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In the Comics - the Fourth Doctor
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Last update: January 2013

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    TV Comic


Issue 1204
Issue 1205
Issue 1206
Issue 1207
Issue 1208
Issue 1209

This is an extremely good way to launch the comic strip adventures of the Fourth Doctor, and in many ways the story foreshadows the following year’s television story The Seeds of Doom, with men transformed into vegetable matter and a building under attack from a large plant. The story also has unusually detailed characterisation, with Sillett coming to realise that he’s on the wrong side. Sarric, meanwhile, makes a great villain, and is actually quite horrific for a TV Comic strip. The strip’s only real failing is a somewhat abrupt ending and the convenience of having the Sarricoids destroyed by water.

Did the BBC nick the Krynoid design from here? Oh no, I  remember now... they nicked it (and the costume) from The Claws of Axos...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock

ISSUES: 1204 - 1214
COVER DATES: 11 January 1975 - 22 March 1975
ON TV: Robot - Genesis of the Daleks (Season 12)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issues 5 - 6, March - April 1993, with colour by Louise Cassell.

On a crisp January morning in 1975, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane drive in Bessie to the remote Vegpro factory in Dorset on behalf of the Ministry. There they meet Mr Malcolm Sillett who shows them a man-made plant called the Sarricoids created by Professor Sarric, an important new food source. Their conversation is monitored by Sarric, whose face is heavily bandaged.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane depart, but the Doctor is troubled and detours to the village of Suffingham. There, in the local pub, they talk to Joe who tells them about Frank Lampard’s accident whilst working at the factory fourteen months before which left him mindless. They set off for the Lampards’ cottage, but the landlord phones the factory to warn Sarric about the Doctor’s snooping. Sarric orders a little accident to be arranged. Seeing Frank Lampard, the Doctor notices a strange mark on the man’s arm.

The Doctor hurriedly leaves, intending to call London for reinforcements. He says Lampard’s condition is transforming him from man to vegetable. However, he finds the local telephone box vandalised and soon they are being followed by another car. As the Doctor attempts escape, he realises Bessie’s brakes have been cut. They are heading down a steep hill right towards a Vegpro lorry.

The Doctor uses an anti-gravity device to avoid the lorry, but he and Sarah-Jane are soon being pursued on foot. They elude capture by hiding in a wood, then head back to the Vegpro factory. Told of the Doctor’s escape, Sarric decides to bring things forward and ‘activate’ Lampard. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane climb a tree to get over the electric fence around the compound, but the branch breaks and Sarah-Jane plunges towards the ground.

Sarah-Jane manages to clear the fence and the Doctor catches her. They slip away into the compound but the guards are suspicious and alert Sillett and Sarric. Waiting for dark, the Doctor and Sarah don protective clothing and enter the Sarricoid growing chamber... just as Sarric planned. His tendril-covered hand reaches for a switch to stimulate the plants.

Even at three in the morning, the Doctor's libido was insatiable...

The plants attack, bombarding the pair with spores. The Doctor manages to get Sarah-Jane and himself out, but they are then confronted by Sillett, armed with a pistol.

The Doctor questions SIllett about Sarric, unnerving him by suggesting that Sarric is an alien. Taking advantage, the Doctor overpowers the man and they escape into the compound. There they plan to use a forklift truck to get over the electrified fence.

The Doctor crashes the forklift through the fence and he and Sarah-Jane escape, heading for the village, but Lampard, controlled by Sarric, begins to close in on them as Sarah-Jane twists her ankle.

The Doctor leads Lampard away, losing him at a stream because the Sarricoids do not like water. Returning for Sarah-Jane, the Doctor says they must get to a telephone. Sillett, meanwhile, spies on Sarric and realises that he is indeed an alien. Sarric knows Sillett has seen his true form and orders his capture, but Sillett bluffs the guards and prepares to escape.

Sillett escapes the compound in a jeep, but Sarric gives Lampard orders to stop him. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane, meanwhile, head for the Lampard cottage. There the Doctor explains the situation to Mrs Lampard who takes him to the vicarage. The vicar believes his incredible story and allows him to phone the ministry. Sillett crashes when Lampard appears in front of the jeep. The Doctor drags Sillett clear, but the monster that was Lampard is close behind.

Sarric's comb-over was out of control. Time for a  good pruning again...

The Doctor, carrying the unconscious Sillett, Sarah-Jane, the vicar and Mrs Lampard run to the church, but are forced to take refuge in the bell-tower when the monster smashes through a window. Sarric converts other humans into Sarricoid monsters and then gives Lampard more power. The monster grows, spreading up the bell-tower. The Doctor’s party is saved by helicopters sent by the minister who spray the monster with water, which dissolves it. Using Sillett’s knowledge of the factory, they enter and destroy the Sarricoids and Sarric with hoses.

Issue 1210
Issue 1211
Issue 1212
Issue 1213
Issue 1214
Issue 5
Issue 6

Almost always referred to as Sarah-Jane (much like her latter day television persona), Sarah makes her comic strip debut in the Doctor Who Holiday Special 1974 with the Third Doctor in the strip Doomcloud, though she would not join the regular weekly strip until the era of the Fourth Doctor. Her journalistic credentials get mentioned occasionally, such as in Return of the Daleks! and The Sinister Sea, when her editor sends her investigating in Scotland, and it is clear that the Doctor has a very low opinion of journalists, but she is usually a fairly generic female, getting into scrapes, spraining her ankle (though that also happens on television in The Android Invasion), and suffering the Doctor’s interminable chauvinism and outright rudeness with stoic silence. She even has to pretend to be a boy called Smithson in The Emperor’s Spy. She does

Sarah has a good idea... for once...

save the Doctor’s life twice in The Wreckers, and again in Mind Snatch where she even defeats the evil Goablins, and programs the TARDIS, as she had done previously in Virus. According to The Space Ghost she has a flatmate, and in Mind Snatch we meet her cousin Tom, who she presumably abandons facing charges of body snatching. In The Wreckers she claims to always carry smelling salts with her, which seems an odd thing to do. She makes her last regular appearance in the strip in The Hoaxers, where she and the Doctor uncharacteristically swindle an old man out of half a million pounds, but returns in the 1977 annual (about two months after her TV counterpart left the series) in the story The Tansbury Experiment, where her journalistic credentials are again mentioned, before making her swansong in Dredger, where the Doctor gives her another of his verbal assaults for old time’s sake. She returned to the comic strip for the Seventh Doctor story Train Flight, and again for a K9 and Company-style strip City of Devils.


The Doctor's amiability was what Sarah-Jane really liked about him...Issue 1215Issue 1216
Issue 1217Issue 1218

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Martin Asbury

ISSUES: 1215 - 1222
COVER DATES: 29 March 1975 - 17 May 1975
ON TV: Genesis of the Daleks - Revenge of the Cybermen (Season 12)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issue 17, March 1994, with colour by Louise Cassell.

While the Doctor studies experiments by a man named Messeter, an alien force from a space station beyond the Milky Way tries to abduct the TARDIS. The Doctor jams the alien signal, bringing the TARDIS back to Earth and he and Sarah-Jane climb aboard before the aliens increase their power. Aboard the space station, Shazar reports to his masters - the Daleks!

As the TARDIS is drawn aboard the space station, Sarah-Jane suspects Time Lord intervention. Meanwhile, Shazar and the Daleks prepare to capture the time ship and create from it a fleet of craft to invade the galaxy. The Doctor tries a last minute plan to defeat his enemy, which leaves him unconscious, and Shazar and the Daleks board the ship ready to exterminate him.

The Daleks are ready to exterminate when Shazar realises the Doctor has destroyed the power circuit of the time factor. He reasons with the Daleks; they can hold the girl hostage and force the Doctor to rebuild the time circuits. The Daleks launch the station into the outer star systems of the galaxy into the corona of a sun where the Time Lords will never be able to trace them. On the planet Jewel, home of the Time Lords, all trace of the Doctor’s TARDIS has vanished and the Time Lords launch an intergalactic time search. The Doctor is in a deep coma and Dalek patience is wearing thin, so Shazar, himself half Time Lord, wires Sarah-Jane to a device hoping the pain inflicted on her stirs the Doctor from his condition.

Shazar’s plan works and the Doctor revives. He recognises Shazar as a fallen Time Lord with a greed for power who once tried to dominate Earth. As a punishment, the Time Lords shrunk him and his TARDIS, trapping him like a genie in a bottle. Shazar seizes Sarah-Jane and compels the Doctor to repair the TARDIS - the Daleks are manufacturing a fleet of similar craft.

Issue 1219Issue 1220
Issue 1221Issue 1222
Sarah quickly pulled up her trousers and returned her attention to the problem in hand...

With a fleet of TARDISes but no time circuit in the Daleks’ grasp, the Doctor decides to play for time and demands to be taken to the chief Dalek. Despite Shazar’s protests, the Doctor convinces the Daleks that he needs Sarah-Jane’s assistance and also that he needs cirenium to power the TARDIS and that Shazar should go to find some. As he hoped, Shazar is detected by the Time Lords as he departs the station and brought before the justice council of the Time Lords, but Shazar attempts to convince them that the Doctor has allied himself with the Daleks.

Issue 17

Another strong adventure with plenty of excitement and the comic strip’s first original Time Lord renegade, complimented by some good artwork. The Time Lord’s justice council have been lifted directly from The Three Doctors, and the artwork is so good that the actors are even recognisable! The only real oddity here is that the Time Lord homeworld, revealed a year before on television as Gallifrey, is here referred to as Jewel, but then it’s these little oddities that give the comic strip its peculiar charm...

Shazar convinces the Time Lords, but his request for cirenium reveals to them the true nature of things. The Doctor, meanwhile, rigs a primitive force field that destroys two Daleks. They are pursued, but escape into the Dalek ship. Shazar prepares to return with the cirenium, hoping to steal the Doctor’s TARDIS.

As the Doctor and Sarah-Jane continue to evade capture, Shazar returns to the space station with the cirenium. Sarah-Jane checking her appearance in a reflective surface gives the Doctor an idea... Sharaz and the Daleks track them down to the refrigeration unit and the Daleks open fire.

The Doctor has set up huge reflective sheets so the Daleks are firing at reflections. His ploy is soon discovered, but the Daleks have already damaged the refrigeration unit and the heat of the sun outside is starting to take effect. To enable their escape, the Dalek leader orders the cirenium fuel rods to be installed in the fleet of TARDISes, but the fuel is incompatible and the craft are all destroyed on take off. Shazar pleads with the Doctor not to leave him aboard the disintegrating station and the Doctor takes him aboard the TARDIS, but there is no time to repair the damaged systems. However, as the station explodes, the Time Lords rescue the TARDIS and take it to Jewel. There Shazar is sentenced by the Time Lords and left trapped in his diminutive TARDIS on a primitive planet.

Feeding her ugly pills had failed, but a double compilation of Whitney Houston finally shattered Sarah's resolve...


Issue 1223Sarah was horrified when she saw the Doctor's accounts...Issue 1228

SCRIPT: Dennis Hooper
ART: Martin Asbury

ISSUES: 1223 - 1231
COVER DATES: 24 May 1975 - 19 July 1975
ON TV: The Sontaran Experiment (edited repeat)
REPRINTS: Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issue 19, April 1994, with colour by Louise Cassell.

Bound for the countryside, the TARDIS receives a distress call, a call also picked up by the horse-headed Equinans and identified as one of their own vessels on the eighth satellite of the gas giant Gorgus. However, their attempt to land results in an emergency and they are forced to jettison in an escape pod. The TARDIS is also caught as it approaches... in the pull of something with the power of a dwarf star.

The Equinan ship, with the Spacemaster still aboard, crash lands on the planet. The TARDIS escapes the pull using its time travel ability then materialises close by. Stepping out in spacesuits to investigate, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane discover a graveyard of crashed spaceships.

Following an attack by an enormous snake-like creature, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane investigate a recent addition to the graveyard - the Equinan ship. Aboard they find the Spacemaster, but difficulty communicating leads him to treat the intruders as a threat. Meanwhile, outside, a greater threat arrives in the form of several armoured vehicles.

The Doctor disarms the Spacemaster then communicates with it in Trillic, ‘a sort of cybernetic Esperanto’. It activates a screen so they can see the vehicles and the strange monkey-like creatures surrounding them then uses a language monitor to overcome the language barrier. Realising they are all allies, they elect to hide in the engine room while the creatures plunder the ship’s cargo. But when they have done, their leader, Sleeg, orders the ship to be incinerated.

As the ship begins to burn, Spacemaster Roppy leads the Doctor and Sarah-Jane to the ship’s food cold store and oxygen plant where they wait until the flames die down. They then set off after the pirates aboard a small craft salvaged from another wrecked Equinan ship. However, the tracks they are following come to an abrupt halt... and they are being observed on a monitor by one of the pirates.

The pirate reports to Sleeg who says all three of the intruders will make good slaves for their masters. The Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Roppy fall - literally - into a trap. Captives of the pirates, the Doctor realises they Kryllians, a primitive species who are being assisted by a more advanced race. The Kryllians throw them into a cell carved from solid rock.

Escaping from the cell when their gaolers come to fetch them, the Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Roppy release the other prisoners, but the Doctor pursuades Roppy to keep his men back while he goes into the Kryllian city alone. There he finds the control centre and the more advanced species behind the Kryllians. It is the Vogans (see here for their previous adventure).

The Doctor returns to Roppy and the prisoners. They have to get aboard the Vogan ship to escape from the planet. Hypnotising the guards, the Doctor’s plan succeeds and Roppy and the prisoners soon blast off leaving the Doctor and Sarah-Jane to destroy the Vogan equipment responsible for the crash-landings. But the Kryllian general suspects something is wrong after speaking to one of the hypnotised guards and orders the ship to be brought back.

General Hariffa activates a magnetic force field and the escaping ship begins to lose speed. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane, meanwhile, enter the force field control centre and destroy the force field. The ship escapes and Roppy calls in the Equinan battle fleet to mop up the Kryllians. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane make it back to the TARDIS and escape.

Issue 1224Issue 1229
Issue 1225
Issue 1230
Issue 1226
Issue 1231
Issue 1227
Issue 19
The mighty Vogans... overthrown in a single panel...

The Vogans are rather surplus to requirements in this strip, only appear in four panels and pose no threat, being quickly overthrown in just one panel, which makes this story rather less engaging and successful than the previous two. The Equinan look pretty daft too, but then so do the Kryllians, so everyone’s a loser. Names are introduced randomly, as and when needed, and the whole thing feels less loved than what preceded it.

The makeover was less successful than Sleeg had hoped...


Issue 1232Issue 1233
Issue 1234Issue 1235
Issue 1236Issue 1237
Issue 1238

After the general excellence of Gerry Haylock and Martin Asbury’s artwork, a return to John Canning’s energetic but untidy and largely inaccurate style feels like a huge backward step, especially when coupled with a script as bland as this. Since the TV show hasn’t presented a pure historical adventure since The Highlanders some eight years before, this story feels markedly out of step with the series, as does the character of the Doctor, who calls Sarah-Jane ‘stupid girl’ then later goes on a tirade about how her actions are ‘just like a woman’ (ie. irrational). Just to make him even more unlikeable he has a go at the French too. That the TARDIS was knocked off course by meteorites and not directed by the Time Lords seems to oddly rattle him and he uncharacteristically wants to leave because of potential danger, as though the Time Lords direct the TARDIS on every journey. Then, once he’s decided to stay, he wants to meddle with history! In many ways this is like a leftover from the 1960s.

