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Terrance Dicks (1935 - 2019) RIP

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  • Terrance Dicks (1935 - 2019) RIP

    Script writer Terrance Dicks has died at the age of 84.

    https://www.irishmirror.ie/showbiz/c...octor-19169735

  • #2
    From the Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...s-dies-aged-84

    Nick

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    • #3
      A true legend - if you grew up with Dr Who in the seventies, he made it for you, including the novelisations. He will be missed.

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      • #4
        I had the pleasure of meeting Terrance Dicks on several occasions and he was a forceful, non-PC but most agreeable conversationalist. With Barry Letts as the producer and Terrance as the script editor, DOCTOR WHO went through one of its most successful periods as they worked together in perfect harmony.

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        • #5
          NO! NO! NO! R.I.P.

          Terrible news ... and he wasn't even on his last regeneration! A superb writer, and co-responsible (with Barry Letts) for saving Dr Who and turning it into a multi-million viewer Saturday tea time treat/fixture! https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49555763
          and https://tardis.fandom.com/wiki/Terrance_Dicks.

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          • #6
            The Guardian obituary

            https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-r...dicks-obituary

            Nick

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            • #7
              Terrance Dicks, prolific novelist and script-editor who ushered in Jon Pertwee’s psychedelic era of Doctor Who – obituary

              Telegraph Obituaries

              3 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 6:20PM
              Terrance Dicks, who has died aged 84, was a screenwriter and script editor who revitalised the Doctor Who television series in the early 1970s with Jon Pertwee, a charismatic dandy, in the lead.

              Dicks was also a prolific novelist whose paperback adaptations of the Doctor Who stories were lapped up by a generation of young fans. Rarely longer than 120 pages, and written in a simple, thrilling style, they provided a bridge between children’s books and adult literature.

              He worked in the world of fantasy, surrounded by wild creatives, but Dicks was a down-to-earth professional with an authentic cockney accent. When asked what inspired him to write, he replied: “An advance and a contract.”

              The son of a tailor’s salesman and a waitress who later ran a pub together, Terrance William Dicks was born on April 14 1935 in East Ham. After attending the grammar school there he won a scholarship to read English at Downing College, Cambridge, followed by National Service in the Royal Fusiliers and then a promising but unsatisfying career in advertising copywriting. (“Unfortunately,” he said, “I turned out to be quite good at it.”)


              One of Dicks's many Doctor Who novelisations

              He wrote radio scripts on the side until, by chance, he rented a room from the television writer Malcolm Hulke, who was scripting a show called The Avengers and had run out of ideas. Could Dicks help?

              It became a fruitful and generous partnership (Hulke shared their Avengers proceeds 50/50) that also led to regular work on Crossroads, the ITV daily soap opera ridiculed for its wobbly sets. Dicks was horrified to find this was another of his hidden talents.

              Luckily, Derrick Sherwin, one of the Crossroads team, had a finger in a pie at Doctor Who and in 1968 he asked Dicks if he would like to become an assistant script editor. Dicks agreed. He assumed he would last no more than three months.

              In 1970, Dicks, now promoted to script editor, and the incoming producer Barry Letts relaunched Doctor Who with Jon Pertwee in the title role. Though known for comedy, Pertwee played the Doctor straight and as more of a man of action than his predecessors.

              This era in the history of the series could be summed up by the word “psychedelic” – it was in colour, camp and stuffed with flying gargoyles and Venusian Aikido. But Dicks and Letts cleverly turned a children’s show into something far more adult.

              Dicks was a somewhat conservative man but took the view that a good story was a good story whatever its politics, and this opened the door to a number of tales with Left-wing political themes, from industrial action to membership of the Common Market. In “The Green Death”, chemical waste threatens Wales with an infestation of giant maggots – created by the props department out of inflated condoms.

              Dicks was sceptical towards the anti-imperial message of “The Mutants” (1972) because “I was rather pro the British Empire. My view was … that it would be a lot better if it was still there.”

              The show also experimented with a more familiar Earth setting and a sophisticated assistant, the academic Liz Shaw, portrayed by Caroline John, although Dicks eventually dropped Shaw in favour of an old-fashioned dizzy blonde called Jo Grant (Katy Manning).

