Tuesday, May 11, 2021

On Countdown

Excitingly (and surreally), I was mentioned on today's edition of TV quiz show Countdown. Some 15 minutes in, host Nick Hewer asks Samira Ahmed - who is in Dictionary Corner this week - about being on the editorial review board of the official Doctor Who Magazine

You can watch the clip, but Samira replies:

"The magazine is for fans - and fans of all ages, including a lot of people who grew up watching the original run going back to the 60s. There haven't been that many new episodes over the last year or so, as you can imagine, so a lot of the magazine is doing features on the past. The idea is that you review it to make sure it's appropriate for BBC content and for its audience. What has been fascinating is that there's this whole archaeology of the old episodes. There are all these old episodes that were lost but the scripts survive or floor plans of TV Centre survive with where the cameras were. And there's been this whole thing of features by brilliant writers like Simon Guerrier where they have got together a panel of people who watched the original episode - once - when it was on TV, got them up to get their memories from when they were little children, and then worked out with the maps of the floor plan, surviving bits of scripts, and tele-snaps (which are photos people took off screen) what the plot was and what it looked like. It's like the archaeology of digging up old Anglo-Saxon hoards and reconstructing a ship, but you don't think of doing that with television. But the history of British TV is 70 years-old now or older and I just think it's been remarkable how much social history there is in reconstructing them that way. So it's been a real joy and the magazine has been such a comfort through lockdown for a lot of people. It's that escape into wild adventures in space and time."

As Samira says, I'm just one of an army of DWM archaeologists, many of them more distinguished and erudite. She's referring to the recent series of articles I've co-written with Rhys Williams, attempting to reconstruct the studio sets from a few of the 97 episodes of Doctor Who missing from the archive. The amazing CGI recreations of the are by Gavin Rymill, and so far we've covered:

And there is more to come...

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