Canning does give great energy and accuracy to some of his images...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1232 - 1238
COVER DATES: 26 July 1975 - 6 September 1975
ON TV: The Ark in Space (edited repeat), Terror of the Zygons (Season 13)

Again on its way to 20th Century Earth, the TARDIS is deflected by meteorites and lands in the early 19th Century. Recognising the times as dangerous, the Doctor wants to depart, but Sarah-Jane is eager to explore and, heading for a river, sees something strange below the surface,

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane both believe the object to be an early submarine. The Doctor dives into the river to investigate and saves Sir Adrian Stapleford and his servant Sam from certain suffocation. Sir Adrian then saves the Doctor from being arrested as a French spy by Captain Livesy. Later at Sir Adrian’s home, the Doctor reveals that the submarine was sabotaged.

Livesy expresses his suspicions of the Doctor and Smithson to Lieutenant Childers, but the Doctor decides to help Sir Adrian improve his submarine, despite Sarah-Jane’s fears about meddling in history. However, his efforts are watched by Lord Trumpworth, who disapproves of Sir Adrian’s endeavours. Still Sir Adrian, Sam, Smithson and the Doctor go down in the submarine, but Lord Trumpworth, really a French agent, tumbles a stack of logs into the river to scupper their attempt.

The submarine is badly buffeted about, but the Doctor insists they wait until Trumpworth believes his plan has succeeded before surfacing. Once they do, they investigate the scene of the mishap and there Sarah-Jane finds a handkerchief marked with a ‘T’. But they will need more proof if they are to convince the likes of Captain Livesy, who arrives with armed marines to arrest them as French spies. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane flee and Livesy gives orders to shoot.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane avoid capture and dispatch by hiding in a tree. Sarah at first wants to leave, but then decides they have to help Sir Adrian and Sam by exposing Trumpworth. Livesy, meanwhile, is convincing Sir Adrian that the Doctor and Smithson are Napoleon’s spies. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane reach Trumpworth’s grand house on the back of a haycart, but there are mantraps in the grounds and the Doctor is about to step into one.

The Doctor is caught in the mantrap. Unable to remove it alone, he and Sarah are forced to summon help and they are soon prisoners inside Trumpworth’s home. Unable to act further against Sir Adrian’s submarine, Trumpworth instead intends to have the Doctor and Smithson taken to Calais. The discovery by Livesy’s men of the TARDIS brings Sir Adrian and Sam to investigate. Sir Adrian is doubtful about the Doctor and Smithson but Sam believes them honest and manages to convince his master, adding that his cousin drove the pair on his haycart to Trumpworth’s manor that morning. However, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane are already aboard a coach bound for the coast.

An attacking highwayman gives the Doctor the chance he needs. He karate chops the Lord and

The more you think about Sarah's thoughts, the more wrong it seems...

he and Sarah-Jane flee, but they are pursued by the highwayman who turns out to be Sam. He ferries them back to Sir Adrian’s home where the TARDIS awaits. The Doctor allows both Sam and his master to see inside, then convinces them to discontinue their work on the submarine. As Livesy prepares to break down the door, the TARDIS departs.

    MAD Magazine (UK Edition)


Issue 161

Perhaps buoyed by the success of the new Doctor, the UK edition of Mad Magazine turned its bizarre attentions to the series in 1975.

SCRIPT: Geoff Rowley
ART: Steve Parkhouse

ISSUE: 161 (UK Edition)
COVER DATE: None given (1975)

The Doctor, Hairy and Squarer land aboard a space ark where geniuses are held in suspended animation. Unfortunately the Doctor is infected with Xeno-Acidic Mebates, or something equally meaningless, which causes all his clothes to continually grow, including a self-knitting scarf. Hairy attempts to save him by reviving

some of the genii, including the first three Doctors, but none of them have ever had to contend with a self-knitting scarf before. However, the Peter Cushing Doctor, who proclaims himself the real Doctor Ooh with something the small-screen pretenders can never have - box office magic! He then presses a button leaving them all stranded in space on the still-growing scarf.

The Four Doctors (and Sarah in the tissue box - don't ask)

MAD Magazine’s somewhat scattershot approach to its target makes this strip rather hit or miss in its laughs, with the usual targets such as budgetary constraints and technobabble rubbing shoulders with stuff about Harry being a sailor, Peter Cushing as the big screen Doctor and, for some reason, Sarah losing most of her clothes. Don’t expect a sensible plot or a resolution, but the caricatures of the previous Doctors are rather nice and there are a few good jokes in here, though not necessarily the Doctor Who ones.

    TV Comic


Issue 1239The Doctor's cheery prophecy did wonders for crew morale...Issue 1242
Issue 1240
Issue 1243

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1239 - 1244
COVER DATES: 13 September 1975 - 18 October 1975
ON TV: Terror of the Zygons - Planet of Evil (Season 13)

Four hundred miles off the east coast of Scotland, an oil rig is attacked by a giant wave in otherwise passive conditions. Contacted by her editor, Sarah-Jane reports the news to the Doctor, but he is on holiday so she goes along with only her cameraman Ted. However, once they take to the air by press helicopter, they see a strange eddying in the sea  below. Suddenly the helicopter starts to lose altitude.

The Doctor receives word from Sarah-Jane’s editor that she is missing and a full-scale search is on. The Doctor joins the search, but only the pilot is found and he is in a bad way. Suddenly they are caught in a gigantic wave. They survive, but the coastal town is destroyed. The Doctor fears they are facing something malevolent that can control the elements.

The Doctor attends an emergency meeting to convince the government that the threat is alien in nature, but they disagree and place the Royal Navy in charge of the matter. The pilot recovers consciousness and confirms that he saw something beneath the sea, circular in shape and as big as St. Paul’s, but he knows nothing of Sarah-Jane and Ted’s fate. The Navy launch a nuclear submarine, but the Doctor fears it will never return. It locates a mysterious object beneath the sea and launches missiles.

Issue 1241
Issue 1244

How odd that, just as the series tackles a story about attacks on Scottish oil rigs (Terror of the Zygons), so does the comic strip, though I’m sure four hundred miles off the east coast of Scotland puts it somewhere on dry land in Norway. This starts well as a thriller, and the disappearance of Sarah-Jane is well handled to build tension. Keeping the aliens mysterious and unseen until late in the tale also helps keep the tension high. However, once the Doctor boards their ship nothing is really resolved or explained, just blown up and disposed of. The Doctor says the aliens get what all marauding aliens deserve, but their actual ambitions are never made clear and nor is why they die.

The missile is on target but the undersea object begins to grow. It also counterattacks, destroying the submarine. The Doctor is summoned by Admiral Slingsby: it’s up to him now. He asks for twenty-four hours and takes a small craft out, but the aliens detect it. During the buffeting it receives, the Doctor blacks out. When he recovers he is with Sarah-Jane.

Sarah explains that she was caught in an air bubble and brought down into the alien base. Twenty-four hours later the Doctor joined her. Escaping their cell, they release other prisoners, but then see a vast tank filled with what appear to be alien jellyfish.

Fearing for national security, Admiral Slingsby curtails the Doctor’s twenty-four hours to just one hour before he launches an all out strike. The Doctor, meanwhile, with the help of crewmen from the oil rig, increases the pressure aboard the alien craft to raise it to the surface. The aliens perish during this operation and then the Navy blow their ship to fragments.


SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1245 - 1250
COVER DATES: 25 October 1975 - 29 November 1975
ON TV: Pyramids of Mars - The Android Invasion (Season 13)

At Station 5, latest of Britain’s tracking stations, situated on desolate Yorkshire moorland, a strange signal is picked up and then a huge, sinister ghost appears in the antenna dish. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane head off to investigate. The only explanation Professor Les Mullen can offer is that the ghost was somehow engineered by the Reverend Wagstaff, who tried to oppose the building of the station next to the ruins of his precious Tordale Abbey. The Doctor goes to speak to him, but the Reverend says he warned them the station would be cursed and now it is.

Wagstaffe saw the apparition that night and also saw a ray of light shining from a stone cross in the abbey. The Doctor examined the cross and finds an inscription in ancient Latin: ‘Hewn from the heaven-sent stone, blessed be the cross erected in the year of Our Lord 972.’ He returns to Station 5 and suggests they repeat the previous night’s events while Sarah-Jane keeps watch outside. The ghost returns and Sarah-Jane screams.

The Doctor finds Sarah-Jane ice cold and unconscious and has her taken to the station’s sick bay where she begins to recover. He has her sent to the local hospital just to be on the safe side then. The Doctor returns to the station the following afternoon with a BBC camera crew. He goes to the Abbey where Wagstaffe tries to prevent him access, but the Doctor climbs up to the stone cross. However, when he touches it he is thrown back by the energy it contains.

The Doctor is unharmed. His investigation proves to him that the cross was an object directed at Earth and activated afterwards. He wires it to the BBC van and gets Mullen to play back a recording of the strange signal picked up by Station 5. Sure enough, the ghost appears in the antenna dish. Now the Doctor is sure it’s a threat to Earth. He goes to visit Sarah-Jane in hospital, but she has discharged herself against her doctor’s advice.

The Doctor learns that Sarah received a visit from Wagstaffe before discharging herself. He gets on to the local police. As the Doctor returns to Station 5, a maintenance man is electrocuted, and the Doctor believes it is the enemy’s next move. Mullen orders an immediate evacuation of the station, but the Doctor remains with a volunteer called Stephen. The alien signal comes again. Just then someone shouts ‘Doctor!’ from the doorway.

It is Sarah-Jane, but the Doctor realises she is under alien influence when she pulls a gun on him. He knocks her out and explains that Wagstaffe and his followers are also under alien control. The Doctor goes out to confront Wagstaffe and the ghost, and a mental battle begins, which the Doctor wins, freeing the enslaved humans and destroying the station antenna.

A spooky space spectre. Eeek, indeed...

Although it could do with rather more explanation as to why the nameless aliens have activated their device, how it actually functions and what they ultimately want (not to mention what they would have done if a tracking station hadn’t been built conveniently next to the abbey), this is a reasonable story that just about carries the interest. Sarah’s disappearance adds a bit of a twist just when it all seems about to run out of steam. The abbey is referred to as both Torvale and Tordale.

Issue 1245Issue 1246Issue 1247
Sarah-Jane's new job as an undercover hooker was not working out...
Issue 1248Issue 1249Issue 1250
    Doctor Who Annual 1976


Doctor Who Annual 1976

Wow, the drugs in 1975 must have been astonishingly pure, and both the artist and the writer of this strip must have taken lots of them as the story is almost incomprehensible both narratively and visually. Clearly World Distributor had no reference photos of either Sarah and Harry, who look nothing like they should do, and only about three images of Tom Baker, which are reproduced faithfully regardless of how appropriately they sit in the story. Bonkers.

It ain't much fun for us either...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton

REPRINTS: The Amazing World of Doctor Who, 1976 (see below for cover)

The TARDIS materialises on a young, violent planet. Stepping outside to explore, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry see huge snakes, but are soon cut off from the ship when a huge, winged lizard lands on top of it. The Doctor tells his companions to do nothing as the creatures are in their imagination, but Harry is less convinced when giant spiders appear. However, the giant spiders are intelligent and peaceful. Their ship crashed on the planet, since when they have been at the mercy of bird-like creatures called Ventros, which are also imaginary. They all head back to the TARDIS. Here the Doctor explains that the atmosphere of the planet is a living organism, highly sensitive to primal fears. The Doctor creates a biotronic neural attachment that temporarily removes fear, thus allowing them to repair the spiders’ spaceship.


The Doctor's incomprehension is echoed by a generation of school children...
Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford. Probably.

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton

REPRINTS: The Amazing World of Doctor Who, 1976

In Neuronic space, which is a maelstrom of limitless dimensions, the Doctor and Sarah are fretting as Harry has yet to materialise. When he does appear, he says he got diverted, but can explain no more as the police box is carried away. When the travellers emerge into the city of Skarol, they meet Skizos, a Neuroid, who tells them that if their ability to absorb neuronic energy is high enough they may be spared to breed on the farm. They keep a herd of humans to absorb the excess neuronic energy waste that would otherwise build up to critical in their own bodies, preventing them from exploding. The humans die as a result. They will test their ability by draining the energy from Sarah, but Harry shorts out the system by touching Sarah’s hand which blows up the machine. Back aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor still wants an explanation of what happened to Harry, and Harry reveals himself to also be a Neuroid, but one who has learnt to disperse his energy waste into the neuronic biosphere. He had to stop Skizos. They are reunited with the real Harry and leave Neuronic space.

The Amazing World of Doctor Who
Doctor Who Annual 1976

Actually, if I described the last strip as bonkers, then this is bonkers raised to the power of ten. The storyline is virtually impossible to follow, the artwork just bizarre, with a moustachioed Harry, a Sarah who looks different in every panel and a Doctor copied from the same stock photos as in the previous strip (although there’s one frame that bizarrely and anachronistically makes him look like Colin Baker’s Doctor in costume). This is just too weird and nonsensical to be even remotely enjoyable.

    TV Comic Annual 1976


TV Comic Annual 1976
Issue 14
Sarah-Jane tried not to look at the Doctor. He was wearing his creepy head again.

And it’s back to relative normality. For an annual strip this isn’t actually too bad - a simple historical tale that’s never going to thrill with its depth but does generate quite a nice sense of the period and works well for what it is, complete with authentic-sounding dialogue. The artwork is generally pretty good and usually coloured with sympathy - although a turquoise Sarah-Jane and Doctor hiding behind a pink tree lets the side down a little, as do a few other panels - but artist John M. Burns clearly finds it impossible to capture either Tom Baker’s or Elizabeth Sladen’s likeness, with the former looking particularly strange and occasionally rather sinister, as in the panel shown here.

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John M. Burns

REPRINTS: Doctor Who Classic Comics, Issue 14, December 1993.

The TARDIS accidentally takes the Doctor and Sarah to Saxon England during a Danish invasion. Led by Ulric, son of the leader, the Danes abduct the TARDIS, believing it to be a gift from their god, Woden. The Doctor realises that their only hope of retrieving the ship is to help the Saxons repel the invaders, so he and Sarah-Jane befriend the Saxon leader Helmuth and organise a plan of attack. The Danes, believing themselves blessed by Woden, attack recklessly and are easily driven back with a flaming haycart and burning arrows, and the Saxons take care of their longboats, setting fire to them. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane celebrate with the Saxons before returning to the TARDIS.

    TV Comic


The Daleks just adored their new widescreen TV...
Issue 1251
Issue 1252
Issue 1253
Issue 1254

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1251 - 1258
COVER DATES: 6 December 1975 - 24 January 1976
ON TV: The Android Invasion - The Brain of Morbius (Season 13), Genesis of the Daleks (edited repeat)

The planet Ercos, in the star system of Relram, where live the peaceful, Centaur-like Klims, is invaded by the Daleks, who kill their leader Garu, and enslave the population. Meanwhile, on Earth, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane are heading for a meal in a country inn when Bessie refuses to move forward. The Doctor deduces that the Time Lords want him back at the cottage to go on a mission.

Arriving on Ercos, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane see a Klim being pursued through the lush forest by Daleks. They follow and witness the Klim fall into a pit where he awaits collection by the Daleks. The Doctor effects a rescue with his scarf, but the Daleks are already returning for the Klim.

