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Tom Spilsbury (born 1976) is a British writer, magazine editor and journalist. A former pupil of Bristol Cathedral School, he was, for ten years, editor of Doctor Who Magazine (DWM).

Tom Spilsbury
Born (1976-02-12) 12 February 1976 (age 43)
Swindon, England
Area(s)Writer, Editor
Notable works
Doctor Who Magazine
TV Zone
Inside Soap

Doctor Who MagazineEdit

Spilsbury first joined Doctor Who Magazine in March 2003,[1] on Issue 330 as deputy editor to Clayton Hickman. He eventually took over from Hickman as editor in August 2007, with Issue 387. He redesigned and revamped the magazine with Issue 390, persuading Kylie Minogue to pose with a Dalek for the cover of the new look magazine in December 2007.[2] Spilsbury successfully negotiated with The Sun[SIA disambiguation needed] newspaper to run the photograph over a full-page on the day of the magazine's publication.[3]

Spilsbury later became the first person to clock up 100 consecutive issues on DWM's staff with Issue 429 in December 2010, and later became the longest-serving editor of the title, overtaking Hickman in May 2013, and editing his 100th edition with Issue 486 in April 2015. He also oversaw the 500th issue of the magazine, and recreated the cover of the very first issue, explaining that he wanted 'something which somehow paid tribute to the past, as well as celebrating the present.' [4] Reflecting on his long tenure on the magazine, Spilsbury said that "I just enjoy being a magazine editor. So I'd happily be a magazine editor for a different magazine! I don't suppose I'll be editing Doctor Who Magazine for the rest of my life" and noted that "you must never get complacent about it. Never ever think that these are the only people buying it." [5]

As well as editing the magazine, Spilsbury has interviewed subjects such as Freema Agyeman (Issues 392 and 393), Nicholas Courtney (Issue 402), Graeme Harper (Issues 380 and 392), and Steven Moffat (Issues 417/418, 447, 468/469, 484 and 515), amongst others. He also writes the regular Public Image column, which reports on the series' ratings, as well as serving as co-editor of the magazine's comic strip with Scott Gray.

Spilsbury has admitted to being greatly influenced by Radio Times, paying tribute to covers of the listings magazine on several occasions.[6]

In 2015 Spilsbury appeared on BBC Worldwide's Doctor Who: The Fan Show, where he was complimentary about the episode The Witch's Familiar,[7] and confirmed that the story he first remembered watching was Destiny of the Daleks [8] A further episode in 2016 saw Spilsbury and his team appear as themselves in a spoof documentary, showing the production of Issue 500 of DWM.[9]

On 12 July 2017 Panini UK announced Tom Spilsbury was stepping down as Doctor Who Magazine's editor after Issue 515 and would be succeeded by Marcus Hearn.[10]

Other magazinesEdit

Prior to his work on Doctor Who Magazine, Spilsbury was editor of TV Zone magazine between 2001 and 2003.[11] He has written for and contributed to many publications including, TV Zone itself,[12] the British magazines Starburst, Shivers, Film Review, Ultimate DVD, and Cult Times.[13] He also interviewed Graeme Harper for Inside Soap magazine about the tram crash seen in the November 2010 episodes of Coronation Street,[14] and has been writing for Inside Soap regularly since December 2017.

Doctor Who DVD appearancesEdit

Spilsbury is a regular contributor to BBC Worldwide/2 entertain Ltd's Doctor Who DVD range, appearing as a talking head on documentaries for the Region 2 DVD releases of The Androids of Tara and The Armageddon Factor in 2007, The Rescue, The Deadly Assassin, The War Games and Enlightenment in 2009, Doctor Who (Doctor Who: The Movie) in 2010, and Inferno in 2013 – on which he appeared talking about the 'Other Eighth Doctor', David Burton, who allegedly made a new series of Doctor Who in the early 1990s, despite there being no photographic evidence of the production ever having been made. Spilsbury wryly noted that Burton's main claim to fame seemed to be that he possessed a car with the words 'the new Doctor Who' written on the side – but pointed out that anyone could have put that on the side of their car! [15]

