Character Options, the Doctor Who master toy licensee, has teamed up with Ysgol-Pen-y-Bryn, to produce the school’s one-off Doctor Who fan magazine.
Ysgol-Pen-y-Bryn, in Swansea, Wales, caters for 114 students who, among them, have a wide range of specials needs.
Each year, its sixth-form students take part in a variety of business enterprise projects, in order for them to gain new skills, learn about enterprise and attain an Agored Cymru Qualification in Running an Enterprise Project.
This year, the Ysgol-Pen-y-Bryn Special School Sixth Form Enterprise Group decided that for this year’s project, they wanted to create a magazine to help celebrate Doctor Who ’s 50th Anniversary.
Speaking about the project, the school’s community co-ordinator, James Williams, said: “Many of the pupils have an affinity with the series, especially as its home is just down the road in Cardiff, and I am extremely proud of the work they have created.”
Having decided what to do, the next stage was to seek help with financing the project. “Like all projects, funding is required,” Williams confirms, “and this allows us to give our pupils new experiences and learn new skills that they can take on with them to college.”
Consequently, the team approached Character Options – who have been producing Doctor Who action figures since 2005 – to ask them to help.
Character Options agreed to cover the printing and production costs. “We are proud to fund the print production which we know in this auspicious year will be in high demand,” Mark Hunt, Brand Manager at Character Options, told The Doctor Who Site.
Williams adds, “We would like to thank the team at Character Options for their incredible support, not only financially but also their knowledge of Doctor Who.”
The Achieve It! 2013 Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special magazine has been written and designed by the Ysgol-Pen-y-Bryn students, and Hunt says that Character Options were very impressed by the standard of their work. “We are delighted to be involved in Ysgol-Pen-y-Bryn’s Enterprise project,” Hunt said. “Looking at the work they have achieved, [it’s] an amazing magazine that will be enjoyed by all that are lucky enough to own one. It’s packed with nearly 100 pages of facts, features, interviews and graphic work and the quality that has been achieved is remarkable.”
The pupils have interviewed many of the stars of the iconic science-fiction drama series, including several of the actors who have played the Doctor – Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor), Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor), Colin Baker (Sixth Doctor) and David Tennant (Tenth Doctor) – and several of the Doctor’s travelling companions – William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Anneke Wills (Polly), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Louise Jameson (Leela), Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush), Sophie Aldred (Ace) and Yee Jee Tso (Chang Lee).
Others interviewed include former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies, Anjli Mohindra – who played Rani Chandra in the late Elisabeth Sladen’s Doctor Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures – and Dan Starkey, who as a member of Doctor Who ’s Paternoster Gang, plays the Sontaran, Strax.
The magazine also includes a brand-new Doctor Who short story by Mike Tucker.
Achieve It! First
The publication launch, earlier this month, was held at the permanent Doctor Who Experience in the Welsh capital city, Cardiff – where production of Doctor Who has been based since 2003 – and was attended by the Welsh Assembly Labour Government First Minister, Carwyn Jones.
Proceeds from the 100-magazine – which costs £3.50 and is available direct from Ysgol-Pen-y-Bryn – will be donated to Wales Air Ambulance.
Doctor Who will return to TV screens on Saturday, 23 November 2013 – 50 years to the very day that the first-ever episode, An Unearthly Child, was broadcast in the UK. The as-yet-untitled feature-length episode will unite four Doctors – the current Doctor, Matt Smith, his immediate predecessor, Tennant, an “unspecified incarnation of the Doctor”, John Hurt, and one of the “Classic-era” Doctors.
The anniversary special will be Smith’s penultimate story before handing over the reigns to the Twelfth Doctor in this year’s Christmas special. The actor chosen to succeed him is expected to be announced in the next few weeks, in a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential.