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Exclusive Interviews and More: Introducing Doctor Who — The Fendahl Files

Let me tell you about Fendahl. Don’t worry, there’s a good reason.

Fendahl was a photocopied Doctor Who fanzine, published between, I think, 1978 and 1981. My brother Frank and I were the editors; we were (and still are!) identical twin brothers and were then in the upper years of secondary school and sixth form. Tom Baker was the Doctor, Louise Jameson had just departed, and the programme was produced by Graham Williams and John Nathan-Turner. The fanzine ran through Tom Baker’s later years and ceased publication soon after Peter Davison had been cast. It had a good reputation, even though its print run rarely got much higher than 120 copies or so. Niche but well liked, then.

Frank and I are both now nearing our 58th birthdays; Frank has written a number of books on English Literature and on Doctor Who; I run the annual Bedford Who Charity Cons. We managed between then and now to lose the entire archive of Fendahl and assumed they’d gone for ever.

However, Frank recently managed to trace them and we’ve been poring over the material.

Rather to our surprise, a lot of it’s very good. Inevitably, as it was written by people in their teens, the prose can sometimes grate a little, so we’ll edit a bit. But we’ve discussed things with Philip, editor of The Doctor Who Companion, and some of the better articles are probably worth now being set before a wider audience. We were lucky in being able to interview a number of the cast and crew of Who, either in person or via letter. Sometimes, the replies came recorded on cassette tape, as is the case here. There are also some contemporary opinion pieces and analysis from Tom Baker’s final three seasons, which give some insight into fan opinion at the time. Where we own the copyright, they’ll be republished here. Where we don’t, we’ll be seeking permission from the people who do.

So tomorrow, the DWC exclusively launches the first interview in an ongoing series we’ve called The Fendahl Files. Travel back to the seventies and eighties with us. Enjoy.

Simon Danes

Exclusive Interviews and More: Introducing Doctor Who — The Fendahl Files

by Simon Danes time to read: 1 min
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