Television and Radio appearancesEdit

Spilsbury has often been called on as a Doctor Who expert, appearing on BBC News and BBC Breakfast on several occasions. He was called on to comment on the departure of Matt Smith by BBC News on 1 June 2013, where he was asked about the controversial 'regeneration limit' of only 13 Doctors being allowed. Spilsbury commented that the writers had "just made that up," and so the writers could "make up something else." [16] He later appeared in a discussion on BBC Breakfast over the identity of the new Doctor, revealed on 4 August 2013. When asked by presenter Naga Munchetty who he thought might be in the frame, Spilsbury praised names such as Olivia Colman. He also quipped that the reveal of a new Doctor was "like the Royal baby for sci-fi fans," with all the same speculation as to whether it would be a boy or a girl. When pushed who he thought would be cast, Spilsbury remained on the fence, confirming that he was as in the dark over the new Doctor's identity as everyone else. He stated that he wouldn't be surprised if a woman was cast in the role in the future, but doubted it would happen on this occasion.[17] The same day he was the special guest on the BBC Radio Manchester show hosted by Eamon O'Neill and Jimmy Wagg, where they discussed the arrival of the new Doctor, and Tom suggested that he might be keeping it secret because he himself had taken the job! [18] Later that evening, Peter Capaldi was revealed as the Twelfth Doctor. The next morning, Spilsbury was widely quoted saying that Capaldi "was brilliant already." [19] A year later, when Capaldi made his full début as the Doctor in August 2014, Spilsbury returned to BBC Breakfast to give his full verdict, giving the new Doctor a thumbs up.[20] BBC Radio Wales interviewed Spilsbury about the imminent series 10 of Doctor Who on 30 March 2017.

When Jodie Whittaker was cast as the Thirteenth Doctor in July 2017, Spilsbury appeared on numerous BBC local radio programmes to talk about her casting. He was challenged by Nicholas Pegg to include a William Hartnell-era episode title into each interview without the presenter noticing. Spilsbury accepted the challenge, culminating with the unlikely observation on BBC Radio Suffolk that Whittaker was like a Rider from Shang-Tu[21]

On 29 May 2012, he appeared in La Nuit Doctor Who, a television documentary for the French channel France 4.[22]

On stage, Spilsbury hosted the Doctor Who Night at Ciné Lumiere on 19 January 2013, interviewing Toby Whithouse about his writing career.[23]

In May 2018, Spilsbury hosted the first ever on-screen joint interview with former Doctor Who showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat for the BBC's official Doctor Who YouTube channel, as the two writers talked about their book adaptations of Rose and The Day of the Doctor.[24]

In June 2018, he took part on a panel of Doctor Who experts to introduce a new audience to the 1963-89 run of the series, which was streaming on

Newspaper interviewsEdit

As a commentator on Doctor Who (he was assistant editor of Doctor Who Magazine at the time), Spilsbury was among the first to get to see the relaunch of the show in 2005. He commented on the revival starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper to The Guardian, saying "I really enjoyed it. Chris and Billie were great. It was great to see everyone else enjoying it. They laughed at the funny bits and were scared by the scary bits. It bodes very well for the series. I think kids will love it. It's exactly the sort of thing I fell in love with as a child. Christopher Eccleston still feels like a Doctor Who. He'll be looked back on by kids in 20 years' time as their doctor." [25] In September 2015, Spilsbury was again interviewed by The Guardian about the new series of Doctor Who, commenting "I think it's a stronger run than last year. There are more two-part stories than we've had recently, which means the whole pace of the storytelling is a bit different. They've shaken it up, which is quite exciting." [26]

Popular cultureEdit

In the 50th anniversary Doctor Who story The Day of the Doctor the character of Coal Hill School teacher Tom (played by Tristan Beint) was named after Tom Spilsbury, a tribute by his close friend and writer of the episode Steven Moffat.[27] The recurring character of Walford Gazette journalist Sarah-Jane Spilsbury, who first appeared in the 23 April 2018 episode of EastEnders played by Shannon Murray, was named after both Tom Spilsbury and the Doctor Who character Sarah Jane Smith, as both are also journalists. The episode was written by Johnny Candon, who had previously written articles for Spilsbury in Doctor Who Magazine.[28]


