BBC Books is to republish another batch of classic Doctor Who novelisations this month, with introductions by writers including Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
The six books, republished in paperback on 10 May and priced at £4.99, comprise one story each for the first three Doctors, plus all three together in The Three Doctors and two stories based on the TV adventures of Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor.
Titles are The Tenth Planet, The Ice Warriors, The Day of the Daleks, The Three Doctors, The Ark in Space and The Loch Ness Monster. The selection was made via a poll on the Doctor Who Facebook page.
The new books retain Chris Achilleos’ artwork, as featured on the original books published by Target. In his introduction to The Ark in Space – a novelisation of the 1975 story, starring Tom Baker – current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat writes: “Doctor Who covers were masterpieces. Frequently, the most thrilling visualisation of a Doctor Who story wouldn’t be on the telly, it would be on the front cover of the book that came after. How I’d stare at those covers.”
Moffat also discusses the standing of Who writer Terrance Dicks as the master of the novelisation: “In the days before DVD, even before video, his books were the exact equivalent. They were Doctor Who TV serials you could keep on your shelf. Utterly faithful, not just to the detail of the narrative and dialogue, but to the feel and the atmosphere and even the pace. In precise, zingy prose, he’d turn a projector on in your head and you’d be watching the show again.”
But although Dicks wrote three of the newly republished books – Day of the Daleks, The Three Doctors and The Loch Ness Monster – he didn’t write The Ark in Space. Moffat recalls how, as a young Who fan, he was amazed to find the novelisation of The Ark in Space – which Moffat describes as “the paradigm Doctor Who script” – was adapted from Robert Holmes’s script by the actor Ian Marter, who had played Harry Sullivan in that and other stories.
“It was brilliant,” Moffat says of the book version. “All the hinted-at horror was leaping and sliming and glooping off the page.”
In his introduction to The Ice Warriors by Brian Hayles, Mark Gatiss writes: “Show a copy of any one of these glorious novelisations to people of a certain age and they are transported back to a simpler, cosier age. Some of my memories of them are imprinted with Proustian clarity, like my very own, Time Lord-flavoured Madeleine cakes.
“It became a wonderful ritual, saving pocket money, then deciding which Target book to go for. I devoured them. Not literally. Although I did live in the north and was always hungry.”
Other introductions in the new series have been written by Tom MacRae, Gary Russell, Alastair Reynolds and Michael Moorcock.