnibus edition by The Oxford Doctor Who Society on 31 May 2020. It was edited by James Ashworth and Matthew Kilburn.

The issue is 172 A5 colour pages, commemorating 30 years of The Tides of Time.  It was initially published online only due to the ongoing coronavirus  pandemic, but is hoped that it will be published in print in due course.

The PDF can be downloaded free of charge here

Articles include:

Series Twelve:

  • The Spyfall Who Loved Me - Sam Sheppard reveals a previously unknown draft of Spyfall
  • The Timeless Chibnall - Victoria Walker looks at the Society's predictions for Series Twelve in hindsight
  • The Twelve Polls of Chibmas - Dahria Kuyser reveals the Society's thoughts on the episodes of Series Twelve
  • The Line to the Boundary - Victoria Walker's reviews of Series Twelve, published in print
  • Spies and Superheroes - Ian Bayley discusses the use of genre bending in Series Twelve
  • The Other, Timeless Child? - Matthew Dovey looks into the links between the New Adventures and the Timeless Child arc
  • Power to the People - Ian Bayley looks at the exploration of character in Series Twelve
  • Maybe just need a moment - Matthew Kilburn gives his thoughts on the latest series

Thirty Years of The Tides of Time:

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Doctor Who XXXVIII/12.10 - The Timeless Children

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My review of The Timeless Children, like that of Ascension of the Cybermen, appears at Space-Time Telegraph, the blog which is the successor of its writer-editor John Connors's fanzines, which included Top, Faze and This Way Up. I wrote it having only seen the story once and much of my initial enthusiasm was qualified by other people's reservations. Having rewatched some of the episode since, I was reminded of the focused performances throughout and minimizing of languor. Jodie Whittaker's portrayal of the Doctor's fury and disgust at the Master was electrical, combined with eye-rolling expressions of frustration at just how tedious her old friend can be.

I wrote in the review that there had been no indication in Ascension of the Cybermen that the Doctor was periodically experiencing chapters in the saga of Brendan the Irish policeman - 'Gallykissangel', as I've called it, the term having been suggested by Paul Dumont. Ian Bayley has pointed out that there are odd lines of dialogue in Ascension which might suggest that the Doctor is being surprised by new Brendan scenes, but if so I still find them very understated.

As for the review itself:

So it was about authorship after all. Ascension of the Cybermen turns out to have been undermined throughout by a streaming hacker who couldn’t resist introducing it himself at the end and boasting of his reinterpretation of the ensuing acts, of which the Doctor was both audience and unwitting star. The Timeless Children was visually engaging television and I was surprised by some of the resolution it presented, if only because I was expecting something more complicated. Performances were very strong, and as with Ascension of the Cybermen, I felt an energy in the production which I’ve rarely experienced in the Chibnall era. There were a few moments when it seemed The Timeless Children did not marry so well with Ascension of the Cybermen, however, and in hindsight the episode left lingering doubts about the wisdom of the decisions therein.


(Apologies for the large spaces between paragraphs, but this must be what happens when you copy across another site's code.)

Also posted at