A selection of over 50 pieces of original artwork from the WH Allen / Target Books range from the 1970s and 80s goes on display for the first time together at the Cartoon Museum in London next month.
The exhibition of art will feature work by the likes of Andrew Skilleter, Jeff Cummins, Roy Knipe, Tony Masero and, of course, the first artist for the range – Chris Achilleos (to name but a few) – but not, sadly, Alister Pearson.
Doctor Who fans can finally see the original paintings which became the cover artwork for this memorable range of Doctor Who books.
Target Books were a children’s publishing imprint, significant for being the dominant publisher of Doctor Who prose fiction and non-fiction from the 1970s to the early 1990s. They were most famous for their line of novelisations of the show’s serials, because, back then for most the novelisations were the principle route by which some fans could experience missing episodes or even relive episodes seen, since few had access to home recordings.
Technically an imprint, and not an independent publisher, they were owned by several houses. However, the Doctor Who line is most associated with W.H. Allen & Co, who owned Target from 1977–1989, and Virgin Books, who bought them in 1990 and extended and reprinted the line until 1994.
Target’s Doctor Who range began in 1973, by reprinting three titles published as hardbacks by Frederick Muller in the mid-1960s – Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks (shortened to Doctor Who and the Daleks), Doctor Who and the Crusaders, adapted by David Whitaker and Doctor Who and the Zarbi, adapted by Bill Strutton. All had new covers by Chris Achilleos, recently interviewed on the Diddly Dum Podcast, who would illustrate the first wave of Target Doctor Who books, drawing 30 covers in all.
Target eventually outlasted the original run of Doctor Who itself, which ended with Season 26 in 1989, continuing in the “short paperback” form until the release of Doctor Who – The Pescatons in 1991 — an adaptation of an audio play, as virtually all available televised stories had been adapted by this time. Between 1990 and 1994 Target republished many of its older releases with new cover art; a subsidiary, Star Books, also published omnibus paperback editions combining two books at a time.
• Doctor Who: The Target Books Artwork runs from 28th April – 11th May 2016 at The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH
• Listen to the Diddly Dum Podcast with Chris Achilleos right here!
The Target Book
Written by David J Howe with Tim Neal
Foreword by Terrance Dicks
176pp. Large format 22cm x 28cm hardback. Fully illustrated in full colour throughout
Published 22 April 2016
Telos Publishing Ltd