|Parent company||Universal-Tandem Publishing Co Ltd|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
Target Books was a British publishing imprint, established in 1973 by Universal-Tandem Publishing Co Ltd, a paperback publishing company. The imprint was established as a children’s imprint to complement the adult Tandem imprint, and became well known for their highly successful range of novelisations and other assorted books based on the popular science-fiction television series Doctor Who. Their first publications based on the serial were reprints in paperback of three novels which had been previously published as hardbacks, ‘Doctor Who and the Daleks’, ‘Doctor Who and the Crusaders’ by David Whitaker, and ‘Doctor Who and the Zarbi’ by Bill Strutton. As these sold well further novelisations of the show were commissioned. In 1975 Universal-Tandem was sold by its American owners, the group, to the British conglomerate Howard and Wyndham. The company was renamed Tandem Publishing Ltd before being merged with the paperback imprints of Howard and Wyndham’s general publishing house W. H. Allen Ltd to become in 1976. However, during 1977 and 1978 the Wyndham identity was phased out and, until 1991, Target books were published by ‘the paperback division of WH Allen & Co.’
The most prolific writer in the Doctor Who range was Terrance Dicks, while actor turned writer Ian Marter, Malcolm Hulke, Philip Hinchcliffe and Nigel Robinson (who was for a time the editor of the range) were also contributors.
Almost every story from the Doctor Who series was produced in novelisation form; the exceptions being three scripts by Douglas Adams (Shada, The Pirate Planet and City of Death) and two by Eric Saward (Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks). Saward was reluctant to novelise these scripts himself due to the large percentage of the author’s royalties demanded by the agents of the creator of the Daleks, Terry Nation, for the inclusion of the creatures, and other writers were dissuaded for the same reason. Adams, when interviewed on video about his involvement with Doctor Who, stated that he was unhappy with the standard one-off fee offered by Target Books for the novelisations saying “I do have this tendency to be a best-selling author”. The estate of Douglas Adams eventually permitted a novelisation of Shada to be produced in 2011. It was written by Gareth Roberts and published by BBC Books in 2012.
The company also produced novelisations of various other films and television series, again aimed mostly at the child and teenage markets. They also published a number of original children’s and teenage novels. In 1973, the company produced a successful paperback edition of Tim Dinsdale‘s book, The Story of the Loch Ness Monster. In 1977, Target published the novelisation of the Ray Harryhausen film, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.
WH Allen was purchased by the Virgin Group in the late 1980s and changed its name to Virgin Publishing in 1991. According to the On Target website (see link below), the Target Books line was retired on new books following the publication of Victor Pemberton‘s Doctor Who – The Pescatons in the autumn of 1991.
However, when Virgin Books later published novelisations of the serials The Evil of the Daleks and The Power of the Daleks, and an adaptation of the radio play The Paradise of Death, the books were identified as being part of the Target series on their title pages; The Paradise of Death, published in April 1994 as No. 156 in the “Doctor Who Library”, was the last book to be connected to Target. Reprints of the older novelisations with new covers were published until March 1994, using the Target name.
Further novelisations of Doctor Who-related productions were published by Virgin under the New Adventures and Missing Adventures lines (including an adaptation of the BBC Radio play The Ghosts of N-Space and the independently produced spin-offs Downtime and Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans), while BBC Books would later adapt the 1996 TV-movie, the 2003 webcast, Scream of the Shalka and, in March 2012, the unbroadcast story, Shada.
In 2011 BBC Books published reprints of several of the Target Doctor Who novelisations.
- “Terrance Dicks – Doctor Who Interview Archive”.
- Benedicte Page. “Shada, Douglas Adams’s ‘lost’ Doctor Who story, to be novelised”. the Guardian.
- Ian Berriman. “Doctor Who: Shada by Gareth Roberts BOOK REVIEW”. gamesradar.
- “SFX – GamesRadar+”. gamesradar.
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