CT 496/7 - Alan Stevens

CT496/7 Information


Celestial Toyroom is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and something extraordinary happens. You hear the voice of another person inside your head, speaking clearly and silently directly to you.

CT is also about Doctor Who, which is perhaps one of the greatest of human inventions, breaking the shackles of time to bind together the citizens and societies of distant epochs ― proof, indeed, that humans can work magic.

But does it have any other message?

When viewed as a whole, Doctor Who comes over as a confusing jumble of contradictory positions, because it attempts to satisfy the values and prejudices of its television viewership over its (to date) six decade lifespan.

Arguably, it is more productive to seek out the messages of its individual authors. But even this can be fraught with difficulties as it requires the excavation of first draft scripts or, when this option is not available, carefully teasing out a subtext; something which may well be obscured by unsympathetic script editing, last minute cast changes, or a reliance on over-familiar tropes, thus, inadvertently, throwing up a barrier between the author’s intentions and the audiences’ interpretations.

Then there is the question of the zeitgeist, the unique spirit of the age during which a particular story was written.

On the one hand, retrospectives may give us clearer insights into past decades that may not have been at all evident at the time they were occurring, but on the other, cultural reference points change and details are forgotten, so that something which used to be "common knowledge" is either lost or rendered specialised.

So please join Jez Strickley, Fiona Moore, Robert Fairclough, Finn Clark, Lance Parkin, Ann Worrall and myself as we pick over the detritus of Doctor Who’s past in the hope that we can justify the death of another tree.

To end, let me take this opportunity to thank Colin Brockhurst for his mind-blowing wrap-around cover of the ominous Dalek Supreme (courtesy of Dean Stoner) against a backdrop of London in ruins, and also JL Fletcher for his dramatic artwork, for this issue’s give-away colour postcard, of the Daleks from 2150 A.D.

Kindest regards,

Alan Stevens (with thanks to Carl Sagan)