Growing-up with the Doctor: Part 1, the 1970’s

One abiding childhood memory I have is of corned-beef sandwiches and horlicks. This was my bedtime treat on Hazel Ward. I had several ENT operations at St. Helens Hospital, and one doctor in particular aided my recovery, the Doctor. Now demolished, the children’s ward was famous locally for it’s rocking-horse, but for me it’s biggest attraction was the book trolley. Amongst the old annuals and battered kids classics, were the well-read paperback versions of old Doctor Who stories. I think the first Target books I read were Day of the Daleks and The Cave Monsters. I also discovered a copy of the wondrous first edition of The Making of Doctor Who (Piccolo, 1972),where I first learnt about the Doctor’s adventures. As soon as I joined my local library, I sought out their Target collection, and quickly devoured every title. I even recall finding The Zarbi in hardback with Tom Baker’s Doctor on the cover!

My early favourites were such exotic, distant wonders like The Cybermen, The Abominable Snowmen, The Crusaders, and The Daleks, with it’s bizarre alternative premise to the series (set on Barnes Common, and bypassing the events of that first monumental TV story. I’d finally get to watch An Unearthly Child in 1981).
I bought my first Target novel, The Visitation in 1982, and this marks the beginning of my obsession with this TV legend. This library of 156 titles was my introduction to the world of Doctor Who, and for me, was one of the most important aspects of growing-up in the 1970’s.
WH Allen published their Target books from 1973 to 1994. Only 5 ‘classic series’ TV stories remain unadapted, and more than 8 million books were sold worldwide.

About ecklefecken

Whovian/Pethead/Tartan Noir reader/Ripperologist/Blogger
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