Celebrating Chris Achilléos - Your MemoriesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 9 February 2020 - Reported by Chuck Foster
An update from Candy Jar Books on their forthcoming book about Doctor Who artist Chris Achilléos:

Kklak: The Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books would like Doctor Who readers to share their thoughts and memories of Chris Achilléos’ Doctor Who artwork (as well as the Target books that featured his art).

Whether they set you on a path that ultimately led to a career, or simply gave you a few lazy Sundays’ entertainment, we’d love to hear your stories. Do you have images of you with Chris, or photos of yourself reading these iconic Target books as a child? We’d love to see them. We want to pay tribute to why these books really matter – how they have touched lives all over the world.

Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell, says:
Last year, we put out a free release celebrating the career of Terrance Dicks, after his passing. A lot of our contributors said that Terrance, and the Target range which he and Chris defined, got them into reading, got them into science fiction, got them into writing as a discipline and ultimately a career. These books changed lives! They changed my life! We want Klaak! to celebrate this.
These contributions will be compiled into a chapter in the upcoming book, Kklak!: The Doctor Who Artwork of Chris Achilléos.

Send your memories, photos or artwork to Shaun Russell with the subject heading KKLAK!.

Each contributor will receive a personally signed paperback copy of the book.
The final date for submissions is the end of February.



Book details:
For the first time ever, an upcoming book, Kklak: the Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos, will compile into one volume the entirety of Chris’ artwork for Target. The artwork will be presented chronologically, with accompanying commentary from the artist himself. The book will begin with an exclusive foreword from Achilléos’ long-time friend and collaborator – and the most prolific and popular of all Target’s writers – the late Terrance Dicks.

In many ways, Kklak… is a love letter to the Target range, which was itself a love letter to the Doctor Who fandom. It was Target’s genuine, tangible affection for the universe of Doctor Who that first inspired Candy Jar’s head of publishing, Shaun Russell, to get into the book world. As Shaun explains:
The Target novels were a huge part of our childhoods. And when it came to our own range of Doctor Who books, the Lethbridge-Stewart series, they were an inspiration. You could always tell that they were produced by fellow fans. There was an attention to detail, and a level of quality, which spoke of the affection their creators held for the show. From the first moment you picked up a Target title, with one of Chris Achilléos’ brilliant designs on the cover, you knew that you were in for something special.
Featuring every one of Achilléos’ Doctor Who designs, as well as never before seen material giving insight into his creative process, Kklak: the Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos is released in late spring 2020 by Candy Jar Books.




Black Archive - UpdateBookmark and Share

Sunday, 19 January 2020 - Reported by Marcus
Black Archive #39: The Silurians (Credit:  Obverse Books)The latest edition of The Black Archive looks at the 1970 Third Doctor story The Silurians.

The story raises issues of land rights, the 1970s energy crisis, technological innovation, animal experimentation and the role of the military. Science is presented as the solution to many of the problems, but terrible acts result from the morality of the choices made by both humans and Silurians – and an exiled Time Lord.

The book is written by Robert Smith? (the question mark is part of his name), a mathematician, writer and editor. He is an award-winning professor of disease modelling at the University of Ottawa in Canada.

The Black Archive is Obverse Books’ series of critical monographs about individual Doctor Who stories. The range has recently acquired a new editor. Paul Driscoll, known to readers as the author of previous Black Archives on The God Complex and Doctor Who (1996), as well as for his work with fiction imprint Altrix Books. He will join Philip Purser-Hallard and Paul Simpson as joint editor of the series. He begins his work this year, on books to be published from 2021 onwards.

The first six Black Archive titles for 2021 have now been announced.

Paul Driscoll himself will examine Richard Curtis’ 11th Doctor episode Vincent and the Doctor, while long-serving Black Archivists Jon Arnold and Simon Bucher-Jones look respectively at 1970s staples Invasion of the Dinosaurs and The Hand of Fear.

New authors Andrew Orton and Billy Seguire will be writing on 1976’s The Deadly Assassinand 2005’s Dalek respectively. Theologian James F McGrath, editor of the academic essay collections Religion in Science Fiction and Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith, will be exploring the 13th Doctor’s first season finale, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos.

The rest of 2021 will bring further releases, some of which will particularly please fans of the fifth Doctor, who so far has been rather underrepresented in the range.

In other news, while the catalogue of titles for 2020 remains the same, unforeseen circumstances behind the scenes mean that two forthcoming Black Archives will be delayed. James Cooray Smith's book on The Underwater Menace and Jonathan Dennis’ on Vengeance on Varos will now be published in April 2020, alongside William Shaw’s Black Archive on The Rings of Akhaten.

