Five Hundred Eyes


Edward Lord
Chorley, Lancashire

Well then, what can I say? I loved issue one! I thought it was very, very good. But enough of the hype, on to a more constructive critique. The layout was one of the best features of the zine, in my view. Too often potentially good fanzines have been ruined by a grotty typeface or dreadful layout ... The reviews of Season 7 were all entertaining; in fact I think I've only ever read one review I've enjoyed more ... It was especially refreshing to see someone enthuse over Ambassadors. The only suggestion I can make is a very subjective one; I quite like it when, after a long review by one person, another gives a small alternative point of view. Perhaps this needn't be done for past seasons, but if you do Season 24 you could possibly bear this in mind. Your own review of Death was a refreshing change in style from Ian's, but perhaps it was slightly too long. Then again it was far better than the planned one page job would have been. The Survivors piece was interesting (obviously written by someone who has the story on tape!) but I think it was slightly out of place. I don't know, but was it included because of the CT ad? Personally I would have left it out of the issue and done it in the future when it might have fitted in with the rest of the issue more. You don't agree? Ah, well! (Yes, I had The Dead Planet on video, but the article was written by referring to the CMS data-file release. And yes, I did write it at the last minute to satisfy the requirements of the ad, but that said I feel that it was my favourite piece in the whole zine, not least because it was an article that I'd been planning to write for a long time.) Another article I don't feel fitted in particularly well was The Causal Nexus. I suppose the fact that I couldn't really understand what it was getting at didn't help matters! (I've been guilty of writing and printing articles myself where in retrospect I just cannot see what the idea behind them was.) (I'm not sure that even Richard knows exactly what that article was about, and he wrote it!) Possibly my favourite aspect of the mag was how to find the steps! Having spent over an hour twice trying to find them I'd given up hope! The rest of the article was very good, and so much better than the very brief descriptions given in Travel Without the Tardis and DWM. Re Ironbridge : the "adequate safety precautions" (page 15, para 5, last line) were lowering the lift cage to just below the surface, with about a foot of foam on top, making Colin about two foot above it. Next, the humour. I liked the Terrance Dicks piece; it was a new approach to a theme I thought had been done to death, but the "Use a Die" (good to see the proper singular for a change) is quite novel and original. However, the only thing I disliked in the entire fanzine was Dr Oho. I've never really been a fan of zine comic strip humour, finding it rather tedious and unfunny ... sadly this also falls into the same group. A constructive criticism - don 't do any more! Right then, I think I've saaid just about everything, except well done, keep it up, and I can't wait for issue two!

Patrick White
Isle of Wight

Having just read the excellent first issue of Five Hundred Eyes I thought I would write to congratulate you and your team. I thought the articles about Season Seven were exceptionally well written, especially the on about Inferno which is my favourite story. Although I disagreed with the review of Death to the Daleks - I think it is one of Pertwee's worst stories - I still enjoyed the review. The Doctor Oho comic strip I found very funny and I look forward to more of this.

Paul McGrade
Omagh, Co. Tyrone

If someone had told me that Five Hundred Eyes would contain lengthy (three pages minimum) reviews and articles about Terrance Dicks, Daleks, Longleat, three locations and Logopolitan computers, I probably wouldn't have touched it. On paper these articles seem trivial, but in the fanzine they are excellent. The reviews (Spearhead and Silurians particularly) are superb, while the articles on "Tel" Dicks and "The Survivors" are just as good. The Longleat report, well, everyone does them and all they are doing is promoting Longleat, but they're still good for all that. Especially this one with Mr Gibbs' (Oh, is that you?) (Quite possibly, but there are a lot of us about!) angle on children, which raises an interesting point. Should Dr Who be produced for kids? Obviously this would cause quite a furore in DWASland. The "show", in my opinion, has been at its best when "unsuitable for children". There are few, for example, who would doubt the effectiveness of the Hinchcliffe era, and, at the same time, few who would condone it for children. The same goes for much of the Troughton era, eg. Tomb, Web, Fury.

Nick Cooper

I was a bit dis-heartened to see you'd reviewed Death to the Daleks, but was pleasantly surprised to see you had taken a more detailed approach. I'm not sure about part one being a 525-line conversion. It certainly is poorer quality than the rest, but if it is 525-line then it's a very good conversion (ie. "poor" 625 looks like "good" 525). I think it probably is the 625-line copy from Australia, it's just that the copy is of low quality. This is possible if the storage conditions were worse than the BBC copies of 2-3. Being from different "batches" and with different histories, the quality would certainly be expected to vary somewhat. I think this is probably the case, since it is BBC Video policy not to release 525-line or mixed 525 and 625-line commercially. The Sea Devils was probably withdrawn for this reason (since only half of it exists on 625-line). It is permissable for off-air transmissions, as was seen when the infamous "Undertakers" sketch was returned to a recent Monty Python repeat by way of a very poor 525-line copy. The BBC seem to be doing a lot of such reconstruction lately. Take the repeat of Dennis Potter's play, "Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton". Whereas a lot of this programme was a very poor quality 405-line tele-recording, the original location film had been edited into it for much better quality in those sections. This is all very suspicious considering that, on the demands of Equity, the BBC were supposed to destroy all such location footage after a programme was edited onto VT (although I understand that the location film for 'Snowmen part two slipped through and still exists).

Issue Two - Contents