The Nightmare Fair, published in 1989, was the first release in the Target Books spin-off line, Target Missing Episodes. This line novelised scripts commissioned for Season 23 before the BBC decided to put Doctor Who on hiatus for eighteen months in 1985-1986. When the series returned, it was decided to do a season-long arc called TV: The Trial of a Time Lord and the originally commissioned Season 23 serials were abandoned.
On Wednesday 27 February 1985 the BBC announced that their longest running sci-fi series, Doctor Who, was to be suspended. Anxious fans worldwide, worried that this might mean an end to the Time Lord's travels, flooded the BBC with letters of protest. Eighteen months later the show returned to the TV screens.
But missing from the Doctor's adventures was the series that would have been made and shown during those lost eighteen months. Now, available for the first time as a book, is one of those stories: The Nightmare Fair.
"How often do I have to win before you give up?" the Sixth Doctor demanded with a sigh. "Oh lots," replied the Mandarin...
In February 1985 the BBC announced that their longest-running SF series, Doctor Who was to be suspended. Anxious fans worldwide, worried that this might put an end to the Time Lord's longevity, flooded the BBC with letters of protest. Eighteen months later the show returned to the TV screens.
But missing from the Doctor's adventures was the series and would have been made and shown during those eighteen months, and contained in this volume is one of those stories: THE NIGHTMARE FAIR.
Is it really just chance that has brought them to the funfair? Or is their arrival somehow connected with the sinister presence of a rather familiar Chinese Mandarin?....
- The original ending of the 1985 series finale, TV: Revelation of the Daleks, had the Doctor telling Peri he was going to take her to Blackpool. Before broadcast, however, the decision was made to freeze frame the Doctor before he says this, thus removing 'Blackpool' and leaving the end of the sentence a mystery. Williams' novelisation of the serial does not, therefore, take its lead from the original ending of Revelation. At the start of this novel, the TARDIS is drawn into "the nexus of the primeval cauldron of Space-Time itself" and he and Peri are surprised to find themselves in Blackpool.
- PROSE: Divided Loyalties ends with the Toymaker telling his companion Stefan "I'll take you to Blackpool", both setting up this story and pastiching the original end of Revelation.
In 2003 an unofficial audio drama adaptation of the novel/TV script was produced by Argolis. Produced in two episodes on a single CD, the production was released as a charity fund-raiser for Sense, and included liner notes by Anthony Read, who chose the charity. The CD cover does not identify it as a Doctor Who story, but rather gives the overall title as Series X.
In November 2009, an official full cast audio drama adaptation was released by Big Finish Productions. It was the first in a spin-off series called The Lost Stories which adapted stories planned for television production, specifically the aborted Season 23, but never made.