It’s taken more than 47 years but Doctor Who fans finally have an annual for 1972 – with stars from the show among the contributors.
Manchester-based World Distributors
began publishing the official Doctor Who annuals in autumn 1965, continuing until 1985, but elected not to bring one out in 1971. This left countless fans puzzled, disappointed – and with a niggling gap in their collections and on their bookshelves.
However, Mark Worgan
– a long-time fan of the series and the annuals – was determined to do something about it and this star-studded, fan-produced, non-profit- making homage is the result.
He has published The Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1972, which transports readers TARDIS-like back to the very early 1970s when Jon Pertwee had just finished his second series in the title role and the show was mostly Earth-bound, with the Doctor assisting the military organisation UNIT as its scientific adviser.
A whole host of star names from the show signed up for the project, including Katy Manning, who played companion Jo Grant, John Levene (Sgt Benton) and Richard Franklin (Capt Yates) – the surviving members of what became affectionately known as “the UNIT family”.
They and the large number of Doctor Who fan writers and artists have been joined by visual effects wizard, model unit supervisor and author Mike Tucker plus renowned artist Alister Pearson and Wayne Howarth – the son of Walter Howarth, who was the main illustrator on some of the original annuals.
And this is a truly bumper edition. The official annual for 1971 offered 96 pages, while the 1973 annual had 80 pages, but this one comes in at a whopping 184 pages!
The project was launched in September 2017, with people working on it in their spare time for free, and the hardback annual is packed with stories, puzzles, features and emulating and evoking the style, tone and quirkiness of the 1970s annuals, which were allowed a freer rein as regards their relationship to the programme than those later in the run.
It’s been hard work for everybody but I’m beyond delighted to be bringing this out, especially as 2019 is the centenary year of Jon Pertwee’s birth. The annual means a great deal to me. I was particularly thrilled to get all the surviving UNIT family on board for the annual, and I’ve been knocked out by the enthusiasm and talent of the contributors.
In 1971, when the official annual would have been published, the Doctor had been forced into exile on Earth by his people, the Time Lords, but the series’ production team still managed to take the show away from the confines of this planet and I was keen to do the same in the annual. The challenge was laid down and the contributors rose to it in style, so we’ve got a great balance of adventures in space and time.
The official 1972 annual may well have been lost in the time vortex – like the Doctor himself has been known to – but we hope fans agree that our version makes up for it and is worth the long wait.
Well, what’s 47 years to a Time Lord anyway . . . ?
So, that’s 1972 taken care of. But what of the years 1987 to 1989 for which – once again – no official annuals were forthcoming despite the show still being made, before it was cancelled until its one-off return in 1996, which was its last outing of the classic era?
There’s been a terrific amount of interest in this project, including a great many calls to complete the run of annuals for the classic era, so I’m pleased to say that I’m now going to be turning my attention to an unofficial annual for 1987. After that, who knows?!
Contributors and proofreaders, as well as an administrator for the Facebook page, are now being sought for The Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1987. Please contact Mark via firstname.lastname@example.org
if you're interested in taking part.
The Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1972 is published by Terraqueous Distributors and available from Lulu at the print-on-demand price of £39.20 plus shipping costs (NB: VAT is not payable on books).
None of the money paid by purchasers goes to the publisher or to any of the contributors. Visit the website
to order the annual.