Friday, 13 July 2012

Terrance Dicks by @Cheezypeas

Terrance Dicks (or Uncle Terry) is a name that should be very familiar to Whovians. OK, if you're reading this and scratching your head 1: shame on you for not knowing this guy, and 2: don't worry I'll tell you all about him as long as you promise you'll explore some of his fine work. OK? :-

Terrance has been involved with Doctor Who for years. He first cut his teeth in television when a friend working on The Avengers asked for some assistance to write an episode (which he was credited as co-writter) and the rest as they say is history.

And the best was yet to come.

Terrance became script editor for Doctor Who during the wonderful Second Doctors era in 1968. He technically first co-wrote The Seeds of Death after Brian Hayles struggled to write a coherent story line due to major changes in casting. Frazer Hines (Jamie) had decided to leave and Brian had created a script to introduce a new companion called 'Nick'. After Patrick Troughton persuaded Frazer to stay this threw a bit of a spanner in poor Brian's creative works so, Uncle Terry to the rescue! You have to admit, considering there was a major alteration to the story he didn't do a bad job, did he?

Nope, Frazer isn't going anywhere whilst he's in this human sandwich!

He was the co-writer for the Second Doctor's powerful finale The War Games, which he has mentioned in interviews as initially "a tremendous state of chaos" as he and Malcolm Hulke came up with two different script projects for the story and the uncertainty at that point if Patrick Troughton was leaving! This is why the story is 10 episodes long! After this lengthy and complex story he continued to co-write some fantastic Third Doctor stories with Barry Letts.

Brigadier: "Yes, that Terrance Dicks is an awfully fine fellow!"

When Terrance left in 1974 he wrote a few more scripts for his predecessor Robert Holmes to use in the Fourth Doctor's era but became angry with Robert's re-write of The Brain of Morbius (The pseudonym Robin Bland was a joke Robert put in after Terrance said "you can put it out under some bland pseudonym!" after he demanded his name was removed from the credits!) He also wrote State of Decay later on, and his final story was the timeless classic The Five Doctors.

Not to be tied down to script editing, Terrance was also the author of over 60 of the fantastic Doctor Who Target books, some of which you'll see regularly popping up on the sidebar of this site. He also wrote Doctor Who novels for Virgin (New Adventures), and BBC books with his latest being a Tenth Doctor story. He has also written some Doctor Who stage plays, Big Finish audio and written some non Doctor Who children's stories.

So you have to agree, Uncle Terry is a man of immense talent and imagination. So come and join us this Saturday evening to watch the winner of the Terrance Dicks poll!

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