British Magazines from 1984
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
For this post, I thought I'd take a nostalgic look back at just a few of the many magazines we were reading in 1984. I will, no doubt, return to this page each year to add more magazines as I stumble across them.
My Weekly launched as a magazine in 1910 - before this it was a newspaper - and it's still being published by D. C. Thomson & Co. in Dundee. It features a mix of subjects aimed at a female audience over the age of around 45, including fiction, cookery and people/celebrities. THe issue above is from November 1984 and includes an interview with Desmond Wilcox, the husband of Esther Rantzen.
Back in the 80s, the only way to view the ITV programme listings was through TV Times magazine. It was first published in 1955, and is currently published by T.I. Media. The magazine was not full colour at this time (it became full colour in 1989) but did include Channel 4 listings. Deregulation in 1991 allowed it to also include BBC listings. The issue above is for 23-29 June 1984 and features Culture Club frontman Boy George on the cover.
The Official Doctor Who Magazine
The Official Doctor Who magazine (Marvel) No.92 from September 1984 featuring the fourth Doctor Tom Baker. This was officially licensed by the BBC and started out as Doctor Who Weekly in 1979. The magazine was published by Marvel from 1979 to 1995, and then by Panini from 1995, who still publish the magazine as today.
Back in the 1980s, of course, the very limited budget for the show and no CGI left us to use our imagination. Nonetheless, the storylines were way better than the PC nonsense we have to put up with on the BBC these days.
Games Computing Magazine
There was certainly no shortage of computer magazines around in the 1984, which catered for the huge explosion in home computing and gaming, with 8 bit computers such as the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum becoming hugely popular in the UK. However, Games Computing was a short-lived magazine (the one above is the fifth issue) that covered all of the main computer formats, from Atari to the Vic 20. It was published by Argus Specialist Publications and included type-in BASIC listings, news and game reviews. It was replaced by Computer Game in April 1985.
Motoring was very different back in 1984, of course, and this issue of What Car? from June 1984 features the Honda Civic, Austin Metro and Ford Fiesta on its front cover. The UK-based magazine was first published in 1973 and is aimed at car buyers. It is still being published by Haymarket Consumer Media. The above issue is from June 1984 (price £1).
Computer & Video Games
First published in 1981, I quite regulalry bought Computer & Video Games magazine, which featured articles, reviews and BASIC listings covering many 8 bit home computers including ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro and Atari 400/800/XL etc. Regular sections included Mailbag (reader's letters), Game Charts and Adventure (for fantasty/adventure games). Although there wasn't a great deal of info covering the less popular Atari 8 bits, I was always thrilled when there was a type-in program, and I would spend an entire evening typing it in, and then the next evening trying to debug it! The issue above is No.32 from June 1984 (price 85p).
The People's Friend
The People's Friend is 151 years old, making it the longest-running women's weekly magazine in the world. It was founded in 1869 by D.C. Thompson & Co. Ltd. The issue above (price 18p) is from October 6th 1984, and features a painting of Castle Fraser in Aberdeenshire. Indeed, every issue features a different location in Britain and Ireland. Aimed at an elderly audience, each issue includes short stories, crafts such as knitting and sewing, and factual articles, with one usually being about a different UK town.
This issue of Look-In is from Jan 7th 1984 (price 22p) and features The A-Team's B. A. Baracus (Mr. T.). You can read more about Look-In using the links below;
This monthly magazine was published from 1950 to 2008. This issue is from October 1984 (price 40p) and features a bare-chested Mel Gibson, hairy-chested Tom Selleck and Dudley Moore.