Doctor Who: The Thirtieth Anniversary

I started watching Doctor Who in 1988, which was the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary year. But I didn’t know that because I was only nine.

By the thirtieth anniversary in 1993 I had read all the Target novelisations, watched all the UK Gold repeats and started buying the video releases. Christmas 1992 saw me unwrapping…

The Doctor Who 30th Anniversary Calendar

This was published by Vision Publications in May 1992, and featured original artwork based on the series for each month. And what artwork! This was a time when the Virgin-published New Adventures were pushing Doctor Who into darker, more adult territory, and the classic monsters were re-imagined here to be truly monstrous. Older fans always want Doctor Who to be darker, and the supply of new kids getting into the show each year had been cut off.


Masters of Earth by Colin Howard (March)

The Silurians are riding around on T-Rexes and blasting ape faces off with their third eyes! His eyeball is hanging out! Scary stuff. You could put this calendar up and not look like a nerd. Look, his hand’s off too!


Unstoppable by Les Edwards (February)

The Yeti if SkyNet had made them! Arnie’s T1000 with fur! A lot less cuddly than their TV counterparts, but every inch as deadly.

Dimensions in Time

As fans belly-ache about how little Doctor Who is on television in this fiftieth anniversary year, the only new story we got in 1993 was the Eastenders cross-over Dimensions in Time. It consisted of two six-minute parts and was broadcast as part of Children in Need. The first I heard of it was when a friend of a friend of my mum’s, knowing I was a fan, got me Richard Franklin’s autograph.


As we know, you can’t always trust Captain Yates, but the story was soon confirmed in the Doctor Who Magazine.

There was a pact made that Dimensions in Time would never again be shown on TV or released on video, because it was too awesome to bear witness to twice. But then the internet came along and now you can watch it whenever you want:

Dimensions in Time Episode 1:

Dimenions in Time Episode 2:

OK, so it’s pretty bad. I think this is why some older fans aren’t too bothered whether or not the twentieth century Doctors appear in the fiftieth. Personally I think they will appear in some form, if only providing the voices for (possibly CGI) paintings Matt Smith mentioned on Jonathan Ross’ show. A lot of people point to Doctor Who Magazine reporting that they are not in it. In fact, they reported that Sylvester McCoy said they’re not in it, and he’d presumably be bound by the same secrecy clause that saw Tennant and Piper denying everything until the announcements were made. I’ve have some affection for Dimensions in Time though, probably just because I was young when I saw it. I think we can rely on Steven Moffat, if he does bring older Doctors back, to do so with rather more wit and deftness of touch than this.

The speeded up Doctor Who theme tune used was released on an album called Cybertech a short while later, which I listened to endlessly for a while.


The Dark Dimension

Before Dimensions in Time there had been plans for BBC Worldwide to produce a direct-to-video anniversary special called either Lost in the Dark Dimension or The Dark Dimension. Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor was to have been the main character, with the Third, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors all appearing. For the definitive blow-by-blow guide to the drama behind this drama I strongly recommend issue three of the superb Nothing At The End Of The Lane, but the gist is they thought it was an awful lot cheaper to make Doctor Who than it actually was.

30 Years in the TARDIS

On the non-fiction side we got the documentary 30 Years in the TARDIS (the extended version came out on VHS as More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS, and recently received a DVD release in the Legacy boxset). This showed that the BBC could achieve effects like Daleks flying and camera travelling from the TARDIS exterior to her interior in one shot, if they ever decided to make Doctor Who again. The documentary was a great celebration of thirty years of a programme the BBC had axed after twenty-six years. I must have watched the video of this dozens of times.

Order Doctor Who: The Legacy Collection from Amazon:

Doctor Who: The Legacy Collection (Shada/More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS) [DVD]


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