Andrew O'Day - Facets of Fandom
Andrew O'Day In Words and Pictures
Andrew O'Day: Facets of Fandom
Essays and Writings:
(© Andrew O'Day)
|Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone|
|History and Fiction in Doctor Who||Towards a definition of satire in Doctor Who||Surveillance and Space in Doctor Who||
Philip Martin’s “Vengeance on Varos”
|Andrew's Interviews Page||The Trip of a Lifetime|
Text below by Andrew is contained within quotation marks inside text boxes.
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Below: Andrew at Longleat in 1983 for the 'Twenty Years Of A Timelord' celebration.
Below left: Andrew appeared in a photo in 'Doctor Who Magazine' No. 319 (cover date 24 July 2002).
Below right: The picture from DWM 319, with Andrew and John Nathan-Turner during the 1980s.
The text below refers to the picture above right.
photograph, published in Doctor Who Magazine’s tribute to JN-T
issue (and I believe appearing once before), was taken in the 1980s at one
of the Westminster comic marts. Held once a month, I still remember often
waiting in the grand hall, waiting for midday to approach and the doors to
open, so I could look through all the Doctor Who merchandise and
get my fix of gossip from the latest DWB. They didn’t always have
guests at these, though this was obviously one of those instances where
they did. I grew up on JN-T’s era and though loving stories like
‘Earthshock’ (1982) and ‘The Caves of Androzani’ (1984) still have
affection for stuff like ‘Four to Doomsday’ (1982) and ‘Terminus’ (1983).
One of the problems I’ve always had with fandom is that (while loving it)
if one breaks from popular opinion about stories one is considered
‘unusual’, whereas I am a firm believer in individuality. It’s fitting for
me that there is this picture of JN-T in this tribute issue. I didn’t know
John too well, but always found him very welcoming. I remember once in an
autograph queue in Coventry arriving at his table and struggling to find
what I wanted him to sign and he just said very kindly ‘Don’t rush’.
That’s the thing about Doctor Who celebrities: they are generally
so nice to the fans. Recently, I saw the Myth Makers video about
the Longleat 1983 convention at Tim Harris’ house and Mark Strickson was
talking about the abruptness of the security soldiers and how he tried to
ensure the fans had the best experience possible. What a guy! But
returning to John, on 23 November 2001 (the Sunday anyway), at the
Dimensions convention in Newcastle, I had a chat with him for my Ph.D.
thesis. I’d been trying to arrange this all weekend, cornering John in the
lift, and finally on the Sunday on the second floor of the hotel (the bar
area, would you believe?) it happened while Debbie Watling and Gary Downie
were sitting at a nearby table. I was struck by John’s warmth and also by
the fact that he seemed to smoke almost as much as me, lighting up one
after another (surely not possible). Those were the days before the
smoking ban. At first he seemed a bit on his guard, but when I explained
some of what I was doing in relation to the Doctor Who story
“Castrovalva” he opened up. Sadly this was the last time I saw John, as he
died the following Spring, and I feel deprived of being able to continue
the ‘dialogue’ with him.
The same has happened with Barry Letts and Verity Lambert. Nick Courtney introduced me to Barry at a convention and I later arranged to go to Barry’s very elegantly-kept house in Potter’s Bar (this was before the interview with John). Clumsily, I managed to spill a glass of red wine, though thankfully Barry had put a plastic sheet over his sofa beforehand, so I was relieved of what could have been a very bad situation, and once the interview was over, he drove me to the local supermarket and got me a sandwich. Not quite what I was expecting when he said he would provide lunch! Susanna Capon at Royal Holloway had arranged to put me in touch with Verity Lambert. I had to telephone quite a few times before arranging an interview, as Verity remained an extremely busy lady, but finally I got off the Oxford Tube at the Shepherd’s Bush stop and interviewed Verity at her house/office. I spoke to Barry again (this time with Terrance Dicks) in the Green Room at the Dimensions 2001 convention where I interviewed John, and again in the bar, and Verity in passing, at the Panopticon 40 convention in London, but now sadly they have gone, and there is unfortunately no photographic record of these encounters. Luckily, there is this one photograph of an ‘early’ meeting between John and myself.”
Convention Photos Taken By Andrew
Below: The inestimable Jon Pertwee
Below: Patrick Troughton and John Leeson (voice of K9)
Below: Carole Ann Ford and Jacqueline Hill
Below: Dick Mills of the Radiophonic Workshop
Below: Andrew the actor in Oxfordshire based production company Misfits' anti-corruption thriller Iron Law.
Below: An online version of Iron Law.
A revised version (produced 2019) is now available on YouTube but can be viewed on the left. The original version can also be be found on YouTube here.