              It was necessary, he said, to have someone who could ask the Doctor, on behalf of the audience, to explain what was going on. “We were constantly getting into trouble, with the rise of feminism, for having heroines who screamed and were rescued,” but Dicks, being a self-confessed “unreconstructed male chauvinist”, believed that this was exactly what they were meant to do. He also saw the Doctor as a Sherlock Holmes-type hero, so he gave him a Moriarty: the Master, played with feline charm by Roger Delgado.

              After six years, and with a new Doctor in the role, Tom Baker, Dicks decided to quit while he was ahead, but not before nailing down a final contract: he told his successor, Robert Holmes, that Doctor Who had a tradition of allowing outgoing editors to write the first story of the new season. This led to Dicks authoring “Robot”.

              He wrote or contributed to six other stories: “The Seeds of Death”, “The War Games”, “The Brain of Morbius”, “Horror of Fang Rock”, “State of Decay” and “The
              Five Doctors". All his stories had clear plots and witty dialogue.



              In the days before video, Dicks’s novels were a way for enthusiasts to enjoy the show again after its initial screening

              Perhaps the highlight of his career was “The Brain of Morbius”, a clever recycling of Frankenstein enlivened by vivid set design and a suitably unhinged performance by Philip Madoc as a mad scientist. The monster resembled a bear with its head stuck in a fish bowl. Dicks wrote two stage plays: Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday in 1974 and Doctor Who – the Ultimate Adventure in 1989.

              Other television work included the 1973 series Moonbase 3, an ambitious but failed attempt to create a sci-fi show without aliens, and the 1976 episode of Space: 1999 “The Lambda Factor”. From 1981 he teamed up with Letts again to script-edit BBC One’s series of adaptations of great works, The Classic Serial, succeeding Letts in the role of producer in 1985 for a further two years. Notable instalments featured Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes and Eric Porter as Fagin.

              In the 1970s Target Books won a deal to novelise Doctor Who scripts. Target asked Dicks to contribute and, despite never having written a book, he readily agreed, adapting “Spearhead from Space” as Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion. He went on to turn out more than 60 of the novels for Target.

              The books were derided by snobs as simplistic copies of the originals, but Dicks countered that all the script gave him was dialogue and directions, but no atmosphere. He would arrange a screening of the serial and record his observations, then translate this into the prose, having to deliver a book on time and to a word limit, regardless of the original length (or quality). Happily, this was something else he discovered he excelled at – and it was lucrative.


              Jon Pertwee, who played the Doctor during Dicks's tenure as script editor
              CREDIT: EVERETT COLLECTION/ALAMY

              “I had this brief period when it appeared to be raining money on me,” he told the Ipswich Star. “Unfortunately, I fell into the classic trap, which is that the money I got for the books was pre-tax money, and the tax bills arrive much, much later – by which time you’ve spent most of the money!”

              Dicks wrote scores of other books, from mystery stories featuring the Baker Street Irregulars to adventures variously involving the Canadian mounted police, a rag doll called Sally Ann, a golden retriever called Goliath and a cat called Magnificent Max.

              He wrote new books for Doctor Who, starting with Timewyrm: Exodus in 1991 and concluding with Revenge of the Judoon in 2008, as well as audio stories and
              three straight-to-video films.

              '

              "I had this brief period when it appeared to be raining money on me,' Dicks recalled. 'Unfortunately, I fell into the classic trap, which is that the money I got for the books was pre-tax money, and the tax bills arrive much, much later – by which time you’ve spent most of the money!'

              In the days before video, Dicks’s novels were a way for enthusiasts to enjoy the show again after its initial screening. The books have endured both in the minds of their readers and as collector’s items, thanks to Dicks’s talent as a writer.

              Although he enjoyed the Doctor Who TV series revived in 2005, he found it too fast-moving, in deference to depleted attention spans. As for soap operas, he complained: “I can’t watch EastEnders because everybody has a really terrible time.”

              Terrance Dicks lived in Hampstead with his wife Elsa Germaney and they had three sons.

              Terrance Dicks, born April 14 1935, died August 29 2019
              Last edited by Maurice; 3rd September 2019, 09:48 PM.

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