Nice one, Santa! The Christmas issue of Doctor Who Magazine pays tribute to Radio Times with an affectionate pastiche of our 1991 festive front cover, showing Santa Claus checking out the RT double issue for himself.
“The Doctor Who Magazine team are all big fans of Radio Times,” says DWM editor Tom Spilsbury, “and it’s no secret that we’ve sometimes taken our inspiration from RT in the past.”
The first time was three years ago when Matt Smith and the cast of the 2011 Christmas special – The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe – replaced the homely family of RT’s 1924 yuletide cover (pictured right).
“The Christmas Radio Times covers are a great festive tradition,” says Tom. “I particularly remember the illustrated cover of the 1991 issue, which shows Santa Claus reading a copy of RT. When we heard that Santa would be guest-starring in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, it was that issue of Radio Times that came to mind, and we’re paying tribute to it with our picture of Nick Frost playing Santa.”
The hat, beard, fur, round spectacles and the hand holding the same magazine all match up – only Santa’s expression is noticeably different. RT’s 1991 Santa looked jolly; whereas DWM’s Santa in 2014 seems somewhat perturbed. Perhaps he knows something nasty is lurking at the North Pole in this year’s episode, Last Christmas…
The 1991 RT cover was painted by leading illustrator Paul Slater, but says Tom, “Our cover image isn’t an illustration – it’s a photograph which DWM’s art editor Richard Atkinson treated to give it a ‘painted feel’. It seems to have got quite a response from DWM’s readers, and I hope the Radio Times team likes it too!”
The bumper Christmas edition of Doctor Who Magazine is on sale now, price £5.99.
(NB it comes in an outer polybag with a different image. The RT tribute cover is on the magazine within.)
The Christmas and New Year double issue of Radio Times, with 14 days of festive TV, film and radio coverage, is on sale now, price £3.60.