As the Daleks announce the capture of the escaped prisoner to their slave workers, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane pull the Klim from the pit and make good their escape before the Dalek patrol arrives. The Klim, Ticon, son of Gulag, leads them to a secret base behind a waterfall where he explains that the Daleks are drilling for some vital mineral. However, the Daleks have captured the TARDIS and now know their arch enemy is on Ercos.

The Daleks launch a massive search for the Doctor, but cannot find him behind the waterfall. However, the Dalek commander enlists the help of a weak-willed Klim called Luco who leads the Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Ticon into a trap in the Dalek camp.

The Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Ticon suspect Luco of treachery, but follow him into a cave containing the Dalek drilling machine. As the Daleks close in, the Doctor gets the machine open and they hide inside. The Daleks kill Luco. The Doctor starts the drill and tunnels away from the Dalek ambush. He realises the Daleks purpose in employing a massive drill - it’s all a matter of revenge.

The Doctor reveals that the Klims and their planet are just instruments in a Dalek plan to take revenge on Earth - they will turn Ercos into a gigantic missile aimed at Earth. The Daleks exert remote control over the drill and the Doctor, Sarah Jane and Ticon are forced to evacuate into the cave system, but the Dalek commander orders the tunnels sealed - the caves will become their tomb.

The tunnels are sealed, but the Doctor leads Sarah-Jane and Ticon along the course of an underground river. However, the Daleks have repaired their drill and are ready to explode their charges in six hours and thirty-seven minutes time, launching Ercos on a collision course with Earth. The Doctor’s party are faced by a whirlpool. With time running short, they are forced to dive in.

The whirpool delivers them to the outside world. They make it back to the Dalek camp in time to see the Daleks preparing to leave - with the TARDIS. Ticon organises a revolt amongst his fellow Klims and the Doctor and Sarah-Jane make it back to the TARDIS. Panicked by the sudden uprising, the Dalek commander launches his ship. The Doctor uses a bomb to seal the shaft. The Dalek charges explode, but with the shaft sealed, the blast is not enough to knock the planet from its orbit, creating instead a huge mountain. The Klim decide to call it Doctor Mountain.

The plot to use Ercos as a gigantic missile to destroy the Earth may seem a trifle silly, but it’s really no sillier than The Dalek Invasion of Earth. There is much action and excitement in this strip, and the tight focus on the Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Ticon in a race against time with the Daleks helps to keep the narrative tightly focused amid all the breathless daring-do. The Daleks are extremely in character here, taking slaves for mining operations and ruthlessly exterminating their temporary allies, and even show their cunning by preying on a weak-minded individual to get them what they want. It’s not the best Dalek strip by quite some margin, but it’s certainly not at all bad.

Issue 1255
Issue 1256
Issue 1257
Issue 1258


SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1259 - 1265
COVER DATES: 31 January 1976 - 13 March 1976
ON TV: The Seeds of Doom (Season 13)

The Trinny and Suzanna of space gave their critique of the Doctor and Sarah-Jane...

Drawn to an enormous space station by the Time Lords, the TARDIS lands in a synthetic jungle. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane investigate, finding signs of an advanced civilisation but no signs of life. As the Doctor tries to decipher a computerised message, Sarah-Jane further investigates, but on finding an airlock door, she screams.

The Doctor rushes to Sarah-Jane’s rescue. In the airlock is a skeleton. The Doctor wonders if the victim was arriving or attempting to leave. Meanwhile, across the aeons of timeless space, an armada of Bendriggan space vehicles hurtles ever closer. Aboard the flagship, Admiral Cosmicon, Supreme Bendriggan Fleet Commander, sees the Doctor and Sarah-Jane aboard via the station’s internal video channels. He immediately orders the launch of battle-craft to retake the station from the aliens. On the station, the Doctor has deciphered the message. It says there is a virus aboard and no Bendriggan should enter the station.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane realise the Bendriggans are approaching and determine to stop them entering for their own safety. A robot advance party board the station. The Doctor attempts to communicate, but the robots shoot him and Sarah-Jane down.

Admiral Cosmicon orders the Doctor, Sarah-Jane and the TARDIS be brought aboard the flagship. The Doctor tries to warn the Bendriggans of the contamination, but he cannot make himself understood and by the time he finds a way to communicate it could be too late...

Unable to communicate, Admiral Cosmicon has the Doctor and Sarah locked away. He thinks there is more to these primitives than meets the eye. The Doctor tries to communicate by writing a message in Time Lord logic, but the messenger is struck down by the virus on his way to the Admiral. The Bendriggans accuse the Doctor and Sarah-Jane of murder.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane are sentenced to death, but saved at the last moment when Haddinon, a Bendriggan expert in codes, deciphers the Doctor’s message. The Doctor further wins their trust by showing them the interior of the TARDIS, but as they leave Bendriggans begin to collapse from the virus. The Doctor has won their confidence too late.

Admiral Cosmicon places his ship in quarantine, but is then struck down dead by the virus. The Doctor realises they must destroy the flagship and the station to save the Bendriggan race, so sets the flagship on a collision course with the station, escaping in the TARDIS in the nick of time.

Issue 1259
Issue 1261
Issue 1263

The idea of a language divide forming the basis of a Doctor Who story wouldn’t be given any significant attention in the television series until The Christmas Invasion and had only really reared its head previously in The Web Planet, but Virus takes the idea and uses it well to generate much of the story’s drama, and does a pretty good job of it too. The Doctor’s solution to the problem might be crude, but it is effective. What is striking by this stage, though, is that the writers of the TV Comic strip seem to think that the Time Lords always direct the TARDIS to its destination. I guess they must have watched this season’s The Brain of Morbius and not much else besides...

Issue 1260
Issue 1262
Issue 1264
Issue 1265
   Monster Fun Comic


SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Unknown, but in the style of Leo Baxendale. Possibly Mike Brown.

COVER DATE: 6 March 1976

A postman collecting mail from a postbox is accosted by an elephant, a pterodactyl and, finally, Doctor Poo who are all inside the postbox, which is in actual fact the Tardizzy. When the postman leaves in a huff, Poo goes to see the Prigadier at U-NIT HQ to help stop any alien invasions, but the Prigadier reports that all is quiet. When Poo leaves, the Prigadier reports him to the police and he is soon pursued by a mob of coppers. One of them grabs him and stuffs him back in the Tardizzy. The policeman and the Prigadier are both, in actual fact, aliens in disguise.

Ah, the sort of comedy that made Crackerjack (“Crackerjack!!!”) seem sophisticated by comparison. Doctor Poo also puts in a cameo appearance in Issue 51’s Mummy’s the Word where he is hiding inside an Egyptian tomb to catch up on his sleep. Under no circumstances should this strip be confused with the same titled Doctor Poo that appeared in Viz during the 1990s. That strip isn’t quite so innocent in its humour...

Prig is an unusually 70s word that I don't think I've heard since...
   TV Comic


Issue 1266
Issue 1268
Issue 1270
Issue 1272
Issue 1267
Issue 1269
Issue 1271

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1266 - 1272
COVER DATES: 20 March 1976 - 1 May 1976

The TARDIS lands in a vineyard in Italy in 1944, but the ship is attacked by a German ME 109 fighter plane, damaged and knocked on its side. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane struggle to the exit, but they must get out without being seen.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane escape but are spotted. They seek refuge in a church, where the Doctor activates his lateral transmitter. This brings the TARDIS to them, but its materialisation is seen by a local named Marco who reports to Father Antonio. The Doctor realises it will take some time to repair the

Mounting the console on the wall had seemed like such a good idea at the time...

TARDIS’s circuits so goes to befriend the local priest, but he walks into a party of hostile locals led by Father Antonio.

The locals want to put the Doctor to death, suspected of being a German spy, but the approach of a German convoy forces them to delay. Father Antonio takes the Doctor into the church and keeps him and the TARDIS safe by pointing out to the Germans that the church owns a genuine painting by Raphael. The Doctor is happy, but Father Antonio suspects the Germans will return. Outside, the German Lieutenant Schuler says that Reich Marshall Goering will be interested in the Church’s content.

'Whoops' was rather a mild expletive considering where the dog was biting him...

With the Germans looting art treasures, Father Antonio is still suspicious of the Doctor, so the Doctor shows him the interior of the TARDIS to convince him, but this only makes him think it is the work of devils. The Time Lords move the TARDIS forward to 1976, when the ruins of the Monte Cassino Monastery have been rebuilt, which finally convinces the old man that the Doctor is telling the truth. But back in 1944, the Germans move in to steal the Raphael...

The Germans kill the Italian sentry in the church and steal the painting. Father Antonio has a spy on the inside who reveals it has been taken to Villa  Ranuchi, but the Doctor’s observations of the villa reveal its high security. Several

days later a maid named Maria reports to the Doctor that the Germans intend to ship the art treasures back to Germany on a morning train the next day. The Doctor seems oddly pleased.

The Doctor plans to ambush the train in the mountains. The raid is a complete success, and the villagers soon have the treasures loaded aboard mules and heading back to the village, but news reaches the German force which sends out tanks  - if the villagers took the treasures, then their village will be destroyed.

With only minutes to spare, the villagers get the treasures into the church, and the Doctor, Sarah-Jane and Father Antonio load them into the TARDIS. As the Germans hammer on the church door, the TARDIS departs. They search the church but find nothing. The Time Lords flip the TARDIS forward to 1948, and the treasures are returned to Father Antonio and the village of Borosini.

It’s rather hard to accept that the Time Lords would care about art treasures, let alone direct the TARDIS to Italy to save some from the Germans. In fact, Time Lords and TARDIS aside, this is mostly just standard action fare and  uncharacteristic of Doctor Who. There is a wonderful speech balloon during the train derailment when one of the Germans cries out ‘Donner und Blitzen!’ but the story is insignificant at best.


Issue 1273
Issue 1274
Issue 1275
Issue 1276
It was the largest collection of Star Trek memorabilia Julian  had ever seen...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1273 - 1279
COVER DATES: 8 May 1976 - 19 June 1976

In the grounds of a large Berkshire estate, a group of young archaeologists led by rich Sir Julian Hubert begin excavating beneath Hubert’s Folly, a tower built by Sir Hector Hubert, Julian’s great-great-uncle. When the Doctor hears of the excavation, he is horrified, and he and Sarah-Jane rush to Berkshire in Bessie. However, Julian will not listen and the Doctor decides to use his government connections to get the excavation stopped. But Julian decides to speed up excavation with explosives...

Forcing his way in to see the Home Secretary, the Doctor gets a ministerial warrant and an army back-up unit. However, as he and Sarah-Jane are about to land by helicopter at Hubert’s Folly, Julian detonates the explosives.

The pilot manages to get the helicopter down safely, but the explosives have unearthed a tunnel beneath the folly, and a huge blast of energy is emitting from it. Donning protective suits, the Doctor tells Julian that he will show him the secret of Hubert’s Folly.

Leading Julian into the tower, the Doctor reveals that he helped his great-great-uncle to seal up his creation. Operating a mechanism, he takes Julian into an ancient shaft leading down. At the bottom of it, Julian finally sees the curse his arrogant ancestor left for the future.

The curse is a huge engine generating tremendous fiery power. Julian passes out in the heat and the Doctor wrestles with the controls alone. Above ground, fearful that the entire site could explode, the army decide to evacuate, but Sarah won’t leave , dons a protective suit and begins the descent to warn the Doctor, unaware that the Doctor is redirecting the fiery blast up the shaft.

Issue 1277
Issue 1278
Issue 1279
Canning gets clever with the shading. Not funny, but true.

As the heat increases, Sarah loses her grip on the hot rungs of the ladder and falls. The Doctor drags her out of the shaft then the two of them escape with Sir Julian. The energy is now shooting straight from the top of the disintegrating tower. Their only hope is to seal the shaft with quick-drying cement.

While the armed forces fire quick-drying cement at the tower, the Doctor goes back inside the folly to close off the valve. And he succeeds. The next day he explains to Sir Julian that the energy was a ‘chain reaction of certain gases’ and that he helped Sir Hector Hubert to design it.

Whoever heard of doing archaeology with explosives? Anyway, this starts off like a take on The Daemons and ends up like an ill-conceived disaster movie. It’s all fairly exciting but it really has nothing to do with Doctor Who, even if the Doctor is referred to as Doctor Smith. The Doctor calling on the services of the government and the armed forces feels more out of line with the series now than it would have done then, given that he’d recently helped them in The Seeds of Doom. Oddly, as the story gets worse so Canning’s artwork gets better (though not his likenesses), this featuring some of the finest shading work he’d done.


Issue 1280
Issue 1282
Issue 1284
Issue 1286
Issue 1281Isn't that the single scariest drawing of Tom Baker you have ever seen?

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1280 - 1286
COVER DATES: 26 June 1976 - 7 August 1976
ON TV: Planet of Evil (repeat)

At the giant satellite centre in Bertha Springs, Australia, the shady Professor Hepworth looks over the new satellite and makes a few modifications. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane watch the launch on television, but a sudden news flash reveals that Hepworth has gone missing. However, once the satellite is in orbit, Hepworth’s voice is broadcast to the satellite centre calling for the attention of all Earth governments.

Hepworth says if his demands are not met then he will begin to slow the Earth on its axis, but

Issue 1283

the British government believe it to be a hoax. However, Sir Harold isn’t so sure and calls in the Doctor who reveals that a ring of satellites around the Earth could slow it and that he knows Hepworth and his threats should be taken seriously. However, Sir Harold reveals that missiles are prepared for launch to destroy the satellites. The Doctor orders them not to fire, but the order gets through too late and the missile is launched.

The Doctor orders the missile aborted, and it explodes before it reaches the satellites. If the missile had struck, then the world would have been permanently slowed. Now they must find Hepworth before he slows the planet. He launches a balloon with a listening device attached, but Hepworth is angry that they even attempted to destroy his satellite and slows the world. To stop the process, he wants every head of state placed under


The Doctor is able to pinpoint Hepworth’s position to Mars and he and Sarah-Jane head off there in the TARDIS. The Doctor reveals that Hepworth isn’t human. Arriving on Mars, the two travellers set off for the source of the signal, but are caught in a dust storm.

In the dust storm, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane plunge into a canyon. Walking along it to the end, they haul themselves out and see something in the distance. Meanwhile, on Earth, the world powers begin to blame each other for the slowing

Issue 1285
Lessening wind is always good... especially in a spacesuit...

of the Earth. World war seems imminent.

Battling through the dust

But unfortunately Buck Rogers was busy that day so they sent for Dr Who...

storm, the Doctor and Sarah discover a dome-shaped spaceship and the Doctor recognises it as belonging to the Scartigs, a clever humanoid race. Entering the ship, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane tune in to a video channel and see Hepworth making a further demand for the people of Earth to turn against their leaders.

Hepworth and the Scartigs want to start a world war so they can then bring in their invasion force to mop up the survivors. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane crash a small transport vehicle into the ship, and the dust storm destroys the rest of the equipment. The Scartigs use their strange powers of teleportation to escape, but the Doctor disables the satellite, returning Earth to its correct speed. International relations ease and world war is averted.

The United States of Europe gets a mention (which is a nice near-future touch, if a trifle improbable), and indeed deteriorating international relations (with the US and USSR at loggerheads) is about the most interesting thing about this strip. The actual slowing of the Earth has no side effects at all, which makes you wonder why the world governments get so worked up about it. This is frankly very pedestrian stuff and a further deterioration in the quality of the strip, making this the third weak tale in a row.


