The Target Book Artwork ExhibitionBookmark and Share

Sunday, 1 May 2016 - Reviewed by Marcus
Genisis of the Daleks (Credit: Chris Achilleos)
Doctor Who: The Target Book Artwork
London Cartoon Museum
35 Little Russell Street,
London 
WC1A 2HH

Thursday 28th April - Sunday 15th May 2016
 
Mon - Sat: 10.30 - 17.30
Sun 12.00 - 17.30
For those of us who grew up in the seventies, Doctor Who was a transient experience, appearing on our tv screen for 25 fleeting minutes each Saturday, then gone, forever lost into the ether. There was no catch-up and no repeat,  no DVD release to collect and treasure, not even a Doctor Who Magazine to help us analyse and review each story.  

But we were lucky, we had one great advantage that would enable us to relive each story, savour each experience. We had the Target books.

The paperbacks were the essential purchase for the fan of the era, The novelisations that allowed us to replay the stories in our mind, to archive the memories. It's probably true to say that without that initial range of books, the series would not have gained such a foothold in the affection of so many people, and may not even exist today.

And those  books had covers. Glorious illustrations conceived by talented artists that gripped the casual browser and summed up the story inside.

We loved those books, collected them, and treasured them as one of the few permanent contacts we had with the stories from the programme we loved. The covers became etched into our memories, their bright vibrant images often more enduring than the black and white flicking images from the episodes themselves.
 
So what a joy it is to see those all so familiar illustrations in their original form displayed at the new exhibition at the Cartoon Museum in London's Bloomsbury.
 
The exhibition features thirty exhibits, featuring artists covering stories from every era of the classic series.
 
From Chris Achilleos  we have those iconic Hartnell covers from The Daleks and The Web Planet, showing the brooding, slightly sinister first Doctor, which gave many of us our first introduction to the original. Ten pieces from the artist are featured including the epic Space War showing a snarling Ogron and the classic cover to Genisis of the Daleks, reused for this month's DWM.
 
The later Target period is represented by  Andrew Skilleter  and by covers from Destiny of the Daleks,  through to The Mark of the Rani, showing the Rani in full hag mode. Other artists represented include Roy Knipe, Jeff Cummins, and David McAlister, with covers as diverse as The Doomsday Weapon, showing a snarling Master through to the glinting chrome splendor of The Giant Robot.
 
Seeing the covers in their original form, devoid of logos and titles, really allows you to appreciate the tremendous work which went into creating them. The detail is  superb and the memories come flooding back. The displays take up most of the first floor of the small museum, with plenty of room to study the detail and appreciate the skill involved to create them.
 
The collection has been put together by the current Doctor Who Brand Manager Edward Russell, a self-confessed fan of the book range, who has managed to persuade collectors from around the world to loan their precious material for the exhibition. The effort is well worthwhile and the exhibition is unique in allowing so much original material to be seen together.
 
The exhibition is timed to coincide with the re-release of a series of  the novelisations this time published by BBC Books, complete with new artwork from  Chris Achilleos, some of which is also displayed.
 
The exhibition runs for just two weeks. It's definitly worth a visit, not only if you are a fan of the original range, but for any Doctor Who fan who wants to experience some of the history of the show, and one part of what makes it so enduring.