Review: The Doctor who annual 1965

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Review: The Doctor who annual 1965

Post by alanultron5 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:16 pm

Hi! The generic title of this article covers the annuals 1965- 75, but I shall only post one years review at a time! Later, I hope to tackle `World` annuals 1976 to 1986!

Dr Who Annuals 1965 to 1975.


This review of the first nine Dr Who annuals, plus the 1966 `special` is to give a taste to anyone who might be considering purchasing said books via E.Bay, Auction sites etc! Of course reviews are very subjective, but I will endeavour to try and give as informative survey of each book while trying to keep my own likes and dislikes from interfering too much with the reviews.

Of course one dilemma is how much to give away about plots when doing story synopsis! In some cases where a `twist` or other such plot devices are crucial to storylines I will try my best to be circumspect. Other `simpler` stories will most likely be revealed in full. I hope that I don’t spoil stories for anyone, but I guess that not that many fans of the annuals will be totally unaware of their contents. I shall also try to give practical details such as writer(s) illustrator(s) as well as page count and height and width dimensions of each book. I must acknowledge Paul Scones reviews and data from Dr Who magazine in my reviewing; as well as Roger Marr’s help with `behind the scenes` data of `World Distributors` printing and distribution process. Many thanks indeed!

The `Dr Who` annuals did not come on to the market until autumn 1965 (The Dr Who series began November 1963) which I feel was rather belated in process. Each book (bar the `Invasion from Space`) was published on either the first Friday or Saturday in September, giving ample time for sales to, and beyond, Christmas.

In June 1964 `Souvenir Press` published their `Dalek Annual` which of course featured the doctors famous enemies (the Daleks) which the rights of were held by Terry Nation. The World Distributors Dr Who books could not access Dalek rights but it is still puzzling to me why it took until September 1965 (not 1964) to put a book out.

I will review each text story in each book, plus picture strips when they were part of the contents. A nodding reference will be given to games, puzzles and factual features which gained a hold in the late 60s books and on. Hopefully these reviews might just help potential buyers of the annuals to get an idea of what they would be getting. I have limited this review up to the final annual of the Jon Pertwee era (1975) because I cannot in all honesty give any sort of review of the Tom Baker (1976-1981) annuals as not just I, but many annual collectors find them pretty poor indeed. They are rather more common than their predecessors and can be bought for surprisingly low prices compared to the 1965-75 era. The annuals did improve greatly in the Peter Davison and Colin Baker era’s (1982 – 85) sadly, though World discontinued the annual series and it was only when Marvel comics who sold the Dr Who Monthly magazine began bringing out a `yearbook` annually that a series resumed.

The first six World annuals were all 96 page books. From the annual dated 1973 they reduced to 80 pages; then from the first Tom Baker (1976) a further reduction to 64 pages ensued for all remaining books bar the 1977 dated which increased back to 80 pages for just that year. The first (1965) annual has one physical difference to all others in that there is a slight camber to its spine. Subsequent annuals spines were quite flat! The first six annuals up to and including the 1970 edition, did not carry cover dates; only year of production on the inside facing plate page in roman numerals. The first annual to carry a year on its cover was the one produced in 1972 which was titled the `Dr Who Annual 1973`. For annuals before this, I use the date of production in brackets.

An oddity of the first six annuals is that the doctor was often titled in the text as `Dr Who` which only ever occurred once in the programme itself in the story `The War Machines` in 1966. The annuals had one advantage over the TV show in that the stories weren’t constricted by budgets and could give readers –via imaginations – a veritable vista of wondrous worlds and exotic aliens. Some of the early 1970s books (and the 1966 `Invasion from Space`) were printed in Europe. Where that occurs I shall highlight. On with the show!

The Dr Who Annual (1965).

