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The Sensorites was a novelisation based on the 1964 television serial The Sensorites.

Publisher's summary[]

The TARDIS materialises on board a dark and silent spaceship. As the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara penetrate the craft's eerie gloom they come across what appear to be the bodies of two dead astronauts.

But the astronauts are far from dead, and are living in mortal fear of the Sensorites, a race of telepathic creatures from the Sense-Sphere.

When the lock of the TARDIS is stolen the Doctor is forced into an uneasy alliance with the aliens. And when he arrives on the Sensorites' planet he discovers that it is not only the humans who have cause to be afraid...

Chapter titles[]

  • Prologue
  1. Strangers in Space
  2. War of Nerves
  3. The Dreams of Avarice
  4. The Unwilling Warriors
  5. The Quest for Freedom
  6. Hidden Danger
  7. A Race Against Death
  8. Into the Darkness
  9. Surrounded by Enemies
  10. A Conspiracy of Lies
  11. The Secret of the Caves
  12. A Desperate Venture
  • Epilogue

Deviations from televised story[]

  • Much of the dialogue has been rearranged for the novelisation with many lines swapped between characters.
  • Maitland's assumption that the travellers come from a century other than the twenty-eighth stems from a commonplace tradition to place astronauts in suspended animation for the long journey between solar systems.
  • Susan is a great deal more reluctant to go down to the Sense-Sphere. She capitulates, tearfully, only when they threaten the lives of her fellow travellers.
  • A greater emphasis is placed on the inner thoughts of the First Elder as he attempts to mediate between his own people's viewpoints and that of the outsiders from the spaceship.
  • Carol is smothered unconscious during her kidnap, rather than remaining conscious for the journey to the Disintegrator Room.
  • Rather than have a model layout of the aqueduct, the Sensorites provide a holographic map for Susan to direct Barbara and John whilst she talks telepathically.
  • Whilst Ian urges Maitland to hasten cutting open to the door in order to get to Barbara and Susan, he utters the words "For God's sake, man!"
  • The humans are part of an extremist group called INNER, Interstellar Navigation, Exploration and Research.
  • Lacking the lead-in to The Reign of Terror, the story instead ends on Barbara's own musings about the fate of the Sensorites in the face of mankind's greed for material wealth. She worries that they'll suffer the same fate of the Mexican Aztecs and the Australian Aboriginals on Earth. She hopes that humanity has matured enough by the twenty-fifth century for such issues to be a thing of the past.

Story notes[]

  • The cover and information on the right are for the original Target edition. It featured the artwork of Nick Spender. (See below for information on editions with different covers).


  • Barbara compares the encounter between the humans and the Sensorites to the Aztecs' encounter with Cortez. (TV: The Aztecs)

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Nigel Robinson was wary about commissioning himself to write this novelisation while still the editor of the range, but was reassured by comments on how long it took for him to suggest the idea.
  • This is the first of four novelisations Robinson would write. He is one of only three authors to write for Target with no previous connection to either the scriptwriting or production of the original series. The others were Alison Bingeman and John Peel.
  • The inside back cover features Fantastic Doctor Who Poster Offer (in colour).

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

Hardback (February 1987)
  • W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK ISBN:0491034555, copies priced £7.50 (UK))
Paperback (July 1987)
  • Target / W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. Single paperback edition, estimated print run: 32,500, priced £1.95 (UK).


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 3 May 2012 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by William Russell.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

The audiobook was reissued as part of the audio anthology The Second Alien Worlds Collection on 6 December 2018.

External links[]

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