A low-res copy of a previous version is available here:
Complete Video - WMV Version -
Below: Andrew in some publicity stills for Misfits (1996).
The text below refers to Iron Law and the above pictures.
Above: In Geoff's flat late 1980s
Above: These photos were taken earlier in the 1980s when Andrew went to The Abingdon Air Show with James. People probably wonder what a Dalek was doing at an air show...
“The above photographs were taken in May 1996, when I made a brief week-long trip back to England (the first in five years), in between completing my BA at McGill University in Montreal and returning for my graduation ceremony. There’s a long story attached to these photographs, which shall be summarised. After attending the Longleat “20 Years of a Time Lord” celebration in April 1983, in the latter part of 1984, I was told at Rainbow’s End (the comic shop on the Cowley Road in Oxford then run by a woman named Allison) of the existence of an Oxford Doctor Who Local Group, run by a man named Geoff. I wrote a letter to Geoff asking if I could join the group, but impatient I got Mum to take me to his flat for the December 1984 meeting. This is when I met Geoff, another chap named Andrew and a humorous fellow named Salam. Geoff was not in so Mum had waited with me until these three adult figures emerged walking up the stairs to the flat.
Mum left and we went in a car to another fan, Nigel’s house (the only time I went there) and I remember that we watched episodes of the 1973 story “Frontier in Space”. Very soon afterwards, I attended the all-night Christmas meeting, now held at Geoff’s and was a regular attendee of meetings, held at various of Geoff’s accommodations, until the break-up of the group in about 1989. The group was relatively small consisting of about 8 or 9 regular members. As the youngest member of the group by far I was known as ‘Little Andrew’ and in those days, when Doctor Who episodes were like ‘gold-dust’, we spent much time watching vintage episodes (as well as other series). In time, I met two new arrivals, James Spence and then Tim Harris. I have fond memories of kipping on James’ floor in Abingdon or going to the chippie to get us Scampi and Chips and after the break-up of the group the three of us had kept in contact until the Summer of 1991, getting together in the restaurant area of Littlewoods in Oxford where the Clarendon Centre remains today. Tim and James became involved in video production. So that brings us back to these photographs.”
“Quite by chance, the week I returned from Montreal, Tim and James were doing post-production on a Misfits (that’s the name of the production company) video Iron Law and gave me a very small role as a Miracle drug addict. The other photos are of the three of us involved in role-play with toy guns. Lovely photos which James and Tim orchestrated to play with shadow. James had always been interested in photography. I have not seen many members of the OLG in many years, but have kept in touch with Tim and James.”
“Those were also the days before the plethora of official BBC Doctor Who videos of the 1990s, when only a handful or so of stories had been released, and the DVD’s of the 2000s. Fans generally had to find their own ways of getting to see stories, often with drop-outs on copies. And this shift has again seen a change to fan culture. At Longleat ’83, for instance, there was a packed-out screening tent, where, over the course of the two days, one story was shown to represent all five Doctors to that point, and which was packed out leaving no room for many of the disappointed. At that point, many fans had only seen the recent “Five Faces of Doctor Who” season on BBC2 in the Autumn of 1981 and the repeats of “The Curse of Peladon” (1972) and the highly-edited “Genesis of the Daleks” (1975), as part of the Doctor Who and the Monsters series on BBC1 in 1982, and, for other older fans the Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee and Tom Baker stories existed in their memory. I did not see any old episodes that weekend and was more interested in getting autographs, and neither did I attend the NFT (National Film Theatre) weekend of screenings in October 1983, though I remember sitting in the all-night video rooms at the Leisure Hive conventions held at the Wiltshire Hotel in Swindon watching video after video and came to love stories like “The Time Warrior” (1973-74). Sitting in those rooms and needing sleep but determined to stay awake to see every last moment of those stories. And when I returned to fandom in the late 1990s, the ‘video room’ of the 1980s had all but died out. What need was there for it now that people owned their own copies of all the Doctor Who stories in existence? But this aspect of fan culture also created a shared experience where fans would come together to enjoy viewing the stories.”
“Those were the days when we had to read too. I was always good in class at reading passages from books – you know, the type of exercise designed to tune one’s reading skills where each member of the class continued to read parts of a chapter. I remember having to do that with C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I even remember at one point in my childhood having done a sponsored readathon of as many books as possible. But reading Doctor Who books silently also helped my reading skills. I used to enjoy going in to the Children’s Bookshop in Oxford (this was even before the OLG days) and looking to see what Doctor Who books they had, just as today one goes into a store like HMV to look at all the DVD’s on offer. Hard to imagine now but when “Earthshock” part one had ended (1982), I had to rush down the stairs of my house and look at the cover of The Tenth Planet novelisation to convince myself that what I’d just seen on screen were Cybermen, because I’d never seen Cybermen on screen before. I was certain they were, though looking different from the Cybermen on the cover of The Tenth Planet novelisation. And later in my childhood I remember buying all the hardback Doctor Who books as well as the paperbacks and being so engaged by Ian Marter’s The Invasion that I could not put it down. How the media of today has changed things.”
