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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 and 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.[1] In 1975 Universal-Tandem was sold by its American owners, the Universal-Award 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 Wyndham Publications Ltd in 1976. However, during 1977 and 1978 the Wyndham identity was phased out and, until 1990, Target books were published by 'the paperback division of WH Allen & Co'.

Target Books
Target books.png
Parent companyUniversal-Tandem Publishing Co Ltd
SuccessorVirgin Books
Country of originUnited Kingdom

The most prolific writer in the Doctor Who range was Terrance Dicks,[2] 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.

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 acquired by Virgin Books in a process that spanned late 1986 to late 1987.[3] In 1994 the Target imprint was closed down and the last three novelisation published by Virgin were under the Doctor Who Books imprint.[4] They did, however, feature the Target logo inside and were numbered in Target's "Doctor Who Library" on inside pages.

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 Doctor Who, the 2003 webcast Scream of the Shalka, the unbroadcast story Shada, the 1970s serials City of Death and The Pirate Planet, the 1980s Dalek serial Resurrection of the Daleks, and the unproduced films Doctor Who Meets Scratchman and Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. A hardback adaptation of the 1980s Dalek serial Revelation of the Daleks is scheduled for 2019.[5]

Random House, through its United Kingdom division, acquired a 90% stake in Virgin Books (including Target) in March 2007.[6] In November 2009, Virgin became an independent imprint within Ebury Publishing, a division of the Random House Group.[7]

In 2011 BBC Books published reprints of several of the Target Doctor Who novelisations.[8]

In 2018 BBC Books published four novelisations of post-2005 Doctor Who stories and a new abridged version of City of Death using the Target logo,[9][10] Ebury Publishing having acquired a majority shareholding of BBC Books in 2006.[11] Paperback editions of Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks as part of the revived Target range are scheduled for 2020.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Terrance Dicks - Doctor Who Interview Archive".
  2. ^
  3. ^ Howe, David J. (2007). The Target Book. Surrey: Telos Publishing Ltd. p. 112.
  4. ^ Howe, David J. (2007). The Target Book. Surrey: Telos Publishing Ltd. pp. 131–134.
  5. ^ a b Dee, Christel (19 January 2019). "Novelisations of 'Resurrection of the Daleks' and 'Revelation of the Daleks' announced". Doctor Who. BBC Studios. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  6. ^ Joel Rickett, Random House UK buys Virgin Books, The Bookseller, 5 March 2007 (via
  7. ^ Benedicte Page, "Virgin joins Ebury stable, Sadler leaving", The Bookseller, 2 November 2009
  8. ^ "SFX - GamesRadar+". gamesradar.
  9. ^ "Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies are writing special Doctor Who novels". Radio Times. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  10. ^ News, Doctor Who. "New Target Novalisations". Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  11. ^ The Random House Group acquires majority shareholding in BBC Books BBC Press Office. 22 June 2006

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