Posts Tagged ‘Doctor Who’

Tracking down a magazine – Radio Times

June 1, 2016
Masthead of the 1923 first issue of Radio Times (RT Archive)

Masthead of the 1923 first issue of Radio Times (RT Archive)

Richard has emailed me trying to track down copies of the Radio Times from the 1970s. Here’s his query:

Hello Tony, I’m hoping you can help me as I’m desperately trying to get hold of the copies of Radio Times for 10th – 22nd March 1974. I believe one of them contains the programme details and an article about the Play for Today episode ‘Penda’s Fen‘ that was broadcast on 21st March 1974. The listing should be in the issues I’m looking for. However, the article, which is what I’m really after, I’m not sure.

As I say, I am struggling to find it anywhere and maybe you know of someone or an outlet that I am not aware of (I’ve looked at eBay, general internet search). Fingers-crossed. Thank you for your time.

My first thought is to do an eBay search for:

Radio Times” 1974. The quote marks find Radio Times as a phrase rather than separate words.

This turns up 74 results. One problem is that some sellers only put up the year, so you have to open up each lot to find the March issues. You can search within a page using Ctrl+F for the month, but use ‘Mar’ rather than ‘March’, because some listing only use the abbreviation. One of the lots that comes up is for the Radio Times of 23-29 March 1974, with Arthur Askey on the cover. The seller, sprocketflange40, not only puts the date in the listing headline but also lists the main articles – really useful for tracking things down. Richard can then contact the seller to see if this is the correct issue.

As Richard mentions, he’s not totally sure which issue he wants, so narrowing things down is really useful. A trick here is to look at completed listings:

“Radio Times” 1974 – completed listings .

This shows me pictures of the issues carrying the schedules for the weeks of Saturday, 2 March and 30 March. I can save the images so I know what the target issues look like. All of these listings are by Sprocketflange30, so he is definitely worth emailing. Go to my Collecting Magazines page if you’re not familiar with building eBay searches.

Radio Times from 2 March 1974 Radio Times from 9 March 1974, The last Caesars

   ?

Radio Times from 23 March 1974, with Arthur Askey on the cover Radio Times from 30 March 1974
2 Mar in completed listings search 9 Mar in completed listings search 16 Mar

not found

23 Mar from live listings search 30 Mar in completed listings search

Once you know each cover, it makes going through listings much quicker.

If you’re lucky, you might just find a digitised image of the listings page you’re after on Flicker. This is mainly because fans of Dr Who put the issues online.

The next stage is to look for specialised magazine sellers. I list these on my Collecting Magazines page. For this post, I started on Tilleys and my search produced 20 results, including a copy of the Arthur Askey issue.

If going to the specialists turns up nothing, you can do a picture search on “Radio Times” 1974 on Duckduckgo, Google and Yahoo and immediately see if there are more around on collectors’ websites or other retailers. Notice how different the results are for the various search engines.

All these techniques can be applied to any magazine. But the Radio Times is one of the biggest titles in the history of periodicals and there are many dedicated resources online to help Richard out. Three in particular stand out:

The BBC’s Genome project

The BBC’s Genome project has digitised all the listings text from the Radio Times for 1923-2009 and put it up free online. It is not a scan of the pages, however, so there are no illustrations; and the articles are not included. But Richard can use this to confirm he has the right issue. If you just need the text of the listing, it is there (a boon for those Dr Who fans!). Some of the programmes can be watched or listened to.

A search on Penda’s Fen produces three results:

  1. a discussion with David Rudkin, the author, that was broadcast after the play’s airing.
  2. the play’s first broadcast (21 Mar 1974). Clicking on the title takes you through to the details of the actors, etc.
  3. the repeat broadcast on 13 February 1975.

It’s worth noting a line at the bottom of the web page under ‘Tell us more’: ‘Do you know whether this programme was actually broadcast as scheduled?’ It is possible that a scheduled programme was not actually broadcast – remember that the Radio Times goes to press a fortnight before it appears in the shops and a lot can happen in that time!

Radio Times Back Numbers

Lynda Kelly of RadioTimesBackNumbers.com is one of the experts on radio and television literature of all kinds. Her site sells back issues and has menus that are easy to drill down through (title/decade/year) as well as a general search. Again, there’s a copy of the Arthur Askey issue, but note the technical detail in the listing:

RT 2628 – 21 Mar 1974 (23-29 Mar) (England).
This tells you:
– the issue number (2628)
– the date of publication (21 Mar)
– the week covered (23-29 Mar)
– which of the regions is covered (England). Some programmes would not be shown in all the regional editions, which include North, England, National and London.

