This Tuesday, June 23rd, BBC Radio 4 broadcasts On the Outside it Looked Like an Old Fashioned Police Box, in which Mark Gatiss, Doctor Who writer and fanatic, explores the hugely popular Doctor Who novelisations of the 1970s and 80s, published by Target books.
An affectionate and timely look at a marvellous range of novelisations, the show features some of the best excerpts from the books 20-odd years as well as interviews with the publishers, writers, and illustrators.
In an age before DVD and video, the Target book series of Doctor Who fiction was conceived as the chance for children to ‘keep’ and revisit classic Doctor Who. They were marketed as such, written in a highly visual house style. Descriptive passages did the work of the TV camera and the scripts were more or less faithfully reproduced as dialogue.
Target’s Doctor Who books line were a children’s publishing phenomenon with over 13 million copies sold worldwide. With no DVD, VHS or Sky+, they were the only way save occasional repeats to catch up with past adventures through time and space with the Doctor.
Radio 4 airs On the Outside it Looked Like an Old Fashioned Police Box at 11.30am on Tuesday, June 23rd. Don’t forget to catch it on BBC iPlayer if you can’t listen to it on the day.
(Via Outpost Gallifrey)