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The Tapezine Matrix is researched, written, designed, maintained and Copyright Alan Hayes.

Doctor Who is Copyright BBC Television. No attempt to infringe the BBC's copyrights is intended.

CT of Death

Place of Origin:
Twickenham, Middlesex, U.K.

Editors:
Alastair Hooley and David Bickerstaff

Distribution Media:
Audio Cassette

Tape Lengths:
#1: C60; #2: C90

In Production: 1988-89

Issues Produced: 2

Cheekily named after the Tom Baker Doctor Who story, City of Death, and the DWAS newsletter, Celestial Toyroom (commonly known as CT), CT of Death was the brainchild of 'Stair and Staff' - Alastair Hooley and David Bickerstaff. The first issue was produced in the Summer of 1988, and released prior to the broadcast of Season 25, which commenced with Remembrance of the Daleks.

Stair and Staff's take on the tapezine format was fun and often irreverant, nicely balanced with well-presented articles on subjects such as the decline of the programme in the 1980s, the works of Donald Cotton and a comparison, with audio clips, of the two versions produced of An Unearthly Child. These were interspersed with comedy sketches and an amusing attempt to review Season 25 without actually having seen it. The second issue was released in May 1989 and was extended by half an hour compared to the first.

Issue 1 is available for download from Alastair Hooley's homepage. Here are his recollections of co-producing CT of Death:

During the 1980s, David Bickerstaff and I were very keen Doctor Who fans. I recall us listening to The Master Tape and thinking it would be fun for us to do something similar, partly because we didn't have the equipment or funds to produce a printed fanzine which otherwise would have been our preferred medium.

It was hard work trying to fill a 60 minute cassette with material, as there were just the two of us contributing. Also, we didn't have access to celebrities for that all-important interview (something I have to admit made me envious of other fanzines and I always wondered how they managed it), so everything had to be generated by ourselves. We decided on a mix of factual articles and comedy although, speaking for myself at least, I was never quite sure whether the comedy was actually funny. That's still the case to this day!

We submitted the advert for the sale of the tapezine to DWAS's Celestial Toyroom newsletter, but they refused to publish it on the grounds that "the title is too similar to that of a well-known Doctor Who newsletter". Therefore, we subsequently sent the advert to DWB, who weren't so fussy! Customers had to send us a blank C60 tape, 30p and an SAE. I'm sure at least one customer failed to fulfil all of these requirements but seeing as total number of orders looked like it would never break into double figures (and indeed I don't think it did) we sent them a recorded tape anyway!

For the second issue, we received a number of contributions from Issue 1 listeners, which made it an easier task to fill a 90-minute cassette than it had been to complete the 60 minutes of Issue 1. One contribution was a rather lengthy play from a Paul Magrs, who was a university student at the time, but who is of course now known for his Doctor Who novels and other writings. We also received a contribution from a 13-year-old boy who had recorded himself playing his Rambo game on his ZX Spectrum, pretending that he was shooting John Nathan-Turner. David and I were rather embarrassed by this, largely because we were worried that this was a representation of the mentality of our audience and that CT of Death was seen as being of the same mentality by listeners. Other contributions helped diminish this worry somewhat. Needless to say, the Rambo contribution never made it on to Issue 2. Orders for Issue 2 were a bit better than for Issue 1, even when taking into account the free copies promised to contributors.

We did write and record some material for Issue 3 but by that time - the year was 1990 - our passion for Doctor Who was beginning to wane. I think this may have been triggered largely by the fact that 1990 was the year 'old Who' ended and there didn't appear to be anything on the horizon. Consequently, Issue 3 never materialised.

These days, David and I are no longer active in Doctor Who fandom, although we still watch and enjoy the programme, albeit as 'casual fans'. However, we are still referred to as Stair and Staff in many circles.

A year or so ago, I converted Issue 1 to MP3 format and published it on my non-Who website (see introduction, above), partly for the benefit of a few work colleagues who enjoy Doctor Who and partly for those friends who may have been curious as to what I was up to in the late 1980s! Visitors to Tapezine Matrix are more than welcome to drop by and have a listen!

Alastair Hooley, Co-Producer, CT of Death

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