Issue 1287Issue 1288Issue 1289Issue 1290

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1287 - 1290
COVER DATES: 14 August 1976 - 4 September 1976
ON TV: Masque of Mandragora (Season 14)

While Sarah-Jane and the Doctor relax on Earth, on the planet Damara on the outer edge of the galaxy, the Goablins, led by Lord Meekle, activate a device built around a bust of the Doctor to enslave the Doctor’s mind. At that moment, the Doctor suffers a fit and is pronounced dead by a doctor. Cause of death will be discovered by post mortem, but Sarah-Jane knows they are dealing with a Time Lord not a human being. The post mortem must not take place.

Enlisting the help of her cousin Tom, Sarah-Jane steals the Doctor’s body and speeds it back to the Doctor’s cottage aboard Betsy, but the police are soon on their tail. Meanwhile, Meekle realises the Doctor has evaded mind control by putting himself in a trance. In the cottage, Tom suddenly sees the TARDIS become active.

Sarah-Jane, with the Doctor aboard, departs in the TARDIS leaving Tom to explain to the police. Once in flight, the Doctor recovers and explains that his mental attackers will undoubtedly try again and he will be powerless to resist them this time; his life is in Sarah-Jane’s hands. As the Doctor predicts, a second attack begins and this time with some success. The TARDIS lands on Damara and Sarah-Jane prepares to save the Doctor’s mind.

Sarah locates the Goablins, and sees to her astonishment that they are tiny. She seizes Meekle in her hand and refuses to let him go until he releases the Doctor’s mind. She then takes the tiny bust of the Doctor and rushes back to the TARDIS where the Doctor is fully recovered. They depart, leaving the Goablins to their fate - the sun will explode in a matter of days.

Now if they'd just sent the Doctor an email, he'd probably have saved them all...

The planet of the Goablins is called both Demara and Damara. By the way, we see a road sign telling us that Betsy (back to that again) is driving to the Doctor’s cottage along the A710. This road actually runs between Dumfries and Dalbeattie in Western Scotland. Probably not what was intended. This story goes along quite nicely until the final instalment when it transpires in typically ludicrous TV Comic style that the Goablins are no bigger than dolls. Leaving them to be destroyed when they really only wanted the Doctor to help them relocate feels a trifle harsh, but then they do look like goblins (geddit?) so are probably classified as evil in TV Comic’s simple morality. The final frame of the strip is a strange one: Sarah-Jane asks how the Goablins got a bust of the Doctor, and the Doctor tells her it was one of many broadcast by the Time Lords ‘in their original search for me’. To what this is supposed to refer is uncertain. Perhaps it refers back to Return of the Daleks! when the Time Lords lose contact with the TARDIS and launch a search for the missing Time Lord.


Issue 1291

Needless to say, a story in which the Doctor and Sarah swindle a gullible man out of half a million quid doesn’t have much in common with its parent show, and this feels rather like a strip from a holiday special or annual where authentic flavour is usually the first casualty. This is just a horrible strip. Thank the stars it’s only one part long.

Ah yes, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane up to their old tricks again. The sequel shows them dressed as hot air balloons conning a million out of Richard Branson...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUE: 1291
COVER DATE: 11 September 1976
ON TV: Masque of Mandragora (Season 14)

When Hiram Lutz, an eccentric oil tycoon, moves into the village of Mickelham, in Wiltshire, Sarah-Jane Smith is there to cover the story for her newspaper. Lutz refuses to give money to the disabled children’s home, saying that he has bought the house not to support local charity but because it is famous for UFO sightings and he believes aliens are trying to contact him. Sarah-Jane later tells the Doctor about the mean man and the Doctor hatches a plan. A few days later, he and Sarah materialise the TARDIS inside Lutz’s house and, disguised as aliens, tell him to use his fortune wisely and give generously. The next day, Lutz gives half a million pounds to the children’s home.

    Mighty TV Comic


Unleashing his giant killer frog (as you do) Professor Braun hopes it's the Doctor who's about to croak.

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1292 - 1297
COVER DATES: 18 September 1976 - 23 October 1976
ON TV: Masque of Mandragora - The Hand of Fear (Season 14)

Doctor Who books himself into a hotel in a secluded village in the country, but soon encounters police investigating a dead body by the roadside. The Doctor says the man appears to have been frightened to death, and for someone decorated twice during the Second World War, it must have been by something pretty ghastly.

The Doctor meets Tom Lambert, a reporter for ‘The Mercury’. Together they go to the house of the dead man, Sir Gregory Smythe-Watson, and there find a tape recorder saying the old man intended to once again investigate Professor Braun’s house. The Doctor and Tom go there at once.

Peering through a window, the Doctor sees Braun give a chemical concoction to a monkey, which immediately begins to grow in size. Fleeing to the local police station, the Doctor reports his findings, but the policeman reports straight to Braun who orders him and his meddling journalist friend to be eliminated.

Braun sends the Doctor a note, luring him and Tom to Collier’s Wood at midnight, then unleashes a giant frog, the same one that killed Smythe-Watson. Delayed by a breakdown, the Doctor is late, but the frog attacks Tom.

The Doctor arrives and concusses the giant amphibian. He and Tom take it to the Royal Research Centre of Amphibiology before venturing back to Professor Braun’s house. But the Professor, who plans to dominate the world, discovers them and unleashes an oversized chimpanzee.

The Doctor sets fire to a cloth and flings it at the enraged chimp, and soon the whole house is ablaze. The Doctor and Tom escape and the terrified Professor is rescued by the fire brigade. The Doctor intends to find peace and quiet somewhere other than Earth.

Issue 1292Issue 1293
Issue 1294Issue 1295
Issue 1296Issue 1297

Suddenly, with the advent of Mighty TV Comic, the strip drops to a single page and the writing also takes a nose-dive. Not a good move when you’re trying to relaunch your comic’s fortunes. Gigantism isn’t a new thing in TV Comic (Second and Third Doctor strips featuring it abound) but the choice of frog and chimpanzee seems guaranteed to provoke mirth. What next? Giant killer squirrels? Death by badger? Utter rubbish.

    Mighty Midget Doctor Who Comic

Mighty Midget came free with Issue 1292 of Mighty TV Comic.


Mighty Midget TV ComicThe 'fourth' Doctor and 'Joan'

Oh dear. This is the start of things to come, with the Fourth Doctor’s features added to old strips to give them another run for minimal expense. Sarah-Jane gets transformed into the identical Joan Brown (well, in all bar one panel when the Doctor calls her Sarah), and the Brigadier loses his moustache and turns into General Maxwell-Lennon (must be a Beatles’ fan on the editorial staff).

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Unknown, retouched by John Canning

COVER DATE: 18 September 1976
ON TV: Masque of Mandragora (Season 14)

The Zirconian fleet depart from a world that they have exhausted. The world is observed by the Doctor and Joan Brown aboard the TARDIS, but despite the Doctor’s reassurance that the planet has almost two hundred years of life left in it, it goes nova, catching the TARDIS in the blast. They escape, but just in time to see the nova turn into a galactic cyclone, and the Doctor’s calculations predict that it will pass by Earth as a cloud of deadly gases. He and Joan go to warn the Prime Minister. The only solution is to select a few survivors and take cover in the nuclear shelters. However, the Doctor is not satisfied that the cyclone was a natural phenomena and he and Joan soon discover that it is all a plan by the Zirconians to invade Earth. He uses the satellites in orbit around Earth to trigger an explosion that clears the cloud and destroys the Zirconian fleet.

    Mighty TV Comic


Issue 1298
Issue 1299
Issue 1300
Issue 1301
The penalty was a five-year driving ban, a £200 fine and a slap across the wrist with the Plastic Ruler of Rassilon

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1298 - 1304
COVER DATES: 30 October 1976 - 11 December 1976
ON TV: The Deadly Assassin (Season 14), The Pyramids of Mars (omnibus repeat), The Brain of Morbius (omnibus repeat)

An important conference is being held on the planet of the Vatheks. A Vathek agent on Earth has discovered the Doctor’s double, and Vathek One orders he be abducted and brought to their homeworld. The mission is successful. The double will be the key to the Doctor’s destruction.

The Vatheks hypnotically condition the double to wreak a trail of havoc and destruction across the galaxy. The Doctor lands on the friendly planet of Cracon, but is imprisoned. Meanwhile, the Time Lords hear of the double’s activities. They want the Doctor for a court of enquiry, but their minds are already made up - the Doctor must be put to death.

Released by the Craconians, the Doctor’s TARDIS is drawn to the Time Lords. The Doctor refutes the charges against him but he is sentenced to death.

The Time Lords decide on an even better punishment - suspended animation for one million years which will reduce his brain to a primitive level. Aboard the TARDIS, the sentence is carried out. However, following more attacks by the double, the Time Lords realise their mistake, but can do nothing for a million years.

One Time Lord reveals that the Doctor’s sentence was never carried out as he always believed in his innocence and simply had him confined aboard the TARDIS. They tell the Doctor of the Vatheks and his double and he travels back to Cracon where the double is about to destroy a new Craconian base. He injects the double with a serum before boarding his spaceship and travelling on to the planet of the Vatheks where he impersonates his own double. But the Vatheks have decided that the double has outlived his usefulness. Now they will kill him.

The Doctor uses the same hypnotism device to hypnotise the Vathek leader then places him and all his people into suspended animation for two million years. He returns the Earthman, who is called Stanley, to Earth and orders him to forget his recent exploits, then returns to Cracon to claim his TARDIS.

Issue 1302
Issue 1303
Issue 1304

There’s a fairly nice idea behind this strip, and the Time Lords recalling the Doctor and sentencing him to death would later turn up on TV in Arc of Infinity, but there are no real thrills to be had here and the climax is dumb and out of character. The Time Lords have clearly been studiously copied from photos of The Three Doctors.

    Doctor Who Annual 1977


It's the fearsome Rascla, leader of the equally fearsome Tormian Toadmen. No really.

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton


On his way to Mitra B, the Doctor is forced to land on Axa, moon of the giant planet Torm. Stepping out to explore, Sarah and Harry and the Doctor are immediately transported to an underground cavern on Torm. There they meet the giant Rascla, a being who intends to use the Doctor’s body to destroy the peace talks on Mitra B thus allowing him and his army of Tormian Toadmen to take over the galaxy. He places the Doctor in a nucleonic body separator and assumes his form then, with Sarah and Harry hypnotised, returns to the TARDIS and continues the journey to Mitra B. He intends to release a deadly germ that will send the Mitrans into a killing frenzy, but he hears the Doctor’s voice in his mind: the Doctor hid his spirit in Sarah’s psyche, but is now ready to claim back his body. A battle of wills ensues, but the Doctor wins, driving Rascla’s spirit out into the world of lost phantoms.

Doctor Who Annual 1977

The story is more or less coherent, if a little trippy, but the artwork does everything in its power to defocus and obscure the narrative, frequently showing the characters out of context, or showing random items (skulls, eyes, something that looks like intestines but which is probably a brain). Harry made his last TV appearance a year earlier (and doesn’t speak in the strip at all), and neither he nor Sarah resemble their television personas at all, while the Doctor appears to have been drawn from photographs of Tom Baker out of costume.


Doctor Who Annual 1977

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton

REPRINTS: Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space (1981, World Distributors)

The TARDIS lands on Metalupiter, a world ruled by friendly cat-faced robots, but when the Doctor, Sarah and Harry encounter a Metalupitron robot, Harry is attacked. The Doctor builds a radio transmitter to immobilise the robots within a mile radius then plugs some wires into a robot’s head to find out why they were attacked. However, when he gets no signal he realises that the whole of the robot’s brain is made of rubber. He is able to find faint traces of its memory circuits in the carbon elements and learns that the robot was called Puskeet, and that all of the robots were immobilised after a giant spaceship went into orbit around Metalupiter. The aliens enslaved them, replacing their brains with rubber and forcing them to build reactors big enough to fuse the whole planet into a giant crystal of Mithenium, a substance like diamond used to build military ships. The Doctor realises a reactor big enough to do that would kill everything in Metalupiter’s solar system, but the reaction will start today. The Doctor, Sarah and Harry try to stop the countdown, but their brains are immobilised by a device held by one of the four-armed aliens (who only have two arms). However, Puskeet advances and kills the alien and the Doctor stops the reactor exploding.

The Doctor never went anywhere without his trusty slice of white bread...

This is about as incoherent as a Doctor Who story can be without becoming a string of random words. Nothing makes sense; replacing the robots brains with rubber? And how does Puskeet overcome the programming of his alien masters? The aliens are described in the text as having four arms, but clearly have two. Sarah and Harry never look the same in any two panels (and never resemble their TV counterparts) and the Doctor appears courtesy of several familiar stock photographs. The colours in this strip are horrible (brick red and deep purple) and make it difficult to see what is happening in the virtually impenetrable artwork.

Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space (1981)
    TV Comic Annual 1977


TV Comic Annual 1977

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning


In the disused Porthferiot Lighthouse in North Cornwall, Professor Tansbury’s experiment in accelerated growth gets out of control when a lizard is grown to gigantic proportions, wrecking the lighthouse. The Doctor and Sarah-Jane arrive to investigate and, taking a small boat out to the ruins of the lighthouse, discover a scientific notebook detailing the Professor’s experiments. Ernie Tagell and his son are out fishing when their boat is attacked by the gigantic lizard. Returning

to shore, the Doctor and Sarah-Jane find no survivors from the attack. They contact the Royal Navy who plan to finish the monster with depth charges, but the Doctor fears this will be insufficient, fears that prove grounded when the lizard sinks the ship then attacks a coastal village. Having evacuated another fishing village, the Doctor attracts the monster using the call of a female of the species then blasts it with a rocket.

The Doctor little realised that the call of someone else's girlfriend would be infinitely more appealing...

Typical monster-movie/Godzilla stuff. Canning’s scruffy art is enlivened by sympathetic use of colour but this is an otherwise unremarkable strip.

That's the last lobster Ernie Tagell will be catching...
    Mighty TV Comic


Issue 1305
Issue 1306
Issue 1307
Issue 1308
Portiba always wished his species had a more terrifying name. Craytons just didn't sound ominous enough...

SCRIPT: Geoff Cowan
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1305 - 1311
COVER DATES: 18 December 1976 - 29 January 1977
ON TV: The Face of Evil - The Robots of Death (Season 14)

Returning to Earth, the TARDIS nearly collides with a large spaceship that splashes down in the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, the Doctor crash-lands the TARDIS on an isolated coral island. But while he and Sarah-Jane explore the beach, they see that the spaceship has caused a tidal wave that is coming straight for them.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane escape into a cave and up a chimney to the cliff top. From the TARDIS, the Doctor sends out a warning to shipping and they soon see a US Navy ship closing on the island. But the ship’s presence alerts the occupants of the spaceship who prepare to attack.

In orbit above the planet, Portiba, commander of the remote-controlled alien craft, contacts Mambus, who advises him to first attempt contact as the humans may allow them to continue their mission in peace. As the Doctor and Sarah-Jane are rescued by a US Navy carrier, the spaceship rises to the surface, but US jets immediately move in to attack.

The jets open fire, but the spaceship is protected by a forcefield. The Doctor calls for peaceful communication, but the Naval captain places him and Sarah-Jane under arrest until their story can be verified. Meanwhile, Portiba, Lord of the Craytons, says that the humans have proven their hostility. If they interfere with the mission, they will be  destroyed.

The Doctor and Sarah-Jane are released once the captain has their identities verified by the British government. The Doctor returns to the TARDIS to confirm his suspicion that the spaceship comes from Craysis. The Craytons sink three more ships and the Doctor emerges from the TARDIS armed with a Gamma-Gun, which he uses to blast the carrier.