The first Dr Who annual hit the market in September 1965. It was a 96 page (Including front and back covers) hardback volume. It was 269 millimetres high by 192 millimetres wide. Price 9/6d (47 ½ N.P)

The front cover and all inside illustrations were done (In full colour) by World employee, Walter Howarth. The front cover shows a close up portrait of the first Doctor as played by William Hartnell standing on some mist shrouded alien world just by the Tardis. In the background are representations of Menoptera, Zarbi, Sensorite and a Voord; all creatures from the first two seasons of the programme.

Unlike the three `Dalek` books in the 1960s, this Dr Who annual and the rest in the `World Distributors` series would be laminated which helps the books to last better over the years.

There was no name credit for the actor playing the Doctor on this Annual (William Hartnell), all following annuals would carry such actor credits on their covers. The back cover on this annual shows a portrait of the doctor and two children by the Tardis on an alien landscape.

The picture on pages two and three displayed the doctor on yet another alien scenario this time dressed in his heavy coat and fur hat. No companions were featured; maybe copyrights could not be attained for the actors then. This debut annual did not carry a comic strip, only text stories, albeit illustrated. The text stories in this annual plus the two `features` were written by the series first script editor, David Whittaker with input by his successor in the post, Dennis Spooner; who gives the first annual a good sense of continuity. The paper quality of this first annual (And the subsequent four to follow) was not very high which affected how much clarity internal drawings could convey. Not until the 1970 annual did the quality improve bar one exception (See 1966).

The book is gum bound meaning each page is separately gummed in and steam pressed at the base. This gives easier page turning leverage and greatly reduces the chance of pages dropping out.


The first story begins on page seven, running 15 pages to page 22. It is titled `Lair of the Zarbi Supremo`. The doctor has landed on a planet he recognises as `Vortis` (Featured in series season two “The Web Planet”) donning his atmospheric density jacket he answers a distress call and finds two humans in a damaged spaceship. They are Gordon and his badly injured father. Gordon tells the doctor that the other six crew members were captured by giant ant-like creatures that the doctor realises must be Zarbi somehow turned hostile again.
What truly puzzles the doctor is how humans could be on Vortis as it lies in a different galaxy from Earth. The boy tells him the planet appeared in the solar system close to Jupiter and an investory space mission was sent to investigate.

The doctor grudgingly accepts that somehow Vortis has entered the Earth’s solar system and persuades Gordon they have to search for the other crew members. On their way they discover what seem to be two dead Zarbi creatures. Investigating closer the doctor discovers them to be metallic robots that each carries a dead Menoptera (sic) the other dominant species on the planet that resembles Earth moths. Puzzling how the Menoptera died for a moment, the doctor and Gordon decide to take their place and operate the Zarbi models from inside as the Menoptera had.

They are soon swept along in a tide of Zarbi who are obviously responding to some unknown signal to congregate at some unknown destination. Moving along with this `swarm` the doctor and Gordon are greeted by the sight of a huge Zarbi at least 30 foot high who obviously controls all of its species. The two also see a row of Menoptera and the missing crewmen all held prisoner by the Zarbi leader. Gaining a closer vantage point in his Zarbi disguise, the doctor hears one of the captive Menoptera replying to the giant Zarbi that the Menoptera want no part of the huge creatures plans to conquer the Earth. The poor Menoptera is then destroyed by the giant Zarbi.

Hurridly, both Gordon and the doctor abandon their disguise and free all prisoners before the surprised Zarbi can retaliate. Instructing the earthmen to only aim at the huge Zarbi via their ray weapons (Which the Zarbi amazingly allowed them to keep!!) they finally destroy the behemoth. Without their `leader` to guide them, the other Zarbi revert to the mindless beasts that was their natural state of being. Now free, the Menoptera tell the doctor that the huge Zarbi had evolved over the eons and grew to dominate its species who it set to work in building colossal planetary engines to pilot Vortis into the Milky Way and towards Earth. The Menoptera had hoped to infiltrate the Zarbi via the metal shells to try and thwart them.

