Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Question of BBC Question Time's Questionable Merchandise...

Back in the 1970s, the BBC's Question Time was one of the popular television programmes in the UK. Millions tuned in to see a studio audience grill the politicians of the day under the watchful bow tie of Robin Day. The show's popularity spawned a mini-industry of merchandise eagerly snapped up by fans. Presented here is a choice selection from the hey day of "Questiontimemania"...

A series of novelisations penned by some of the UK's top science fiction authors and based on the some of the more dramatic episodes.

Children got a chance to act out their own Question Time episodes with a 'Give-A-Show' Projector set. Very few survived.

For one of their 'Election Special' editions, the Question Time crew were joined by a photographer from the popular Viewmaster company who took dozens of 3D images of the show - including the classic moment when Ted Heath nodded off during a lengthy retort from Jeremy Thorpe. Needless to say, the Conservative Party office were not pleased with Reel 3 / Image 4..... 

The official Question Time LP was a popular number two...

Friday, 30 January 2015

Jackanory. Jackanory. Jackanory... etc...

Someone at BBC Books tried to aim for a slightly higher reading age with their choices for Jackanory in the 1970s.... but missed.

Great Unreleased Doctor Who Merchandise - part nine

In 1965, the popular children's toy manufacturer Chad Valley released a Doctor Who version of its popular 'Give-A-Show' projector. 

This simple toy consisted of a battery operated projector and over a dozen card strips of slides depicting the Doctor's many amazing (and quite compact) adventures on different planets such as Vortis and Skaro.

Here's a modern update that adapts one of the most popular episodes of recent Doctor Who.

Click to enlarge

(with thanks to Clayton Hickman)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Doctor Who Video Nasties

Back in the 1980s when the video market was getting off the ground, there were dozens of video labels that produced some really weird releases with covers that bore little resemblance to their desperate contents... 

Here's a selection of classic Doctor Who stories from the 70s repackaged as video nasties for the US market. 

No prizes for correctly guessing the movies' origins...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Moment Has Arrived for Albert Square!

"New publicity still reveals role for Lucy Beale in next month's EastEnders 30th anniversary special..."

Tickets still unavailable

Did Count Arthur Strong Audition for the Original Doctor Who?*

Artistical Impressionism
Recent documentation uncovered in the files of the BBC has thrown light on the actors who were originally asked to audition for the role of the Doctor in Doctor Who back in 1963. Everyone knows that the part went to William Hartnell but what few people know is that several popular celebrities from the period were also approached.

Step forward the well-known raconteur and twice runner-up first class of the amusing turnip rosette at the Swathingthorpe Village Fete 1967 to 1968 - Count Arthur Strong.

Over the years, Count Arthur has enthralled many of the country's top dinner eaters at speaking engagements recounting his journey through the business that is show. He has, however, previously kept quiet about his brief encounter with television's most well-know Time Lord.

Until now...

Newly discovered paperwork show that he was approached to audition for the role in August 1963 at the BBC's Lime Grove studios. Although he turned up at the studio, the details reveal that the audition never took place. 

Police reports from the time throw further light on that sunny August day. It seems that they were called to BBC premises just after lunch where a "member of the acting profession" was causing an affray in the reception area.

The male individual was trouserless and had been discovered in this state in the ground floor ladies lavatories. It was here, the gentleman claimed, that he was just changing into his "lucky audition trousers" - It was "a show business tradition that any entertainment professional would know about, you idiot!" argued the man to the police officer on the scene. 

A quick check of the Ladies' lavatory failed to confirm the suspect's story and no "lucky audition trousers" were found. He later claimed at the police station that the garments had probably been stolen by "a vicious gang of street urchins as that part of London was infamous for them!" 

No charges were made against the man who we can now confirm was a young Count Arthur. 

Our researchers contacted him at his home and were told politely to stop bothering him as he already had double glazing. He told us firmly that it was still perfectly see-through and didn't need replacing yet. 

(Our talented artist has sifted through the many images from those early black and white television days and come up with these hastily knocked together efforts that attempt to create some of the lost magic that Count Arthur would've brought to the role had he not lost his lucky audition trousers.)

* No

Sunday, 25 January 2015

New US Title Sequence for Series 9 of Doctor Who!

Had another of those phone calls today. Can you storyboard a new title sequence for the US broadcasts of Doctor Who

It seems that the BBC's new co-producers of the show - Quinn Martin Productions - want something a bit more traditionally American for their bucks. 

QM kindly sent me some tapes of their previous shows to study and I think I've come up with something that fits the Doctor Who Cannon....!

(See what I did there..???)

If you need some music to listen to whilst looking at the pretty pictures, click here.

The Best of BBC Television & Radio Direct to Your Turntable!

A few more charity shop finds... 

The past is another country! 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

When BBCAudio runs out of Doctor Who Target novelisations...

Apparently, someone at the pub told me that BBC Audio is very worried now that it has resumed publishing readings of the old Target novelisations of Doctor Who

It seems (and don't tell anyone) that they are rapidly running out of ones they can legally release. They've just set up some plans to move onto WHAllen's other Doctor Who titles... 

Keep it under your hat! They're a bit embarrassed by it all...

Saturday, 17 January 2015

When Doctor Who hit US news stands in the 1960s

It seems - from recently undiscovered paperwork at the BBC - that Doctor Who WAS nearly sold to US television in the mid sixties. 

A deal was struck with a New York television station to run most of the first season around 1966. 

At the same time, arrangements were made with a local comic book company to reprint some of the better comic strips from TV Comic that had been (loosely) based on the series. 

As all most imported entertainment - it was duly "adapted" for US readers. 

This was mostly done by altering Dr. Who's grandchildren John and Gillian into hipper street kids and also by re-spelling John's name as "Johnnie".

Sadly the TV station had purchased the episodes unseen and was a little put out by their quality. 

It's unclear whether this was to do with the abysmal telerecordings they had been sent or the overall quality of the productions. 

Nevertheless, they cancelled their order within the traditional 28 days grace period and nothing more was said.

This left piles of old comics to gather dust in a warehouse in downtown Manhattan that was eventually blown up in an episode of Kojak in 1974. 

Some of the original issues from this tragic tale survive but there are none known to be in the possession of private collectors. 

You'll never find any of them anywhere... 


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

1974 Doctor Who Comic revealed... at last!

I found this lining the bottom of my granddad's socks and underwear drawer a few weeks before Christmas and have only just gotten round to drying and prizing the pages apart to scan them.

Seems there were plans for a Doctor Who weekly-style comic magazine back in the mid-seventies when Sean's Dad was Dr. Who. 

No idea what happened - though the exciting news on page two will probably give you some idea...