So, what did the princely sum of 10/6 buy you in 1966? Quite a lot, actually – a beautifully illustrated book with plenty of reading matter and none of the unimaginative factual nonsense that plagued the later annuals. First up is The Cloud Exiles, featuring a talking cloud. There’s not a whole lot more that needs to be said about that.
Obviously, the spectre of The Web Planet still loomed large when this annual was written, and The Sons of Grekk presents us with some friendly giant insects and the turtle-like Crustians. If you think this is stretching a concept too far, then you will want to skip swiftly past Terror of Tiro, where Dr Who has to face off against monster ants, “every bit as big and fearsome as the Zarbi on Vortis!” Doesn’t that just fill you with dread.
Mission for Duh is a comic strip adventure, featuring dome-headed aliens with names like Lahk, Phlege and, yes, Duh; it is very nicely illustrated, but the story is nonsense. The Devil-Birds of Corbo are “twice as big as Tardis” but turn out to be robots, at least making a change from the other myriad giant creatures in this annual. The Playthings of Fo follows straight on, and provides Dr Who with some companions in “Tardis”, for the first time in the book. As if trying to make up for the lack of company in “Tardis” in previous stories, the ship is packed full of people, making for a rather confused start to the story. It is worth persevering, if only for the wonderful illustration of the Cyclops. Justice of the Glacians has one concept: cold place = hairy aliens. After a nice-looking board game it is time for the Ten Fathom Pirates, which ends with the unforgettably and unintentionally funny: “But this must definitely be a lesson to me. I should never go anywhere without a Renticular Celluprime, Number Two!” Well, let’s all hope Dr Who learnt his lesson. RP