Happy Birthday Terrance

Yesterday  was a cause for celebration: Doctor Who writer extraordinaire Terrance Dicks turned 80, who was born on the 14th April 1935.

Arguably the most prolific contributor to Doctor Who, as well as being script editor in the Pertwee era he also wrote a number of memorable adventures for the television series, including both the introductory story Robot for fourth Doctor Tom Baker and the series own 20th Anniversary celebration, The Five Doctors. His Target novelisations accounted for over sixty of the Doctor’s adventures, and he was later invited to write a story for the launch of the Virgin New Adventures in 1991 (Timewyrm: Exodus), and then to launch the new official range of BBC Books in 1996 with The Eight Doctors. He has written for 21st Century Who, contributing the “Quick Reads” books Made of Steel and Revenge of the Judoon. He also wrote the novelisation of the Sarah Jane Adventures pilot, Invasion of the Bane.

Terrance was a big part of my early Doctor Who experience, especially when he’d write a book for an episode I hadn’t seen yet. I can remember most vividly reading “Pyramids of Mars” while standing in a College queue.

I bought 33 Doctor Who books in 2 days when I found them at a bookstore in a mall. Many, many of them were Terrance Dicks novels.

He gave you a window into episodes you hadn’t seen in an age where re-runs, DVD’s just didn’t exist. It took years and years for my PBS station to show anyone by Tom Baker and they showed basically 1 story per week so it took nearly a year to get through even the first pass of those episodes.

Terrance was invaluable to this new fan.

He was also very influential on the show as well.

He is the Renaissance Man of Classic Who.

Congrats and Happy Birthday Terrance.

Speaking of the Doctor’s best friend, Dicks re-introduced the character for Big Finish, writing their first Sarah Jane Smith audio adventure Comeback.

He brought Doctor Who to the stage twice, with Doctor Who and the Daleks in Seven Keys to Doomsday in 1974 and then The Ultimate Adventure in 1989. He adapted both to be released on audio by Big Finish in 2008, and then wrote a followup to the latter, Beyond the Ultimate Adventure in 2011.

As well as fiction, he also co-wrote arguably the first ever reference book for the series, The Making of Doctor Who, first published in 1972 – a time long before the wealth of factual literature available to Doctor Who fans today! Other publications include The Doctor Who Monster Book and The Doctor Who Dinosaur Book.

For many of us of a certain age, however, he will always be *the* storyteller of the Doctor’s early adventures.

“I always used to say about Mary Whitehouse, if there’s one thing she hated more than sex, it was “Doctor Who”.”– Terrance Dicks.

I always used to say, Barry (Barry Letts) took over as producer, I took over as script editor, Jon Pertwee became the Doctor and the show went into colour. Modesty forbids me to say which is the most important. In fact, all these things came together.–Terrance Dicks

His break in television came when his friend Malcolm Hulke asked for his help with the writing of an episode of the popular ABC (ITV) action-adventure series The Avengers, on which Dicks received a co-writer’s credit on the broadcast. He also wrote for the popular ATV soap opera Crossroads.

In 1968 he was employed as the assistant script editor on the BBC’s popular science-fiction series Doctor Who. Dicks went on to become the main script editor on the programme the following year, and earned his first writing credit on the show when he and Hulke co-wrote the epic ten-part story The War Games which closed the sixth season and the era of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton.

Dicks went on to form a highly productive working relationship with incoming Doctor Who producer Barry Letts, working as the script editor on each of Letts’ five seasons in charge of the programme from 1970 to 1974. After his departure, Dicks continued to be associated with the programme, writing four more scripts: Robot (1975, the opening story of Tom Baker’s era as the Fourth Doctor), The Brain of Morbius (1976), Horror of Fang Rock (1977), State of Decay (1981) and the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors (1983).

Dicks also contributed heavily to Target Books’ range of novelisations of Doctor Who television stories, writing more than sixty of the titles published by the company. In this role, he would attempt to enlist the original teleplay author to write the books whenever possible, but if they could not or would not, then Dicks would often end up writing the books himself (although he also enlisted other writers including one-time Doctor Who actor Ian Marter and former series producer Philip Hinchcliffe). During the 1990s, Dicks contributed to Virgin Publishing’s line of full-length, officially-licensed original Doctor Who novels, the New Adventures, which carried on the story of the series following its cancellation as an ongoing television programme in 1989. He wrote the first of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, The Eight Doctors, which was for a time the best-selling original Doctor Who novel. His most recent contributions to the range are the “Quick Reads” books Made of Steel and Revenge of the Judoon, both featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones.

220 distinct works according to goodreads.com


About mydoctor1962

Doctor Who fan like few others. Also a fan of Science Fiction, Cooking Shows and more.

Posted on May 11, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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