The carrier suffers a temporary loss of power, and the Doctor explains that he will do the same to the Crayton ship. He goes down in a miniature submarine, hoping the Craytons will be unable to detect something so small, but they do detect it and open fire.

Sarah fought the urge to kick him in the soft parts...
Issue 1309
Issue 1310
Issue 1311

This is the first comic strip to show the wood-panelled console room of the TARDIS, fact fans. The story, such as it is, doesn’t work terribly well. The Doctor calls for a peaceful solution but, when given a free hand, he doesn’t even attempt to communicate, which seems a bit odd. That the Craytons suddenly decide not to cross the Time Lords also comes as an unsatisfactory conclusion.

In scuba gear, the Doctor escapes the sub just in time, then uses his gamma gun on the Crayton ship. The Craytons realise that only the Time Lords know how to immobilise their power lines and decide, if Earth is under Time Lord protection, it would be safer to leave. They destroy the remote-controlled craft which the Doctor explains was dredging for minerals.


One of Canning's better likenesses of Tom Baker, in as much as he at least looks human...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1312 - 1317
COVER DATES: 5 February 1977 - 12 March 1977
ON TV: The Robots of Death  - The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Season 14)

The Time Lords send Doctor Who to the Crown Ship of the Craxons, where he is greeted by Suza who tells him their engines have failed. The Doctor takes a look a realises they need a new Diloona energy key, but there are no spares on board. The Doctor locates supplies of Diloona on a nearby planet and, with a crewman called Andric, goes to the planet by TARDIS. But there they are attacked by a savage creature.

Andric is unable to fire as the creature hypnotises him with its eyes. The Doctor breaks the creature’s gaze and Andric shoots it, but the Doctor then realises that a fallen tree is made of inorganic material and the creature is robotic.

The Doctor realises the whole planet is false. When hostile aliens land, the Doctor goes to speak with them, but they shoot him.

Andric fires back and gets the stunned Doctor away to safety, but the aliens follow them. The Doctor realises they need their help to find the Diloona, but just then one of the aliens is attacked by a huge plant.

The Doctor and Andric save the alien - a Mangan - from the plant, though he is unconscious. Andric sees more Mangans approaching, but the one they saved recovers and attacks them with sound waves.

The sound waves are a signal to the rest of the Mangans who, through their leader Solda, reveal themselves to be peaceful but proud. They built the planet to teach their young men survival and fitness. Solda agrees to have a supply of Diloona transported to the Craxon Crown Ship. But as the TARDIS returns to the ship, the Doctor discovers a faulty circuit.

Issue 1312Issue 1313
Issue 1314Issue 1315
Issue 1316Issue 1317

Ah, the days of random attacks from random dangers takes me right back to the era of the Second Doctor, and although this has some kind of sensible resolution, it isn’t a particularly satisfying one. The artwork feels very untidy, especially in part one where there is a lot of plot to fit in. Could this be the first strip to mention the sonic screwdriver?


Issue 1318Issue 1319
Issue 1320Issue 1321
Issue 1322Issue 1323
Issue 1324Issue 1325
Little does Inspector Keel realise the miraculous powers of soot...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1318 - 1325
COVER DATES: 19 March 1977 - 7 May 1977
ON TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Season 14)

After a mysterious fire begins in a forest in Southern England, Inspector Keel calls in the Doctor, who finds a strange crater. Nearby, an alien says that the experiment was a success and everything is ready for its masters’ invasion of Earth.

Believing the fire was created by a heat beam, the Doctor goes to Blethbridge Village Police Station to calculate its source, which he locates as being an old mansion house. However, as he approaches the house, the beam device opens fire on Betsy.

The alien known as Morag communicates with his superior, the Master of the Zandans, believing the Doctor destroyed. Recovering consciousness, the Doctor warns Inspector Keel, but Keel says Blake’s timber yard has been set ablaze. Going there, the Doctor detects alien beings in the heart of the blaze.

The Doctor identifies the alien beings as Zandans, advanced solar-based life that feeds on fire, but the Zandans recognise the Doctor as alien and capable of destroying them and seek to eradicate him. In an attempt to escape, the Doctor plunges down an old well.

The well leads to an underground river and the Doctor emerges close to the house where the solar beam is located. He gets into the house through the cellar, but something approaches.

The something is Morag. The Doctor does battle. When he throws a bag of soot at the creature, it neutralises the heat cells that form the Zandans and Morag is reduced to smouldering ashes. He destroys the solar beam, but the explosion traps him. The fire at the timber yard is spreading, the Zandans wiping out everything. The Doctor is the only hope.

Escaping the blazing house, Doctor Who takes a bicycle to get to the timber yard fire, but Inspector Keel and the army have received a report of the explosion at the house and race to the scene in a jeep. The Doctor’s bicycle careers off the road as the jeep rounds a bend.

The Doctor contacts the Ministry by field radio and, as the Zandans close in around, helicopters fly in and dump bags of soot which neutralises the Zandan heat cells. The Doctor decides to take a nice, peaceful trip in the TARDIS.

This is something of a return to form, certainly not the best of the best, but far better than the stories immediately preceding it and, at least, exciting and fairly logical with a strong denouement. The Zandans are fairly unimpressively realised in Canning’s artwork, looking like nothing more fearsome than fiery fried eggs and it’s quite clear that he much prefers drawing the old house.


Issue 1326
Issue 1327
Issue 1328
Issue 1329
But in the blinding lights of the disco, the Doctor couldn't even see the Emperor's wrath let alone feel it...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1326 - 1333
COVER DATES: 14 May 1977 - 2 July 1977

Whilst the Doctor works on repairing his ship, the TARDIS is drawn through a black hole and lands on a planet with an atmosphere identical to Earth. Stepping out to explore, the Doctor is dragged into bushes by an alien wearing furs. However, the alien, identified by his pursuers as a Braggen, is caught in a paralysing beam. His pursuers tell him to prepare to die, but the Doctor has other ideas...

The Doctor distracts and disarms the pursuer - a Kling, then he and the Braggen, who is called Petra, escape on the pursuer’s mount. Petra explains that the Klings rule the planet Earthos using their storn-sticks. They head back to the TARDIS, but the Klings have already found it. They are spotted and Petra things them doomed, but the Doctor thinks they have one slim hope...

The Doctor and Petra elude death by panicking the mount, but they are unable to rescue the TARDIS which is taken away by the Klings to their Kling masters in the temple. The Emperor, First Lord of the Dragon, identifies the TARDIS as belonging to a Time Lord. The Doctor and Petra near the city but are discovered by Klings.

The Doctor overpowers the Kling. His helmet contains a mind-controlling device. However, there are more Klings about and they paralyse and capture the Doctor and Petra, who are taken to work in the swamps collecting small crystals, which the Doctor recognises from the mind-controlling helmet. A Kling commander called Graak arrives: on the orders of the Emperor, the Doctor is to be executed at once.

The Doctor and Petra hide aboard a cart in a shipment of crystals bound for the temple, then overpower the driver. The Doctor uses the blinding light of a tactrion torch to break their chains then, disguised as a Kling, he continues the cart ride to the temple.

The Doctor and Petra head into the temple, but Commander Graak realises what they are doing and follows. The Doctor seals the doors but then they are confronted by the Kling Masters. A control is operated and he and Petra plunge down into a pit.

Again using his tactrion torch, the Doctor cuts a way out of the cell they have fallen into. Moving through the temple in search of the TARDIS, they are suddenly confronted by the Emperor.

Trapped in a mind-warping ray, the Doctor shoots out the mechanism with a storn-stick then reveals the Emperor to be a computer. He burns out its circuits with his tactrion torch. A Kling lord reveals that the Klings crashed on Earthos aboard their spaceship, escaping with their computer, and conquered the Braggens. Now they realise they were wrong. They help the Doctor get the TARDIS outside before the computer explodes. From now on the Braggens and Klings will live in peace.

The strip returns to two pages, but the artwork is now so seriously messy that it’s sometimes hard to work out what’s going on. The use of Japanese design to represent the aliens is a nice touch. This story has a breathless excitement to it and a sense of focus that makes it reasonably satisfying - at least up until the rather hurried conclusion.

Issue 1330
Issue 1331
Issue 1332
Issue 1333
    Mighty TV Comic Holiday Special 1977


The Doctor was amazed that his plan to dress up as a chicken had been quite so successful...

SCRIPT: Geoff Cowan
ART: John Canning


Knocked off course by meteorites, the TARDIS lands in Sixteenth Century South America where the Doctor is hailed as a god by Tatrac, high-priest of the Mandrans. The Doctor defends the Mandrans from attacking Conquistadors by constructing a powerful electromagnet which effects the Spaniards’ metal armour and weaponry. Terrified by the Doctor’s apparent magical powers, the Spaniards agree to leave the Mandrans in peace.

Okay, it’s a simple enough story and more or less the same plot as the Second Doctor strip The TARDIS Worshippers, but tells it with greater conciseness and fewer jaguar attacks instigated by the Doctor. An okay strip for a holiday special.

Mighty TV Comic Holiday Special 1977
    Mighty TV Comic


Issue 1334Issue 1335
Leela was quite firm on that point...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1334 - 1340
COVER DATES: 9 July 1977 - 20 August 1977
ON TV: The Deadly Assassin (repeat)

A massive meteorite hurtles towards British-built communication satellite BX4, but instead of destroying it, it appears to swallow it. Reading about the strange disappearance in the newspaper at his cottage, the Doctor and Leela board the TARDIS and go to investigate, but, when they get close, the meteorite exerts some strange magnetic force that begins to drag the ship down.

At the last moment, the Doctor breaks free and makes a controlled landing on the meteorite’s surface. Wearing miniature oxygen capsules, he and Leela step outside to investigate. They discover a monitoring screen disguised as a flower, but when they return for the TARDIS, it has gone. The Doctor plunges into a pit.

Leela jumps in after the Doctor and both land in a net. There is oxygen here, allowing them to remove the almost empty oxygen capsules, but they are captured by Mantor, a  Stracton. Leela attempts to escape but is stunned and she and the Doctor are taken before the Controller. The Controller destroys satellite BX4 then turns his attentions to the  TARDIS. They must make sure they can destroy all opposition before invading Earth.

The Doctor prevents the TARDIS being destroyed by using an energy dispersing cell, but the Controller is eager to learn its powers and has the Doctor and Leela taken to the Mind Bender where their minds will be drained. As the Doctor is strapped in, Leela breaks free, but she doesn’t know how to rescue the Doctor from the machine.

Leela plunges her knife into the machine, saving the Doctor’s life, and both of them escape  through a ventilator shaft where they happen upon the Stracton fleet readying to attack Earth. On Earth, an international crisis meeting decides to destroy the meteorite with a nuclear rocket. The Doctor and Leela make it to the power centre, but their attack goes wrong and the alarm is sounded.

The Doctor removes the lodestone controlling the main power supply, but the Stractons switch to the emergency unit. However, the Doctor is able to defend them using the lodestone, which he also uses to destroy the Stracton fleet. But the nuclear rocket is now approaching, and the Stractons are unable to activate their defensive shield thanks to the Doctor.

The Controller tells the Doctor of the approaching rocket and the Doctor agrees to reconnect the lodestone if the Stractons leave the solar system. This they do and Earth is once again safe from invasion.

Issue 1336Issue 1337
Issue 1338Issue 1339

The great joy of this strip is just how well characterised Leela is. She speaks like Leela, does Leela-ish things like save the Doctor’s life and wrestle with guards, and even (on occasion) looks like Leela, which is no mean feet considering how unrecognisable the Doctor usually is. Less impressive is the plot, the limitless powers of the lodestone and the limp resolution, which feels like its been done a thousand times before.

Issue 1340

Identified in her first strip, The Orb, as a warrior girl from a primitive alien tribe, and referred to by the Doctor as brave and reckless, the Leela of TV Comic is clearly recognisable as the same character who appears on television, which is something of a rarity in the comic with, perhaps, only Jamie previously coming close, though we must remember that (including the Brigadier), Leela is only the fifth television companion to accompany the comic strip Doctor. After The Mutants, she loses her distinctive animal skins but not her distinctive speech patterns, nor her hunting skills, knocking out several large robots in The Aqua-City and once again saving the Doctor’s life, a fairly regular feature of her brief tenure in the strip. However, after The Aqua-City, Leela suddenly vanished without warning, a run of only three stories. Mind you, it appears The Sea Devil from the TV Comic Annual 1979 was due to feature her, as the companion (Miss Young) speaks in a distinctly Leela-esque way and even uses a large knife.


Issue 1341
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Issue 1345
Issue 1347
Issue 1342
Issue 1344
Issue 1346

Like the worst of the Second Doctor strips, this is utterly random in most of its plotting, with yet another mutant popping up just in time for the last panel, and a conclusion that simply happens not because of the Doctor’s ingenuity but in spite of it. The one saving grace is, again, the characterisation of Leela, which remains true to the television version, though you do have to wonder how Canning got away with drawing her bare behind as she falls into the spider’s web...

The Doctor was keen not to be disturbed when he got back just in time for the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1341 - 1347
COVER DATES: 27 August 1977 - 8 October 1977
ON TV: Horror of Fang Rock - The Invisible Enemy (Season 15)

About to return to Earth, the TARDIS is seized by the Time Lords and redirected to a planet where everything is on a large scale. Leela investigates a giant flower, and falls inside it as a giant wasp-like creature closes in. The Doctor draws the wasp away and it is frightened off by a falling boulder. As he rescues Leela, the spear-wielding aliens who dislodged the boulder appear.

The Doctor and Leela attempt escape, but the alien Meerags, led by Ziku, reveal themselves to be friendly. The Doctor may be their last hope. However, before he can explain further, they are attacked by a giant ant monster. Leela fights it off and Ziku is able to lead them to the safety of a city behind a waterfall. But the giant ant monsters have found the TARDIS.

The giant ants capture the TARDIS. Ziku explains to the Doctor and Leela that the Meerags once ruled the planet, until a spaceship crashed there, leaking its fuel which caused mutation amongst small native creatures. Receiving a report about the fate of the TARDIS, Ziku says it will have been taken to the nest in the poison zone. The Doctor determines to go there, armed with fire, which neither the mutations nor the Meerags have ever seen. Leela wanders deep into the caves and falls into a giant spider’s web.

The Doctor and Ziku rescue Leela from the spider’s web, but the cave roof collapses, trapping the Doctor and Leela.

Ziku goes to get men to dig the Doctor and Leela out, but the pair have already found a narrow entrance that leads them to an underground river. Plunging in, they emerge into the outside world, but fall over the waterfall. When they manage to get ashore, they are confronted by a giant monster.

The monster is driven off by Ziku and the Meerags who then lead the Doctor and Leela to the poison zone, but they are attacked en route by a monster. The Doctor destroys it with a primitive heat beam. At the poison zone, he sets fire to the vegetation to flush out the mutants, but a giant ant monster appears behind them and seizes the Doctor.

The ant monsters take the Doctor to the crash site where the Doctor is able to sprint into the TARDIS just as some drums of toxic waste explode, killing all the mutations. Ziku says they will use fire to kill any remaining mutations and the Doctor and Leela leave.


When Muppets turn bad...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1348 - 1352
COVER DATES: 15 October 1977 - 12 November 1977
ON TV: The Invisible Enemy - Image of the Fendahl (Season 15)

At the Devil’s Mouth, entrance to a series of caves in Central England, a team of pot-holers, having found a sample of strange rock, attempt to go deeper than ever before, but the Doctor and Leela have been called by Professor Bindle, the head of the Major Government Research Laboratory. When the pot-holers run into trouble, the Doctor analyses the rock sample and realises that, under certain conditions, it emits a physio-molecular light form - the rock is alien in origin.

