Those of you interested in Doctor Who art may want to pick up the latest Doctor Who Magazine Special (Issue 53), dedicated to Target Books, on sale now in all good newsagents, featuring a cover by Chris Achilleos.
Considered a unique record of Doctor Who’s history in the era before fanzines, official magazines and home video, Target Books are probably the most cherished items of merchandise inspired by the show.
They’re certainly the most commercially successful: from the early 1970s to the early 90s, it’s estimated that Target sold over eight million novelisations and other Doctor Who books.
This Special is the inside story of a legendary imprint, from its rise and fall to its triumphant revival in 2018. While there are some artists who don’t feature substantially (Colin Howard, Alister Pearson spring immediately to mind), the Special does include interviews with Chris Achilleos (the cover artist for titles such as The Auton Invasion, The Zarbi, The Doomsday Weapon, etc), Jeff Cummins (The Mutants, The Horror of Fang Rock, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, etc), Anthony Dry (City of Death, Rose, The Day of the Doctor), Andrew Skilleter (The Gunfighters, The Abominable Snowmen, The Stones of Blood) and Alan Willow, the artist who provided internal illustrations for The Cybermen, Terror of the Autons, The Sea-Devils and more.
Also interviewed are Target Books editors Peter Darvill-Evans and Nigel Robinson, offering fascinating insights into the development of the books; John Peel, author of the novelisations such as The Chase, The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks; Marc Platt, author of the Battlefield and Ghost Light novelisations; and, of course, Terrance Dicks, the most prolific author of Target books and, perhaps, the name most associated with them.
It’s another terrific Special, which includes extracts from two unpublished manuscripts; the untold story of “Doctor Who Discovers”, based on the archive of author Fred Newman; details of foreign editions; “The Companions of Doctor Who” series; interviews with collectors who own original Target Books artwork; and an afterword from Pete McTighe, the writer of the 2018 story Kerblam!
If you ever bought a Doctor Who Target book, then this is definitely a must, worthy of a place alongside the Telos Publishing tome The Target Book: A History of the Target “Doctor Who” Books by David Howe et al, rereleased in a new edition last year.
• The Doctor Who Special Issue 53 – Target Books is on sale in all good newsagents now and available to buy online here from the Doctor Who Magazine official web site
• On Target: The Changing Face of Doctor Who (Archived web site)
• Gallery: Doctor Who TV Novelisations (Armada, Dragon, Target, Virgin and BBC) in order of publication date but not all Target books – as some were not TV novelisations