Tuesday, 3 April 2012

"TIME, GENTLEMEN, PLEASE..."


Dr. WHO copyright BBC TV

When I was a mere lad back in the 1960s, my brother one day acquired from somewhere the very first paperback adventure of Dr. WHO - in an exciting adventure with The DALEKS no less.  The grim and moody illustration of WILLIAM HARTNELL's Doctor looking out at the reader from the cover transfixed me - and set the pattern for how I think the character should be portrayed.  To me, The Doctor should be an enigmatic, mysterious figure that nobody is quite sure of.  Is he good or bad?  Where does he come from?  Who is he?  I rue the day when the powers that be at the BBC decided he should be a babbling idiot who looks like he's having heaps of fun in whatever adventure he currently happens to be explaining aloud as he runs from one darkened corridor into another.

The paperback contains 6 illustrations

A few years ago, I managed to obtain a replacement for the 1965 ARMADA paperback I'd owned as a kid.  Due to insufficient packaging it was severely damaged in the post, which meant I had to completely re-glue the spine and repair the cover. (Don't worry - the spine work is undetectable.  You'd never know unless I told you - which I just did.)  I could have returned it, but these books tend not to turn up too often so I decided to hold onto it in case I never got the chance of one again.  It's enough for me that the mood of the cover is intact and that one glance is enough to return me to an earlier time.  (Rather apt, considering we're discussing Dr. Who.)

The hardback contains 12 illustrations

The hardback was first published by FREDERICK MULLER in 1964, but it's the paperback edition issued the following year that, to me, is the definitive edition - cover-wise at least.  When TARGET reprinted the paperback in the '70s, they ignored the interior illustrations by PETER ARCHER from the Armada edition and instead opted for the original ARNOLD SCHWARTZMAN ones from the Frederick Muller hardback.  As far as I know, this 'exciting adventure' is still available from BBC BOOKS.  It's well-worth reading. 

12 comments:

Steve Does Comics said...

I used to borrow that book from my local library all the time - although my local library's version had a plain grey cover.

I don't have a clue who did the illustrations in their version but I had an endless fondness for them.

I'm sure it described the boss dalek as having a glass shell. I wonder if that's what inspired RTD to put his own Empreror Dalek in a transparent casing?

Kid said...

Apparently, Stevie, there was a glass Dalek in a '60s episode of Dr Who.

Steve Does Comics said...

There was? I wish I'd seen that one, to see how it looked.

Kid said...

I thought I'd read somewhere it was the '60s, but I could be wrong. However, there was definitely one in the '70s - 'Revelation of the Daleks' perhaps? I saw a photo of it on a Dr Who site. If you Google 'Glass Dalek' you should find it easy enough.

Dougie said...

I have seen other pictures of that Armada book but it was the Target version that I read. I still have the dog-eared copy in Glasgow and bought the reissued edition in Inverness last summer.
I always wanted to try the Tardis massage oil shower and those white Mars Bars that taste of bacon and eggs.

Kid said...

I've got the Target edition as well, but withouth digging it out, I can't remember if it's the first or second printing. I've also got the BBC Books edition - lovely cover.

Steve Does Comics said...

I do recall the glass dalek in Revelation of the Daleks. I remember being very impressed with it at the time.

John Pitt said...

Yep, that was it, but I remembered it as very pale grey?

Kid said...

That rings a bell, JP - perhaps it was a second edition?

Kid said...

I checked, JP - the 2nd & 3rd editions had grey covers with the same illustration.

John Pitt said...

I guess mine wasn't the ORIGINAL original after all then, but I'm glad my memory wasn't playing tricks on me about the colour.I used to get lost inside this book, speaking the Dalek voices out aloud when I was reading it! The cover itself inside the dust jacket was maroon.

Kid said...

Back in the '60s. not long after my brother had given me the paperback edition (perhaps the same day), I took it with me on a trip to our town centre shops with the rest of my family. Today, one look at the cover reminds me of my old house and a stretch of shops that has now changed almost beyond recognition.