The injured pot-holer, Mason, is in hospital when he begins to emit an eerie glow and change his appearance. He has reverted to normal by the time the Doctor arrives, but the Time Lord warns that Mason must be kept isolated under lock and key. He and

Issue 1348

Leela go to the Devil’s Mouth where Leela senses danger. Tomorrow he will descend to the chamber. But beneath ground, aboard a sealed ship, the Vrakons are waking from a slumber of centuries.

At the hospital, Mason transforms into a Vrakon and escapes by throwing a chair through the window. Hearing news of his escape, the Doctor and Leela head for the Research Laboratory, but they are too late as Mason breaches security and attacks Professor  Bindle.

Bindle survives the attack, thanks to the Doctor throwing a bucket of water at his attacker, but the Vrakon steals and destroys the rock sample. Mason then reverts back to human form, but only remembers a pulsing light and a big ball-shaped object. The object is the Vrakon ship, aboard which the Vrakons are preparing to enslave humanity.

The Doctor suspects the whole planet is in danger and, with Leela, and armed with a device of his own making, they descend into the Devil’s Mouth, having left instructions that, if they’re not out within twelve hours, the whole entrance should be sealed with liquid concrete. Realising a Time Lord approaches, The Vrakons prepare to shoot him with Mandon-ray guns, but the Doctor fires his device first and the Vrakons turn to stone then crumble to dust. The Doctor blows up their spaceship then returns to the surface where he reveals to Professor Bindle that his device fired water - a substance deadly to the  Vrakons.

Issue 1349

Okay, so it’s a little unlikely that an alien race could find water deadly, and their plans for world conquest would end at the first rain shower, but this is a fairly solid story with a beginning, a middle and an end and some good suspense as the Doctor finally works out what’s going on and makes the descent into the Devil’s Mouth. Perhaps following the bare behind incident in the previous story, Leela is now wearing a thoroughly decent jeans and sweater combo and seems also to have lost her big knife.

Issue 1350
Issue 1351
Issue 1352
    Doctor Who Winter Special 1977


Doctor Who Winter Special 1977

If you were going to reprint old strips with the Doctor’s face painted over, you’d choose the best ones, wouldn’t you? Nah, any old illogical and clichéd rubbish will do, such as this. You can see the original version of the story by clicking here.

SCRIPT: Dick O’Neill
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

REPRINTS: Reprinted in its original form in Classic Comics Issue 25, October 1994

Discovering that the Marlenial elements aboard the TARDIS are badly eroded, the Doctor dematerialises in search of Marlenium. However, the ship is caught in a Gallactic storm (sic) and when the Doctor regains control he realises the only source of Marlenium close enough for him to reach is a planet whose sun will soon go nova.

The Doctor has almost located some Marlenium when he is seized by a giant ape which takes him to the ruins of a civilisation. However, once here, the Doctor realises that there is still life on the dying planet as he is confronted by a strange face that tells him it is forbidden to walk on the surface. He is sentenced to trial by combat against a warrior named Montax, and if he wins he will also win a girl named Vela.

Getting the upper hand and preparing to kill the warrior, the Doctor is astonished when both Montax and Vela disappear. He passes several more challenges before being confronted by the strange face again. It informs him that he has proven himself brave and honest and asks for his help in transporting the children of the native race to a new home. This the Doctor does, but when he goes to repair the Marlenium elements he finds they have been repaired by the Time Lords who engineered the whole mission.

The Doctor hoped it wasn't salmon. He'd had salmon the previous day...


The Doctor was very certain of this as he had already lived through the story once...

SCRIPT: Dick O’Neill
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

REPRINTS: Reprinted in its original form in Classic Comics Issue 23, August 1994

The Daleks destroy a series of automated tracking satellites in orbit around the  Earth. The East blames the West and the West blames the East, and whilst the situation reaches boiling point, the Daleks land their saucer beneath the sea where they set up a base.

The Doctor, meanwhile, is summoned to an important meeting in a bunker beneath Whitehall. Here he debunks a theory about a malfunctioning

Doctor Who Winter Special 1977

Russian satellite and states his own theory that the satellite was destroyed by aliens. Using data from a radio telescope he is able to pinpoint where the aliens might have landed. The navy launches a submarine to investigate but the Doctor uses the TARDIS to land aboard the saucer. Here he realises the Daleks are behind things.

The Daleks detect the approaching submarine and place its crew under mind control, telling them to report back with negative findings, but the Doctor causes a smokescreen diversion and orders the crew to fire Polaris missiles at the saucer. He races back to the TARDIS as the missiles fire, destroying the saucer and ending the threat to Earth.

Canning is a very different kind of artist to Gerry Haylock, and this is very noticeable in the frames containing more than one character; the other characters will look photographically accurate and precise, the Doctor will look like some malformed loon. That’s in the frames where Canning can be bothered to do anything more than colour Jon Pertwee’s hair black, as in one astoundingly large close-up that is instantly recognisable as the former Doctor. You can see the original version of the story by clicking here.


The addition of a scarf and a longer jacket is all it takes...
Doctor Who Winter Special 1977
This is what is known...

SCRIPT: Dick O’Neill
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

REPRINTS: Reprinted in its original form in Classic Comics Issue 27, December 1994

In Galaxy 593, the twin planets of Raffar and Farraf both support humanoid life, but whilst the Rafs are peaceful and live in a paradise, the Fars are warlike and power hungry and plan to bomb and invade Raffar. However, Far leader Soton is a worried man - the mineral deposits of his planet are spent and only a successful attack on Raffar will keep his people from revolting. But they have insufficient energy to launch the attack, until chief scientist Venin hatches a plot to dupe someone from a higher race into helping them. They send a message which is received by the Time Lords, and soon the Doctor is dispatched to Farraf.

He is greeted by Soton in disguise who tells him a tale about how their forefathers wrecked their world, but the Doctor is suspicious and that night breaks out of the cell he has been placed in to follow Soton. He discovers an underground city gearing up for war.

... as a double take...

Entering the missile bay, the Doctor tampers with one of the missiles and triggers its launch before he is captured by Soton’s men. Soton demands the Doctor take a small party to Raffar to destroy the force field that surrounds the planet or he will be tortured into submission. The Doctor agrees.

However, aboard the missile that he launched he also concealed a small transmitter that forewarns the Rafs of attack, and when the TARDIS materialises it is surrounded and Soton and his men arrested. The space invasion then fails to penetrate the force field and the Far race is doomed.

You can see the original version of the story by clicking here.


What I am appears to be the eyes and nose of Pertwee with a heavy Canning jaw added...

SCRIPT: Dennis Hooper
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

REPRINTS: Reprinted in its original form in Classic Comics Issue 19, April 1994

The TARDIS drifts back on a time beam to 1940s France where the Doctor is quickly arrested by the Gestapo. Threatened with torture if he doesn’t talk, the Doctor puts himself into a self-induced trance. He is taken to Professor Schmidt at a nearby chateau who thinks him a perfect specimen for his new truth serum, but when the Doctor awakes he switches glasses with Schmidt and Schmidt drinks the serum instead. From him the Doctor learns that the Nazis plan to crush the Reynard resistance group by using a spy they have concealed in their ranks and, convincing Schmidt that he is a high ranking German official, leaves the chateau. He goes immediately to the village and contacts the resistance, but they are dubious about him and test him before trusting him and his information. By radioing a message to London demanding the chateau be bombed they expose the traitor but are arrested and returned to the chateau. However, the Doctor frees them and takes them to Professor Schmidt who is forced to help them trick the General by saying that the message was never sent to London. Soon after the chateau is bombed.

Doctor Who Winter Special 1977

Another weak choice receives a clumsy Canning makeover. You can see the original version of the story by clicking here.

    Buster and Monster Fun


26 November 1977

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Unknown

COVER DATE: 26 November 1977
ON TV: The Sunmakers (Season 15)

This one page spoof, featuring Doctor Boo and his lovely assistant Squeelia, has the Doctor accidentally unleashing Saturnian sobbing gas. When the Daleks (here renamed Wahleks) start crying they also start to rust, so the Doctor finishes them off with rust remover.

What to say about this comic strip equivalent of a Crackerjack (‘Crackerjack!’) sketch? Well, it isn’t terribly well observed. It isn’t terribly well drawn. It is terrible.

Doctor Boo and the Wahleks. Boo hoo.
    TV Comic


The Doctor does some dodgy parking

SCRIPT: Geoff Cowan
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1353 - 1360
COVER DATES: 19 November 1977 - 7 January 1978
ON TV: Image of the Fendahl - Underworld (Season 15), The Robots of Death (edited repeat)

Whisked away by the Time Lords on another mission, the TARDIS sets down on a cliff edge, leaving the Doctor and Leela to climb to the top. Here they are set upon by robots. They begin to climb back down the cliff when Leela starts to slip.

The Doctor saves Leela with his scarf and she is able to knock one robot into the sea with a well-aimed rock, but the robots begin to bombard them with boulders. A strange sea creature emerges from the waves and beckons to  them. They dive into the sea.

The creature rescues the time travellers and takes them aboard his sub-sea craft where he explains that he is Kwella, on routine surveillance from Antlantea, and his people are at war with the Cycran robots. He operates his craft to take them to Antlantea, but they are sucked into a whirlpool.

Kwella explains that he is generating the whirpool to take them rapidly to the sea bed and Antlantea where they meet the masters of the city, the humanoid Radites. Orox, Lord of the Radites explains that they created the Cycran robots to do the work, but the robots rebelled. Suddenly a tremor shakes the city and Orox says that time is running out.

Orox explains that Antlantea lies on a fault-line on the sea bed. They must return to land, but then they face the robots. The tremor knocks the TARDIS into the sea where it is captured by Cyrans. A Radite named Norak will lead

the Doctor and Leela to the mainland complex that houses the Cycrans’ energy source, but as they surface they see the TARDIS under attack from the robots.

Leela destroys all three robots, saving the Doctor’s life in the process, but in Antlantea the earthquake has begun and evacuation orders are given.

Armed with a weapon from the TARDIS that reflects energy waves and overloads the

robots’ circuits, the Doctor, Leela and Norak make it to the mainland complex, but Leela is seized by the Cycrans.

The Doctor rescues Leela and then Norak leads the other robots away while the two time travellers enter the complex and locate the source of the robots’ power. But the Cycrans surround them. The Doctor blasts the power source and the threat is ended allowing the Radites to come ashore safely.

I love a story with a moral we can all take to heart...
Issue 1353Issue 1354
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Issue 1357Issue 1358
Issue 1359Issue 1360

The Doctor’s familiar catch phrase of ‘Jupiter!’, which he’s been using for quite some time now, finally runs out of control, with almost every instalment of this strip containing at least two utterances of it. This strip takes a little while to get going, but the race against time aspect helps to give it drama. The Doctor’s solution to the problem isn’t the most sophisticated (even for TV Comic standards) but it provides a reasonably satisfactory conclusion to the tale.

    Doctor Who Annual 1978


Doctor Who Annual 1978

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton


The TARDIS lands on Vona. The Doctor and Sarah step outside, where they are attacked by a gigantic metal insect. It captures Sarah and takes her away. The Doctor manages to avoid the creature and find his old friend Olak, who explains that Vona is in the midst of a war between the two robotic species who inhabit it; the Domos and the Yeng. Sarah has been captured by one of the Domos, and taken to their base. The Doctor and Olak manage to save her by sneaking into the base via an air vent. However, no sooner is she safe than the Yeng attack, claiming the only way to kill the Domos is to detonate their inbuilt neutron bombs. The Doctor convinces them not to, explaining how the rest of the planet would be destroyed as well. The Yeng deactivate and the Domos do the same, leaving the other inhabitants to begin life again.

The story is just about okay, although why you’d build robots with neutron bombs in their brains is anyone’s guess, but the artwork really hampers the telling of the tale. The art isn’t quite as weird as some of Crompton’s other efforts, but it is still distractingly odd enough to impede the storytelling. Why Sarah is still in the strip is anyone’s guess; she left the television series over a year before.

Little did the Doctor realise that Sarah was in the middle of the crowd telling one of her uproariously funny jokes...


Children could be cruel, though he'd never understood why they nicknamed him Walrus Boy...

Although Crompton’s artwork is still a little abstract in places, a strong script with a great resolution makes for an unusually memorable comic strip, especially for an annual where depth and emotion are seldom if ever the order of the day. Crompton clearly relishes portraying the psychotic killers which gives the strip a nicely ghoulish flavour, and there’s even a charming shot of a man having his brains bashed in with blood spraying across the panel.

Doctor Who Annual 1978

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton


The Doctor takes Sarah to the Sigimund galaxy to watch the Aurora Arctialisis, a light display caused by three suns. They see a spaceship crash into a nearby world, but as they land to help they find others dragging the survivors to safety. The wreckage is destroyed by Lokan robots. A survivor tells the Doctor that he and his comrades are marooned after an attack by Lokan ships. He says a ship arrives every three moons to service the Lokan robot guards and the Doctor agrees to help capture the ship. The scientists draw the robot guards off and the Doctor penetrates the base and immobilises them. Two days later a maintenance unit lands and the scientists overpower them. The Doctor is just about to leave when one of the maintenance men wakes up. He informs the Doctor that the 'scientists' are in fact psychotic killers. The space ships are crashed and destroyed deliberately to prevent escape back to their homeworld of Huricas. When Sarah points out that the psychotics are pleasant and gentle she is told that it is the effect of the three suns and away from their influence they will return to their former ways. Before any harm can be done the Doctor calls the escaping 'scientists' back with a distress signal which they are only too happy to respond to. They are upset that he lied to them and imprisonered them once more. He tries to console them by saying that they will find true freedom through their scientific work but he leaves stricken by doubt.

    Mighty TV Comic Annual 1978


Mighty TV Comic Annual 1978

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Paul Crompton


The TARDIS receives a distress call and, despite Zeppian ship FX77 closing on the stricken vessel, the Doctor and his companion go to investigate. Meanwhile, aboard the damaged ship, Skarnus and his men lay an ambush for FX77 and, too late, Commander Morrium, realises he has been tricked by Lizardian space pirates. The pirates loot the cargo and escape, blowing the ship up behind them. The TARDIS arrives but finds only an escape pod containing crewman Piram and the Doctor asks if he’d like to take revenge. Skarnus lands at his base on a barren moon but the TARDIS follows. The Doctor, his companion and Piram enter the base and feed neutronic fuel rods into Skarnus’ ship, overloading the engines. They escape as the moon explodes.

Simplistic, juvenile, moderately well drawn and nicely coloured, this strip is unremarkable filler. The companion looks like Sarah (sort of) but is never referred to by name. Could be that Joan again...

Mother never allowed swearing in the house...
    TV Comic


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Issue 1364

After a strong opening, this story soon tails off into the usual TV Comic clichés of falling from mountains and searching caverns, though the twist at the end redeems it just a little. And how nice that it’s not the Doctor who teaches the aliens a lesson! The idea of a group of time travelling pseudo-Yeti in silly hats is easily one of the more way-out concepts of the Fourth Doctor’s comic strip era.