In May 2012, Spilsbury accepted the Eagle Award for Favourite British Comicbook (Colour) for his editorship of Doctor Who Magazine.[29] Doctor Who's executive producer Steven Moffat tweeted his joy: "Punching the air @TomSpilsbury and team with an Eagle Award for Doctor Who Magazine! AMAZING!" Spilsbury himself tweeted his shock: "OH MY GOD, WE WON!!!" [30]

In May 2016, Spilsbury accepted the certificate from the Guinness Book of Records, on behalf of Doctor Who Magazine, of World Record for the longest-running magazine based on a TV series, which it had been since 2010.[31]

Other mediaEdit

Spilsbury assisted Nicholas Pegg on his book The Complete David Bowie, and was thanked for his contribution in the book.[32] In September 2017 Spilsbury recorded a short audio contribution to mark the official 11th YouTube anniversary of colourisation artist Stuart Humphryes[33]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Kylie v a Dalek".
  3. ^ The Sun Retrieved December 12, 2007
  4. ^ "Behind the scenes on the Doctor Who Magazine 500 cover shoot with Peter Capaldi".
  5. ^ "The Doctor Who Podcast Episode 78".
  6. ^ "Doctor Who Magazine's Christmas tribute to Radio Times – Ho-ho-Who!".
  7. ^ "The Witch's Familiar Reactions - Doctor Who: The Fan Show".
  8. ^ "Q&A with Tom Spilsbury - Doctor Who: The Fan Show".
  9. ^ "The 500th Doctor Who Magazine - Doctor Who: The Fan Show".
  10. ^ "A Change of Editor for DWM".
  11. ^ "Interview with the editor of Doctor Who Magazine - Tom Spilsbury!".
  12. ^ "A galactic guide to invasions".
  13. ^ "Deep Space Nine: A Time to Stand".
  14. ^ "Corrie Director I Want to Shock Fans".
  15. ^ "The Other Eighth Doctor? – Doctor Who".
  16. ^ "Matt Smith to leave Doctor Who".
  17. ^ "Full HD - BBC Breakfast - 12th Doctor with DWM Editor, Tom Spilsbury".
  18. ^ "Eamonn and Jimmy chat to Tom Spilsbury".
  19. ^ "Doctor Who magazine on Peter Capaldi: 'Brilliant already'".
  20. ^ "Toby Haydoke & Tom Spilsbury talking about Dr Who Deep Breath on BBC News Channel'".
  21. ^ "Tom Spilsbury's William Hartnell Episode Title Challenge".
  22. ^ "La Nuit Doctor Who".
  23. ^ "Doctor Who Night at Cine Lumière".
  24. ^ "Russell T Davies & Steven Moffat Talk Rose and The Day of the Doctor".
  25. ^ "A Doctor Whose Time Has Come".
  26. ^ Bowie, the Doctor will see you now The Guardian Retrieved 12 September 2015
  27. ^ The Fact of Fiction Doctor Who Magazine Page 82 Issue #500 July 2016. UK: Panini. Retrieved 14 June 2016
  28. ^ "Johnny Candon Twitter".
  29. ^ "The Eagle Awards 2012".
  30. ^ "Doctor Who Magazine wins Eagle Award".
  31. ^ "Doctor Who Magazine - 500th edition". Doctor Who News, News in Time and Space Ltd.
  32. ^ "The Complete David Bowie".
  33. ^ "Tom Spilsbury on Babelcolour's 11th Anniversary". YouTube. Retrieved 3 Sep 2017.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Clayton Hickman
Doctor Who Magazine Editor
Succeeded by
Marcus Hearn
Preceded by
Lee Binding
TV Zone Editor
Succeeded by
Anthony Brown