Archive for November, 2013

Here’s to the next 50 years


So the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who is upon us. It really is impressive that a mere TV show has lasted that long. And while strictly speaking it hasn’t done so purely as a TV show, spending 15 years off-screen, it’s not like Doctor Who didn’t exist during that time. There were independently produced video episodes, audio-only adventures, Doctor Who Magazine and its continuously running comic strip and years’ worth of books of newly published stories. So on whatever basis you consider the programme to exist, it was there. And these weren’t obscure fan-only output, they were on sale in high street shops for anyone with an imagination to be captivated by. I’m not sure even Star Trek or Star Wars could boast quite the same level of continuity (though I won’t begrudge them their own half-century celebrations in 2016 and 2027).

Of course, were it not for the revival of the show in 2005, while we devotees might still have been marking the 50th in our own private ways, there wouldn’t have been any of the current furore both on screen and elsewhere (and it seems to have been celebrated on just about every medium this week). So whether you only count the Classic series as true Who, have never even seen 20th Century Who, think the series died in 1980, just like that one story you saw as a kid, or have never seen it but are intrigued by Peter Capaldi taking on the role — whatever your degree of interest in Doctor Who, today is the day to give thanks to everyone who has contributed in any way to the continuing saga and the entertainment, insight and sheer joy it has brought to millions of people around the world now and over the past 50 years. But also to remember that there’s still an infinite variety of places for the show to go and stories to tell. You never get over the excitement of wondering just where that incredible blue box will take us next…


1 day and counting… The Reign of Terror, The Tenth Planet

reign_VJarttenthplanet_VJartThe countdown to 50 is nearing its end with the last of the First Doctor releases: The Reign of Terror and The Tenth Planet.

Click here to download the cover from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about its creation here.

The William Hartnell era is now complete, more or less. I was hoping to have the updated The Aztecs cover ready as well but I’m still working on it (lots of feathery costumes to cut out) and didn’t want to rush it unnecessarily. It should be available shortly. Other than that, I may take another look at The Dalek Invasion of Earth some time as it’s the only early release that hasn’t been revisited and I’d like to improve the photo of the Doctor at the very least.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the covers over the years, and to those who actually choose to use them — I’m truly flattered. So with just a few loose ends and a handful of upcoming releases to go (rumours notwithstanding), stage one of the site is nearly completed. The question then will be whether to produce DVD-style covers for the missing stories. Are these something you would use? Does anyone keep their soundtrack CDs in DVD cases in order to have a uniform Who collection?


2 days and counting… The Ice Warriors

icewarriors_VJartThe countdown to 50 continues with the last of the Second Doctor releases: The Ice Warriors — at least it would have been if they hadn’t only gone and found two more previously missing stories!

Click here to download the cover from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about its creation here.

So yes, that would have been it for the Troughton era except we now have The Enemy of the World and (most of) The Web of Fear back in the archive, and soon on our shelves. Hurrah! I plan to do the cover for the former shortly, alongside finishing off the last few re-releases that need their covers amending, and the latter will follow, probably early next year nearer its DVD release. So here’s the Second Doctor collection as it currently stands.


3 days and counting… Spearhead, Ambassadors, Mind of Evil







The countdown to 50 continues with new covers for Third Doctor stories Spearhead from Space, The Ambassadors of Death and The Mind of Evil.

Click here to download the covers from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about their creation here.

I’ve also uploaded a refreshed Inferno cover for the recent re-release. The illustration has been very slightly tweaked but not redesigned, and the back has been updated with the new extras. That leaves two Third Doctor re-releases that need updated covers: The Claws of Axos and The Green Death. The former I only plan to change the pics of the Doctor and the Master for better quality ones, while the latter I’d like to replace the miner with Stevens if I can find a workable shot of him. I’m hoping to get those done shortly and then the Jon Pertwee era will be complete as I think the rest are looking good.


4 days and counting… Zygons, Face & Eden







The countdown to 50 continues with new covers for Fourth Doctor stories Terror of the Zygons, The Face of Evil and Nightmare of Eden.

Click here to download the covers from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about their creation here.

The Tom Baker era is now complete on DVD, at long last, but I do have just one more cover to do. The Ark in Space will be getting redone shortly, I’ve  been prioritising the new releases for this update. I don’t plan to make any design changes, however, just update the photos to improve the quality. The main change may be a different shot of the Doctor, depending on what I can find. The only other tweak I have in mind to make once the range is complete is to The Leisure Hive, where I know I have a better quality photo of the Doctor to drop in.


5 days and counting… The Visitation & The Caves of Androzani

visit2_VJartcaves2_VJartThe countdown to 50 continues with my updates for the re-releases of The Visitation and The Caves of Androzani.

Click here to download the covers from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about their creation here.

While the Peter Davison era has essentially been complete for a while, I’ve known the Androzani cover has needed revising for a long while (see the link above for some reasons why it has taken so long), and with this year’s re-release of The Visitation we’re only now truly up to date (unless they re-visit any more). Again there’s just one cover I may look to tweak once all the DVDs are out, namely Earthshock, where I think the shot of the Doctor could be improved.


6 days and counting… Vengeance on Varos

varos2_VJartThe countdown to 50 continues with my update for the re-release of Vengeance on Varos.

Click here to download the cover from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about its creation here.

I had thought my covers for the Colin Baker era complete, then they went and revisited this one. But as I wasn’t totally happy with the original I was glad to get the chance to rework it. I think this collection is now up to scratch, with only The Two Doctors worth a tweak one day as I’m sure I’ve seen higher quality versions of both Doctor images since I made it. Of course, if the BBC want to re-release it, that’d be the perfect excuse.


7 days and counting… The Happiness Patrol

happiness_VJartOur countdown to the 50th Anniversary begins with my final Seventh Doctor cover: The Happiness Patrol.

Click here to download the cover from Velvet Jacket, and read notes about its creation here.

Covers for the McCoy era are now complete (pending any further re-releases). I’m very happy with this collection, with only The Curse of Fenric worth tinkering with were they ever to do a special edition, although not by much.


The Week of Evil!

kellerWell, not literally, of course. (Especially given the startling prelude to The Day of the Doctor we got — yeah, I know there were rumours but I really didn’t believe they’d actually get McGann involved!) But I’ve been working on the covers for both The Mind of Evil and The Face of Evil over the last couple of days, the completion of which means I’ve now finished all the outstanding covers for first-time releases. There are now just a few re-releases to update the covers for — some of which will be more involved than others — and the site will finally be on the way to being up to date for the first time in yonks. I’m working flat out, I tells ya.

Check the site from Saturday for the first new cover post as we being the countdown to the big anniversary weekend.


Hartnell in colour

doc_col196Just finished another cover (no prize for guessing which one) and am rather pleased with the colourisation. The image of the Doctor on this one is one of the most detailed colourisations I’ve attempted for a while, although at least in this case there were genuine colour photos I could use for reference (sadly not of high enough quality to use themselves). Click the image, or here, to see a larger version

I’ve been colourising black-and-white photos for my covers for a while now — I was always keen to have those for the Sixties stories in full colour rather than just colour washes — developing my techniques and skills along the way. I never feel they quite end up looking like genuine colour photos but I like to feel I’m getting better, in particular putting in a lot of effort to include variation so they don’t look like patches of flat colour.

I hope you agree the end result is worth the effort. You’ll be able to see this particular image in context on its cover soon.