The current schedule for 2020-21 is therefore as follows:
  • January 2020 – The Black Archive #39: The Silurians by Robert Smith?
  • April 2020 – The Black Archive #40: The Underwater Menace by James Cooray Smith
  • April 2020 – The Black Archive #41: Vengeance on Varos by Jonathan Dennis
  • April 2020 – The Black Archive #42: The Rings of Akhaten by William Shaw
  • May 2020 – The Black Archive #43: The Robots of Death by Fiona Moore
  • June 2020 – The Black Archive #44: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang by Philip Bates
  • July 2020 – The Black Archive #45: The Unquiet Dead by Erin Horáková
  • August 2020 – The Black Archive #46: The Awakening by David Evans-Powell
  • September 2020 – The Black Archive #47: The Stones of Blood by Katrin Thier
  • October 2020 – The Black Archive #48: The Tenth Planet by Michael Seely
  • November 2020 – The Black Archive #49: Arachnids in the UK by Sam Maleski
  • December 2020 – The Black Archive #50: The Day of the Doctor by Alasdair Stuart
  • December 2020 – The Black Archive #50A: The Night of the Doctor by James Cooray Smith
  • January 2021 – The Black Archive #51: The Deadly Assassin by Andrew Orton
  • February 2021 – The Black Archive #52: The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos by James F McGrath
  • March 2021 – The Black Archive #53: The Hand of Fear by Simon Bucher-Jones
  • April 2021 – The Black Archive #54: Dalek by Billy Seguire
  • May 2021 – The Black Archive #55: Invasion of the Dinosaurs by Jon Arnold
  • June 2021 – The Black Archive #56: Vincent and the Doctor by Paul Driscoll




Lethbridge-Stewart: An Ordinary ManBookmark and Share

Monday, 16 December 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have announced the third instalment in the six-book Bloodlines sequence of novels is now available to pre-order:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: An Ordinary Man (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: An Ordinary Man
Written by Andy Frankham-Allen and Tim Gambrell
Cover artwork by Colin Howard

The destruction of the causal nexus continues, as the timelines of the Lethbridge-Stewarts and Traverses are wiped out of existence.

A new reality has been created, so very close to the essential timeline. And it is into this reality that Anne Travers is sent to retrieve a man who bears a shocking resemblance to Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart.

February 1969, and school-teacher Archie Lethbridge-Stewart lives an ordinary life. A contented life with his little family in the Cornish village of Bledoe. But that is all about to change. First his old pupil, Owain Vine, is having strange visions. Visions of a London covered in web! And on the news it seems London itself is being evacuated – a major gas leak and bears breaking free of London Zoo. Can these events be connected?

Linking all this is a strange old man. A man who insists he knows Archie. Only, the man insists on calling him Alistair. Who is this strange old man? What is this talk of the future? And why should Archie and Owain risk everything to go with the old man to London?

Anne Travers has the answers. But, unfortunately, she appears to be little more than a ghost!

Originally intended as a solo project by Andy Frankham-Allen, An Ordinary Man is now a co-authored project, with Tim Gambrell coming on board to share the author duties. Andy explained the change in author line-up:
The same life stuff that got in the way of Loose Ends got in the way of this book. When it became clear I would not have the time to write the novel, I turned to a trusted author, one who understood the main setting of the book, the village of Bledoe.
Tim Gambrell said:
An Ordinary Man has certainly been no ordinary book. I have enormous respect for Andy; it takes guts to admit all is not well and that you need help with something. When he asked me to write this with him, I did what I'd do for any mate in trouble: I shifted things about in my own life and agreed immediately. Andy had laid the book's groundwork for me. This is still his book at the end of the day. The cornerstones of the plot and the structure had been laid, and the cast assembled. My initial challenge was planning a lot of the bits that went in between – plotting the character journeys from A to B to C. First and foremost, this is a character-led story, not an action-packed adventure. There are characters here I'd not written for before, such as Owain. But I know Bledoe, I've long known its occupants and, because I've always been a reader of the series as well as writing for it, I felt comfortable with Owain.
Andy added:
Unlike a normal Lethbridge-Stewart commission, this one had much more than a shopping list of elements. The story was already laid out, the opening chapters written. Tim had a very specific brief. Once he’s finished his work on it, I shall then take a pass over it myself, tweaking scenes here and there so that it more accurately matches my vision of the story.
Tim continued:
What I've enjoyed most about writing An Ordinary Man has been immersing myself in these characters, because they're not quite what we expect them to be. I've loved seeing how far I can push a situation before the characters say 'enough is enough', or ‘okay, you win’. And what really prompts us, as human beings, to take action outside of our comfort zone, or make changes to our lives for anything other than selfish reasons. I've got a wife and a young family, I've got adult responsibilities. And I've done a lot of soul-searching in writing this book. And it's got a cover by Colin Howard. I've not had one of those before, so that's exciting!

