Radio Times voted most iconic cover

The Radio Times ‘Vote Dalek!’ cover has been voted the most iconic of all time in the Periodical Publishers Association’s Great Cover Debate.

At a presentation today at WH Smiths in Victoria Station, London, editor Gill Hudson collected the award, which was voted for by more than 10,000 members of the public.

The May 2005 cover was viewed as an outsider – it was given odds of 25/1 by Paddy Power – but beat off competition from 50 nominations and a shortlist of 16 that included Vogue, Time Out and Loaded covers.

Hudson, who was accompanied by a Dalek when she collected the award, explained that the winning cover combined two TV events from that week – the run up to the general election and the return of Daleks in Dr Who for the first time in 20 years.

“The combination is really funny, you wouldn’t normally put the two together but the timing was great. What’s really nice about this is that a lot of people probably assume this is just a computer job, but we did it properly. You can see the extra effort has lifted it to something special.”

The cover, which pictures a Dalek on Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in the background, was recreated from a photo taken in 1964, found by art editor Paul Smith.

The team smuggled an old Dalek onto the bridge to take the photo at exactly the right angle, then took a trip to the TV studios in Cardiff where the new-look gold Dalek was being kept under lock and key and took a photo which they then superimposed on top.

Radio Times went on to sell 20,000 posters of the cover.

Hudson described the current market as ‘a little bit homogonous’and said magazines should be brave and try new things, particularly as they are also competing online, where the public is “putting up stuff that’s raw, wild creativity”.

She added: “I think in the magazine business we’ve got to remember that we’ve got to be creative, we can’t play it too safe.

‘We really do put the effort into our covers. It’s really important; we’re all using similar design packages now. In the current climate I think people are quite nervous of experimenting, but that’s what magazines are all about. Magazines should surprise you. Unless you have a go how are you ever going to change the boundaries?”

The Great Cover Debate results kicked off the PPA’s Magazine Week 2008, a string of events promoting consumer magazines. Events this week include the journalists from Conde Nast Brides offering one-to-one wedding advice, a Heat celebrity quiz and IPC’s music magazine Uncut hosting a concert with Pete Molinari followed by a music quiz.

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