One of the freed earthmen wants to pillage Vortis for minerals but Gordon insists they aid his injured father back at the ship. The Menoptera thank the doctor and promise that Vortis will be steered back to its rightful place.

This first story borrowed heavily from the televised `The Web Planet` utilizing some of the elements from that story. Instead of televisions `Animus` parasite leading the Zarbi, this time it was one of their own who had mutated into a hyper intelligent giant bent on intergalactic conquest. There were no `Larva bugs` or `Optera` creatures either. Whittaker spells the televised name of `Menoptra` in the book as `Menoptera` hence the (Sic) affix in my text.

There was a bit of continuity with the televised `Web Planet` in the doctors `atmospheric density jacket` here which was a good aspect of this story. The first Doctors character is superbly captured by Whittaker, particulary in his initial disbelief in Gordon’s story.

On the whole a decent story, if a little shaky scientifically, but youngsters reading it in 1965 would most likely not noticed that! David Whittaker’s portrayal of the first (Hartnell) doctor is very well projected to readers, not surprising as Whittaker had been script editor in the shows first year. This story was the books and series longest at 15 pages from page seven to 22; however, the size of point size of print was fairly large so in actuality the story wasn’t as long as it looked.

The following two pages (22 & 23) are taken up with the feature `Who is Dr Who` in where David Whittaker gives some background information about the enigmatic doctor! Of course in 1965 even the makers of the show did not know themselves about the doctors true origins, so not much could be given to readers, except the doctor came from another planet in our galaxy and was certainly a lot older than humans could achieve.

The next story is my favourite out of all the whole range of all Dr Who stories in all annuals.

`The Sons of the Crab` Runs from page 24 to 36 a length of 13 pages. It begins with the doctor landing on a planet he calculates lies in the `Crab Nebulae` which the doctor states lies outside the `Milky Way`. He finds himself in what looks like a very modern city which hints the inhabitants of this world are very scientifically advanced.

To his horror, the doctor observes that the streets are crowded with hordes of bizarre creatures that are constantly changing form in a dizzying multitude of horrific images and size. He is rooted to the spot in horror as one such monstrosity, its form swirling like melted plastic, hurtles towards him. The `creature` hurtles into him, then suddenly he is somehow hauled backwards through a sliding entrance to the large building he was standing in front of.

Inside he finds himself standing inside a large room full of scientific instruments while silver suited bald aliens, who seem human, closely observe him. The doctor cannot move as some type of force field holds him to the spot but he can speak. He entreats he be released, but the aliens talk amongst themselves about him as though he were not there. They note that he is a `talker` the first they have captured in a long time and that he / it is holding his form for a long time.

They decide to hold further tests and release him from the force field only to shepherd him to a raised dais on which bars shoot up from its base to encompass him. Still arguing his case for freedom the doctor is now fired at by a gun like device which covers him in a violet eldritch beam. Thankfully it does not harm the doctor; instead it produces amazed reactions from his `interrogators` as they study its results. They are certain that never before on Wengrol (Their planet) that no creature has ever held such rigidity of form before and that instead of dissection which they had first proposed they will hand him over to their leader called Fomal.

As they discuss this option two of their assembly start to alter their shape as if turned to liquid. Soon both have become the same wildly shape changing monstrosities the doctor had encountered outside when he first arrived on Wengrol. The other members quickly hurl the two outside to become part of the shape shifting multitudes that infest the planet; they are shocked and grief stricken at the fate of what until a few seconds ago had been close compatriots. One of those left insists the creature (doctor) must have brought the disease in with him, but his fellow scientists counsel that he could not have as he does not have the illness in any way and has to be handed to Fomal.