You bet it will!
Chewbacca wasn't overly fond of Earth... or its hat-makers...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1361 - 1365
COVER DATES: 14 January 1978 - 11 February 1978
ON TV: Underworld - The Invasion of Time (Season 15)

The TARDIS is drawn to Earth by a strange ceremony conducted by Tibetan monks. Landing in the Himalayas, the Doctor is knocked unconscious in an avalanche. He recovers in a monastery where he meets Lang-pur, the head monk. The Doctor wants to get to the TARDIS, but the monks tell him it is dangerous outside. Indeed it is, as something large and hairy strides through the snow.

The snow devils attack the monastery, but the monks barricade the doors. They explain to the Doctor that for two moons the devils have attacked them. The monks summoned the Doctor hoping he would know why. At first light, the Doctor, accompanied by Chin-Li, goes to locate the TARDIS, but it has been dragged away by Snow Devils, who hope to lure the Doctor to them. Meanwhile, on the mountain, the ground gives way beneath the Doctor and Chin-Li.

Soft snow breaks the Doctor and Chin-Li’s fall. They are in ice caverns, little realising that the Snow Devils are close by, trapped for too long on Earth and hoping for rescue. The monks in the monastery use their powers and fear the Doctor and Chin-Li are in dangeras a Snow Devil appears before them.

The Doctor and Chin-Li attempt escape but are captured by the Snow Devils, in reality alien Kurags who crash-landed and have been trapped for centuries in the ice. They tries to get help from the monks, but the monks were too afraid. The Doctor is suspicious but agrees to help, collecting some items from the TARDIS. Lang-Pur communicates telepathically with Chin-Li telling him they are mounting a rescue, but the Doctor says they are terrible danger as he doesn’t trust the Kurags.

The Kurags plan to dispose of the Doctor and the monks once their usefulness is at an end, but when they show their true colours, the Doctor uses an energy reflector to bounce the fire from their stunner guns back at them. He and Chin-Li go to save the other monks, but when the Doctor uses the reflector to topple a huge rock onto the Kurag leader, the monks heal the alien, teaching them a lesson in mercy. They leave the Himalayas in peace.


Thank heavens for the Doctor's trusty laser torch...
Issue 1366
Issue 1367
Issue 1368

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1366 - 1370
COVER DATES: 18 February 1978 - 18 March 1978
ON TV: The Invasion of Time (Season 15)

On its way to Maxus, the TARDIS collides with a huge spaceship. The Doctor materialises in a jungle aboard, but when he leaves the jungle area he finds a sick alien.

The whole crew is affected and the Doctor pilots the ship through a meteor storm before activating the autopilot. He then checks the jungle chamber where the aliens grow their own food and discovers a fractured pipe poisoning the soil. The Doctor develops a serum to the food poisoning and some of the crew of Dovans begins to recover. But the chemicals have had a strange effect on one of the plants - it lashes out at a light.

Commander Bendra of the Dovans tells the Doctor they are bound for a colony. The Doctor needs to make more serum to cure the rest of the crew and heads back to the TARDIS, but as he and Bendra leave the safety of his ship, the plant monster attacks. The Doctor fights back with his laser torch, but as they make it to safety a report comes in of an unidentified ship approaching.

The ship belongs to space pirates who board the unarmed vessel. As the plant monster breaks loose, the Doctor realises they can use it as a weapon against the pirates and he and Bendra try to lure it into their path. Suddenly it fires thorns at them.

The Doctor and Bendra avoid the thorns. As the pirates board, he and Bendra achieve their objective and the plant attacks the pirates, forcing them back aboard their ship. When it too is aboard, the Dovans accelerate away, leaving the pirate ship behind. The Doctor leaves the Dovans concentrated vitamin pills to see them through the rest of their flight.

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Issue 1370

Introducing an enemy (no matter how absurd) then introducing a second enemy and playing them off against each other could generate a potentially interesting storyline. Unfortunately, this isn’t it because the plot feels neither fresh nor exciting and its hard to care about the fate of the Dovans. The arrival of the second threat in the form of the space pirates adds a slight twist to liven things up, but it soon becomes apparent just how things will be resolved, plus we’ve had quite a few space pirates in the comic strip over the years so it doesn’t feel exactly new. Canning’s art here is some of the most untidy, sketchy and hurried-looking he ever produced. Am I the only person who always reads Bendra as Brenda?


Issue 1371Issue 1372

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1371 - 1372
COVER DATES: 25 March 1978 - 1 April 1978

The less said about the Doctor's coil the better...

Like an annual strip where exciting and/or mysterious incident is much more important than any kind of plot logic, this strip falls back on that glorious old chestnut so favoured by TV Comic writers, the meteorite with strange properties. The Doctor counters it with the kerosene link fuse, which has equally strange properties that change according to what the situation calls for, first repelling a sword, then tracing energy, then destroying a meteorite. This strip is TV Comic at its most basic, least inventive and most juvenile, but the artwork is at least much less scruffy than recent strips with some fairly nice shading on some panels.

Returning to Earth, the Doctor intends to carry out minor repairs on the TARDIS’s kerosene link fuse, but strange happenings at a nearby manor cause him to investigate with the assistance of Renby. There they discover the manor’s occupants frozen like waxworks. The Doctor suspects a draining of energy, but as they go to investigate they are confronted by a figure in a suit of armour brandishing a sword.

Pursuing the Doctor, the armour eventually falls over empty, but the axe rises of its own accord and the Doctor and Renby are forced to barricade themselves in a room. The Doctor uses the kerosene link fuse from the TARDIS to repel the sword, then uses it to trace the source of the energy - a fragment of meteorite with strange powers - then uses it to destroy the meteorite, returning the house’s inhabitants to normal.


Issue 1373Issue 1374
Or possibly an advanced sunbed that got left on too long...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1373 - 1379
COVER DATES: 8 April 1978 - 19 May 1978

The building of a new school in Bayscroft, East Anglia, unearths what appears to be an unexploded bomb. When the Doctor lands in the middle of Army war games, he is quickly given security clearance by bomb disposal expert Captain Steele and goes along with him to investigate in Bayscroft. However, when they get there, a driverless bulldozer suddenly springs to life.

Evading the bulldozer, the Doctor notes a strange mist around the so-called bomb. Investigating at the Bayscroft Museum, the Doctor realises the object comes from outer space, but the mist is on the move again, possessing a soldier.

The soldier opens fire on the Doctor and Captain Steele, but the Doctor stuns him with his pocket vector energiser. Captain Steele draws the mist away from the site while the Doctor and some soldiers unearth the mysterious space object.

The mist takes control of a tank and blasts Captain Steele’s jeep off the road, then heads back towards the building site. Steele calls for his men to radio back to the Doctor, warning of the danger. Meanwhile, at the site, the Doctor has unearthed the space object and discovered that it is a coffin.

The Doctor orders the coffin loaded aboard an army transporter before the mist returns, but as they attempt to get away, the mist finds them and the lorry plunges into a river. The mist and the alien body begin to merge. The Doctor thinks it will try to seek revenge and be even harder to destroy.

The Doctor and the army driver escape the mist, but it turns and attacks Captain Steele’s army convoy. However, the Doctor notes that it seems weaker and observes it drawing power from an electrical pylon. The mist feeds on energy to survive, and the Doctor thinks this may give them a way to destroy it.

The Doctor heads back to the TARDIS to rig up a device while Steele contacts the RAF to provide a diversion. It works, allowing the Doctor to get close enough to activate his device, which absorbs the energy and destroys the mist.

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There is much that is good about this strip, particularly the revelation that the mysterious space object is a coffin, though the ending feels a little perfunctory and still leaves an alien coffin with no explanation as to why it was being guarded so thoroughly. The artwork is fairly good for Canning, especially his loving depiction of RAF fighters.


Issue 1380
Issue 1381
Issue 1382

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1380 - 1385
COVER DATES: 26 May 1978 - 30 June 1978

Waking from a nap, the Doctor finds a monster projected into space close to the TARDIS. The Time Lords land the ship on the planet of the projection’s origin and the Doctor sets out to explore, but he is watched by a bearded man. Seeing a robed figure ahead, the Doctor approaches, but it is an illusion trying to lure him over a cliff-edge. The bearded man saves him and tells him there is much he has yet to understand. The robed figure vanishes.

The bearded man introduces himself as Weldor of the Bukats. A fearsome monster attempts to drive the Doctor and Weldor into the ruins of the Bukat village, but as the roof of one of the ruins collapses so the monster vanishes. The Doctor is led to the Bukats underground base, where he learns of the Turags, alien creatures that the Bukats have never seen. The Turags, meanwhile, see the TARDIS on their scanners and thinks the Doctor may have the knowledge they need. The Doctor wants to meet a Turag face to face.

The theory test had been easy, but the threat of death made the practical a tad disconcerting...

A party of Bukats led by Weldor accompany the Doctor to the Turags’ ship, overcoming various illusions en route, but, as he approaches alone, the Turags imprison the Doctor in a forcefield. He is trapped.

The Turags activate the mind-warp, which renders the Doctor unconscious, then bring him aboard their ship. Imprisoned in a cell, the Doctor cracks the door code, but he is then confronted by a Turag. It tells him he has passed the first test, but if he fails them now, they will all die.

The final panel of the final original strip.

The Turags explain that an engine malfunction caused their ship to crash-land and they were powerless to prevent the retro-jets destroying the Bukat village. Fearing reprisals, the Turags created projections to protect themselves. But the hydron engine fractured on impact and is now dangerously close to critical. The Doctor realises it may already be too late but, if it explodes, it will take half the planet with it.

The engines are red hot, but unfortunately the Turags know nothing of water, so the Doctor enlists the help of Weldor and the Bukats, who dowse the engine and the Doctor, allowing him to get close enough to release the pressure using his laser torch. The danger averted, the Bukats and Turags make peace before the latter depart in their ship. The Doctor asks the Bukats one last favour: help him find the TARDIS so that he too can depart.

Sorely lacking in internal consistency (the Turags talk early on of killing the Doctor despite claiming to be peaceful, and, as it turns out, they have nothing to lose by trusting him as their ship is about to blow them all sky high anyway), and generating its ‘twists’ by outright deception rather than clever misdirection, The Image Makers still manages to tell a passably good story, even if the strip has been slightly overdoing the crippled spaceship storyline of late (that and the meteorite with strange powers). It’s a great shame, though, that the regular run of original comic strips should end in quite so average and unspectacular a fashion.

Issue 1383Issue 1384Issue 1385
    TV Comic Holiday Special 1978


TV Comic Holiday Special 1978

The last of TV Action’s Big Picture ‘story of the week’ strips gets a Canning makeover, and a right pig’s ear he makes of it too, not even trying to merge the two styles. The result is that a panel like the one opposite suddenly pops up among Haylock’s fine line drawings or - worse - a sketchily drawn Doctor is inserted into a panel of fine line characters. Horrible. You can see the original here.

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

REPRINTS: Reprinted in its original form in Classic Comics Issue 27, December 1994.

A new sonic weapon aboard a satellite malfunctions and cannot be switched off. The only way to stop mass destruction on Earth is to raise the frequency above the level of human hearing.

Fearing the worst, the Doctor lands the TARDIS on an island in the North West of Scotland and ventures on foot to the research station responsible for the testing of the new weapon. However, his warning that the sound wave is upsetting the natural order is not believed by Colonel Higgs and he is accused of being an alien spy.

The sound wave, meanwhile, begins to cause chaos as animals and birds turn on humans all around the world. As the satellite orbits once more above Scotland, the research centre is attacked by birds and only the Doctor’s quick thinking saves the staff. The self-destruct fails to work so the Americans launch a missile to destroy the satellite, but the sound wave scrambles its guidance systems and causes it to miss.

Finally forced to trust the Doctor, Colonel Higgs allows him to go back to the TARDIS, materialise it in space close to the satellite and beam the self-destruct code across thus destroying the satellite and ending the animal aggravating sound.

Would you stick a picture as bad as this in the middle of a Gerry Haylock strip? It's like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa!
And here's the original, so you can shudder along with me...
    TV Comic


About nine years ago, Doctor Who!

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning

ISSUES: 1386 - 1389
COVER DATES: 7 July 1978 - 28 July 1978

In 2044, a group of English gentlemen colonised Hekton and set up a society of Regency gentry. Unfortunately, they became fond of duelling and cruel sports - such as pursuing a hapless manservant on horseback with a pack of dogs, which is what Richard and Clive are doing when the TARDIS materialises, startling the horses. Doctor Who finds himself threatened and taken to their mansion for their amusement. Richard sets the first

test: the Doctor must snatch three ball bearings from a table before Clive brings an axe down on his hand. The Doctor cheats by using a magnet, which the gentlemen applaud, but the real test will be to face Clive in a duel with pistols at dawn. However, as the duel is about to begin, the Quarks are watching and waiting to kill the Doctor if Clive fails.

The duel goes ahead. Clive fires and misses. The Doctor shoots but only to disarm his opponent. The Quarks then open fire, but Doctor Who evades their shots too, hiding in the woods. With the regency rogues and the Quarks at each others throats, the Doctor sneaks back to the TARDIS, but a Quark is waiting for him. His death is but a moment away.

The Doctor’s death is delayed by the intervention of Richard and Clive, who capture both him and the Quark and return them to the mansion. There they are forced to fight with whips on a board above a fire. They claim the winner will go free, but the Doctor has his doubts. The Doctor unbalances but does not destroy the Quark and Richard decides to finish them both off with his pistol, but the Doctor uses the whip to disarm him and then to swing himself out of the mansion through a window. The manhunt is on!

The Doctor eludes his hunters for a while, but soon has a skirmish with Richard. He knocks the man to the ground and steals his horse. When he comes across the Quark ship he realises he can use it to find the TARDIS in the dark, but the gentry are waiting for him outside the ship. The Doctor fires all the engines and the noise causes the horses to stampede. The Doctor lands and slips away in the TARDIS.

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Issue 1389

And so begins the beginning of the end for Doctor Who in TV Comic, as they embark on a series of reruns with something loosely approximating Tom Baker’s features drawn over top of whoever the previous Doctor might have been. In this case, it’s Patrick Troughton (see the original strip here) but Canning has hardly bothered to Baker him up at all, not even adding a scarf and generally not even changing his hair. Kids of 1978 must have thought Quarks were just more silly TV Comic robots.

    TV Comic (-1392)
    TV Comic with Target (1393-)


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Issue 1394Issue 1395

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

ISSUES: 1390 - 1396
COVER DATES: 4 August 1978 - 15 September 1978
ON TV: The Sunmakers (repeat), The Ribos Operation (Season 16)

The Doctor plots a course back to the 20th Century, but en route through the vortex he encounters a primitive time machine in trouble. He rescues it and returns it to its own time and place - Treawtha Hall in 19th Century Cornwall, but the Time Lords prevent him from leaving. The other craft is piloted by Tobias Philby, owner of Treawtha Hall, and as he returns there, the Doctor slips from the TARDIS to explore. He starts with Treawtha village, but there finds local poacher Billy Truscott almost driven from him mind and talking of strange objects materialising on the Treawtha

How could he tell her that he'd hit her husband just for fun?

estate. The local rector says it confirms that the folk at the hall are dabbling in the black arts. He plans to raze the place to the ground - and with it the TARDIS.

The Doctor heads to Treawtha Hall to warn Philby, but the arrogant fool refuses to listen, and soon the house is aflame. The Doctor escorts him and his manservant Thomas into the TARDIS and makes an emergency dematerialisation, landing in No-Man’s Land, Christmas 1914, in time to see the football match between British and German troops, but as the game ends, they are captured by German soldiers and put before a firing squad. However, as the soldiers take aim, the Doctor and his comrades are saved by the

Issue 1396

intervention of an attacking British biplane. They escape to the British lines and report that the Germans are building up artillery ready for an attack, but the British also suspect them of being spies.

