Dead on Target

The sun has got his hat on once again, hip hip hooray and I have a iced glass of root beer to hand and I have my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist running, so far it there had been Nightmare by Arte Shaw and In the Mood by Glenn Miller and currently Edith Piaf is playing. While driving down to the Mytton yesterday down the scenic route I couldn’t help but notice how wonderfully it was in sync with the song I was listening to on the stereo (On Day’s Like these- Matt Monroe) and if it sticks this way I think it is going to be a pleasant Summer, which will be good for Upton as we don’t want a repeat of the 2012 quagmire.
(Tiger Rag- ODJB) Having purchased the May Issue of DWM I the principal (or cover article) piece is in regards to the cover art to the old Target Novelizations to tie in with the Target Artwork exhibition at the Cartoon Museum in London, an ironic turn of events because if I had known it was upcoming back in the Autumn I would have saved my trip down to the smoke for it and possibly avoided the fall out with the delightful Amy Cherry. One of my favourite things about the Target Novels other then being to follow a story I hadn’t seen was the wonderful covers which adorned most of them (except in the early eighties when for some reason the 5th Doctor novels usual had a photograph of Peter Davison in a totally uninspiring grab which made no feel for the story, Mawdryn Undead and the Visitation I am looking at you in particular), some were a bit more cartoony and more akin to caricature but still kicked off the imagination. Others were more out and out portraits and a few attempted a sort of action stance but they always gave a feeling of atmosphere to reflect the story. It is telling to the success of the covers that with the latest batch of Target reprints has had three of the books new old-school Target style paintings commissioned by the original artist Chris Achilleos and they do reflect the old tone, although the 7th Doctor looks stoned.

I do think it a shame that there are no novelizations of the new series, ok we have a range of original fiction, but I guess in this day and age of easy access to the shows the need for the books has gone. I do think it a bit of a shame though that no longer will school desks be adorned by the Target books and give children the imagination version of a story and unlike myself, won’t be disappointed by the realisation when finally seen on screen. I think my biggest disappointment from seeing a story after reading the book has Terror of the Autons, with it’s description of the Nestene arrival being a materialising creature that was part Crab, part Spider and part Octopus and a far more logical reason for why the Master changes sides at the end (in the novel the Brigadier threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t cooperate, in the TV the Doctor says the Nestenes will betray you and the Master goes oh ok). At their best the Target novelizations went into deeper detail then what was on screen, Malcolm Hulke was good at this giving a lot of insight into even minor characters and Terrance Dicks could be a good example of this. Dicks however wrote so many in quick succession that for a good run his books were literally cut and paste jobs of the screenplays which was a shame. As the range went on the publishers managed to persuade a lot of the original screenwriters to novelise their own scripts and this added a deeper dimension. The Curse of Fenric, Remembrance of the Daleks and Black Orchid are good examples of this and there was great fun when some of the writer’s from the Hartnell era started to novelise their scripts. The Ark is a wonderfully bonkers novel which deviates a lot from the original screenplay by adding lots of background and some bizarre fun on Refusis with Dodo playing tennis with an invisible alien and the Doctor trying to explain the game Snakes & Ladders to the Monoids. Donald Cotton provides an refreshing and perhaps more mature approach to his novels with all three of them told in either first person or the second person; The Myth Makers is told through the point of view of the Greek poet Homer who relates the ransacking of Troy and loses both of his eyes over the course of the narrative. It is a very funny novel with a lot of in-jokes and some incredibly bad puns for chapter titles, the reveal of the Trojan Horse is in a chapter entitled “Doctor in the Horse”, the same can be said of his novelisation of the Gunfighters which is recounted from the point of view of Doc Holiday recounting the events of the story on his death bed in a sanatorium. Again there is much humour in the story and an amusing moment where the Doctor unwittingly wanders into a brothel and causes a misunderstanding when he announces he is looking for a young man and a girl. His final book, the Romans, was not one of his scripts but one by Dennis Spooner and uses journals and letters to tell the story which is about the great fire of Rome. I haven’t read this one and it has yet to be released as a talking book so I cannot really comment on it, but it is interesting to muse that Cotton has again chosen a light hearted historical story to novelise.
(My Journey to the Skies- Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
Ian Marter was another of my favourite authors for the range, his novels were very action packed and pacey and fairly visceral with one book describing a lorry driver who is shot as having the top his head blown off and scattered over the cab and there is a rather gruesome description of Sandy’s demise in the Rescue. He also caused a bit of controversy as he slipped a few swearwords into the novels, something which would go unnoticed now but it was a very different age then. Marter wrote a total of eight novelizations and no doubt would have continued to write more and probably would have contributed to the Virgin New Adventures range had his career not been tragically cut short when he died on his 41st birthday due to complications with his diabetic condition.
(Swing to Bop- Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Christian)

So what is the plan for today? I don’t know yet but it looks like the skies are greying over again. Happy Tuesday everyone.


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