Every so often we have cause to delve into the Radio Times Archive, our vault of delights containing vintage back issues, beautiful original artwork and stacks of fascinating photographs, all commissioned by RT. It always opens windows on long-forgotten aspects of our 90-year heritage as well as into rarely glimpsed corners of broadcasting.
We knew that, over the years, we’d mounted several photoshoots with Dalek creator, Terry Nation (pictured above), but in recent months we’ve unearthed many previously unpublished photographs of other writers important in the history of Doctor Who…
Just published this week is The Quest for Pedler, Michael Seely’s biography of scientist Kit Pedler – a man who needs little introduction to TV sci-fi fans. In 1966, he acted as adviser on Doctor Who and created the Cybermen, going on to pen many of their encounters with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. In the early 1970s Pedler developed Doomwatch, with his writing partner, the former Doctor Who script editor Gerry Davis.
Miwk Publishing, who have released The Quest for Pedler, approached RT late last year to see if we had kept any images of the Doomwatch writing team. We’d published photographs on two occasions in the 70s. Sadly, the originals couldn’t be found in the RT Archive.
Amazingly, however, we did trace another photoshoot with Kit Pedler (solo portraits, above), which can be dated to 1974. One of these now adorns the cover of The Quest for Pedler, while another is published within the book. (Kit Pedler died in 1981, aged 53)
Another big name associated with Doctor Who in the 60s and 70s, Hayles’s significant claim to fame is as creator of, first, the Celestial Toymaker in 1966 and then the Ice Warriors in 1967. He wrote all 22 episodes featuring the Martian warriors until 1974.
Very few official photographs of Brian Hayles are known to exist, so these are a lovely find. The photo file has no caption information, no date or photographer’s name, so we cannot tie this shoot to any particular issue of RT, radio or TV programme. If anyone has an idea, do let us know.
They were clearly not taken in relation to his Doctor Who success. Brian Hayles also wrote for Z Cars, Doomwatch, Out of the Unknown and for many years The Archers. His last work for the BBC was The Moon Stallion, a children’s serial aired a month after his sudden death in 1978.
Terrance Dicks is another of the heroic luminaries of Doctor Who. In his dual role as writer and (1968–74) as script editor, he perhaps had greater influence than any other person in shaping 20th-century Doctor Who. He oversaw the entire Jon Pertwee era, the introduction of the Time Lords, the Master, companions Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith, and he wrote Tom Baker’s debut serial…
Starting circa 1974, Dicks became the most prolific writer for Target Books, the novelisations of the Time Lord’s televised adventures, teaching a generation of young fans the pleasures of sharp and economical writing.
This RT photoshoot took place in August 1983 (photographer Chris Ridley), a few months before The Five Doctors, the 20th anniversary special written by Dicks.
Now 78, Dicks lives in north London and remains a Doctor Who convention favourite.
World famous as author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in the late 70s Douglas Adams spent a year in the script editor’s seat on Doctor Who. During Tom Baker’s tenure, he penned several hugely popular adventures, including The Pirate Planet and City of Death. His six-part serial Shada was abandoned midway through production because of industrial action at the BBC.
In these rare shots from June 1985, RT photographed Adams outside BBC Broadcasting House in central London. He’s holding a towel (the essential item for all galactic hitch-hikers!) together with Emma Cochrane, a 15-year-old fan invited to “meet the author” on Radio 4’s Bookshelf (23 June 1985).
(Douglas Adams died aged 49 in California in 2001.)
Aged just 17, Doctor Who fan Andrew Smith was the envy of all aficionados when commissioned to write for the series in 1980. Here he is on the set of Full Circle, his highly regarded four-parter serial from Tom Baker’s final season, with Matthew Waterhouse, another teenage fan, who’d just been cast as boy-companion Adric.
“How young we both look!” says Smith now, recalling the 1980 RT photoshoot vividly: “Matthew and I were interviewed on the theme of being two teenagers getting our TV breaks. The shots were taken on the set of a spacecraft’s science lab, with various scientific instrument props laid out on the table.
“The continuity person was standing close by, telling us repeatedly not to touch any of the props. She was wary that we would move one, causing a continuity error. It’s such a strong memory, and she was so insistent, that I’m surprised to see Matthew holding onto the microscope.”
Now a chief inspector in the Metropolitan Police, Smith has resumed writing in recent years – audios dramas for Big Finish and (now defunct) AudioGo, about Doctor Who, Blake’s 7 and Survivors.
Creator of the Daleks and, later, BBC1 hit dramas Survivors and Blake’s 7, Terry Nation was a long-time Radio Times favourite, with half a dozen RT photoshoots across two decades. He was the creative “face” of Doctor Who in the 1960s and 70s, much as Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have been in recent decades.
Many of our shots of Terry Nation have been published before, but one or two surprises lurked in the RT Archive…
He gave us his first interview in December 1964, for an article promoting The Dalek Invasion of Earth. To the untrained eye, the image looks deceptively like Nation is sitting in front of a board adorned with Dalek photos, but it is in fact a montage.
Here is the original portrait at his desk (right). You can see that, even then, a cigarette was deemed unsuitable for a family audience and was cropped for the montage.
And, miraculously, the original composite (below) used in the 1964 RT article still exists in the Radio Times Archive 50 years on.
Radio Times went on to stage several photoshoots with Terry Nation.
See the extended gallery for more images of all the writers.
All images © Radio Times Archive
Huge thanks to Radio Times repro technician Ian Crabb for his contribution to this article.