Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Target Book Line: Doctor Who & The Daleks

Release number 16
Writer David Whitaker
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Chris Achilleos
ISBN ISBN 0 426 10110 3
Release date 2 May 1973

This was the first Doctor Who serial to be adapted as a novel. Written by David Whitaker, the book was first published in 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.

Whittaker'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.

For some reason, Susan Foreman is renamed Susan English for the novelisation, which has led to some reference books erroneously listing the character by this name. Indeed, in the PC game Destiny of the Doctors, the player has to ask the First Doctor the surname of Susan for one of the tasks. Both English and Foreman are available options (although only the latter is considered correct in the game).

The novelisation was translated into Dutch, Turkish, Japanese, Portuguese, French and German.

In 2005 the novel was issued by BBC Audio as part of the Doctor Who: Travels in Time and Space audio book collectors tin, read by William Russell.

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