The only way the Doctor can prove their innocence is to take a biplane to show them the weapons, but they soon run into German Harriers and when the pilot is hit, it is up to the Doctor to land the plane.

Now believed, they are able to leave, and Philby has been convinced never to meddle in things he doesn’t fully understand ever again.

To see the original comic strip, click here.

    TV Comic with Target (-1401)
    TV Comic (1402-)


Reprinted artwork, m'lord...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

ISSUES: 1397 - 1403
COVER DATES: 22 September 1978 - 3 November 1978
ON TV: The Ribos Operation - The Stones of Blood(Season 16)

The Doctor  makes it back to Earth, but in the Middle Ages, where he is quickly charged with stealing the local Lord’s deer, taken before Sir Geoffrey De Beauvain and soon committed to death, but he is watched by a mysterious hooded stranger. In gaol, he meets Haval, one-time Sergeant at Arms to the Lord of Castle Beauvain, but Beauvain’s returning brother Waldeau brought with him a magaician named Signus. Signus placed the Lord in a deep hypnotic trance. He will die in time and Waldeau will seize power without suspicion being raised. The Doctor and Haval escape their cell, but Signus is watching them with the aid of magic and finally confronts them. He conceals them in his quarters.

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I wonder if the production office realised TV Comic were printing reprints, or if they just thought the quality of the scripts and much of the art had improved dramatically... To see the original comic strip, click here.

Waldeau, meanwhile, fears his treachery will soon be discovered as the King is sending someone to investigate the Lord’s dealings. However, Signus hatches a plot to transfer Waldeau’s personality to his brother’s body, and his own personality to the Doctor’s body.

The Doctor wakes Sir Geoffrey from his trance then gets Haval away from the castle by means of a primitive hang glider to summon help. However, Signus is aware of their actions and prevents the escape of the Doctor and Sir Geoffrey. As the ceremony to transfer bodies begins, the two men concentrate their wills against Signus and, as Haval and a party of the King’s men come to their rescue, Signus and Waldeau are terrified by an apparition of Signus’ own conjuring and jump into the moat - a moat Signus has previously lined with stakes.

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Issue 1404
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Issue 1407
Unfortunately, the TARDIS wasn't and the Doctor slammed into the wall...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

ISSUES: 1404 - 1408
COVER DATES: 10 November 1978 - 8 December 1978
ON TV: The Stones of Blood - The Androids of Tara (Season 16)

The Doctor is held in space and begins to believe that he is being punished by the Time Lords for his involvement in the lunar affair, then, after a nightmare journey through time and space, he arrives in an unknown galaxy alongside a gigantic spacecraft. For all its massive size, the ship is crewed by one ancient astronaut named Alto. But the last act of Alto’s commander was to release a cryogenically preserved sleeper, and the computer tells Alto that the man means trouble and should be terminated.

The Doctor lands aboard the ship and meets Alto who explains that Thusion scientists predicted the death of their world with accuracy and so they built the largest spaceship they could and selected those who would travel on it to a new world. These survivors were placed in suspended animation whilst a crew of twenty piloted the ship in search of a new home. But they made a solemn vow not to land on any planet already supporting intelligent life, and so their quest continues seemingly endlessly.

The recovered sleeper - Zeros - discovers the number of worlds rejected because of the vow and also discovers that the ship is running low on fuel. When the Doctor and Alto find him, he is armed and determined to wake the other sleepers and take over the nearest habitable world regardless of what life lives there.

The Doctor and Alto take shelter in the TARDIS until Zeros gives up his attempt to kill them and goes instead to rouse the other sleepers. The Doctor then connects the TARDIS to the ship’s controls and moves the ship to another galaxy where a suitable world awaits them.

The sleepers claim their new home and Zentos is deposed.

To see the original comic strip, click here.

    Doctor Who Annual 1979


Doctor Who Annual 1979Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space (1981)Doctor Who - Journey Through Time (1985)
It was, of course, lots of men called Russell...

Although by no means perfect, Crompton at last achieves something approaching narrative clarity in his illustrations, probably helped enormously by the fact that he wrote this strip too. The actual pictures are gorgeously painted, though the Doctor is frequently out of costume and Leela could be just about any woman in the world. The monkey-faced Azula is a particularly memorable image. It’s not great, but it’s probably the finest annual comic strip since the Third Doctor’s era.

SCRIPT: Paul Crompton
ART: Paul Crompton

REPRINTS: Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space (1981, World Distributor), Doctor Who - Journey Through Time (1985, Clivedon Press)

Shem is home to three sentient life forms. Princess Azula is the rightful heir, but at her coronation Orga, ruler of the Monashem, and Zig, leader of the Ragashem, fight. The winner will snatch Azula’s kingdom and with it the Power - a mysterious force that unites the people.

The Doctor, arriving late for the coronation, distracts Orga, who is killed. In the confusion Azula escapes. Zig claims the crown and immediately puts the Doctor on trial.

The Doctor is thrown into a pit of savage beasts and, unless he reveals the secret of the Power, Leela will be eaten by wild pigs called Porgs.

Fortunately the Doctor is wearing an anti-gravity belt he was intending to give to Azula as a coronation present. As he rises from the pit, he is attacked by Zig.

Azula returns, explaining that the secret of the Power is contained in a book that she intends to share with all of the people. The Doctor uses his anti-gravity belt to knock Zig into the pit where he is killed.

The coronation of Azula resumes and the book containing the secret of the Power is presented to the people.


Doctor Who Annual 1979
Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space (1981)
Doctor Who - Journey Through Time (1985)
Given some of the things in Paul Crompton's mind, I'd want that wall about four foot thick...

One image of Leela is lifted directly from the film of A Clockwork Orange while Emsone’s appearance is lifted from the film Things To Come, but Crompton’s layout is actually very traditional here and it does help somewhat in the telling of his story, even if some of it is rather bizarre - a skeleton asking the Doctor to restore him to health? Er... yeah, okay... The plot is nothing spectacular but works well enough within the confines of the page count. What doesn’t help the strip is the fact that the first page is in colour and all the others get variations of a single shade - brown or blue in this case, neither of which greatly enhances the often freakish artwork, but which is a feature of annuals from time immemorial.

SCRIPT: Paul Crompton
ART: Paul Crompton

REPRINTS: Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space (1981, World Distributor), Doctor Who - Journey Through Time (1985, Clivedon Press)

On Zorka the Doctor and Leela are researching the medicinal properties of a rare mountain herb. They are disturbed by a skeleton asking for their help. He is Krass and he tells them his clothes and flesh have disappeared after an encounter with a mystic called Emsone.

The Doctor constructs an M-Ray chamber to reverse the process. It is working well when Emsone's powerful servant Gurk arrives, knocks the Doctor unconscious and kidnaps Leela.

The Doctor and Klass set off in Klass' hover car to retrieve Leela from Emsone's castle. Passing over a swamp they are attacked by a giant beast, but as the Doctor swerves to avoid it Klass tells him it is only a psychic illusion.

At the castle they find the door open and a barrage of psychic attacks which the Doctor has to fend off before he finds Emsone. The mystic explains that he used Klass and Leela to lure the Doctor to him and the illusions to wear him out because he needs to use a Time Lord's brain in a machine that will make him very rich and powerful.

The Doctor and Emsone begin a fierce mental duel which causes the castle to crumble. Emsone thinks this an illusion until he is crushed to death by falling masonry. The Doctor, Krass and Leela return to their herbs which they have found make an excellent cup of tea.

    TV Comic Annual 1979


Yeah, you and your big knife that you just happen to carry around with you...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: John Canning


A meterorite crash lands into the North Sea close to an oil rig and immediately begins emitting strange power. The Doctor and Miss Young go to the Government Research Laboratory to meet old friend Professor McBane, who introduces them to Karl Moreton, head of Bentick Petroleum. They are flown out to the rig but on their approach they see a ship attacked by seaweed. The Doctor collects  a sample of the weed and tests it at the Research Laboratory, realising that is affected by a force from outer space and is drawn by sound. Fearing for the safety of the rig, the Doctor and Miss Young take out a small boat armed with a gadget that emits super-strong sound waves. Luring the weed towards them, they drop petrol drums in the water then ignite the petrol. The weed burns as they escape by helicopter. Navy divers confirm that the meteorite has burned out and disintegrated. The Doctor and Miss Young depart.

TV Comic Annual 1979

Miss Young, whose hair has obviously been painted from dark to blonde and who wears black glasses, says things like ‘Let us hurry, Doctor. If the evil thing should return’ and ‘Back, sea devil!’ whilst brandishing a large knife. Yes, she’s Leela with a makeover. The actual strip is the usual breathless nonsense we’ve come to expect from TV Comic annuals and holiday specials, and the appearance of yet another meteorite with strange powers is hardly original, but at least it’s coherent and moderately exciting. The one thing that does make you wonder is why Canning repainted Miss Young to become a blonde and added glasses. Did he think his ‘likeness’ of Leela actually looked like Louise Jameson... or is that just too weird a concept to contemplate?

    TV Comic


SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

ISSUES: 1409 - 1415
COVER DATES: 15 December 1978 - 26 January 1979
ON TV: The Androids of Tara - The Armageddon Factor (Season 16)

Sigley Dale is the site of a new television relay station, and the site chosen by Professor McTurk and his daughter Catriona to demonstrate their latest engineering feet: a swarm of deadly metal-eating insects.

Finding one of the insects in the station ruins, the Doctor runs tests and is able to hatch grubs - grubs that will only

Issue 1409

eat metal. He also discovers that they can be controlled by radio waves.

The McTurks, meanwhile, send their deadly insects to attack a military manoeuvre, but the insect attack is overseen by foreign spies who track the McTurks to their remote Yorkshire farmhouse. The McTurks are busy trying to extort a one million pound ransom from the government, but when the spies attack and steal some of the insects a fatally wounded Professor McTurn orders Catriona to release the insects.

Through the police, the Doctor traces the McBrides. He races there with the authorities, but narrowly misses the spies’ car, which crashes into a tree. He is able to save one of

The Doctor's new dance troupe were all ready for action...

them and the box of insects before the car explodes, but the man - Major Pakovsky - attempts to take him hostage.

The Doctor outwits him and hurries on to the McTurks’ farmhouse only to discover the insects have been released.

Professor McTurk is dead, but the Doctor wins Catriona’s confidence and she agrees to help stop the insects. This they finally do by turning Blackpool Tower into a giant electro-magnet.

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To see the original comic strip click here.


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As he suspected, they were roaring drunk on homebrew...

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

ISSUES: 1416 - 1423
COVER DATES: 2 February 1979 - 23 March 1979
ON TV: The Armageddon Factor (Season 16)

An international space rocket to the moon discovers a strange shaft descending many miles beneath the lunar surface. The Doctor urges caution, but a man is sent into the tunnel.

In a flash of light, he disappears. The moon’s surface is evacuated immediately, however, as the return capsule is about to make splashdown, something happens and the capsule plunges into the ocean. The Doctor believes its molecular structure has been changed and his suspicions are confirmed when the capsule is hauled to the surface: it has been petrified along with its crew. The Doctor also predicts that they will find some blackish rocks amongst the samples - Crunthel, found in Galaxy 402 - but refuses to divulge any further information which causes major ructions in the international space agency.

The suspicious CIA put a man named Harry Godino on the Doctor’s trail, but making it back to England, the Doctor is kidnapped by a taxi. Godino saves him and escorts him back to his cottage. Here, the Doctor hopes to give him the slip, but Godino follows him into the TARDIS as he dematerialises.

The arrive on the moon and enter the mysterious tunnel where they discover a strange message on a solid wall: ‘He who enters the holy place of our Lord must be lacking in all evil’. The Doctor discovers a way to open a concealed door in the solid wall and leads Harry into what he realises is a tomb belonging to one of the Lords of the Ether, a race of giants from Galaxy 402 with superior intellect who always bury their dead on passing asteroids. However, Harry is tempted by the vast riches in the tomb and pockets a small jewel. He is immediately rendered unconscious.

The Doctor communicates with the Lords of the Ether, telling them of the human interest in the tomb. He is advised to leave. He drops Harry off in America then leaves Earth for a time. When a new rocket lands on the moon all evidence of the tomb has vanished.

Retitled from the rather more interesting Lords of the Ether, Moon Exploration is the penultimate reprinted strip. To see the original comic strip click here.


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Don't listen to the curly-haired liar! It's all a trick!

SCRIPT: Unknown
ART: Gerry Haylock, with additions by John Canning

ISSUES: 1424 - 1430
COVER DATES: 30 March 1979 - 11 May 1979

After his last adventure the Doctor is keen to stay away from Earth for a while. He detects a ship over fifty kilometres long and is compelled to go and investigate. Following a meteorite storm, the TARDIS is detected by the ship a brought aboard, but the alien Mantis who control the ship are huge and able to hold the TARDIS in their hands, and when they tip the box, the Doctor

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is knocked unconscious. Eager to learn what they have, the aliens dunk the TARDIS in acid.

The acid has no effect, so the Mantis subject the TARDIS to deep x-ray and learn of its occupant. They force him from the craft with intense sound and, eager to learn how the TARDIS is larger on the inside than the outside, increase him in size to their own dimensions. They threaten his life to know the TARDIS’ secret, but further interrogation is disturbed by the arrival of a Tyrraxian/Tyrryxian battle fleet. The Doctor is reduced in size and imprisoned in a jar, but he escapes using sound waves to shatter the glass. The Mantis ship is likewise reduced in size to easily hide from the fleet.

Admiral Shotto of the Tyrryxians launches a robot probe to find the Mantis ship and a Mantis underling destroys it, effectively giving away their position. The Mantis leader knows they must return to full size within a few hours or risk damaging their metabolisms, but believes the Doctor may be able to provide a solution to their problem. He despatches a scarab-like creature called a Scarus after the Doctor which captures him, but he is rescued by two Tyrryxians. It seems the Tyrryxians considered the Mantis mindless workers, until one of the Mantis mutated and developed purpose. It then took control of the other Mantis and stole the ship. The Tyrryxians stranded aboard miniaturised themselves to avoid detection. They also tell the Doctor that if the ship doesn’t return to its normal size soon then it will be stuck in those dimensions forever.

They hatch a plan, and the Doctor is delivered to the Mantis leader in the jaws of the Scarus. He then tricks the Mantis leader into shrinking down so they can enter the TARDIS. Once inside, the Mantis is overpowered by the Tyrryxians and the TARDIS grows back to its original size, bursting open the Mantis ship. The Doctor determines to head back to Earth for some peace and quiet.

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Issue 1430 - the final issue of TV Comic to feature Doctor Who...

To view the original comic strip click here. It is a terrible irony that I only discovered the Doctor Who comic strip in TV Comic with this reprint. I was at the doctor’s surgery (yeah, one of those types of kids), found a dog-eared copy of Issue 1425 in a pile of magazines, and there it was - Part Two of Size Control. I begged my dad to let me take it home with me. He told me I couldn’t because lots of other children would want to read it. The next time my mother took me to town, I picked up a copy of TV Comic and searched frantically for Doctor Who. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t there the week after either. I began to suspect that the strip had been an hallucination brought on by my illness.

A few long months later (months are almost unimaginably long when you’re eleven), on a miserable Monday in October, my mother presented me with Issue One of a new comic completely devoted to Doctor Who. Imagine by amazement and joy... But that’s another story for the second part of this feature on the comic strip exploits of the Fourth Doctor...

And there's no denying it!
Issue 1






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