The 1st issue of Doctor Who Weekly had a cover date of 17 October 1979 and came with free transfers. Doctor Who Weekly was created after editor Dez Skinn noticed the popularity of Doctor Who-related content in the Marvel UK magazine Starburst. The first issue was printed five months after TVC 1430, the final TV Comic issue to feature Who material. The weekly magazine would run every Thursday.
Being the first issue of the longest running TV tie-in magazine of all-time, the image of the front-cover is considered to be well-known. This has often been recreated or referenced in follow-up or anniversary issues. In issue 283, which celebrated the magazine's 20th anniversary, the comic story TV Action! showed the Eighth Doctor visiting the "real world" (a parallel universe) on the day of the first issue's release.
DWM 400, released in October 2008, included a poster featuring David Tennant's Tenth Doctor reading issue 1, parodying the picture of Tom Baker reading the issue. It also included an interview in which Tennant claimed to still have his transfers. DWM 500 directly recreated the cover image with a photograph of Peter Capaldi, in costume as the Twelfth Doctor, and a 2005 era Dalek prop, going as far as to include stickers of the Doctor in place of the original transfers.
- Doctor Who and the Iron Legion - Part one
- The Return of the Daleks - Part one
- Tales from the TARDIS: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells - Part one
- Entry 2481/B-3: The Doctor's escape from the Vorgan Space Platform.
- Entry 3512/A-7: The Doctor escape from Magnon 5.
- The Story of Doctor Who.
Interviews / Profiles
- William Hartnell (Photo-file Number 1)
- A Letter from the Doctor
- Crazy Caption Competition (£5 to be won)
- The Doctor's first words in the main comic strip were: "I must stock up with provisions. I haven't had a thing to eat since I took off from Zaggar-Six!"
- The supporting comic strip presented under the heading 'Tales from the TARDIS' featured previously issued material with opening and closing boxes redrawn and tailored specifically for inclusion in the pages of Doctor Who Weekly.
- Unlike previous Doctor Who comic strips, the lead character was referred to as 'the Doctor' and not 'Doctor Who'.
- This Fantastic First Issue had free transfers sellotaped to the cover that could be used on Dave Gibbons' full-colour page panoramas on the inside cover (see above Fiction).
- The photo-file feature on William Hartnell carries a note that reads "to the memory of whom this first issue is respectfully dedicated."
- The cover uses a publicity shot taken for the new Fourth Doctor, with a Dalek from TV: Genesis of the Daleks.
- Published every Thursday, this issue had a cover price of 12p (UK).
- This issue was reprinted in December 2004 as a free gift with DWM 350.