Soon the doctor is shown into the presence of Fomal who sits regally upon a raised chair. The doctor is overjoyed to see that his Tardis has been brought inside and makes for it; but another force field holds him at bay. Fomal states that both his and the `box` appearance in the city must be related, hence bringing both to him. He asks the doctor what part of Wengrol he had hidden himself away in as to be seemingly immune from the malaise that afflicts all the Yend (The race of inhabitants of Wengrol). The doctor states he is not from this world and asks Fomal to let him show the inside of his ship to convince him. Fomal assents to this and the doctor opens the Tardis doors to reveal to the alien leader its time and relative dimensions.

To the doctors surprise Fomal is not impressed by this stating that he is a Biologist and he can conceive that many artificial devices can seem awe inspiring. However, as they speak Fomals body undergoes a brief change into something hideous; but only for a second as he returns to his original form. The leader of the Yend apologises shamefaced to the doctor stating no other has witnessed his own bouts of instability. He relates that he has strong mental control as well as the aid of drugs which are but a temporary treatment for his race; most of whom are now beyond help.

He now accepts the doctor must be indeed an alien visitor as the firm proof of the doctor’s form holding true negates any doubt. The doctor asks how did the affliction take hold and is told that many centuries ago the Yend experimented with improving their genetic pool, especially using the method of test tube birth. By awful fate along with such tampering of nature, the event of a star called `Mortain` which entered Wengrols system radiating baleful emanations, mixed with their experiments; started the shape changing affliction. The doctor asks if the Yend tried to move to other worlds, but Fomal stated that any such worlds in their sphere of space were also bathed in Mortains radiation. The doctor asks if the mutations have any sentient realisation once afflicted but Fomal can only speculate as if maybe some might do, but no one knows how much minds are changed too.
The doctor now panics thinking that surely he too will be affected by the star, but Fomal reassures him that only the germ plasmas of the young over many generations were affected; the doctor arriving on Wegrol at his age would be totally immune.

Fomal now shows the doctor a case of test tubes that hold what unaffected germ plasmas of the Yend exist. He begs the reluctant doctor to use his Tardis to plant the plasmas on some world that is outside of Mortains influence. Just then the door from the laboratory bursts open and one of the scientists who can barely hold back the onrushing mutations, states that they have broken in and that he too feels the curse taking hold. Indeed, the scientist now changes to become as the others flooding Fomals chambers. Just before he is overwhelmed, Fomal throws the case to the doctor who is now at the Tardis opened doors and begs him to try.

Leaving the doomed world of Wengrol, the doctor while in flight takes a look again at the contents. It is instantly apparent that all plasmas are dead and the last hope of Fomal is extinguished. The doctor speculates that maybe the Yend now cannot survive in any form at all without Mortains radiation and that their first mistake in altering their genetics was their last.

For me, this is the finest Dr Who Annual text story I have ever read. It gave me nightmares on first reading (I got the book for my 10th birthday on 8 Sept 1965). The morality issues raised are significant. Test tube birth was still far in the future in 1965 and the story seems to be a warning of meddling with nature. However, so as not to be too dogmatic about this Whittaker brings in the `chance` element of the rogue star `Mortain` to give readers the choice to gauge if the Star may be totally, partially compliant, or maybe even innocent in the tragedy that occurs.

The story states the Crab Nebula is outside the Milky Way Galaxy, but I think that is wrong and it is part of our galaxy. Anyway, it makes clear this is one of the longest distance journeys that the Doctor has so far made.

The section of the story when two of the Yend scientists studying the Doctor suddenly begin changing into similar monstrosities to those outside is a real shock which catches the first time reader completely unaware; it is a superb piece of plotting.

The ending is brave in being rather downbeat with the extinction of a whole race (the Yend) victim to the affliction. If those final plasma bearing tubes were still alive would the doctor have carried out Fomal’s dying wish? It is a fine balance of morality issues. This tale has the power to truly shock the reader, and to make one think. I can give it no higher praise.

Again, the character of the first Doctor is spot on. The Doctors exchanges with chief Yend `Fomal` are the Hartnell Doctor to a tee with him angrily dismissive of the Yend’s surprise at his explanation of Earth genetics and their form.

