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Companion Pieces

In 1986 Target published the fi rst original Doctor Who novels. The Doctor, however, was nowhere to be seen…
Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) in The Sontaran Experiment (1975); Turlough (Mark Strickson) in Mawdryn Undead (1983), and Sarah Jane Smith with her new best friend in K9 and Company (1981).

Target’s fi rst foray into original Doctor Who fi ction appeared in one of its spin-off titles – Terry Nation’s Dalek Special (1979). In The Secret Invasion, written by Nation himself, a group of four young cousins fi nd Daleks lurking underneath Green Park tube station. They join forces with the military to defeat the evil invaders.

The story had already been seen by a limited audience in the London Evening News a few years earlier. Its roots are betrayed by contemporary references to two very diff erent fi lms – The Exorcist and the Disney Robin Hood – as well as the UK’s 1974 general elections. The recently re-elected Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, puts in a brief appearance, too.

In the early 1980s the appetite for Doctor Who fi ction was mainly satisfi ed by the ongoing novelisations of television stories. By the middle of the decade Target was publishing a new Doctor Who book every month – while the television series produced only seven new adventures per year. There was a backlog of older episodes to adapt, but it couldn’t last forever.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

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 is the inside story of a legendary imprint, from its rise and fall to its triumphant revival in 2018. Highlights include exclusive interviews with the key players, numerous rare images and extracts from two unpublished manuscripts.