A Tribute To Terrance Dicks - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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A Tribute To Terrance Dicks

In which we pay tribute to one of the most prolific and important contributors to Doctor Who, Terrance Dicks.

On August 29th 2019, at the age of 84, Terrance Dicks sadly passed away. As anyone reading this website likely knows, Dicks was one of the most prolific and important people to have ever worked on Doctor Who.

In his early career, Dicks worked as an advertising copywriter and wrote radio play scripts for the BBC in his spare time. His breakthrough into television came in 1962 when friend and mentor Malcolm Hulke asked for his help on The Avengers episode The Mauritius Penny, which was Dicks' first television credit. In his long career he wrote for shows including Space 1999, co-created Moonbase 3, and even worked as a staff writer on Crossroads, but it his extensive association with Doctor Who that Terrance Dicks will most fondly be remembered for.

In 1968, Dicks was hired as assistant script editor on Doctor Who. The following year he was appointed head script editor, and extensively re-wrote Brian Hayles' original scripts for The Seeds of Death, though remained uncredited as co-writer. His first Doctor Who writing credit came when he and Hulke co-wrote the 10-part serial The War Games, which concluded the series' sixth season and the Second Doctor's (Patrick Troughton) tenure. The serial introduced the concept of the Time Lords, and the character of the War Chief, which in Dicks novelisation of Terror of the Autons (and also in Hulke's novelisation of Colony in Space, titled Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon) it is suggested was an early incarnation of the Master. The War Games also initiated the Doctor's exile to Earth, which would be a major theme of the Third Doctor's (Jon Pertwee) tenure, and Dicks served as script editor for all five seasons.

In 1972, Dicks embarked on a parallel career as an author with the publication of his first book, The Making of Doctor Who (a history of the production of the TV series, also co-written with Hulke). He also began his association with Target Books, contributing heavily to their series of novelisations of the Doctor Who TV serials by writing more than 60 of the titles published by the company.

After stepping down as Doctor Who script editor, Dicks continued his association with the show, writing four scripts for his successor, Robert Holmes: these were Robot (1975, Tom Baker's first outing as the Fourth Doctor), The Brain of Morbius (1976, for which Dicks was credited under the pseudonym Robin Bland after his displeasure at Holmes' re-writes prompted him to request that it be shown "under some bland pseudonym"), Horror of Fang Rock (1977) and State of Decay (1980). Dicks final Doctor Who script was for the twentieth anniversary adventure The Five Doctors.

During the 1990s, Dicks contributed to Virgin Publishing's line of full-length, officially licensed, original Doctor Who novels, New Adventures, which continued the series' storyline following the TV cancellation in 1989. Dicks wrote three Doctor Who novels for Virgin, and continued to write occasionally for the franchise after BBC Books assumed the licence in 1997. He wrote the first of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, titled The Eight Doctors, which was, for a time, the best-selling original Doctor Who novel. Dicks was also responsible for the highly popular World Game, featuring the Second Doctor, which is set during the so-called "Season 6B". Later contributions to the range were the Quick Reads books Made of Steel and Revenge of the Judoon, both featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones.

His other work for Doctor Who include two stage plays, Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday (1974) and Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure (1989), plus an audio drama for Big Finish Productions titled Comeback (2002), which was the first to feature former companion Sarah Jane Smith in a significant capacity. 

Dicks final short story, titled Save Yourself, is due to be published October 2019 as part of Doctor Who: The Target Storybook.

Terrance Dicks. 14 April 1935 – 29 August 2019. Rest in peace.

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