ANALYSIS: New Target Collection Titles Announced for 2020

BBC Books and Penguin Random House have confirmed the slate of Target Collection novelisations coming in July 2020.

The next decade will kick off looking back at days gone by for Doctor Who. As well as the Terrance Dicks anthology collecting some of the late author’s contributions to the Target range, seven new titles will receive the pulpy paperback treatment in the second wave of Target Collection novels.

Confirmed Target Collection Novels for July 2020

Resurrection of the Daleks & Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward

Not much to say about these since they’re almost certainly going to be paperback reprints of the two novelisations that came out this year. Given the relative brevity of both books, it’s unlikely there will need to be any trimming to fit the normal Target length.

The Pirate Planet by Douglas Adams & James Goss

As with the City of Death novelisation that came out in the first set of Target Collection books, this will be an abridged version of the 2017 novel. However, The Pirate Planet came in at a hefty 416 pages as Goss built on the story using the extensive notes left behind by Adams. For City of Death that meant some drastic and glaring cuts that harmed the final product. I gave The Pirate Planet a glowing review back in the day so hopefully these edits will be a bit more judicious.

The TV Movie by Gary Russell

The oldest reprint in the set, Gary Russell’s 1996 novelisation of the TV movie will be the first time that the Eighth Doctor gets a Target book to himself. This book is beloved by fans for Russell’s additions making more sense of the plot and including more information on the redesigned TARDIS.

While this probably won’t be reprinted in its entirety either, the abridgement should be easy. When the story was turned into an audiobook in 1997, author Gary Russell cut almost half the text to make it short enough to be recorded. I’d bet money that this version will be the one published.

UPDATE: Gary Russell has confirmed that the new release will not use the audiobook version. I would have lost my stake.

Dalek by Rob Shearman

One of the original adaptations of new series episodes, Rob Shearman is turning his acclaimed story Dalek into a novel. This 2005 story was a partial reworking of Shearman’s Big Finish audio Jubilee. It was also significant for reintroducing the Daleks and elaborating on the Time War. Not to mention providing the material for several of the Christopher Eccleston’s strongest moments as the Doctor. Shearman is a prolific author for the stage and screen but he also has several novels under his belt. So there should be no doubt that this is gonna be a corker!

The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson (Mandip Gill, Jodie Whittaker, Tilly Steele)

The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson

Joy Wilkinson’s debut story – The Witchfinders – was a great addition to a strong eleventh series last year. Featuring Alan Cumming in a wonderfully overwrought performance as King James and exploring the implications of the Doctor’s recent regeneration in a bit more detail. Wilkinson’s opening contribution to The Target StorybookGatecrashers – was set immediately after the events of her episode. So it’ll be fun to see if they’re tied together.

The Crimson Horror by Mark Gatiss

A lifelong Doctor Who fan, actor and writer Mark Gatiss is living out every young fan’s dreams for a living and enjoying well-deserved plaudits along the way. Now he finally gets his name on a Target novel as his 2013 Eleventh Doctor episode The Crimson Horror closes out this set. This will also be the first appearance of The Paternoster Gang in a Target book, which might be an opportunity to tie-in with their ongoing Big Finish series.

The Paternoster Gang
The Paternoster Gang

Happy about these titles? Which new series stories would you like to see adapted in the next wave of Target Collection books? Let me know in the comments.

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