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Doctor Who Weekly began in 1979 under the editorship of Dez Skinn. Skinn was editorial director of Marvel Comics' UK division and had been hired to expand the company. He had been trying to launch a Doctor Who title alongside his House of Hammer and Starburst for over three years but could not get the BBC license because of an existing single page Doctor Who comic strip in TV Comic.
Skinn made the initial announcement of the pending launch at the August 1979 Doctor Who convention - launch photo here before a September promotional tour which included the 1979 Worldcon SF convention at Brighton alongside Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor at the time, photos here) as well as various retail and wholesale meetings to promote the first issue to the trade.
Doctor Who Weekly was first released on 17 October 1979 published by Marvel Comics Ltd on a Thursday, with a cover price of 12 pence in the United Kingdom. It continued to be published in the standard weekly format until September 1980 when it changed to a monthly format, and was retitled Doctor Who Monthly.