Under World Distributors
The annuals were hardbound books priced at pocket money prices and released near autumn, in time for the Christmas market. Usually a mix of prose and comic strip stories intended for children, they also contained puzzles, quizzes, games and a varying amount of filler material usually having little connection with Doctor Who.
From the late 1960s through to the late 1980s (with the exception of 1971), World Distributors, Ltd published Doctor Who Annual. The often notoriously bizarre stories and comics sometimes went in very strange directions and companions portrayed in the illustrations and descriptions of regular characters often bore little resemblance to their actors.
The Doctor Who annuals were published each September between 1966 and 1985.
With an autumn of the year release time, the date on all annuals is for the following year. For example, the K9 Annual, dated 1983, has a print date of 1982. Some annuals/yearbooks failed to include a year date on the cover so where applicable that reference is bracketed and assumed.
When John Nathan-Turner became producer of Doctor Who, he exerted a greater influence on merchandising and tie-in product releases (including the annuals) which, under his watchful eye, saw an increase in standards as well as featuring series related material.
World Distributors Ltd stopped producing the regular annuals in 1985.
There was a lapse for a few years in publication before Marvel Comics secured the license to produce a Doctor Who Yearbook. These followed the same mix of prose, comic strip stories and features, this time all Who-related and directed at a more sophisticated audience. The Yearbooks ran from 1991-1995 as 1992-1996 annuals.
Revival of the Annuals
With the return of Doctor Who in 2005, the publication of annuals began again. The first, Doctor Who Annual 2006, was published by Panini, and all subsequent annuals were published by BBC Children's Books. From 2007 to 2010, Panini also published the Doctor Who Storybook aimed at an older audience.
While IDW held the Doctor Who comic book licence, they also published four annuals from 2010 to 2013 while IDW is a US company the annual years are the years as published. They changed annual to special at the last minute for 2012 and it carried over to the 2013 edition for the 50th anniversary.
Doctor Who Annuals (1965-1985)
Doctor Who Yearbooks (1991-1995)
Doctor Who Annuals (2005-present)
IDW Doctor Who Annuals (2010-2013)
TV Comic and TV Action Annuals
When Polystyle Publications, Ltd. held the rights to publish original Doctor Who comic strips, they mostly exercised that right in the pages of TV Comic, though, for a few years, they published them in Countdown/TV Action. Both publications also had their own hardbound annuals, where the occasional Doctor Who strip might be found.