The mission for this blog was simply to read all of the Target books of the original range. Since 2018, BBC Books has continued the tradition of mixing reprints with new novelisations – some adapted from existing full-length novels, some specially commissioned to cover a selection of stories broadcast since 2005. Like the original intentions of the Target range right at the start, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to create an exhaustive library of novels covering every single story from the 21st Century. With that in mind, and having reached the final novel in a (now) unbroken run of adaptations, it seems that this is the appropriate place to bring this blog to a close.
Just for completion’s sake, as of 2021, there have been eight further volumes added to the Target range, covering the Doctors who we’ve met this century – all with covers by Anthony Dry.
163. Doctor Who – The Christmas Invasion
Jenny Colgan adaptes Russell T Davies’ scripts from 2005. Yes – scripts, as this novelisation spans three stories! The regeneration scene from Parting of the Ways leads into the Children in Need mini-episode – aka The Pudsey Cutaway – before launching into the feature presentation, an adaptation of Russell T Davies’ script for the 2005 Christmas special. It’s suggested that the Doctor’s Estuary accent may be due to Rose’s influence and that elements of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy other than Arthur Dent also exist in the Doctor’s universe. Aside from the Prologue and Epilogue, the chapter titles all come from Christmas songs.
164. Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor
Steven Moffat very loosely adapts his scripts for the 2013 anniversary special and the mini-episode Night of the Doctor. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character with the overall story narrated by… the Curator! Apparently the first two Doctors were colour-blind, something they only discovered when he became the Third Doctor. The two 1960s Dalek movies exist as films within the Doctor’s universe. The Ninth Doctor smashed every mirror in his TARDIS as a reaction to his predecessor’s actions in the Time War. He also took aboard a therapy robot, which River Song later used to help the Eleventh Doctor forget how many children died on The Final Day. The Twelfth Doctor plays an active part in proceedings, installing himself in the War Room on Gallifrey.
165. Doctor Who – Twice Upon a Time
Paul Cornell adapts Steven Moffat’s script for the 2017 Christmas Special. We’re told a little more about Nardole’s life (and death), we learn that the Doctor has a collection of VHS tapes of his old adventures (he laments that The Daleks’ Master Plan is missing) and the first Doctor repels an attack of Dalek mutants by using a sonic screwdriver.
166. Doctor Who – Dalek
Robert Shearman adapts his own script for the 2005 episode, with sidesteps and chapter-long short stories inspired by the supporting characters. The torturer Simmons has adopted a new identity to escape his past crimes, while Goddard is an undercover security agent who arrests Van Statten at the end. The Dalek’s backstory is also explained, including an encounter with the War Doctor.
167. Doctor Who – The Crimson Horror
Mark Gatiss adapts his own story from 2013, narrated mainly by Jenny, with additional viewpoints from Strax, Jonas Thursday and the Doctor. We’re offered an ‘origin story’ for how Jenny and the Doctor first met (although this is at odds with what we’re told in The Name of the Doctor) and the Doctor gives perception filters to Strax and Vastra to help them pass unnoticed in London.
168. Doctor Who – The Witchfinders
Joy Wilkinson adapts her own script for the 2018 episode, beginning with a new sequence that explains how the Morax came to be imprisoned on Earth. There’s additional backstory for Becka and Willa, while Willa is revealed to have survived the later Pendle Witch trials thanks to the Doctor’s intervention, as well as an unexpected connection with Clara and Me / Ashildr.
169. Doctor Who – The Fires of Pompeii
James Moran adapts his own story from 2008. A prologue describes a race of beings who are trapped beneath the soil of a planet; though their bodies fragment into dust over thousands of years, their consciousnesses survive and they discover that they can influence the primitives of the planet, who worship them as gods. The chapter titles are not just in Latin, but they’re puns too – shades of The Myth Makers. On first sight of a Pyrovile soldier, the Doctor speculates it might be a Krarg [from Shada]. We’re told of just some of the escapades Donna experienced before reconnecting with the Doctor (including ‘KebabGate’). The Doctor takes issue with Donna’s misuse of the phrase ‘deus ex machina’.
170. Doctor Who – The Eaters of Light
Rona Munro adapts her own story from 2017, with the story divided into three ‘books’, each subdivided into chapters (eighteen in all, plus a prologue, epilogue and Author’s Note). Nardole is distressed by the bet between the Doctor and Bill; he’d hoped for ‘a day off’ and had lined up a box set and popcorn. Bill witnesses the creature slaughtering the prized bull of Kar’s tribe before fleeing the scene and meeting Simon. The second book tells the backstory of how Kar became the gatekeeper and when Lucius ran away from home to join his legion. The framing scenes of the girl discovering the music in the stones is missing, as is the final sequence involving Missy.