May 2, 1973: First Doctor Who novelisations published by Target Books

“This is DOCTOR WHO’s first exciting adventure – with the DALEKS! Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright travel with the mysterious DOCTOR WHO and his grand-daughter, Susan, to the planet of Skaro in the space-time machine, Tardis. There they strive to save the peace-loving Thals from the evil intentions of the hideous DALEKS. Can they succeed? And what is more important, will they ever again see their native Earth?” [].

Doctor_Who_and_the_DaleksThe first Doctor Who serial to be adapted as a novel was Doctor Who and The Daleks. Written by David Whitaker, the book was first published in hardback on 12 November 1964 by Frederick Muller as Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks. A paperback release by Armada Books followed in 1965.

In 1973 Target Books published it under the cover title Doctor Who and the Daleks, although the full title was still given on the inside frontpage. From 1977 onwards reprints dropped the full title. In 1992 the novelisation was retitled Doctor Who – The Daleks. It was the very first novelisation published under the Target imprint (the books would continue for the next 20 years).

From 1983 onwards the Target novelisations bore numbers, with the first 73 releases retroactively numbered in alphabetical order. However, it would not be until 1992 that an actual reprint stated it was “No. 16” in the Target Books Doctor Who Library.

Whitaker’s book differs from most later novelisations in that it is written in the first person and from the point of view of a companion (Ian Chesterton). It also ignores the events of the preceding serial An Unearthly Child, except for a modified retelling of the first episode (to explain how Ian and Barbara joined the Doctor). Here, Ian meets the Doctor, Barbara (who is Susan’s tutor) and Susan on Barnes Common after a car crash. The novel also plays up the romantic tension between the two human companions and features a glass Dalek leader on Skaro.

Susan Foreman is renamed Susan English for the novelisation, which has led to some reference books erroneously listing the character by this name. [Wikipedia]

“DOCTOR WHO lands his space-time machine Tardis on the cold, craggy planet of Vortis. The Doctor and his companions, Ian and Vicki, are soon captured by the ZARBI, huge ant-like creatures with metallic bodies and pincer claws; meanwhile Barbara falls into the hands of the friendly MENOPTERA who have come to rid Vortis of the malevolent power of the ZARBI…” []

Doctor_Who_and_the_ZarbiThe Web Planet was the second serial was the second to be novelised by the publisher Frederick Muller. It was written by Bill Strutton under the title Doctor Who and the Zarbi in 1965. In 1973 Target Books acquired the rights to the novelisation and reprinted it as one of the first in their long-running series of Doctor Who novelisations, although when the imprint began numbering the books in the series, The Zarbi was listed as Number 73 in the series. [Wikipedia]



“Back on Earth again, Tardis lands DOCTOR WHO and his friends into the midst of the harsh, cruel world of the twelfth-century Crusades. Soon the adventurers are embroiled in the conflict between Richard the Lionheart and the Sultan Saladin, ruler of the warlike Saracens.” []

Doctor_Who_and_the_CrusadersThe Crusade was the third and final story to be novelised by Frederick Muller publishers. Written by David Whitaker as Doctor Who and the Crusaders, it was first published in 1966 and was the last novelisation published until 1973 when Target Books launched its long-running line of episode adaptations, beginning with reprints of this and the preceding two novels.

As with Whitaker’s first novelisation, the story is converted into a stand-alone novel with a lengthy prologue in the TARDIS where the travellers discuss the paradoxes of their journeys and time travel. The pointlessness of a religious war is also emphasised more.

Once again, Whitaker plays up the romantic potential of Ian and Barbara and includes a graphic passage of Barbara being scourged. For some reason the name of Susan’s husband has changed from David Campbell to David Cameron. [Wikipedia]


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