It's that time of the year again. Yesterday, May 10th, the internet was awash with well-wishing fans celebrating Terrance Dicks' birthday! Only... it wasn't his birthday.
The source of this confusion is still uncertain, but it's a yearly event, as Paul Cornell (Doctor Who author and script writer) said on his Twitter feed, 'This all happened last year, didn't it?' It seems so. A quick search of the internet shows that Terrance Dicks, former script editor of Doctor Who, and author of over seventy novels and novelisations for the series, is wished a birthday every year on May 10th. Katy Manning, the actress who played Jo Grant, a companion co-created by Terrance in 1971, also joined in the discussion on Twitter, blaming Wikipedia for starting the spread of misinformation.
|Terrance and the Lethbridge-Stewart team in Feb' 2015|
Andy Frankham-Allen, deputy editor at Candy Jar Books and author of forthcoming novel Beast of Fang Rock which is based on a story by Terrance, fell for this misinformation, too, and sent birthday wishes direct to Terrance. He received a rather amused email back in which Terrance pointed out that his birthday is, in fact, April 14th and always has been! He also explained that his son, Oliver, is trying to fix things on Wikipedia... Andy, quick to help, spread the word on social media himself: 'Just to confirm, despite internet rumour, TODAY is not Terrance's birthday.' Did it work? A quick look at the net shows that most sites who wrongly reported it have added a note to apologise for the confusion and confirm Terrance's real birthday.
But is that the end of it? Judging by social media today, it would seem not. Still many are confused. It has even been suggested that Terrance should just have two birthdays, his real one (April 14th) and an official one (May 10th). We, at Type 40, rather like that idea. Terrance Dicks is, after all, one of the elder statesmen of Doctor Who, with probably more input on the development of the series than any other. He is considered a legend among Doctor Who fandom, so why shouldn't he be treated as royalty... and in that regard, two birthdays is perfectly acceptable.
Lethbridge-Stewart: Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen, based on a story by Terrance Dicks, and the official prequel/sequel to the 1977 television adventure Horror of Fang Rock, is due September 2015.