This week Whovian Leap talks Target and gets nostalgic for novelisations…
Why in the last ten years has a modern equivalent of Target (novelisations of classic stories) never seen the light of day? I think how Harry Potter has encouraged generations of youngsters to start reading. Why not do the same for young Whovians with new Target novelisations? The BBC is missing a trick.
Fans love collecting merchandise and now that the DVD range of Classic Stories has seemingly ground to a halt, Nu Who novelisations would be a perfect new collection for eager fans to start.
New series writers could expand on ideas that forty five minute episodes do not allow. We could get inside the heads of the characters and read their thoughts. Stories could be given more depth. What was Rose thinking on Bad Wolf Bay? What troubled thoughts were going through Clara’s mind as she staggered out of the Tardis at the beginning of “Deep Breath”?
Many fans love the original novels produced by the BBC, but others are put off by the fact that they are not ‘canon’. The latter group would be more likely to buy novels if they were based on actual televised stories.
Some may argue that older fans only used to buy Target novels as it was the only way to find out about previously televised Doctor Who stories in the days before DVDs and downloads. Though this is undoubtedly true, I would respond that the novelisations actually developed a life of their own and became cherished possessions in their own right.
Fans were able to own Doctor Who stories and gave them pride of place on their bedroom shelves. We would admire the artwork on the cover. We were intrigued when the title of the original story was changed. We enthused if there were illustrations on the inside of the book. Very often the novelisations were actually better than the original story. After all, the BBC could place no budget restrictions on our imaginations.
The wait for Series 9 could have been so much easier if we were now reading novelisations of Series 8. Some new series authors may be too busy to novelise their work, but not all of them are working on the upcoming run of episodes. Something tells me that Terrance Dicks, who wrote an impossible number of Doctor Who novels in the seventies and eighties, would be more than happy to carry on where he left off. Then again, novelising eight series of Nu Who might just prove too much for him!
I conclude with a plea to our beloved showrunner (see above), someone who quite clearly in an earlier incarnation used to read Target novels himself!
Mr Moffat, wave your magic wand (or sonic!) and bring back Target!