With David Tennant and Freema Agyeman adorning the latest front cover of the “Doctor Who Magazine”, Issue 374, in which you can win a talking K9 no less, I got to thinking about the covers and asked myself when was the last time they printed a full cover image relating to the original series? I discovered that since the magazine, published every four weeks, proudly announced “We’ve Regenerated!” on the front of Issue 352, and dispensed with the staple binding and adopted the new series logo, the answer is never. They got close with Issue 369 which heralded a “Blast from the Past”, and pictured Elisabeth Sladen as erstwhile companion Sarah Jane Smith with the aforementioned doggy, but this was simply to promote latest episode “School Reunion” and thus nothing to do with the original series.
I discounted images of the TARDIS, as seen on Issues 353 and 350, as these are generic and pertain to all eras of the programme. Dalek and Cybermen covers have been specific to the new series such as the gold Dalek featured on the cover of Issue 356, the Emperor on 358, and, more recently on Issue 370, the newly designed Cyberman, followed, on Issue 372, by the newly designed black Dalek. I want to know why there have been no pictures of Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker, for example? Is the magazine, consciously, only wanting to promote itself to those only mostly interested in RTD’s version of the programme, happy to lose those who have remained faithful to the publication while the show was off air? Or, are they hoping to draw fans of the new to the periodical and get them interested in classic “Who” through the articles within?
I do think the occasional cover harking back to the good old days wouldn’t go amiss. Would it really hurt sales that much to remind everyone that the series has a long and very fruitful history? I had to travel back in time almost two years to find a cover featuring something pre new series! Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook reunited eight years on from the TV movie, in Issue 351, published on 9 December 2004, to share their recollections with each other and the readership. This still, strictly speaking, isn’t classic “Doctor Who” I hear you cry! OK, then. Travelling back another couple of months to 14 October 2004, and Issue 349, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are on the front, promoting a major feature on the radio adventures of the Doctor and his associates. And, those still not happy that even this doesn’t refer to the television series, as seen on BBC1 between 23 November 1963 and 6 December 1989, then there are many covers to choose from prior to this one! I chose it because it’s the last front cover of a regular issue of “Doctor Who Magazine”, to date, to feature an actor who portrayed one of the first seven Doctors. Maybe it’s time for another McGann cover, this time with Sheridan Smith, but with the same headline as the Colin Baker issue, “Radio Activity!”.