It is an outstanding tale, my favourite of all in all Dr Who annuals.

Up next is `The Lost Ones` lasting 13 pages from page 37 to 49. The doctor has landed back on `Vortis` only this time he doesn’t recognise it which means it must be his first ever visit to the planet. He dons his atmospheric density jacket and sets out to explore. However, he is soon captured by the race of moth like beings called the `Menoptera (sic). The Menoptera accuse him of being one of the creatures who have been slaughtering their race viciously. Though he tells them he is peaceful the creatures, though they are not by nature violent, will have to kill him.

Suddenly shots ring out scattering the Menoptera and the doctor hurries to his `rescuer` only to stare in amazement at a eight foot tall humanoid with a shock of bright red hair. The `man` assumes the doctor is a navigator from Earth which the doctor plays along with as he notes how belligerent the giant is, especially towards the Menoptera. Soon they reach a clearing where the fellows compatriots; similar red haired giants stand by a crashed space ship.

They come from Earth, but from a place called `Atlantis` and worship the Greek gods. Their own `navigator` died in the crash and they assume the doctor has come from Earth to help repair the ship and then navigate it for them. They state how they are disgusted by the `bugs` they found on this world and have been slaughtering them in droves.

Thinking fast, the doctor tells them he has materials that can repair their vessel in his own `ship` and he says he will go and get them. To his dismay they insist on accompanying him as they say he needs their protection from the `bugs`. As they close in on the Tardis the giants realise it cannot be an Earth ship and are about to turn on the doctor. Luckily at that moment the Menoptera launch a huge mass attack on the giants which allows the doctor to escape to his Tardis as battle ensues.

Grimly the doctor looks out via his scanner as the giants are slowly overcome by sheer weight of numbers. He feels a slight bit of pity for them, but knows he can do nothing and that their warlike ways were to blame.

It was most puzzling indeed that this `Vortis` story was obviously set before the `Web Planet` television outing and placed in the annual after the `Lair of the Zarbi Supremo` which took place `after` the `Web Planet`. As a ten year old when I read this book first time around `The Lost Ones` confused me a lot!

The story itself; well it throws up many questions. Were the Atlanteans from Earth’s far future or distant past? Why did they seemingly worship Greek gods? Why no mention or any references to the Zarbi? It was an entertaining enough read with a pretty hard edged ending; but for me, it is the weak link in an otherwise strong chain of stories.

The whole piece seems rushed and there is very little central plot except that the Atlanteans are a pretty ruthless bunch who bring about their own downfall.

The next two pages, 50 and 51 are taken up with a simple dice & counter game “Journey Back to Earth” Following this on pages 52 and 53 is a science based feature called “The Equations of Dr Who” which investigates relativity, dimensions and other `cosmic wonders` Most engrossing to a ten year old such as I back in 1965!

The following story is called `The Monsters From Earth` it occupies 13 pages running from page 54 to page 66. The Doctor has made a miscalculation in his travels and landed on Earth in 1966, which is not what he wanted. While he goes out to check for sure he is on Earth, two children, Amy and Tony Barker, and their French bulldog `Butch` are playing hide and seek which leads them to the Tardis which they hide inside.

The doctor returns and sets the Tardis back in flight unaware that he has `passengers`. The police box ends this flight in pitch dark which the scanners show is seemingly impenetrable. The Doctor takes a torch and investigates. He finds to his amazement that he is in a huge spider web in a large dark cavern. Nearby he can see the web’s creator, a colossal spider. The doctor quickly improvises a kerchief mask for himself and brings out a syringe for protection. As the arachnid closes in on him he discharges the contents of the syringe into what passes for its face. The creature utters screams and falls dead to the cavern floor, killed by the prussic acid carried in the syringe. Falling too is the Tardis, but it is unharmed by the jolt.

