Monday, 22 May 2017

Doctor Who Toys, Only Connects & Facebook nonsense

Andrex, "Skin Kind"? Call me picky, I prefer the paper kind.

In praise of Doctor Who Magazine Toys & Games special.

On a totally spontaneous impulse purchase the other night, I bought the Doctor Who Toys & Games Special. Given that I usually don't buy DWM itself, this was an odd one for me. But I was taken by the bits I'd thumbed through in the shop, and found myself later in my hotel room devouring a surprisingly fascinating read.

Part social history, part fanboy nostalgia, if you enjoy interviews with old blokes who ran plastics factories in the 80s, or the son of the bloke who set up BBC Television Enterprises and issued the first licences for Dalek toys 50-odd years ago, you'll love this magazine.

Most fascinating revelation for me was the secret of the Scorpion Automotives Dalek costume. For anyone who's familiar with the rather cheap-looking Berwick Dalek playsuits that became ubiquitous during Dalekmania, with their cardboard visor and floppy red sheet for a body, the Scorpion Dalek is quite the contrast. Its head is a perfect Dalek replica, and its body a much more accurately proportioned thick vinyl. Even its eye-stalk and plunger are spot on. So why aren't we more familiar with this superior Dalek? You have to read three interviews to get the whole story.

John J Johnston's article tells us the full history of the Mark I, II and III models, at their ridiculously high price of £8, then tells us a fire at the factory wiped out the company. But was that the whole story? David J Howe's overview of the 60s gives us this same story, the factory fire being the cause of the costume's demise.

It's not until you read the interview with Richard Culley, who worked in brand licensing back in the 1960s, you get a hint of what might really have happened. He says "Somebody rang up from the press and said some kid had walked in front of their fire and this suit had gone whumph! We flame-tested another suit and it also went up. Yes they were flammable, and if you picked one of them up and smelled it - ugh, the stuff that was in there."

Okay, got an Only Connect for you. What links..?
Mitchell & Webb (2012)
Armstrong & Miller (2008 & 2014)
John Cleese & Eleanor Bron (1979)
Hale & Pace (1989)

Right, got an Only Connect for you. What connects these four?
9 to 5
Dennis The Menace
The Avengers

Okay, got a Tea-Time Theme-Time for you. What do these 3 songs have in common?
Rock DJ - Robbie Williams
Tubthumping - Chumbawumba
Guantanamera - The Sandpipers

OK, a quick Tea Time Theme Time. What links these three records?
The Clapping Song by Shirley Ellis
Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton
Kiss and Say Goodbye by The Manhattans
Extra clues. You could also have:
She Said by The Long Pigs
Here We Go Again by Governor ft 50 Cent

Since Yesterday by Strawberry Switchblade
American Idiot by Green Day

Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in 2017:

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

Q1 - Comedy double acts and when they appeared in Doctor Who
Q2 - Had to change their name when they crossed the Atlantic (Sheena Easton's Morning Train, Australia's Dreamland, USA's Dennis, and Marvel's Avengers Assemble)
Q3 - Sing when you're winning
Q4 - New York Islands

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