Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Thanks for so much Doctor Who fun, Terrance Dicks

On August 29, 2019, Terrance Dicks passed away. He wasn’t a household name for a lot of folks but his work had a big impact on me. And, okay, he was kind of a household name in my childhood house.

While he did a lot of work writing and editing for television, Terrance Dicks was significant for me because he did a lot of work on Doctor Who. Between editing scripts and writing some too, he was part of the creative team from the Patrick Troughton era through Peter Davidson’s time. His scripts included co-writing The War Games and writing Robot, The Brain of Morbius and The Five Doctors among others.

So, some fairly significant stories.

However, where he really hit me was was all the novelizations he wrote. Back in the 80s, my access to the actual show was whatever re-runs PBS showed. The skinny little Target novelizations were a big part of my formative Doctor Who experience. Terrance Dicks wrote dozens of them. I later learned he got a lot of the original script writers to write novelizations as well.

Now, I have to admit, we aren’t talking about high art here. Most of Dicks’ own novelizations were practically just the scripts. And there is a big difference between reading what Tom Baker said and watching him chew the scenery with gusto. But, by golly, it let me get into Doctor Who in a way I never could have otherwise.

Thank you, Terrance Dicks.

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