Below: Andrew's 'Doctor Who Times' fanzine.
This revolutionary fanzine employed a unique graphic stance amongst fanzines and an almost post punk style of writing; the artwork below speaks for itself but an example of the writing can be found in a quote from a review for 'The Twin Dilemma' (issue two) which states: "I did not like Mestor at all - he looked like a big fat Humpty Dumpty."
Note that, many years before publications such as The Radio Times and Doctor Who Magazine got in on the act, Andrew had already come up with the concept of multi covers, as per the variants of issue 1 below.
Below: Letter from Colin Baker to Andrew O'Day regarding an interview for Andrew's 'Doctor Who Times' fanzine. The interview eventually appeared in issue four.
Below: Andrew's successor to 'Doctor Who Times', the equally masterful 'Science Fiction Times' fanzine.
Excellent artists such as Tim Dodgson and Terry Doyle contributed artwork to this fanzine.
Below: Front and back covers to Andrew's 'SFT: A Winter Wonderland' magazine.
Links to 1980s interviews from 'Doctor Who Times' and 'SFT'.
Links to 1980s Convention features from 'SFT'.
The text below refers to 'Doctor Who Times' and 'Sci-Fi Times'
“Back in 1984 I launched my own fanzine Doctor Who Times (in A4) which soon became Sci-Fi Times (SFT in A5). Before this I had tinkered around making Blue Peter magazines with photographs cut out of the Radio Times but these were never available to the public. The thing about DWT and SFT is that they are pretty darned bad, although looking back I can see a big improvement between the first issue of Doctor Who Times and the last issue of SFT (in both production values and writing). It’s one of those things you sometimes wish you’d never done and hope there isn’t a historical record of out there (in other words, that no one else has kept their entire copies!) but at the same time is one of those things you’re so glad you did because it was part of growing up as a fan (it was a not-to-be missed experience). Those were the days we used to play with Lettraset, choosing different fonts, but which I could never position properly on a straight line. Those were the days that showed I was never destined to become an artist or a writer of fiction. Those were the days that I even got my poor Mum to write the odd book review (cited of course). And those were the days we used to interview Doctor Who cast members. For example, it was doing Doctor Who Times that led me to the Children’s Bookshop on Broad Street in Oxford to interview Patrick Troughton (and don’t I wish now that I had a photographic record of that meeting!). Granted it was a very bad interview, done by hand rather than on tape, and consisting of Yes or No answers by Troughton, rather than discussion, and made for very bad reading (humorously bad in fact). It’s the kind of interview that an 11 year old would have done. But then I was 11! It was doing SFT that led me to interview Debbie Watling and Michael E. Briant on tape in the hotel lounge at the Leisure Hive conventions in Swindon, and to interview Janet Fielding at another convention. And those were the days when I used to do a shameless rip off of the layout of Time Screen which would teach me of the need to find my own distinctive style in my academic work later in life. And those were the days of getting a fanzine table at conventions. And would I erase all that? You bet I wouldn’t.”
“Back then, when I got fanzine tables at conventions to sell SFT, I would take them out of the big box they had come back to me in from Pronta Print in Oxford. It was as much as a buzz then to see them like that in pristine condition as it was the first time Jonathan Bignell showed me the box of copies of Terry Nation when he arrived for the launch party in Oxford. SFT had taught me about the technical side of fanzine production – the difference between non-wraparound covers and wraparound ones, between A4 and A5, and the difficult process involved in getting photographs reproduced properly. And the fanzine of the 1980s was not only sold at conventions but was advertised in the pages of CT and DWB which involved designing adverts (however bad) to a specified size. The pages of CT and DWB thus made for even more fascinating reading as I could see all the other fanzine ads.”
“While most fanzines of that day were magazine type wraparounds, there were exceptions to the rule. One of my favourite ‘zines of the 1980s was actually Sonic Waves, an audio ‘zine. While part of the attraction of ‘zines was their very un-professional nature, Sonic Waves seemed to be so expertly done. So I would sit on my bed and listen to the clear and seducing voices reviewing Season 22 (1985) over background music, with their being a smooth transition into ‘examples’, audio clips from the different narratives. So, for example, there would be a transition from the review into the dramatic music accompanying the Doctor and rebels fleeing from guards in part one of “Vengeance on Varos”. So ‘zines of the day made use of different technological forms. Part of being a fan involves listening: listening to the audios of missing episodes wiped from the BBC Archives (which I did not do much), and listening to Big Finish licensed audio dramas featuring the original Doctors and companions which especially filled the gap prior to 2005 when Doctor Who was off-air.”