The Doctor makes his way to the cavern floor and spots what must be a door. He exits into the outer world where it is light and there are two suns in the sky. Suddenly he is surrounded by greyish fur covered humanoid shapes beings who want to know how he came here. He tells them how he dealt with the spider which appals these `Sensorites`. They reply that the Zilgons (Spiders) are sacred creatures which they revere and offer their criminals as sacrifice to. Ignoring his protests, which physically pain the `Sensorites` who are sensitive to loud noise, they overpower the doctor and soon he is strapped to an angled dais and left in the hot sunlight while the creatures retire to confer as to his fate.

After some time in the heat of the suns the doctors senses begin to blur. Meantime, Amy, Tony and Butch recover from their jolt in the Tardis fall and make their way outside where they see the Doctor on the dais. Approaching him they want to know where they are, but he initially thinks they are illusions formed by his ailing senses. They convince him they are real and `hid` in the police box back on Earth. Now believing their reality and recalling the Sensorites sensitivity to sound the Doctor asks them to make as much nose as possible when the `Sensorites` return. The children and Butch hide in a recess waiting.

The Sensorites soon return and seeing the Doctor is still alive they decide `they` must kill him. They untie him and take him to the cavern for sacrifice. Suddenly the arena is filled with the shouts of Amy, Toby as well as Butch’s barking which sends the Sensorites running away, hands over ears that are in agony from the noise. The children free the doctor and all head towards the Tardis. They halt as another Zilgon bars the way, but the doctor and his new friends manage to sneak past into safety. Once safely ensconced in the Tardis, the Doctor closes the doors which snap off a Zilgon leg which causes the creature to scream in pain. Ruminating to himself the Doctor is amazed to realise Spiders screamed! He now thanks the children (and Butch) and tells them he will take them back to Earth 1966.

This was another story with links to a televised story `The Sensorites` but here the creatures bear little physical or characteristic resemblance to their television counterparts. In fact these `Sensorites` are primitive Zilgon/Spider worshipping ignoramus’s; they are Sensorites in name only. Maybe the doctor had arrived in their far distant past before they achieved civilisation, but this is not stated in the text in any way.

The story is rather horrific in having giant spiders and their extinction via cyanide. This killing is a bit out of place for the Doctor. I think that he would have just returned to the Tardis and set for somewhere else. Is his need to investigate worlds so great that he will kill whatever is in his way just to do so? A very bad plot flaw I think there! The Sensorites are given a weakness in that they cannot bear loud noise which they did not have in the televised story. It is also stated they don’t like the darkness of the caverns as the `Sense Sphere` having two suns means there is perpetual daylight.

The children are his saviours from what was really his own folly in that, primitive as they were, he still violated the beliefs of the planets inhabitants and almost got himself killed for it. Another nice bit of TV continuity was the Sensorite’s calling their world the `Sense Sphere` as it was in the televised story.

The next story titled `Peril in Mechanistra` ran fourteen pages from page 67 to 80. It begins with the Doctor barely escaping from the Daleks on Skaro in time. So hurried was his escape that he had not been able to co-ordinate the Tardis controls properly and had no idea where he was now as it is night on the world he has arrived at.

When day arrives he steps out onto what is a metal covered world and which thrums to the sound of what must be incessant machinery constantly in motion. In the distance he spots a huge mechanical device rushing towards him. Before it reaches him some type of metallic tentacle pulls him high in the air causing him to black out. On waking he finds himself in a room surrounded by rather shabbily dressed human types. They can hardly hear him for the constant noise of machinery, but have become good lip readers so that they can communicate.

The Doctor learns he is in a `haven` one of numerous such designated living areas for the Korad people who only live because the machines that rule this world need service attendants. He also gleans from the leader of this group, a bearded man called Drako that other humanoids called the `Wise Ones` who also serve the machines, give their brains to the machines so both can be co-joined in an amalgam of biological and mechanical life. The Doctor asks how all this came to be. Drako answers that the legends say that a very long time ago the men of Korad built the machines which then took control of this world.