Colin Howard returns for cover-art duties, and he was particularly excited by the challenges presented to him:
I had quite a lot of fun with this cover, despite the original brief. That posed a few challenges. For Lethbridge-Stewart on this occasion it required him to be of the same age as Web of Fear’s colonel, however in this novel he is simply a Cornish School teacher in Bledoe, minus the famous moustache! So, time for screen grabbing Web again, to find a suitable reference of Nick Courtney at that age. Then I had to view elements of Inferno, to find a forehead reference as well as top lip! In order to flesh out my digital painting, I also added a blazer and tie of the type worn by the younger school-teacher Brig in Mawdryn Undead. I then opted for my usual ‘Way too much detail’ background of a Cornish Fishing Village. I sketch these digitally first, then paint over the sketch at around three hundred times magnification on multiple layers to allow for necessary repositioning if required at the cover layout stage. Anne Travers was again a challenge, as Tina Packer spends most of Web playing a supportive sympathetic cast member in two-hander scenes with Patrick Troughton, so therefore is subsequently ‘facially in-shadow’ with most of her scenes in the Unit base. I then had to add more of a 1970s hairstyle and dress, as her character does a little inter-dimensional time-hopping!
On top of those challenges, Colin was excited to be able to do the one thing he’d wanted to do since first joining the Candy Jar artist roster in 2015:
I have been desperate to get to do a Yeti-related cover, but things didn’t ever quite work out. So this time I ‘politely insisted’. In this novel I was told that the Great Intelligence’s London invasion is more successful without the Doctor or Lethbridge Stewart to thwart them. I decided to go to town a little with Big Ben swathed in flowing web, and two of our furry friends looming in the foreground of that section. The other element I was originally asked for was the ‘Sphere-crackling with energy’, so that completed my design idea.

The novel is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, and is covered by subscriptions.


Candy Jar Books is currently having a Christmas Sale: more details here.





BBC Books to publish a new Target novel collection in July 2020Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 - Reported by Marcus
TargetBBC Books is expanding the Doctor Who Target range with seven new titles in Summer 2020 – some that fans have probably been expecting, and a few that should be a pleasant surprise.

After the successful hardback publication of Eric Saward’s long-awaited novelisations, Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks, fans will finally be able to complete their Target collections with paperback editions. These will be accompanied by a Target edition of The Pirate Planet by James Goss, the first time this Douglas Adams story has been published in the Target range, and a reissue of the Gary Russell’s novelisation of The TV Movie.

To complete the set, BBC Books will be publishing 3 new-era novelisations: The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson – the first Thirteenth Doctor adventure to be published on the Target list – Dalek by Robert Shearman, and The Crimson Horror by Mark Gatiss.

For Doctor Who fans, the range of novelisations published by Target Books in the 1970s and 1980s hold a special place. There was a novel published for almost every Doctor Who serial between 1963 and 1989, with a very few (five, actually) notable exceptions, and BBC Books has been successfully reissuing a number of these classic paperbacks since 2012. In 2017, BBC Books expanded the range by publishing the first all-new batch of Target novels, filling in one of those classic-era gaps (City of Death), along with new-era novelisations from Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell and Jenny T Colgan – all five of them instant classics.

Joy Wilkinson said:
I'm thrilled to become part of the illustrious tradition of Target novels. It was so much fun dipping my toe back into prose with the Target Storybook so I'm now relishing the chance to return to the world of The Witchfinders and get fully immersed. It's a great chance to spend more time with the Doctor and fam, hang with King James, and find out more about the mysteries of Bilehurst Cragg and the mighty, muddy Morax.
Robert Shearman said:
I'm still pinching myself that I was asked to write the first Dalek story of the new series - and that was fifteen years ago! I didn't dare dream that the show would become such a big hit, and that it would still be on air now, as big and as exciting as ever - there have been so many adventures since, and so many new Doctors, and, of course, so many more Daleks. It feels like a real honour now to go back in time and relive my script... and maybe reveal a few surprises that never made it to the screen....
Mark Gatiss said:
Novelisations of the ‘new’ series are the final piece of this whole wonderful puzzle for me and to become a Target author after all these years is a complete delight! It’s been lovely to revisit one of my favourite scripts and flesh out the lurid residents of Sweetville in all their crimson finery.
BBC Books will publish all seven Targets on 23rd July 2020, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry




A Candy ChristmasBookmark and Share

Sunday, 1 December 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books (Credit: Candy Jar Books)This Christmas, Candy Jar Books are offering readers in the UK a chance to win a surprise bundle of books from their collection, to arrive specially wrapped for the festive day itself!

