Sunday, 12 February 2012

Nothing At The End Of The Lane - Issue 3

Having been alerted to this magazine's existence by a tweet from Gareth Roberts, I bought it thinking "a magazine about Doctor Who research and restoration? Bring it on!". Now, this is issue 3 - the previous two issues sold out quickly but are now available as an omnibus issue - and, whilst I was expecting something along the lines of your typical black and white fan produced magazine, the reality was startlingly different: a nice thick cover with 115 glossy colour pages.

So, it looks good. But the content is breathtaking. The editor, Richard Bignall, gives a brief account of how much work and research goes into producing these magazines. Some of the articles in the current issue for instance, took up to three years of painstaking research to produce - and looking through the magazine, you can see why.

There are three "on location" segments featuring behind the scenes photographs from "The Smugglers", "The Enemy of the World" and "The Invasion", there are articles about the original Sarah Jane Smith, "The Evil of the Daleks", unproduced storylines from Brian Hayles, details about a lost 1963 story called "the Living Planet" and much more.

The main articles however are "Journey Into Time" - the story of the lost "Doctor Who" radio series featuring Peter Cushing and "Lost in the Dark Dimension" - the real story behind the 1993 90 minute episode featuring Tom Baker that was cancelled mere weeks after formal confirmation of the story.

The "Journey into Time" feature is fascinating - there are internal BBC memos, interviews and even the complete script for the first episode of the proposed radio series. The one thing missing is the original recording - which, as the magazine notes, "despite extensive searches, no copy of the pilot is known to have survived".

The best feature however, is "Lost in the Dark Dimension" - and if you were a fan of the show in 1993, "The Dark Dimension" needs no introduction. For those newbies, "The Dark Dimension" was confirmed by the BBC shortly after the final episode, "Survival" had aired. It would feature Tom Baker. Four weeks later, it was cancelled. Obviously there were all sorts of rumours ranging from "some inside the BBC hate Doctor Who and sabotaged it" to "some of the Doctors didn't like the size of their roles". This article nails it. It has proposed locations - with pictures taken from location recce videos - it has interviews, letters, memos and, rather wonderfully, there's also a three and a half page "summary" of the plot - taken from the original script.

This really is an extraordinary magazine - and kudos to all those involved for their incredible hard work. It really is a labour of love and I honestly cannot recommend this highly enough.

You can order "Nothing At The End Of The Lane" from End of the Lane. Issue 3 is priced £5.99 (an absolute bargain).