Doctor Who Blog

Doctor Who Insider cancelled

Doctor Who Magazine’s spin-off publication, Doctor Who Insider, launched last spring as a vehicle for promoting the franchise in North America, has been cancelled after nine issues, its publisher announced.

According to a report on the Doctor Who News Page, Panini – publisher of both DWM and DWI – announced in an e-mail on Jan. 27 that it was ending publication of DWI immediately, with Issue No. 9, which was first released to comic shops in Canada and the US on Dec. 8, being its final issue.

During its run, DWI ran a mix of articles on both the current and classic series, as well as large posters. Initially only available in the US and Canada, midway through its run distribution expanded to the UK and a special British-exclusive compilation of the first four issues was released there last summer.

As a regular reader of DWI, I felt it never really lived up to its promise. Launched amid fanfare as the first North American-focused (licensed) Doctor Who monthly, it very quickly became apparent it was simply DWM-lite. Offering shorter articles and extensive illustrations, it was pretty to look at, but always came off as lesser when compared to DWM (which, despite initial concerns it might not be, continued to be circulated to comic shops and magazine racks here, with DWI and DWM often filed side-by-side at places like Chapters and Indigo). And while DWI did turn the spotlight on some North American aspects of Who fandom, you were also just as likely to find promotional articles with little direct connection to North American fandom.

That doesn’t mean DWI didn’t have its moments, such as a great interview with Louise Jameson, and the final issue gave rare coverage to the Scream of the Shalka webcast. And unlike DWM, which suffers from a one-month lag between UK publication and North American sale (hence we got the Christmas issue of DWM in mid-January), DWI was able to provide more-timely promotion of upcoming episodes like the Christmas special. But, really, the magazine never seemed to find its place, not with it mostly covering stuff already covered in more in-depth form by DWM. Add to that the fact DWI was the only (licensed) Doctor Who-franchise magazine to offer no original fiction (neither comic strips – presumably disallowed due to IDW Publications having the rights for those over here – nor short stories), and it was a noble attempt always overshadowed by DWM, which during the same nine-month period released its first 100-page issue, two massive tribute issues to Nicholas Courtney and Elisabeth Sladen, and several Special Edition standalones. Even though they shared some editorial staff, DWI just couldn’t compete. 

At this point I’d normally bemoan the loss of yet another print publication and go into a woe-is-us tirade about the fading away of, to paraphrase what “Impossible Astronaut” alumni W. Morgan Sheppard once called as Blank Reg in Max Headroom, “permanent non-volatile physical media” like magazines, but in this case the magazine’s short life was wholly predictable. The good news is its demise will likely free up resources (editorial and otherwise) at the mothership, and reportedly subscribers are being offered a transfer to DWM. Which suggests DWM, now in its 33rd year and soon to hit issue No. 450, isn’t going anywhere, for now.

Nor is DWIN’s own Enlightenment, which recently published its 164th issue and which will continue to hold Canada’s end up for nationally focused Doctor Who franchise coverage.


A shame, but as you say, entirely predictable. It never really felt like they were tailoring it to this market, and it especially felt like they never understood this market. Getting some input from the people here who do know the market would have helped in that regard.

Posted by Luca  on  01/27  at  06:37 AM

@Luca Yeah, I really see it as a lost opportunity. With DWM handling the main production coverage, DWI could have branched away quite easily, either by making it exclusively North American-focused, or they could have taken a brave turn and become the “harder-edged” magazine by running more critical articles. Not saying I want a return to the days when you had publications like DWB bashing the show left, right and centre, but even running stories like, say, that recent Enlightenment piece about the Doctor’s sexuality (or lack thereof). I still haven’t seen anything in “official” publications to match that piece Enlightenment did about the CBC’s handling of the show. Rather than DWI being DWM-lite, they could have taken advantage of being arms-length from the main magazine to develop its own voice. Instead when I read it I often was half expecting to see things like “for the complete story, pick up the December issue of Doctor Who Magazine…”

Posted by Alex  on  01/27  at  06:53 AM

Not Surprised.

Posted by Doug Grandy  on  01/27  at  06:55 AM

I’m making one change of wording to the article - the wording I used re: promos for Big Finish made it seem as if the audios aren’t relevant. I didn’t mean that at all.

Posted by Alex  on  01/27  at  07:09 AM

Destined for failure from the start.

Why even bother with something so poor?

Posted by Ryan  on  01/27  at  11:37 AM

@Ryan My comment about “DWM-lite” might be a reason. There does seem to be this attitude, especially in North American media, that “shorter is better”. That readers here don’t have the time, attention span, or literacy to stick with a 3000-word story. They want pretty pictures and as few words as possible. Yet still as much information as possible. Going back to my Max Headroom references, if blipverts worked, we’d be seeing them all the time.

The magazine itself wasn’t poor. Since it featured the same writers for the most part, and had access to the same pool of images, the quality was quite good. The problem was there was simply less of it, and as such from the get-go it came off as the poor cousin to DWM. I’m only thankful no one decided to make DWM more like DWI!

Posted by Alex  on  01/27  at  11:43 AM

Doctor Who fans like to read though.

That is the market so to create a mag that is some sort of weird version of the UK DW Adventures is not at all being smart.

If it had been a shorter and cheaper version of DWM (but not a cut down reprint) with all-new material but still the same depth of articles then maybe it’d have some chance but since the core of buyers are getting DWM anyway I don’t know.

If the content was alternative enough and maybe focused more on the fan side in terms of reviews and debates etc on the show and other audios and books etc then possibly but that would seem a stretch too.

One specialist mag on DWM is more than enough. The fans can take care of the rest.

Posted by Ryan  on  01/30  at  06:33 AM

@Ryan Well said. Doctor Who Adventures, to be fair, is a more kid-oriented magazine. I’ve never laid my hands on one, but it’s very popular in the UK in part because each issue comes with a free gift, which has ranged from toys to books (expect that to become a niche collectors market in the future), with a few fun articles and a comic strip or two. In many respects DWA is doing what Doctor Who Magazine did back in 1979 when it was called Doctor Who Weekly. Now if they’d done that sort of thing over here - even if it was aimed at kid readers and filed alongside Shonen Jump and Disney Fairies - it might have actually done better than what Graeme has rightly now named the Timelash award winner for “Most Useless Magazine Ever”.

Posted by Alex  on  01/31  at  04:53 AM

Bummer.  I actually enjoyed the posters & the treats like the Louise Jamieson interview.  Oh well.

Posted by Ray Currie  on  02/20  at  06:15 AM

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