To be in with a chance to win the bundle, simply answer this question:

How many episodes of Doctor Who have been broadcast on Christmas Day?

Please send your answer along with your name, address and where you heard about the competition (news site, news app, other website, etc.) to comp-candyjar@doctorwhonews.net with the subject "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Christmas". Open to readers within the United Kingdom only. Only one entry per household will be accepted. Closing date: Monday 16 December 2019.




The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas CrackersBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced a festive collection of tales for The Lucy Wilson Mysteries:

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas Crackers (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas Crackers
Written by Cherry Cobb, Tim Gambrell, Terry Cooper, Keren Williams, Chris Lynch
Cover by Steve Beckett

Ogmore-by-Sea seems to have gone back to its old sleepy way. But adventure never stops for Lucy Wilson and her best friend Hobo, not even at Christmas...

In the run up to the holiday season, Lucy and Hobo help out at the school Christmas Fayre. But what’s inside the Christmas crackers? Why are people going missing? How does everyone seem to be so unlucky? And who is the mysterious Crone?

A collection of five short stories set between Christmas, the New Year and beyond... this book is Christmas Crackers!

Head of publishing at Candy Jar, Shaun Russell, says:

We’ve had such good feedback for the series of books. Reviews have been encouraging and fans seem to have embraced the series completely. As a small thank you for all of the support received, we wanted to release something completely unexpected in time for our readers to enjoy over the Christmas period.

The short story collection entitled contains five stories by a range of different authors.
  • The Mobile Army, written by popular children’s author Cherry Cobb
    I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write a Lucy Wilson story, having read the books I fell in love with Lucy as a strong independent character who isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs. I hope my daughter grows up to have the same outlook on life.
  • The Christmas Cracker Conundrum, written by Tim Gambrell (originally given away for free in 2018)
    It feels very fitting, to me, for The Christmas Cracker Conundrum to make its way into print, now, for a whole new set of readers. Lucy Wilson, Hobo and I have been on something of a wild journey over the last twelve months. It started with Shaun asking me to contribute a Lucy Wilson short story to Candy Jar's 2018 advent calendar, then it ran through my two 2019 novels, and the journey now comes full circle, back to The Christmas Cracker Conundrum!

    I love the characters, their energy, their individuality and the world they inhabit. And Lucy doesn't just speak to kids her own age, either. In the best tradition of children's literature, there's always something in her stories for everyone. Shaun gave me pretty much free reign with my short story, only specifying that it had to involve Christmas crackers, somehow. That's more than enough to get the imagination flowing. We all know where the mystery is with a Christmas cracker, until it's pulled. And if my story makes the readers pause momentarily before they pull their crackers over Christmas dinner, then I'll consider my job well done!
  • Crimes of Fashion, written by Terry Cooper
    I read some of the previous books and couldn't wait to jump into Lucy’s adventures. The story takes inspiration from my teenage years as a rapper and break dancer, when the fashions were highly sought after and everyone was looking for the latest trends in shell suits and trainers. Added to the familiar sci-fi genre, it was great fun to write!
  • Imposters, written by Keren Williams (Candy Jar’s publishing co-ordinator)
    I joined the Candy Jar team just after the very first book in the Lucy Wilson series, Avatars of the Intelligence, was published. Since then, I have had the greatest pleasure of working through the entire range. Being given the opportunity to become a writer in the series has really made my year, but I just hope I’ve written something that everyone can enjoy.
  • Past, Present and Yet to Come, written by Chris Lynch
    I also wrote my story for the Candy Jar Christmas advent calendar last year. This story is a light reworking of A Christmas Carol and explores the future possibilities of the Lucy and Hobo characters.

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: Christmas Crackers is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, and will be released just in time for Christmas.




The HAVOC Files: Loose EndsBookmark and Share

Monday, 25 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Previously delayed from earlier in the year, Candy Jar Books have announced its next short story collection is now being printed:

The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends
Written By Andy Frankham-Allen, Tim Gambrell, Sharon Bidwell and John Peel
Cover by Adrian Salmon

Events in life are rarely tied up in a neat little bow. There are always loose ends. And for Anne Bishop, nee Travers, nearing the end of her life, this is painfully true.

She receives a visit from a friend she thought lost to her and shares stories about loose ends that were tied up at the last minute.

