For you Yanks, the Radio Times is the BBC’s biweekly programming guide to radio and television. Think TV Guide for Britain. The magazine has been going strong since 1923, so it’s no surprise that quite a few covers have been dedicated to the BBC’s prodigal sci-fi son, Doctor Who
But it’s interesting to note how much you can tell about Doctor Who’s esteem in the eyes of the BBC as you flip through this gallery of Radio Times Doctor Who covers.
If you look at the Radio Times’ covers as a reflection on the BBC’s own opinion of the show, you’ll notice that Doctor Who was at its most well covered from 1964-1973, or the Hartnell through Pertwee years.
After that, there’s a ten year gap between the last Pertwee cover and a cover dedicated to The Five Doctors twenty year reunion episode. Tom Baker never even got a cover during his famed run as the Fourth Doctor, which is simply unbelievable.
From 1983 to about 2005, the Doctor Who covers are just sad, usually photo shoots of flabby past doctors wearing hats to cover up their bald spots crammed into their old uniforms for a token shoot. The covers reflect the actuality: Doctor Who was canceled and all there was was hopeless nostalgia for fans to go on.
It was only Russell T. Davies’ stab at the franchise that restored the Doctor to respectability in the eyes of the BBC and made the show once more worthy of regular covers at the Radio Times.
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