Furthermore, Kellybooks.com publishes several books about the Radio Times.

The Radio Times archive

The Radio Times Archive carries articles about what’s happening now as well as the magazine’s history. It has pages of mastheads, and facts and figures as well as links to resources such as a PDF of the first Radio Times from 1923. The archive is ‘produced with the permission and support of The Radio Times and financial support from the Shiers Trust’ but I don’t know who actually runs it (the author is always just ‘I’). The archive credits several collectors:

Ralph Montagu, Head of Heritage at The Radio Times, a host of private collectors including Roger Bickerton (who set up the Vintage Radio Programme Collectors’ Circle in 1996, now the Radio Circle), Penny Fabb (The Complete Guide to Science Fiction on British Radio), and Ken Clark, and the staff at the BBC Written Archive Centre near Reading.
A large part of the work would not have been possible without the help of Lynda Kelly.

Hopefully, this page will be a help to you in your searches.


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 


 

Harry Linfield – a down-to-earth side of the Star Trek and Doctor Who artist

June 19, 2015
Harry Lindfield drawing for Annabel magazine in 1966

Harry Lindfield drawing for Annabel magazine in 1966

Type the name Harry Lindfield into a search engine and up will come a gang of results pointing to illustrations for Gerry Anderson-based comics such as Joe 90, TV21 and Lady Penelope from City Magazines and Polystyle’s Countdown. For Lindfield drew Star Trek, Doctor Who and others strips from about 1968 in the great heyday of TV-based comics – when some issues were selling in excess of half-a-million copies a week. The illustration above predates that – it’s from a September 1966 issue of DC Thomson’s monthly Annabel. Lindfield had already drawn strips for the Eagle‘s sister paper Swift at Hulton Press.

A colour centre spread of Star Trek by Harry Lindfield from Joe 90 . Click on the image to find a larger version on Beano cartoonist Nigel Parkinson's website

A colour centre spread of Star Trek by Harry Lindfield from Joe 90. Click on the image to see a larger version on Beano artist Nigel Parkinson’s website

The Gerry Anderson website quotes Look-In writer and TV21 script editor Angus Allan on Lindfield:

[Lady Penelope] went into colour, with an artist – a genius – called Harry Lindfield. If ever I had to choose something that I’d done, and was proud of, those strips would be the ones. Harry was brilliant, and it was a pleasure to write for him. And up went the sales. Not to a million, though. Not ever. But 750,000? That was money to Century 21 and City Magazines.

Annabel saw itself as a ‘New young and lively monthly for women’ and was just in its seventh issue. The large page format – almost A3 – could show off the photography and illustration.

Harry Lindfield's Dr Who cover for Countdown comic

A Harry Lindfield Dr Who cover for Countdown comic. Click on the image to see a larger version on comic artist Lew Stringer’s website

The shape that inspired the Daleks

June 15, 2015
Maxwell Wood Astra coffee set from the 1960s - favourite for the Dalek shape

Maxwell Wood Astra coffee set from the 1960s – favourite for the Dalek shape. Note the bobbles down the ‘skirt’

I mentioned last week in a Radio Times/Dr Who piece that the BBC designer Raymond Cusick had been quoted as saying that he got the idea for the look for Terry Nation’s Daleks ‘while fiddling with a pepper pot’. But it just doesn’t ring true. Top of my list of potential inspiration for the iconic aliens are the above 1960s Maxwell Wood coffee pot, called Astra, and conical kulfi moulds, below.

Mould for kulfi, the Indian ice-cream, with its screw-on lid. Definitely Dalek

Mould for kulfi, the Indian ice-cream, with its screw-on lid. Definitely Dalek

Kulfi moulds also used to have bobbles on the side. I’ve seen these in Britain and as far afield as Indonesia (where I won a symbolic 50p bet on the shape of the ice-cream in an Indian restaurant in Jakarta with a former editor of New Scientist!).

In a BBC obituary piece, Cusick is quoted as being more vague, and that the pepper pot was used during a lunch to describe how the Daleks should move:

[Cusick] explained that, in fact, the pepper pot detail came from a lunch with Bill Roberts, the special effects expert who would make the Daleks, when Mr Cusick picked up a pepper pot and moved it around the table, telling him: “It’s going to move like that – no visible means.”

“Ever since then people say I was inspired by a pepper pot – but it could have been the salt pot I picked up,” he said.

Incidentally, the pale green colour of the Astra pottery is ‘celadon’, the theme colour chosen for the revamp of the Savoy Hotel in 2010.