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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.