Sunday, April 27, 2014
The Doctor Who Annual is a hardback book published each year full of fiction, comics, puzzles, and feature stories based on Doctor Who.
From 1965 to 1986, the Annuals were published by World Distributors. They were intended as a cheap children's book intended to be given at Christmas. The stories and comics were often surreal, and bore little resemblance to the Doctor or his Companions seen on the show. From 1965 to 1979, the Annuals were published in September, but moved to August in 1980. (Note that the Annual bearing the date 1966 is published in 1965. This is true for all Annuals.)
World Distributors did not release an Annual in 1972, and their last published Annual was for 1985. No Annual was published in 1986 or 1987, so none ever featured the Seventh Doctor or his companion, Ace.
Marvel Comics resurrected the Annuals in 1992. These were more sophisticated, designed for an older audience of teens and young adults. Marvel ceased publishing the Annual in 1997 (the last edition was for 1996).
When the new series was launched in 2005, BBC Books partnered with Penguin Books UK to begin publication of the Annuals again. Fiction was moved out of the Annual and into its own publication, the Doctor Who Storybook. The Annual was redesigned for younger viewers again, and remains hardback and cheap. The Annual has been released every year of the new series, and still contains comics, puzzles, games, and other fun stuff.