I Love... 1995

By Steven Alexander

1995 was going to be the end. My final issue of Doctor Who Magazine to date arrived in December 1995. The subscription would not be renewed this time. I had stopped buying the New Adventures in the previous year, after the awfulness of Paul Cornell's No Future had combined with the threat that the forthcoming Missing Adventures had posed to my wallet to bring that venture to an end. The BBC Videos went on hiatus in 1995, making The Hand of Fear the last video released for years and years. It was the year of my GCSE's and starting in the Sixth Form at Watford Boys' Grammar School. I was growing up and it was time to leave Doctor Who behind. Nobody else I knew liked Doctor Who, though I believe it was in this year that my friend Anthony Banks asked me whether the Doctor had shagged all his companions.

This is an important question and one that I haven't been able to answer. Obviously, there was no question of on-screen romance, but who can tell what was going on just out of shot? The Third Doctor could have been snuggling up with Jo on the sofa that night in Auderly House. Davison's Doctor could have enjoyed the time after Earthshock and before Mawdryn Undead more than any other in his lives. Why else would he pick up Tegan again in Arc of Infinity, unless Nyssa had finally agreed to a threesome? Then again, perhaps not. There are more unfortunate and disturbing pairings, such as The First Doctor and Susan, The Seventh and Mel.

You might think that losing interest in Doctor Who was a gradual thing, but there was one last gasp. It was, for me, a last binge of buying madness and for Doctor Who, a glorious renaissance. It was the Key to Time. BBC Video got their act together for the only time in the entire history of Worldwide Enterprises. They managed to release a whole season in one go, at the rate of two videos per month. Only Trial Of A Timelord had previously had such good treatment, though I suspect that was bundled in a TARDIS tin to stop people buying it. The Key to Time stories were blessed with a glorious picture spread across their spines. The BBC even resisted the temptation to cock that up by putting The Armageddon Factor out on two videos and crammed all six episodes onto one. For possibly the only time in my life, I religiously followed the releases and bought each pair of videos as they came out, all paid for by paper round. I cycled for Baker, Tamm and Leeson.

Some people think that Season 16 occurred from 1978 to 1979. They are wrong. Most people would have only watched the stories as they were broadcast back in the seventies, but in the nineties you could watch them as many times as you liked. Not only that, the whole season was over in two months, from beginning to end; from the white dove to the black crow.

I had no one to share The Key to Time with. I watched the videos by myself and discussed them with nobody, but they were still great. I only had Doctor Who Magazine to disagree with. (The fools gave just one star to the Ribos Operation, when it deserves at least four!)

Looking back on DWM in 1996, Gallifrey Guardian said each month that Doctor Who was coming back. Eddie Izzard would be the Doctor. The Daleks were going to be in it. It would be an American movie. However, I wasn't going to believe a word of it. This was the end for Doctor Who. As soon as that Magazine stopped coming, I was out of the fold and away from it all. Somewhere, the tea was getting cold.