Dicky Who?

If like me you read Doctor Who Magazine during the eighties and nineties, Tim Quinn & Dicky Howett’s mad and energetic ‘Doctor Who?’ cartoon was probably the first thing you read. It ran for exactly 13 years (half the time that the classic show did!) and spawned two books. I had a brief chat with Cartoonists Club of Great Britain alumni of yesteryear Dicky Howett about the strip and some more recent Doctor Who connections.


The very first Doctor Who? cartoon from issue 64

You were already working with your writing partner Tim Quinn over at Fleetway comics, how did you two end up doing a strip for Marvel’s Doctor Who Magazine? Their idea or yours?

The ‘Dr Who?’ strip was our very own idea. We were both working together on several Marvel ‘humour’ strips at the time The editorial set up at Marvel UK (Kentish Town office) was very cosy and each magazine editor seemed to take just about anything we suggested. Those were the days! A strip in EVERY Marvel weekly. Three- framers, full-pagers. Almost made a fortune!


Were you a fan of the show before or did you have to go and research what the monsters looked like?

Tim Quinn did all the words and I had to look up what the hell he meant most times! I had seen the first tv episodes and was ‘hooked’. I was a science fiction fan anyway. Later, I watched a  Hartnell episode (The Sensorites) being recorded at TV Centre when I worked for the BBC back in the Tribe Of Gum.


Did you ever get any feedback from the Doctor Who production team good or bad?

No feedback as such. Peter Davison and Colin Baker seemed to appreciate our efforts but the actual DR Who programme gave no input.


The strip kept running for 6 years after the original show ended. Did lack of new series mean the ideas ran out or was it time to move on?

Our ‘Dr Who?’ strip ended because of a change of editorial policy/lack of editorial budget/humour etc. We could never have run out of ideas. After all there were 900 (approx) Dr Who years of it!


What are you up to now? Still cartooning?

Haven’t drawn a cartoon for cash for about twelve years. I now own and maintain a large classic camera prop store and for the upcoming BBCtv drama, ‘Dr Who -An Adventure in Space and Time‘ , I supplied ( with colleague Paul Marshall) all the tv studio kit (cameras, dollies , monitors, lights etc- as well as appearing as a walk-on technician! as most of them are…)  Mark Gatiss, who appeared to know all about my Marvel work, gave me a signed script and I in turn gave him a copy of my 1985 Dr Who cartoon book ‘It’s Bigger on the Inside, which can still be obtained for a few pence on Amazon. I suppose in a way, there is no escape from a cartooning past or a Dr Who-ing future!

Thanks for your time Dicky!

Dicky’s classic camera and prop company can be found at Golden Age Television Recreations

This interview appeared in issue 471 of The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain‘s magazine, The Jester.



2 Responses to “Dicky Who?

  • Michael Hill
    7 years ago

    I loved Dicky’s one panel jokes in the newspapers. Has he got a Wikipedia page, and if not, why not?

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