Recently, a very nice academic friend kindly asked me to talk to their television studies students about how to succeed with a career as a ‘television historian’. I explained that there hadn’t really been a ‘career’… it was just some stuff that happened when a hobby got out of control.
So I didn’t go. There was nothing to say.
Hmmm… That blog seems to have run shorter than I’d planned. Sorry for wasting your time.
Andrew Pixley is a retired data developer. For the last 30 years he’s written about almost anything to do with television if people will pay him – and occasionally when they won’t. He started researching British telefantasy series while still at school and when he met a nice man called Stephen he started submitting articles and artwork for the Doctor Who (1963-∞) fanzine Steel Sky (1981-1983), and that developed into another fanzine about British telefantasy called TimeScreen (1984-1995) edited by a nice man called Paul and then another nice man called Anthony.
TimeScreen led to him getting to write on the Gerry Anderson fanzine SiG (1981-1989) run by a nice man called David, the BFI/WTVA magazine PrimeTime (1981-1991) edited by nice men called Dick and Tony, and then an offer from a nice man called Chris to be paid to write for a newsstand magazine called Vulcan (1987-1989). The BFI then staged Past Visions of the Future (1986) at the National Film Theatre, which Dick asked him to write programme notes for.
A nice man called John had been reading TimeScreen and phoned him to ask him if he would like to write for Marvel UK’s Doctor Who Magazine (1979-), and – for over 30 years – he has been documenting the show’s production history for nice men like Gary, Marcus, Gary (another one), Alan, Clayton, Tom and Peter. At Marvel, a nice woman called Louise offered him work on the magazine Fantasy Zone (1989-1990).
Gary (the first one) then recommended him to Virgin Books to write about Blake’s 7. Although the book was never published, he was contacted by a nice man called Kevin who was producing the documentary The Making of Blake’s 7 for BBC Enterprises and hired him as a consultant. When rights problems halted production, he and Kevin moved onto the BBC1 documentary 30 Years in the TARDIS (1993) made by The Late Show team.
Meanwhile, Marcus had moved to Titan and asked him to work on the magazine for The Avengers movie (1999) and then to write the book The Avengers Files (2004). And a nice woman called Caroline who had worked with The Late Show team then recommended him as a researcher/consultant to producers of BBC shows such as Before They Were Famous (1997-2000) and Britain’s Best Sitcom (2004).
The Doctor Who Magazine articles led to working with a nice man called David at the Doctor Who Appreciation Society on a project called The Doctor Who Production Guide (1997) which led him to meet a nice man called Jan who asked him if he’d like to write for a Visual Imagination magazine called TV Zone (1989-2008). At Visual Imagination, other nice men called John and Paul asked him if he would like to write for other magazines such as Starburst (1978-) and Cult Times (1995-2008), while a nice man called Mike from TimeScreen allowed him to have fun on the zine Action TV (1999-2007).
While researching for TV Zone, he contacted the DVD company Network for information about the Ripping Yarns (1976-1979) series. At Network, two nice men called Tim and Steve asked him if he would like to write a booklet for the Ripping Yarns set, and then further sets of DVD viewing notes for series like Public Eye (1965-1975) and Callan (1967-1972). Network branched out into soundtracks, so Steve offered him the chance to write CD notes for series like Man in a Suitcase (1967-1968). These soundtracks were noticed by a nice man called Ben who asked him to write the sleeve notes for the releases of his scores from Thunderbirds Are Go (2015-2020) for Silva Screen. Back at Network, Tim offered him the chance to expand into Blu-ray releases such as The Persuaders! (1971-1972) while Steve gave him a chance to write for the website, and diversify into writing about British films.
Gary (the other one) at Doctor Who Magazine recommended him to BBC Two as consultant on a Doctor Who Night (1999) working with nice men called Michael and Stephen. Stephen then tendered for BBC Two’s Return of the Goodies (2005) which he was asked to develop with Objective North, leading in turn to work on ITV1’s Raiders of the Lost Archives (2007) with a nice man called Chris and BBC One’s Blackadder Rides Again (2008) with a nice man called Adam and the book The Goodies: Super Chaps Three (2010) for Kaleidoscope with two nice men called Simon and Chris. Meanwhile, a nice man called Roger picked up on Doctor Who Night and offered him work on TVTimes (1968-).
Doctor Who Magazine led to a nice man called Justin asking him to work on Doctor Who – The Scripts (2001) at BBC Books. Meanwhile, nice people at BBC Enterprises who offered him work on Doctor Who DVD releases, and then viewing notes for titles such as the Quatermass serials (1953-1959).
The Doctor Who Magazine work was updated in Doctor Who Special Edition magazines (2002-) which caught the attention of a nice man called Michael at BBC Audiobooks who asked him to help with archival Doctor Who releases. Michael then started extensive CD releases of comedy strands such as The Goon Show (1952-1960) and offered a chance to work on these, and classic SF such as Journey into Space (1953-1958,1981).
As a tangent to the Doctor Who Magazine work, the spin-off series resulted in a nice man called Simon at Titan offering him a chance to do more of the same on Torchwood Magazine (2008-2011). Subsequently, his material from Doctor Who Magazine and Doctor Who Special Edition was combined in a uniform edition 90 volume work: Doctor Who – The Complete History (2015-2019), produced by nice men called John and Mark. Also working on Doctor Who Magazine was a nice man called Graham, who asked him to come and join in the fun on the Bauer magazine TV Years (2018-).
Then some e-mails from a nice woman called Kim via the MECCSA feed led to him being offered a chance to do some blogging at CSTonline, presented by a nice man called Tobias.
His boringly bland 20th Century middle-class sensibilities make him abhor self-promotion. And if he was ever to write a piece of prose as repulsively self-centred as this one, he would do so to demonstrate the importance of people who give you opportunities to develop and progress. He strongly values all the nice people whom he has met in his life who have offered him these (and more) amazing opportunities, and knows that without them – and an extremely nice woman called Julie – he’d never have achieved anything.