“What I lamented about fandom in the late 1990s was the scarcity of the fanzine. While on these pages, I have traced the shift from a mass convention such as Longleat 1983, advertised on BBC Television and where people without tickets turned up on the day to be turned away due to lack of space, to more intimate conventions, advertised mainly in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, the fanzine had largely been replaced by Internet News Pages, by author’s blogs (many of whom started out producing fanzines) and by other sites. As a result, at conventions of the late 1990s and early 2000s, I noted a distinct lack of fanzine tables, with instead tables devoted to the BBC licensed Big Finish Productions and the selling of merchandise, ranging from autographed photos, collectors cards, to videotapes (and later DVD’s), with the prominent ‘magazines’ for sale being the official Doctor Who Magazine and the In-Vision series. At the smaller Doctor Who conventions after Longleat ’83, one could experience the joy of moving from table to table at conventions, browsing through the different ‘zines (their affectionate names), and meeting people, whatever they may have thought of me. Producing fanzines were also a way of doing exactly that: meeting people. People who would produce artwork for the ‘zine. People who would provide news for the ‘zine. People who would write articles for the ‘zine. And all done not for profit (the cover prices barely covered the cost of production) but for fun.”
“However, there are
still examples of fanzine activity related to Doctor Who, both from the
1990s and the 2000s. 2010 has been described as bringing a ‘fanzine
renaissance’ and this renaissance includes Blue Box, Rassilon’s Rod,
Panic Moon and the light-hearted Fish Fingers and Custard, with an
art-work cover. Now these ‘zines can be advertised on the Internet too,
such as on the Doctor Who News Page (http://gallifreynewsbase.
Timelords: The Doctor Who Fanzine Preservation Project has as its
‘goal…to collect and archive Doctor Who print materials
(especially fan and semi-professionally produced works) for the purpose
of academic preservation…(due to their documentation of the series'
fiction and production, as well as public/fan reaction or opinion)’(http://homepages.bw.
“There’s also quite a nice little tale about how fanzine editing earned me an ‘A’ in GCSE Design. So I’m useless at art but Design isn’t the same as Art. So I was into a whole range of television programmes at this age (ranging from Dallas to ALF), so what I did was produce a small magazine called Unlimited, which featured episode guides from different series, and stills from programmes, and handed it in (70%) along with a short written project (30%). No problem."
"Those were the days when episode guides were not so readily available (on sites like www.epguides.com) and when you had to look hard to find them or create them yourself. It's a bit like the way one had to work to produce fanzines with Lettraset and, to start with, type them on a typewriter, or search out old episodes of Doctor Who in convention video rooms. Those were the 80s and it may seem hard to believe to the youngsters of today but they were in a sense 'magical'."
Tim Harris notes: Despite being named 'Unlimited', there were actually only three copies of this very limited fanzine produced. Only one copy is known to survive.
“The description of
fandom that I have given (before I gained the academic qualification of
PhD) mostly relates to one British telefantasy programme, Doctor Who.
But, as Matt Hills notes, “Certainly fandoms can be 'tangled' up with
and between an intertextual range of objects; fans may follow the
different work of certain showrunners, writers, or performers. So to
even nominate a fandom as "belonging" to one show or individual can
sometimes be problematic” (http://www.henryjenkins.org/
“There is something that is also important to consider in these pages which give an overview of Doctor Who fandom and its development: that the experiences given are of one fan (myself) who continued with fandom after Longleat 1983, both by going to further conventions and by being in a Local Group of about 8 or 9 people, and that for a fully rounded picture it would be necessary to chart the experiences and feelings of a large cross-section of fans. The stories that they too would tell (which would include not only people of different ages, gender, race, sexuality, class, and personalities, but would also include convention organizers and stewards, local group leaders, and those who had never become so actively involved in fandom so as to produce a fanzine or interview the various celebrities and production staff) are just as important. I am trying to redress this balance in a chapter for a forthcoming edited collection. Furthermore, as I have noted, these experiences are of someone who has just attended ‘commercial conventions’, and the experiences of people who have attended, say, non-commercial science fiction conventions, will be different and those who have attended both will be able to draw a different set of comparisons. The description given here is also of British conventions and experiences of American conventions would be different. Furthermore, fandom can not be described so easily through words as it involves experiences: as well as experiences I have already noted, the buzz of staying in a hotel environment, of looking around merchandise rooms at a plethora of goodies, and so on, all have to have been lived.”
Photos © Andrew O'Day (where shown) and used with his kind permission. This page was compiled by Tim Harris.
This page was first published to the internet 06 June 2010. Latest update: 07 April 2019.