Someone once said, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language”. Or something like that, I’m paraphrasing. Based on my years of experience and visits to London, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate statement. We have so much in common, but besides the linguistic differences, there are lots of little ways that we’re just slightly out of synch. The light switches work the wrong way round; some candy bars are the same but called different things; we call it a bathroom, they call it a ‘toilet’, etc, etc. And then there are their magazines, and man, have they got us beat. They are to magazines what the Japanese are to toys, and I scoop loads of titles up every month and read each one cover to cover. They just make ‘em better, always going that extra inch, from supplements to specially produced CD compilations attached to the covers. This trend goes back as far as I can remember, when I used to track down issues of Smash Hits and they had key fobs (key chains) or badges (buttons, see what I mean?) taped to the cover. But they really go the whole hog with their mag swag when it comes to titles aimed at the youngsters. From Spidey to Batman: The Brave and the Bold to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, all of those properties get their own magazines, and they include super cool toy premiums with each issue. Fortunately, or unfortunately as it turns out, for me someone at the BBC decided to produce something in that vein for Doctor Who. And the goodies are great!
I’m pretty sure ‘Doctor Who Adventures’ launched right after the revamped, Russell T. Davies produced juggernaut took the world by storm. The magazine kind of serves as a children’s version of the over 30 year old Doctor Who Magazine (formerly ‘Monthly’), except it comes out every two weeks and is a pretty slim read. On average it’s about 30 pages or so, filled with story recaps, set visits, puzzles, jokes, games, cut-out-and-make-it items, and the occasional dip into the show’s history, showcasing previous Doctors and monsters. Christopher Eccelston’s tenure was so brief that there ended up being very few issues produced featuring his Doctor, but from issue #1 on, the premiums were stellar. Things like back to school kits, consisting of a large tin pencil case with an image of the Doctor and the show’s logo on the cover, a TARDIS ruler, pens, pencils and the like. Once David Tennant showed up, the magazine really gathered steam and the free gifts got more elaborate, with things like games, a sonic screwdriver that squirts water, canvas wallets, sticker sheets and badges galore. It seemed that as the show got more popular, the magazine got more bold with it’s give a ways, which led to me picking it up more often.