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Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child (novelisation)

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Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child
Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child
Based on: An Unearthly Child
Doctor: First Doctor
Companion(s): Susan, Barbara, Ian
Main enemy: Kal
Main setting: London, 1963
Earth, 100,000 BC
Key crew
Publisher: Target Books, W.H. Allen
Writer: Terrance Dicks
Cover by: Andrew Skilleter
Release details
Release number: 68 (given to later editions)
Release date: 15 October 1981
Format: Hardcover and paperback editions; 12 Chapters, 128 Pages
ISBN 0-426-20144-2
←Previous Next→
Publication order
Doctor Who and the Enemy of the World Doctor Who and the State of Decay
Target novelisation numbering
Doctor Who and the Underworld Doctor Who and the Visitation
TV series order
none Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks

Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child was a novelisation based on the television serial An Unearthly Child. This novelisation was written some eighteen years after the publication of the novelisation of TV: The Daleks, published as Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks. The two books, if read chronologically, do not maintain continuity.

Publisher's summary Edit

1981 edition Edit


A strange girl who knows far more than she should about the past – and the future...

Two worried teachers whose curiosity leads them to a deserted junk yard, an extraordinary police box and a mysterious traveller known only as the Doctor...

A fantastic journey through Space and Time ending in a terrifying adventure at the dawn of history...



1990 edition Edit

23 November 1963: The Birth of a phenomenon.

Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright are teachers at Coal Hill School in London. One of their pupils, a girl named Susan Foreman, intrigues them: she displays strange knowledge and an uncanny intelligence. They follow her to her home-- and she leads them to a police telephone box, incongruously parked in a junk yard, where they meet a tetchy, white-haired old man. Susan calls him grandfather, but he says he is known as the Doctor...

This was the public's first glimpse of the dimension-hopping Time Lord, and the beginning of a television legend. More than a hundred and fifty adventures and a quarter of a century later, the Doctor and his Tardis are still travelling through time and space.

Terrance Dicks, who was the Doctor Who script editor for five years, has written more than sixty novelisations of Doctor Who television stories. This is a new edition of his novel based on the first Doctor Who story ever shown on television.

Doctor Who - An Unearthly Child is available as a BBC Video, and will be broadcast on BSB television during 1990.

Chapter titles Edit

  1. The Girl Who Was Different
  2. Enter the Doctor
  3. The TARDIS
  4. The Dawn of Time
  5. The Disappearance
  6. The Cave of Skulls
  7. The Knife
  8. The Forest of Fear
  9. Ambush
  10. Captured
  11. The Firemaker
  12. Escape into Danger

Deviations from televised story Edit

  • The Doctor specifically states that his name is not "Doctor Foreman" rather than just implying it.
  • The Old Mother is said to be the mother of Za. The father of Za is named Gor.

Writing and publishing notes Edit

  • Suggested by producer John Nathan-Turner as a tie-in to the broadcast of the serial on TV as part of a series of repeats (The Five Faces of Doctor Who), author Terrance Dicks was given only a fortnight to complete the book. There were delays incurred in securing the writer's permission, given by his widow.
  • A guaranteed success because of the TV broadcast, this title had an increased cover price and the first edition featured a red foil logo.
  • Cover artist Andrew Skilleter starts an unbroken run of twenty-one covers of artwork with this title, whose artwork he completed over a weekend without being requested to provide any roughs, describing this cover as "a weekends work" in his book Blacklight.
  • It was the first book published in the Target Books Doctor Who novelisation schedules after a six month gap caused by a Writer's Guild strike.

Additional cover images Edit

British publication history Edit

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


  • Paperback
Target / Virgin Publishing Ltd. UK February 1980 Cover by Alistair Pearson (£2.50 UK)

Editions published outside Britain Edit

This novelisation was published in France as Docteur Who Entre en Scene (Doctor Who enters the scene) in a collection created by Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, and Germany as Doctor Who und das Kind von den Sternen (Doctor Who and the Child from the Stars).

External links Edit

to be added

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