The Doctor explains he has only just arrived on this planet via his Tardis. Drako is most interested and would like escape this world via the doctor’s machine. One of the wise ones, a man called Beran arrives. He is dressed in futuristic metallic woven garb and carries a gun. Beran states the machines will not allow any other machines on their world and that after examination for any secrets useful to them, the Doctors ship will be destroyed. The Doctor remonstrates but the man is unmoved; he boasts how the machines with wise ones brains will soon conquer the universe. However, in his boasting he forgot about Drako who overpowers him and seizes the weapon.
Taking both Beran and the Doctor at gunpoint Drako herds them to a soarer aircraft that can take them to the Tardis; after take off Beran is forced to jump out. When they land the Doctor leads Drako to the Tardis and sets the controls for a time in the planets distant past `before` the machines gained control, some ten million years. On opening the Tardis doors a green and unspoiled environment stretches before them. Drako exits then throws the gun back in to the Tardis stating he will not bring such a thing into this world. He thanks the Doctor and tells him he will do his utmost to change Korad’s history.

As the Doctor takes off again he pessimistically ponders how one man could achieve such a thing. Looking down to where Drako threw the weapon he can see no trace of it; it has gone out of existence; so Drako has succeeded after all!

This was another sort of morality tale pointing out the dangers of over-mechanisation; which was a theme taking hold in much of the 1960s more `highbrow` literary SF output. Though forced at gun point the reader can see that the Doctor is only too willing to help Drako in his task; no doubt Beran’s boasting of universal conquest helping the Doctors course of action.

The story started by referring to the Doctor only just escaping Skaro and the Dalek’s in time which was as close as World Distributors could get in highlighting his most dangerous foes without getting into copy write trouble.

The final story in the annual again had links to a televised story. This one ran 13 pages from page 81 to 93. `The Fishmen of Kandalinga` begins with the Tardis materialising under an alien ocean. The alien fish are an amazing sight to behold for a time. The Doctor carefully transfers the craft a few miles in space only to land on a stone causeway that stretches to the horizon. It is lined with slit trenches to the sea below and also pillars are posted across its length.

Each trench contains a man sized green scaled skinned amphibian creature which are all perfectly still as if dead. The noise of a loud horn from somewhere in the distance now causes the creatures to `awake` and to climb upon to the causeway and stand, seemingly to await further orders.

Another blast of the unseen horn accompanies the arrival of a large flying barge type craft. The occupants of this vehicle are different to the amphibians in that their skin is totally black and they have some sort of organ atop their heads. They are too far away for the Doctor to see clearly, but he gets a feeling of foreboding at the sight of them. The craft slowly flies away just above the ocean with the amphibious creatures all swimming along behind.

The Doctor returns to the Tardis for a meal and a rest. Later, the two suns of this world begin to set as the flying craft returns accompanied by the amphibians. The Doctor steps out of the Tardis to get a closer look but his curiosity is his downfall as four of the black creatures in the barge both spot and quickly capture him. The Doctor recognises them as the `Voord` the evil creatures that were one of the races on the planet Marinus. Similarly the Voord recognise him as one states that there are records of a time traveller who helped overthrow them back on Marinus.

The Doctor is chained to a mast and later he is offered a raw fish like meal. With a howl of disgust the Doctor spits it out. He notes that his shout of disgust affects the Voord, they cannot abide loud noise. He figures that the Voord communicate telepathically via the organs on their head.

The ship docks inside a large artificial dome and the Doctor is taken down some steps to a lower chamber where the stench of rotting fish is everywhere. Another Voord approaches, he is the leader of those on this planet which is known as Kandalinga. Some Voord managed to escape from Marinus after their downfall and set about turning Kandalinga by enslaving its natural inhabitants (The amphibious `Fishmen`). They are using the Fishmen to make this world habitable for the Voord as well as using the creatures as a source of food, to which the Doctor objects most strongly to. The chief Voord dismisses his objections and states the Fishmen will be eliminated and that eventually, the Voord will re-invade Marinus and take it over.

