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The long tradition of highly illustrated Doctor Who reference books can be traced back to a treasured series edited by Terrance Dicks in the 1970s.
Chris Achilleos’ memorable cover art for The Doctor Who Monster Book.

Target Books was launched in May 1973 and its Doctor Who novelisations quickly became its best sellers.

Resident editor Richard Henwood had established a key contact in Doctor Who’s script editor Terrance Dicks, who wrote some of the earliest novelisations. Then, on Dicks’ departure from the TV series in spring 1974, he became something of a consultant for Target’s Doctor Who output. “At the beginning it was on an unofficial basis,” he recalls, “but once they were needing books more quickly than I had time to write myself, I was able to find other authors for them.”

In the midst of all this, The Doctor Who Monster Book would be Target’s first nonfiction title. “I think it was my idea to do it,” says Terrance. He certainly had prior experience of writing non-fiction about the series, having compiled Piccolo’s The Making of Doctor Who with Malcolm Hulke in 1972, a book revised and reprinted by Target four years later.

Richard Henwood departed Target in May 1974, so it’s likely his replacement, Michael Glover, handled the development of The Doctor Who Monster Book through 1975. Issued on 20 November, it quickly gained a reputation as something of a milestone. For a generation of fans who’d missed Piccolo’s Making of, or the briefly available 1973 Radio Times special, this was the bible. It was generously illustrated with blow-ups of Target cover art and black-and-white photos, at a time when archive Doctor Who stills were hardly ever seen. Indeed, in 2017 Mark Gatiss told Doctor Who Magazine that the book seemed so important “because there was nothing else!”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The latest Special Edition of Doctor Who Magazine is devoted to the many non-fiction books based on the series. This comprehensive guide traces the history of the series’ reference works, from the very first episode guides compiled by Doctor Who story editors for their colleagues in the 1960s, to the fanzines of the 1970s, the first authorised books based on the series and the plethora of books available today. Exclusive interviews, behind-the- scenes features and numerous rare photographs tell the whole story, from the black-and-white days of Doctor Who to the 2017 series starring Peter Capaldi.