These include a return to Glencross and dealing with fallout of the events of ‘A Very Private Haunting’, the arrival on Earth of the Star Maidens of Drahb who are in search of the Dominators, an unexpected reunion between the Brigadier and a friend he thought dead for nineteen years, a visit home for Owain Vine and the discovery of a family secret that will change his life forever, and an awkward visit for Lance Corporal Evans to the mother of his dead sister.

At the end of all these tales Anne discovers that one more mission awaits her, when she learns the true story of Rhys Rubery...


This collection also features an exclusive sample of the forthcoming novel 'Downtime 2'.

This collection was originally due early in the year but had been delayed by real life events. It was originally intended to be a collection with only one author, Andy Frankham-Allen, but to ensure it got finished before the end of the year Andy called on the help of a few authors. Andy explained:

As ever, real life drama intrudes on the creative process and when it became clear that I wouldn’t have the time to finish the collection, I decided to give two of my story ideas to two other authors, as well as use Sharon (Bidwell)’s short story sequel to A Very Private Haunting, as it fit the theme of the book. And that theme is, as the title suggests, tying up loose ends left over throughout the original run of the Lethbridge-Stewart range.

The collections features three stories written by Andy; Hide No More (which sees the Brigadier reunited with an old friend) and O Brother, Where Art Thou (Owain returns home to discover a family secret that changes everything), and the two-part The Stories We Tell (in which Anne is visited by an old friend and discovers she has one final mission to undertake), which bookends the collection. The Arrival, which brings the Star Maidens of Drahb to Earth, is written by Tim Gambrell, and Tall Tales, written by John Peel, brings back Evans who has some bad news to share. The collection is topped off by Remnant of a Haunting by Sharon Bidwell, which sees Anne returning to the Glencross, the scene of the novel A Very Private Haunting.

Keren Williams, Publishing Co-ordinator, said:

It’s a great little collection, with a nice mix of sci-fi, ghost stories, and some solid real-world drama. The Stories We Tell is a particularly touching tale, bringing as it does a parallel between the fictional life of Anne Travers and the real life of a Doctor Who fan who died in 2016 at the young age of only sixteen.

The cover features brand new art by Adrian Salmon. Andy explained:

It was important to me that this book was dedicated to the family of Rhys Rubery, my young friend who died three years ago, and so Adrian did a wonderful little portrait of Rhys for the cover.

The book can be ordered from the Candy Jar website.




Kklak: The Doctor Who Art of Chris AchilléosBookmark and Share

Sunday, 24 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have announced a new book to feature the classic Doctor Who artwork of Chris Achilléos:

Kklak: The Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos (Credit: Candy Jar Books)In his five decades as an illustrator, painter and conceptual artist, Chris Achilléos has four best-selling books of his art, Beauty and the Beast, Syrens, Medusa and Amazona. He worked with the likes of George Lucas, as well as producing the iconic promotional art for the cult film Heavy Metal. But it is probably his work for Doctor Who that is the most enduringly popular.

His covers for the official Target novelisations, which began in the early ‘70s, defined a generation’s image of the Doctor and his adventures – particularly after the show disappeared from British screens in the late ‘80s.

Lavishly detailed, with psychedelic overtones and an unapologetically pulpy sensibility, these covers perfectly captured the eccentric appeal of the classic series. To this day, Doctor Who luminaries tip their hat to the influence of Achilléos’ work. The opening of a 2016 exhibition of Target’s cover artwork at the Cartoon Museum, London, attracted the series’ then-showrunner Steven Moffat, as well as twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi.

With the Doctor long back on our screens, and more popular than ever, it is perhaps surprising that Achilléos’ Whovian oeuvre (or Whoeuvre, if you will) has never been collected in one place.

Kklak: The Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos, an upcoming title from award-winning independent publisher Candy Jar Books, aims to address this. For the first time, it collects the entirety of Achilléos’ Doctor Who artwork in chronological order, along with commentary from Achilléos himself (as well as some fans) – presenting the definitive guide to his seminal work. The book also includes a small contribution from twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi and a foreword from Achilléos’ long-time friend and collaborator, the late Terrance Dicks.

Achilléos explains his motivations for compiling the book:

I go to a lot of conventions, and the enduring affection of the fans for those Target novelisations is such a compliment. As an artist you’re always wary of being pigeonholed – you want all your work to receive the same amount of attention! But Doctor Who is such a phenomenon, and the commitment of the fans so pure, you have to be grateful. I hope they enjoy this special book.

