Friday, 6 June 2008

Doctor Who Target Novels

I have 62 of the 153 Target Novels.

(When I say “I”, I mean “WE” as Rachael is just as big a fan of these books as I am.)

After finding out that Rob Stickler and I were both collecting the old Doctor Who Target novels, and knowing that there must be more of you out there. I am issuing a general shout out to anybody else with a collection to let us know how it’s going. Put a quick post on your own blog and see if you can find any other collectors.

Between 1973 and 1991 Target printed 153 Doctor Who novels. The 152 numbered novels are based on the televised stories from the Doctor Who series. The extra book is Slipback which was based on a story broadcast on the radio and published by Target in the mid 80s.
Intended for children they are quick and easy to read, and great entertainment. It has to be said that the attraction of these books is as much to do with the illustrations and cover artwork, as it is to do with the stories themselves.

Collecting them all has for many people become a mini obsession. I’m not quite at that stage, but I have definitely been bitten by the bug. The way it usually happens is something like this. You have two or three old Doctor Who books knocking about the house from when you were a kid. You spot a few in a charity shop or at a car boot sale. And mostly out of nostalgia, but also because they are only 20p each you buy them. Then you start remembering how much you enjoyed them as a kid, and begin wishing you had a few more. Then comes the phase where you buy any one you see, because they are still quite cheep. Then one day when you realise you have half a shelf full, you start to fantasise about maybe one day having a complete set. Now you are lost!

This is the point I’m at now. My count is 62, so I’m not even over the brow of the hill yet. It’s on the other side of that hill that things start to get obsessive. You become happier to pay a little more to add to your collection. You start hunting out particular books, so that you can just get all of the Peter Davison’s. You buy a lot of six on eBay to get at the one you want. This is when you can easily end up with more spares than you actually have on your shelf. But it’s when the end is in sight and you only have a few left to get that people start to think of you as ODD. That is when you start considering paying £20.00 for a single book, or drive 100 miles to attend a book fair. This is when your wife divorces you, unless you are lucky enough to have a wife like mine.

Now when I’ve finished with these…there’s the script books, the new adventures, eighth doctor adventures, the new series books, the missing adventures, the previous doctor adventures, then onto the Telos books, short trips, companion adventures, and assorted spin off sets. Going to need a bigger house…

If you want to be really depressed about how few of these books you actually have, check out the check list here.

A fellow borderline obsessive has put together a video of Doctor Who novel covers. It’s nearly ten minutes long, so make a cup of tea, then sit back and enjoy. I deify you to not be dancing to the music by the end.

If you want to know more then these are the places to start.


On Target.

Target Novelisation Wiki.

“I'm a time traveler I point and laugh at archaeologists”


Rob said...

You buy a lot of six on eBay to get at the one you want.

Oh God, I've done that!

Talking about £20 ones, I've got The Wheel in Space - isn't that quite rare or am I getting confused?

Dave said...

I've bid on a few job lot's on eBay too. Maybe I've been bitten harder by the collecting bug than I am willing to admit.

Some are supposed to be harder to find than others. I'm not sure which ones they are but if you have one of them, well done. The Wheel in Space is not in my collection.

Joanne said...

Check out 'Whoshare' if you want to plug the gaps with some virtual editions.

Dave said...

Hi Joanne, I do have a few virtual Doctor Who books courtesy of the BBC Doctor Who site and one by David Bishop that was made available for download. But it isn’t quite the same as having an actual book in your hand.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Dave! In the late 1970's when I bought my first Doctor Who books I dreamt of having all the Doctor Who stories as books. Eventually, about 15 years later, I had all 155 that were published, plus a few duplicates with different covers. Now, 30 years after I started, I'm selling them all on Amazon. I feel sad, as I did selling my model trains and space Lego, but if I can pass them on to other people who appreciate them, and were perhaps too young to have bought them new when they first came out as I did, then I'll be happy(ish). Alan (

Jackson Newman said...

Hello! I'm seventeen and I live in America. For my birthday I was given some money to spend at a used bookstor I really like. When what to my wondering do I see...Literaly over a hundred of these books. I love Doctor Who (old and new) and couldn't believe. There to many to buy at first but the shopkeeper is putting them on hold for me so I can slowly buy them. They were only $2.00 a peice.

Dave said...

Hello Jackson. A lucky bookshop find indeed, and what a fantastic shopkeeper. Over here you usually have to dig around the childrens section to find a few Doctor Who books.

We (my wife and I) were once offered the whole target collection for £40. This was quite a while back, neither of us was working, we just didn't have £40 at the time, plus, that much cash would have fed us for a month.

A month without food or a complete set of Doctor Who books???? I'm still not sure we made the right choice.