The chief Voord fetches a case from which he brings out two of the travel bracelets that the Doctor and his companions had once used in their quest for the `Keys of Marinus` on their visit there. He demands the Doctor takes him to his ship as they can use parts from it. He also boasts that the other Voord would be disorganised if not for his leadership. The Doctor tries to convince him that he is `not` the traveller he knew on Marinus. The Voord seems to accept this but demands they see the Doctors craft anyway. The Doctor finally acquiesces to this and once the bracelet is on he operates it without realising he is giving away his prior knowledge of how to use the bracelet.

The Doctor materialises on the causeway right by the Tardis. A second later the chief Voord joins him, now angry as the Doctor’s use of the bracelet before being instructed how to operate it proves he is the time traveller who defeated the Voord on Marinus. Before the Voord can act on this the Doctor reaches for the organ on his head and snaps it off! At once the chief Voord is reduced to a disorientated cripple and the passive Fishmen now `awaken` and start attacking both the chief Voord and his compatriots. The Doctor reflects that the planet will return to its natives and the Voord are doomed; he leaves in the Tardis.

Quite a good story, even though the Voord noise sensitivity was not a Television weakness: in fact noise sensitive aliens would litter Dr Who annual stories over many issues. It was a novel idea at that time (1965) for the Doctor to `land` on an ocean covered world.

The issue of one race (the Voord) using another (Kandalingan Fishmen) as slaves, food and then extermination fodder was not pressed home too hard as this was a children’s annual, but I certainly got the message on first reading it.

The debut Dr Who Annual was a very good read indeed. Unlike the Television series no Earth based stories were offered, not counting the Doctors brief visit in “The Monsters from Earth”. In fact, the first five annuals proper to 1970 would not feature one `Earth` story between them!

The first annual did not feature any of the Doctor’s Television companions or the first Doctor’s granddaughter (Susan) both Hartnell annuals and the 1966 `special` presented the Doctor as (apart from temporary passengers) a lone traveller. Of course, unfettered by Television budgets, the annual stories could lay out the most imaginative and breathtaking vistas for the readers imagination to realise. On the whole the text stories are pretty good, with “The Son’s of the Crab” quite outstanding in my opinion.

The Doctor seems to be able to pilot the Tardis rather better than he did in the early years of the T.V series especially in seemingly getting his temporary passengers (From !The Monsters from Earth`) back to their correct destination and time.

There were just two, two page features in the book which were both Dr Who related. There was also one, two page dice & counter game leaving the rest of the book wholly text stories. Walter Howarth’s illustrations throughout each of the text stories appealed to me. They were not too complex, but succeeded in getting the visual message across nicely, even allowing for the not too great paper quality.

The first Dr Who annual was a very big seller indeed. I believe it sold about 200.000 copes on release in September 1965. In fact in the whole of the 1960s it was only bested by similar style annuals by: the first `T.V 21` annual (1965), the `Football All Stars` (Red Cover) book 1966 and the first (purple cover) `Monkees` annual 1967. It is not as rare as the following five Dr Who annuals and the 1966 special and decent copies can be attained for about £10 - £15 and sometimes a lot less if you’re lucky. Mind you, excellent to near mint copies (which are getting rare now) can command prices upwards of £40.00 when up for sale.


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Re: Review: The Doctor who annual 1965

Post by alanultron5 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:19 pm

Hmmm! There are actually a couple of photo's of the front & back covers of the first annual on my `word` original but they didn't copy & paste unlike the text! A pity as text only isn't quite as captivating without a picture or two to accompany. Anyhow! I hope this first segment will be of interest even sans photo's.


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