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Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who

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1979-10-11 Liverpool Echo.jpg


DR. WHO came down to earth with a bump.

Joe surrounded by food and a group of twentieth century Earthlings who could be relied upon to provide a fact sheet for every question. He was clad In a threepiece light tweed suit with turnups hitching a ride on a pair of brown brogues. He lit up a Rothman's Kingsize cigarette, and KAPOW, the launch of the new Dr Who weekly comic was underway.

To do this it was necessary to materialise in a suite at the Adelphi Hotel,

The comic, complete with Daleks, is on the newstands today, although it is dated October 17. This not an inter-galactacal mix-up, but a comic publisher's psychological secret, so that kids will think they're buying something new right up to next Thursday, when, ZOOM! SPLAT! the next issue will be in the shops.

They hope one million people will buy it. Then it will be sold in the States on a monthly basis: the Americans like complete stories, not series.

The marketing in this world is being undertaken by Marvel Comics, the very same shooting stars of commerce who brought you Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk from across the Atlantic. So apart from anything else, this is a true British hit of exporting.

The Doctor, who admits to being 752, although close friends says he's even older, preferred to stand up and eat his sandwiches, which were obviously too small because he devoured them in two's.

Lots of people kept trying to call him Jonathan Miller and wondered how often the artistic Dr. Miller (sadly confined to this planet) was called Dr. Who."

"Have you brought me an Echo" asks the Time Lord himself. "I've brought you one of my books. I remember the Echo when it bad just advertising on the front page."

The Doctor, you see, was born in Stanley Road, Everton. 46 Earth Years ago come January 20 (don't forget to send him a card). He is the most distinguished—and surely the cleverest—old boy of St. Swithin's School. Gilmoss. "It was an elementary school then. You can't help being young."

Here is an extract from my log recording of the encounter that followed:

ME: How long do you plan travelling around in time and space

DOCTOR: My friends (again referring to Earthlings) keep asking me that. Lots of them are out of work. At present I don't plan to give up something which gives me so much pleasure and gives me lots of laughs.

ME: So what's the schedule?

DOCTOR: I've got three days off. Then I'm going to Cambridge to start another adventure about a man who steals people's brains.

ME: I can't think of a better place than Cambridge for that.

DOCTOR (seizing two more sandwiches): No.

ME (realising that bit of conversation is exhausted): Why do you think you're so popular

DOCTOR (modestly, but sounding a trifle bored): It's the formula. Yet I suppose it's curious that a character who has no sexual, acquisitive or violent instincts, and who is totally predicatable in any situation, should be so tremendously compelling.

ME: Don't you ever get fed-up with being a good guy

DOCTOR: No. I can't think of any latter-day bad guys who are interesting. Take the character of Kojak. He's rude and sentimental. I like mystery and melodrama. I'd like to have been Long John Silver, or Captain Hook or Fagin. (There followed an exchange in which The Doctor expressed himself more lucidly, in what is currently known as bad language).

ME: Laurence Olivier recommended you to play Rasputin in Sam Spiegel's Nicholas and Alexandra.

DOCTOR: Yes, I owe a lot to Olivier. He's a charming and very amusing man.

ME: Do you like the look of yourself in the comic?

DOCTOR (quite demurrely): Hard to say. It's like asking you if you like your passport photograph.

ME: I do.

DOCTOR: Well, the comic pictures are quite jolly.

ME: If all goes well in America, what then?

DOCTOR: Should I enter the modern consciousness to that extent, I might try to become a glossy film star in middle age.

Time was against us. The Doctor, who had left The Tardis at some undisclosed spot (lunchtime parking in Liverpool is a real problem, and it won't fit in the multi-storey parks) had to make Manchester and Leeds the same day of the same calendar year.

He steps outside, dons his famous 12ft scarf for the benefit of photographers and reads the comic. People stare as if they've seen something from outer space. And, of course, they have.

People stare as if they've seen something from outer space. And, of course, they have.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: Riley, Joe (1979-10-11). Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who. Liverpool Echo p. 8.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Riley, Joe. "Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who." Liverpool Echo [add city] 1979-10-11, 8. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Riley, Joe. "Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who." Liverpool Echo, edition, sec., 1979-10-11
  • Turabian: Riley, Joe. "Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who." Liverpool Echo, 1979-10-11, section, 8 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who | url=!_Splat!_It%27s_comic_hero_Dr_Who | work=Liverpool Echo | pages=8 | date=1979-10-11 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 September 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Zoom! Splat! It's comic hero Dr Who | url=!_Splat!_It%27s_comic_hero_Dr_Who | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=28 September 2023}}</ref>