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Doctor Who and the Crusaders, 1967

March 10th, 2012 (11:13 pm)

Despite living fifteen miles from the place for eleven years, I'd never got round to exploring Banbury at all; it had been somewhere one drove through on the way to the M40. An hour late on a Saturday afternoon doesn't do the place justice, though I appreciated the crumbling majesty of St Mary's, and it's a pity it has to have so many security signs around it.

The great discovery was Books and Ink in White Lion Walk, combining new books - some hardbacks benefiting from extra plastic dustjackets from the shop to add value - with a well-curated secondhand section. There was a sizeable science fiction section and several 1960s Pelicans on such topics as the monetary system and the failure of British industry to reform. Wary of adding too much to my 'to read' pile, I instead made off with the 1967 Dragon paperback of Doctor Who and the Crusaders by David Whitaker.

Of the three Doctor Who novelisations published in the 1960s by Frederick Muller, Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks was first paperbacked in 1966 by Armada, then the children's imprint of May Fair Books; Doctor Who and the Zarbi had to wait until Target came along in 1973; Doctor Who and the Crusaders was paperbacked in 1967, Dragon being at the time the children's imprint of Atlantic Book Publishing of 11 New Fetter Lane, an address I more recently associate with academic publisher Routledge before they were uprooted to Milton Park in Oxfordshire. (Both Armada and Dragon imprints were still around in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was in their target audience, but Armada had become part of Collins while Dragon ended up with Granada.)

I'd seen this book before but never I think held it. Like the Armada edition of with the Daleks, the text was reset rather than reproduced from the Muller hardback as was Universal-Tandem/Target's practice in 1973. Henry Fox's illustrations from the hardback were also replaced, though the new artist, whose work owed a lot to Fox's, was not credited. The front cover illustration wasn't particularly enticing, and while I've seen it reproduced before I'd not realised that there was a back cover illustration as well, presumably showing Barbara being carried off to the mercies of El Akir. The great loser in this edition is Vicki, whose existence is forgotten by the blurb writer.


As with Armada before, there was no impetus to create a series of Doctor Who paperbacks from Dragon. No new books from Muller were forthcoming, and one wonders whether Terry Nation's plans for the Dalek television series, which stopped Dalek stories from being sold abroad, also prohibited Dalek exploitation in book form when associated with Doctor Who; as David Whitaker had written two of the three Muller books, one wonders whether he might have proposed more, with The Power of the Daleks being the obvious next step. One for Nothing at the End of the Lane, perhaps.

ETA: Armada's origins corrected. See this Hardy Boys website for the story of May Fair Books and Atlantic Publishing. In a sense, the Doctor Who paperbacks didn't change publisher at all...

ETA2: ...and Diana Cornwell's Wikipedia article on her father Gordon Landsborough is worth reading.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/494680.html.


Posted by: phoebesmum (phoebesmum)
Posted at: March 10th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)

Ah, thank you for confirmation that that's still there. I'm not actually strong enough to climb the hill at present, but we'll try to visit at some point. Although parking may be a problem ...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 10th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)

Good to hear from you. Parking is indeed a bit difficult - though plentiful it's either on the main road or tucked away in odd places (or the multistorey) and not particularly close to White Lion Walk, which is indeed up something of a gradient - and then there are the stairs inside the shop.

Posted by: phoebesmum (phoebesmum)
Posted at: March 11th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)

We visited Matalan (you can't beat us for sheer class) and the shopping arcade a week or two ago, and parked by Matalan - the rate there turned to be something like £5 for an hour. (Can that really be right? That's what Judy said, certainly.) Next time we visit, we shall certainly have to find an alternative.

I'm expecting to have major surgery soon, so plans for anything even mildly strenuous will have to wait until I've recovered. After which I intend to go out and have a riotous good time!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 11th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)

The place where I parked was 80p for an hour; this was on Calthorpe Street, on the western side, in the long stay section.

May the riotous good time be just what you wish it to be!

Posted by: Polly (jane_somebody)
Posted at: March 24th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)

Gosh, that looks astonishingly incongruous. I had a lot of Enid Blytons in that vintage of Dragon (though some of them had advanced to decimal), particularly some of the Five Find-Outers series and St Clare's school series, all with very much the same style of cover art, so seeing a Doctor Who book looking like this is really quite surreal!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 24th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)

I mainly associate Dragon with those Enid Blyton series. Given that Frederick Muller gave the series a branding with echoes of the TV series logo at the time - cover here - that Dragon subjugated Doctor Who to their house style is an interesting statement of faith in their own branding.

It's remarkable that the Dragon illustration is only six years older than Chris Achilleos's much more striking 1973 cover, which has stood the test of time.

Posted by: Polly (jane_somebody)
Posted at: March 25th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the link to the hardback cover, very interesting. Yes, that Target cover is much more the style I associate with Who novelisations during my childhood, the ones belonging to my brother (which my mother and I also read) and the ones I borrowed from the library. It was nice to see it being reused.