CT520/1 - Alan Stevens

CT520 Information

Greetings all...

One of the best things about Doctor Who is that it can be a means to explore new avenues.

To use myself as an example, when I was a kid I found reading very difficult. Indeed, I spent most of my primary school years taking remedial classes.

I liked watching television, and comics were fine because I could easily follow the story by looking at the pictures, but the reading scheme books I was given, were dull and repetitive.

Then, one day, whilst wandering through WH Smith, I happened to notice a large paperback sporting the grinning face of Tom Baker surrounded by a variety of Doctor Who aliens, some of which I recognised.

There were two Daleks, Davros, a Sontaran, a Cyberman, a Sea Devil, and what I was later to discover, an Ice Warrior, a Silurian, and Azal the Dæmon.

“Mum, can I have this?”

“What do you want a book for?” she replied, with evident shock. “You can’t read!”

These were possibly not the most encouraging words you could speak to a child, but she bought it anyway, and, as The Doctor Who Monster Book was full of large photos and illustrations, reading wasn’t a necessity for enjoying it.

However, printed on the back were the covers of sixteen Doctor Who Target novelisations.

Some of the adventures had recently appeared on television, but there were others I’d never seen, or even knew existed.

A week later, at my request, mum purchased a copy of Doctor Who and the Cybermen.

Which is how and why I learned to read.

For me, Doctor Who, right from those early years, has always been an educational series, and so my latest edition of Celestial Toyroom, is, to some extent, a celebration of the life skills it has engendered amongst fans, whether through artistry, writing, deconstructing narratives, prop building, organising conventions, creating a business, producing spin-offs, or simply watching the BBC Sunday Classic Serials because ex-Doctor Who combo Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks worked on them.

With this in mind, I extend my gratitude to the following contributors of Who inspired thoughts and industry: Nicholas Hollands, Andy Lambert, JL Fletcher, Kevin Mullen, Colin Brockhurst, Ian Millsted, Fiona Moore, Dale Smith, Ann Worrall, Jez Strickley, John Darley, Steve Everitt, Tom Connor, Dylan Rees and Mary Milton.

Kindest regards,
Alan Stevens (with thanks to Sydney Newman)