As the home of the Lethbridge-Stewart series, one of only a handful of fully licensed Doctor Who ranges outside of the BBC, Candy Jar was the natural home for Achilléos’ new title. As Candy Jar’s head of publishing, Shaun Russell, explains:

The Target novels were a huge part of our childhood. And when it came to our own range of Doctor Who books, they were an inspiration. You could always tell that they were produced by people who cared. There was an attention to detail, and a level of quality, which quite frankly, went above and beyond what was necessary. Doctor Who will sell regardless, but as a series it means so much to people – and to us here at Candy Jar – that you want to do repay that. And from the first moment you picked up a Target title, with one Chris Achilléos’ brilliant designs on the cover, you knew that you were in for something wonderful. His work manages to capture everything that makes Doctor Who special, and stand alone as works of art in their own right. When Chris first spoke with us, I jumped at the chance to work with him.

Featuring every one of Achilléos’ Doctor Who designs, as well as never before seen material giving insight into his creative process, Kklak: the Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos is released in April 2020 by Candy Jar Books.

The book will be available as paperback and deluxe hardback edition, and can be pre-ordered from Candy Jar Books.




The World Cup of Terrance DicksBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Terrance DicksBBC Books to launch The World Cup of Terrance Dicks social Media tournament on Monday 18 November 2019

BBC Books is to publish a hardback collection of Target novelisations by the late Terrance Dicks next year – and they want Doctor Who fans to help with the selection.

The commemorative single-volume Collected Works of the late Terrance Dicks 2ill be published in 2020. The lavish hardback will include some of the Doctor Who writer's most popular titles from the Target range, a list to which he contributed over 60 books.

So how do you choose the best? How does The Abominable Snowmen rate against Genesis of the Daleks? How do you leave out The Planet of the Spiders to make room for The Auton Invasion? What about The Three Doctors? With so many to choose from, BBC Books is seeking some expert advice from the fans.

On Monday 18 November BBC Books will be offering Doctor Who fans the chance to vote on social media for their favourite works by Terrance Dicks, to be included in the collection.

The World Cup of Terrance Dicks will take place over five days on the Doctor Who BBC Books Twitter account(@DWBBCBooks), where 64 of Terrance’s Doctor Who novelisations will be sorted into 16 groups of 4, and each day fan votes will get us closer to a final winner.

The book will then be based around the 10 novels that make to the top of the tournament. Fans can keep track of the tournament through the hashtag #TerranceDicksWorldCup




Doctor Who: At Childhood’s EndBookmark and Share

Friday, 1 November 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who: At Childhood's End (Credit: Penguin Random House UK)Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End, the first novel from Sophie Aldred who played the Seventh Doctor’s companion Ace, is to be published 6th February 2020.

Once, a girl called Ace travelled the universe with the Doctor – until, in the wake of a terrible tragedy they parted company. Decades later, she is known as Dorothy McShane, the reclusive millionaire philanthropist who heads global organisation A Charitable Earth.

Dorothy is haunted by terrible nightmares, vivid dreams that begin just as scores of young runaways are vanishing from the dark alleyways of London. Could the disappearances be linked to sightings of sinister creatures lurking in the city shadows? Why has an alien satellite entered a secret orbit around the Moon?

Investigating the satellite with Ryan, Graham and Yaz, the Doctor is thrown together with Ace once more. Together they must unravel a malevolent plot that will cost thousands of lives. But can the Doctor atone for her past incarnation’s behaviour – and how much must Ace sacrifice to win victory not only for herself, but for the Earth? Past or future, which path do you choose?

Sophie Aldred said
I was thrilled and honoured to have been asked to create this opportunity for the Thirteenth Doctor and Ace to meet each other. I had always hoped to be able to offer classic fans an encounter between Ace and a current Doctor in some form or other and I hope fans of the present team will enjoy the blending of two eras of the most amazing programme in the Universe.
Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred is published by BBC Books on 6th February 2020. RRP £16.99.

It will also be available as an audiobook in CD and digital download narrated by Sophie Aldred.




Lethbridge-Stewart: The ShadowmanBookmark and Share

Sunday, 20 October 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced the second novel in its seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, to be released in late October:

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Shadowman (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: The Shadowman
Written by Sharon Bidwell
Artwork by Paul Cowan


A new reality has been created by the temporal disruption ripping through the causal nexus. Welcome to 1978… with a difference.

Anne Travers, co-founder of UNIT, and her husband, Bill, are celebrating their wedding anniversary in France, which is the perfect opportunity for Anne to catch-up with an old friend; Madeleine Bonnaire.

At the institute owned by Madeleine’s father, one professor is more interested in his own project than any work for which Bonnaire has hired him. His need for secrecy and his attitude irritates his assistant, Paul Larousse, who would prefer to dwell on his feelings for Madeleine. Meanwhile, Victor Bonnaire is not at all happy to hear of Anne’s visit, not least of all because he’s always viewed Anne as a bad influence on his daughter.

