Today: May 20, 2024

Doctor Who Reissues On Target

This month, BBC Books announced the reissue of seven classic Doctor Who novelisations from the original range by Target Books. Long out of print, the Target series was extremely popular when originally published in the 1960s and 1970s, as they were the only way that fans could revisit an episode after it had aired. The seven reissues feature one title for each Doctor covered on the Target list and feature illustrations by iconic artist Chris Achilleos for the 1960s and 1970s editions:

Doctor Who And The Zarbi by Bill Strutton (First Doctor)
Doctor Who And The Web Of Fear by Terrance Dicks (Second Doctor)
Doctor Who And The Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke (Third Doctor)
Doctor Who And The Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks (Fourth Doctor)
Doctor Who: The Visitation by Eric Saward (Fifth Doctor)
Doctor Who: Vengeance On Varos by Philip Martin (Sixth Doctor)
Doctor Who: Battlefield by Marc Platt (Seventh Doctor)

In addition, Chris has designed completely new jackets for The Visitation, Vengeance On Varos and Battlefield, to create a uniform look for collectors.

To coincide with the reissue of these iconic books, the Cartoon Museum in Holborn will be hosting Doctor Who: The Target Books Artwork, a display of original cover artwork from the classic novels. This is the first time that the artwork has been publicly exhibited, and will feature over 30 pieces, including the covers from six of the new reissues. Alongside covers by Chris Achilleos the exhibition also includes other classic and well-loved original cover artwork by Andrew Skileter, Roy Knipe and Jeff Cummins, alongside later artworks by David McAlister and Tony Masero.

“To finally see some of these memorable covers in the flesh is a wonderful, unexpected treat. It’s a testament to their terrific, punchy immediacy that they feel both nostalgic and brand new. Show a copy of any one of these glorious novelisations to people of a certain age and they are transported back to a simpler, cosier age. Some of my memories of them are imprinted with Proustian clarity, like my very own, Time Lord-flavoured Madeleine cakes. It became a wonderful ritual, saving pocket money, then deciding which Target book to go for. I devoured them. Not literally. Though I did live in the north and was always hungry…” Mark Gatiss, actor and writer.

“In those long ago and almost unimaginable days before streaming, or DVDs, or VHS and Betamax, the Target novels were a way of keeping the glow of the Who adventure around. And at the age I read them I was mainly living in books. Some of the early Target novels I can still recall fondly. There was something rattly and challenging about the best of them – they looked under the surface of things I took for granted, which I think was only right. Always to be left cover-down after reading at night in case the monster escaped from the cover.” A.L. Kennedy, bestselling author.

Doctor Who: The Target Books Artwork has now been extended until June 5th at The Cartoon Museum 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH.

Image by Chris Achilleos.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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