Doctor Who Magazine Gets Big-Time Advance Publicity Again
Doctor Who Magazine, originally published by Marvel UK under Dez Skinn, and now by Panini who bought Marvel UK out decades ago, has been covering the BBC television show Doctor Who, and its many spinoffs, under a BBC license since 1979 when it was Doctor Who Weekly before going monthly in 1980. It contains feature articles, reviews, news, and its own originated comic book storylines, and made me a subscriber many a time. While Russell T Davies was the showrunner, and to maybe a slightly lesser extent when Steven Moffat was at the helm, the magazine was a major conduit between the Doctor Who production team and the most devoted of fans, with Davies and Moffat regularly writing for the publication. There was also a regular supply of set photographs, production notes, studio photography sessions, and more than promoted the programme, far in advance.
When Chris Chibnall arrived as showrunner, the well dried up somewhat. Not entirely, but there was a feeling that the show had been spoiling too much, revealing too much, even creating an air of fan expectation, and the oxygen of publicity slowed to a dribble. DWM did still enjoy exclusive on-set access and cast and crew interviews, but they were more likely to be after the fact or closer to transmission. This year's 2022 "Legend of the Sea Devils" was a move away from that, with an extensive preview and interviews with the writers, director, and guest cast, and exclusive photography but that was coming to the end of the current regime. Even their pieces with Chris Chibnall tended to be looking back, rather than forward.
Now Davies is back as showrunner. And, by some strange coincidence, an unseen PR new shot of David Tennant and Catherine Tate reprising their roles for the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who, is on the front cover of this week's Doctor Who Magazine, (reproduced below with permission.) It is also offering exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of the new production, which won't be seen on British TV screens until the end of 2023. DWM tweets "It's DWM 579! Available from branches of WH Smith and selected supermarkets from this Thursday, 23 June. Available to preorder online from http://panini.co.uk from later today (UK, Ireland and Gibraltar only). #DrWho #DoctorWho #DavidTennant #CatherineTate #TARDIS #NPH #RTD"
Others have noticed the change, not just on this cover, but in recent months regarding the release of Doctor Who news about upcoming casting and characters for the new production. Custom Doctor Who DVD cover creator Matthew Purchase asked "When was the last time before this issue DWM was given an exclusive image?" The answer was that they often have, including the announcement shot of Ncuti Gatwa as the 14th Doctor, just maybe not as much in advance of events as they are suddenly enjoying now, so the new magazine can make more of an impact.
Fan John Miller tweeted "The most refreshing thing about the Chibnall era has been going into so much of it totally spoiler-free, unlike the Moffat years. I like to think RTD knows exactly what he's doing at the moment with the large amount of official announcements so far in advance at moment." Doctor Who voiceover actor Cliff Chapman added "So as long as the ending or major character deaths aren't spoiled, seeing what we've seen now for RTD is enormously exciting & poses more questions than answers. Whereas; have this level of information at this stage from Chris Chibnall & he'd have completely shot his load."
The cover text also promises the story of how Tennant and Tate returned to the show to reprise The Doctor and Donna Noble. If indeed, that is who they are playing on all those TikTok videos taken on the street by keen punters. We can expect a lot more of this between now and 2023. And maybe, just maybe, I'll pick up a copy of the new Doctor Who Magazine from ASDA on Thursday… (of course, you can always subscribe to DWM by heading over here).