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August 5th, 2019 27 comments

Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition Target Books

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 numerous rare images and exclusive interviews with the key players, including:

  • Chris Achilleos (cover artist for The Auton Invasion, The Zarbi, The Doomsday Weapon, etc)
  • Jeff Cummins (cover artist for The Mutants, The Horror of Fang Rock, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, etc)
  • Peter Darvill-Evans (Target Books editor from 1989)
  • Terrance Dicks (the most prolific author of Target books)
  • Anthony Dry (cover artist for City of Death, Rose, The Day of the Doctor etc)
  • John Peel (author of the novelisations of The Chase, The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks etc)
  • Marc Platt (author of the Battlefield and Ghost Light novelisations)
  • Nigel Robinson (Target Books editor from 1984 to 1987)
  • Andrew Skilleter (cover artist for The Gunfighters, The Abominable Snowmen, The Stones of Blood etc)
  • Alan Willow (artist who provided internal illustrations for The Cybermen, Terror of the Autons, The Sea-Devils etc)

Other highlights include:

  • Extracts from two unpublished manuscripts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
  • Afterword from Pete McTighe, the writer of the 2018 story Kerblam!

On sale from Thursday 8 August 2019 £6.99 (UK)

Categorised under: Doctor Who Magazine, Magazine


  • DWS

    August 12th, 2019 - 12:03pm

    I can’t find this anywhere!

    • The Monitor

      August 12th, 2019 - 9:14pm

      You will do. WHS can be two weeks behind on £10 issues than Sainsburys. You need a Sainsburys that didn’t halve its magazine section to squeeze an Argos in. I have to travel to a Sainsburys 10 miles away. This is a £7 issue so things might be different.

      It is probably the best Doctor Who magazine… well it doesn’t need a “since”, it is probably just the best Doctor Who magazine if you collected the Target novels as they came out. Truly a homage to the greatest era of Doctor Who collecting.

  • dazzleshell

    August 10th, 2019 - 11:05am

    Think I’ll get this one. I stopped subscribing once Capaldi left as I knew Chibnell wouldn’t give away too many spoilers.

    I dip in and get the Year Special and the odd ones now.

    Must be hard on the magazine numbers when there is no show on TV though.

    • Anonymous

      August 10th, 2019 - 11:54am

      It survived 16 years with no show, nowadays it’s more the threat of the digital generation.

  • Demdike@CultLabs

    August 8th, 2019 - 7:50pm

    Just bought it from my local Sainsburys.

    For anyone interested in the Target books, especially their art work it’s a thing of beauty.

    • Anonymous

      August 8th, 2019 - 8:44pm

      It is great. And it compliments the target book by David j howe very nicely.

  • Anonymous

    August 8th, 2019 - 5:21pm

    It’s 84 pages (including cover) but remember that printing photographs and art is expensive so the price hike is very probably economics. It looks interesting and this is the only the fourth magazine I’ve bought since 2012. The other three were the telesnap issues.

  • Demdike@CultLabs

    August 8th, 2019 - 2:45pm

    Is this confirmed as in shops now?

    • Anonymous

      August 8th, 2019 - 3:46pm

      Yes, I’ve got my grubby little Protrubrances on it!

    • Demdike@CultLabs

      August 8th, 2019 - 3:59pm


  • Anonymous

    August 6th, 2019 - 11:36pm

    I have all the target books, started collecting them when I was 7. They are still among my most favourite doctor who items, reading them again just brings back so many memories.

  • prototype dalek

    August 6th, 2019 - 9:19pm

    Will certainly be getting this, love the design. I also own this book in English and in Dutch as well.


    August 6th, 2019 - 4:18pm

    Getting it.

  • Anonymous

    August 5th, 2019 - 7:55pm

    Stopped getting the magazine ages ago (price rather anything else) but think I’ll have to get this one.


      August 6th, 2019 - 4:21pm

      Same here.

  • Demdike@CultLabs

    August 5th, 2019 - 7:18pm

    Gorgeous cover.

  • Ollie

    August 5th, 2019 - 6:55pm

    Fantastic! I always knew they had to do one of these eventually on the Target novels.

  • The Flying Shark

    August 5th, 2019 - 6:54pm

    I’m really interested in this, but £7 is a bit much at this time I think. Is there any reason for the price increase? Extra pages or something?

    • Demdike@CultLabs

      August 6th, 2019 - 10:09am

      The special editions have been £6.99 for years.

    • The Flying Shark

      August 6th, 2019 - 12:21pm

      No, they’ve been six for a while.

    • Anonymous

      August 6th, 2019 - 2:08pm

      Please remember the current financial conditions in the UK. Printing costs may have increased meaning a rise in cover price.

    • Demdike@CultLabs

      August 6th, 2019 - 8:30pm

      Apologies Flying Shark, you are correct. I was confusing myself. That last Doctor Who companion featuring the first four Capaldi stories was £7.99 and that was only a couple of months back.

  • Daz

    August 5th, 2019 - 4:31pm

    I kinda love the old retro art for these old Target books, some with the wrong Cybermen for the story or a really off painting of Tom Baker. Like this one where are the panels on the Tardis door? The ones with just a photo on the cover are a bit disapointing now but as a kid I wanted them because there was a picture of the 5th Doctor on it.

    • Tyler Prescott

      August 5th, 2019 - 8:00pm

      well they’re stylised, and sometimes they deliberately use the wrong versions of Doctors or companions or whatever, to try and match the old ones

    • Dan

      August 6th, 2019 - 9:49am

      Funny how you mention the lack of TARDIS door panels but don’t mention the fact that the TARDIS is pink…!

    • Daz

      August 7th, 2019 - 11:33am

      Could be the Tardis from “The Happiness Patrol”

      They didn’t deliberately use the wrong Doctors and compainions they just didn’t have the strict brand checks they have now.
      The first VHS of “Revenge of the Cybermen” had a “Earthshock” Cyberman on it that wasn’t deliberate it was a cock up just like the Denys Fisher Cybernose or the Dapol 5 sided console.

    • Anonymous

      August 7th, 2019 - 1:11pm

      Very often they were provided with photographs to use unfortunately they were sometimes the wrong photographs or just very poor quality! Besides it adds a certain charm to the covers for me.

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