What seems like a simple case of familial friction takes a bleak turn when a local unknown threat makes the news. Suspicion abounds and throws Anne and Bill into an unexpected mystery. What is the strange threat, and does it present a direct danger to anybody at the institute? Or to those who ask too many questions? Unable to walk away from her friend, Anne has no option but to investigate, little knowing she’s about to face the darkest shadow of her life so far.

The Shadowman is set in an alternative 1978, and serves as a sequel to author Sharon Bidwell’s previous novel, A Very Private Haunting. It picks up a thread left over from that novel, set in a world where Lethbridge-Stewart never took part in the London Event, and was never involved in the creation of UNIT. Instead it’s a world where Anne Travers became a founding member of that august taskforce. It also features a new version of her husband, Bill Bishop, as they head to France to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Sharon said:
Some stories feel unfinished. When I wrote A Very Private Haunting, I left a few threads I was unsure I would ever pick up again. I already had the title of the book long figured out together with my basic idea when asked to write another novel in the range. My book, to once again feature Anne Travers, couldn't have come together more perfectly, though with consequences I never imagined at the beginning. The Shadowman features a returning character from A Very Private Haunting, which allowed me to play with someone who comes across as a thoroughly nasty character, though I see a greater depth to him. I'm a multi-genre writer, though I tend to gravitate back to what I call dark fiction, and there's definitely darkness in The Shadowman. I'm finishing some lighter projects at present intending to work on my first horror novel in the new year after completing some preliminary notes and research, so going through The Shadowman again recently has been very useful in that regard.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
I take Sharon wherever I go. She’s worked with me on many projects now, so it was inevitable when I heard that Big Finish were looking for more female authors, that I would put her name forward. I’ve read her story, had some input, and it’s going to be a lot of fun for fans of Jo Grant and the Eleventh Doctor. In terms of The Shadowman, Sharon sent it to me some time ago, at which point it wasn’t part of any particular novel sequence, but rather a continuation of the ongoing narrative began in 2015. But once the Bloodlines concept was developed, it seemed to me that Sharon’s story was a perfect fit, with a few continuity tweaks here and there to place it in an alternative reality in which the events of A Very Private Haunting still happened – more or less as featured in that novel.
The cover is by a new artist to the Lethbridge-Stewart range, Paul Cowan; Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:
I’ve known Paul for thirty years. He’s a great artist with a flair for almost any style. He is particularly well-known for his beautifully illustrated trading cards and TV tie-in comic strips. When the opportunity for him to do a cover came up, I could think of no one better to tackle the Shadowman.
Paul said:
Joining the team at Candy Jar is quite literally a dream come true. I get to illustrate stories featuring much-loved characters from my childhood. I have the honour of seeing my work adorn the covers of some quite wonderful stories by a very talented team of writers, many of whose works line the bookshelves in my studio. I get to join a list of hugely talented artists I admire and who have been major influences on my life and work. But best of all, I get to finally work with my friend, something that's been long overdue.

With the cover to The Shadowman, I wanted to evoke the feeling of 1970s Doctor Who. I knew I wanted to homage the Pertwee years, so the illustration of Anne Travers was very much based on the character of Section Leader Shaw from Inferno, whilst the background should be instantly recognisable to any true Doctor Who fan. The Shadowman himself is actually straight out of one of my own nightmares and when Shaun described the character to me, I knew immediately how he should appear. I used pen and ink with a base wash of alcohol marker, embellished with coloured polychromous pencils and white ink for highlights. I then added lighting effects in Paint Shop Pro, which is my go-to software of choice. It's a relatively new style for me and something I'm still trying to perfect.

The Shadowman is due out at the end of October 2019, and can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the Bloodlines bundle; it is also covered by subscription.


Paul, who has MS, is raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. If you visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/artrelief and donate £5 your name will go into a hat and the winner, chosen at random, will get a hand-drawn A4 portrait of your chosen subject. This can be a friend, relative, child, pet, favourite animal or celebrity. If you donate £15 (or equivalent) or more, then Paul will draw you an A4 portrait of your choice.




Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires BurnBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announce more details about the first novel in its seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, Bloodlines:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn
Written by Gareth Madgwick
Cover by Richard Young


1943. Britain's Home Front is feeling the pain of war.

The Fourth Operational Corps has other things to worry about. A downed plane in the High Peak leads Professor Travers to a village full of buried secrets and a family that are far more than they seem.

Her first assignment sees new recruit Eileen Le Croissette infiltrating a Sheffield Steelworks. Buried within is a weapon that could change the course of the war, but what does the secretive Mr Huxtable have to do with it?

