The Hoardiculturist #9 – Old copies of the Radio Times
Well, I’ve just returned from a two day sojourn spent in my underground storage lair, where I rediscovered some stuff I thought I should tell you about. Like many of my collections, it’s the kind of ephemera that most people would throw away, but not me. As a self appointed archivist of late 20th and early 21st century life, I had the foresight to squirrel away all manner of material so future generations could learn the lessons of the past. Yes, of course you’ve guessed what I’m referring to…copies of The Radio Times, the popular TV listings magazine. But wait. Not just any copies of The Radio Times, but those that feature Dr Who on the front cover.
Like many of my generation, I grew up with Dr Who (it was part of a Saturday afternoon televisual ritual that was preceded by football, wrestling and Basil Brush) and collected anything to do with the series, whether it was comics, cards given away with Weetabix breakfast cereal and even the Radio Times, which often featured the Dr or his enemies on the front cover.
History buffs might be interested to know that the first time Dr Who featured on Radio Times was 22-28 February 1964, when William Hartnell’s Marco Polo story was promoted – during the 1960s, the time lord reappeared a further five times. In the 1970s, the long-running series graced the cover five times, but sadly only once during the 1980s – slim pickings for a magpie like myself. Fortunately, with the rebirth of the show in 2005, a Doctor Who related cover seems to appear every other week.
In total I’ve got about 25 different copies of the magazine. Among my favourites is the 19-25 November 1983 edition, which features an artwork cover to herald The Five Doctors story, and the 26 March-1 April 2005 gatefold Tardis cover. 22-28 November 2003 issue is also worth a mention, as four different covers were published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the show. I recall scooping these up hot off the press when I worked at the BBC.
Sadly, I don’t have any of the Radio Times’ that feature Dr Who on the cover from the 1960s or early 1970s. So if you have any of these tucked away somewhere and are feeling like having a cathartic clear out, do think of me. You know they’d be going to an extremely good home.
Oh, and Happy New Year!