Terrance Dicks passed away today and I’m not even sure where to begin when it comes to talking about the importance of his work to me.
Dicks was the script editor on Doctor Who, from 1968 to 1974 (and a writer on the show for much longer), seeing the torch of the lead actor passed from Patrick Troughton to Jon Pertwee, and standing down with the arrival of Tom Baker (for whom he wrote the first story). Important years for the show and for this young mind, as this period saw me transformed from an avid, regular viewer into a full-blown fan.
But his work weaved an even greater magic, as he would become the most prolific writer of novelizations for Target Books’ Doctor Who range, penning more than sixty of these books which helped to expand my vocabulary and excite my imagination – particularly in the days before blu-rays, DVDs or even VHS tapes.
Dicks’ punchy novels are often highlighted for their relative brevity, but his economy of style also showed a flair for vivid descriptiveness and a beautiful, dry wit, which never spoke down to its audience.
Dicks’ ideas and words helped to form the pages of my own creativity. For that and for so many adventures with the Doctor through space and time, I’ll always be grateful.
“No point in being a grown-up if you can’t be childish.”
― Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who and the Giant Robot