Avoiding his domineering father, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart is also on the case. But he wasn't banking on meeting a group of homicidal little robots…

The pieces are being set for another conflict, one that started a long way away, to erupt in the middle of wartime Britain.

Home Fires Burn sees the return of Section Officer Eileen Le Croissette, based on real-life war hero Eileen Younghusband, on her first mission for the Home-Army Fourth Operational Corps, once again alongside Professor Edward Travers. It also features the return of the Brigadier’s uncle, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart and the Quarks (last seen in the Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Mutually Assured Domination!)

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
As with The Laughing Gnome sequence of novels, I came up with an arc in which to tell some non-chronological stories. Shaun and I wanted to highlight some of popular secondary characters, so I looked at which characters would make for a good mix. And, to add to the mix, which monsters had not used independently before. In this instance, the Quarks (baring some comics in the 1960s) always tend to appear alongside their masters the Dominators, so I thought it would be interesting to utilise them without the Dominators. And bearing in mind this first book is set in 1943, that presented the author with another challenge. How to use them without the Dominators, and in a time period long before they ever came to Earth. One other element I wanted to include, just so we had at least one Lethbridge-Stewart in the book, was to bring back the Brig’s uncle, Matthew, a character Gareth handled so well in his previous short story. I’m happy to say Gareth produced a great story that brings all these elements together, as well as honours the great men and women who served our nation during World War II.
This is the first novel by Gareth Madgwick, who had previously written two short stories for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, The Great Magician and Spirits of the Vasty Deep in The HAVOC Files 4 collection, and Inheritance in the Lineage anthology. He said:
I was thrilled when Andy asked me to write my first full length novel, and even more excited when I found out that I would be writing for Edward Travers, Eileen Le Croissette and the Fourth Operational Corps during the war. After all, an eccentric scientist, a confident young woman and a not completely trustworthy military are what the big old Doctor Who universe is all about if, like me, you started with the Pertwee repeats in the ‘90s. The story really began to come together best after Andy asked me to avoid anything that wasn't really known in contemporary literature and science of 1943. That led me down the path of some of the wonderful genre fiction that predated the 1950s, when we think science fiction started. A lot of that has influenced the book in its feel. It's been a blast writing it. Although a massive step up from the two short stories that I'd written for Candy Jar previously, it was a natural progression. I felt that I was combining the character work of Inheritance with the historical research that I did for The Great Magician (although I have to say, Sheffield's libraries have rather a better selection of Second World War material than information on Owain Glyndwr for some reason).
The cover is by returning artist Richard Young, whose previous cover art includes The Flaming Soldier, A Very Private Haunting, and Scary Monsters. Richard said:
I’ve wanted to tackle the Quarks for a long time and knowing that the book is set in Sheffield during the Second World War, I felt that they should have an authentic wartime look. Added to this, I wanted to feature a different picture of Eileen. After a bit of research, Shaun found a wonderful photograph. I just hope people like what I have done.
Gareth adds:
The beautiful cover has really captured the feel of the book.

Home Fires Burn is released to tie-in with the 80th Anniversary of World War II. Shaun Russell, Head of Publishing at Candy Jar Books, explains a little of Eileen’s role in the war:
With eightieth anniversary of the start of the war, we felt that we really wanted to acknowledge the contribution the greatest generation made to all our lives. In 1941 Eileen signed the official secrets act, and wasn’t able to talk about her work in the top secret Filter Room. In 2017 she was featured in The Flaming Soldier and we’ve had so many requests to bring her back. So, here she is launching the new series of books, and this time round her contribution to this story will have major affect on Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s life.
Gareth said:
The Second World War is an era that has always fascinated me, including the bravery and steadfastness of those like Eileen Le Croissette (later Candy Jar author Eileen Younghusband). Setting it in the beautiful Peak District and also the nearby Sheffield steelworks gave me an opportunity to look into areas of the war effort that aren't always explored elsewhere, and the sacrifices made.

Home Fires Burn can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the Bloodlines bundle from the Candy Jar website. It is also part of the series seven subscription.




Terrance Dicks - A Tribute (Candy Jar Books)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 15 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have released a special tribute to Terrance Dicks as a free-to-download PDF.

Terrance Dicks - A Tribute (Credit: candy Jar Books)Last week the world of Doctor Who lost Terrance Dicks. To celebrate the life and career of ‘Uncle Terrance’ Candy Jar has released a free PDF, Terrance Dicks – A Tribute.

Terrance Dicks wrote thirty-five episodes of Doctor Who, including classics such as Horror of Fang Rock and The Five Doctors; he was script editor of the show for six years, overseeing the transition from Patrick Troughton and the entirety of the Jon Pertwee era; he wrote over sixty novelisations of Doctor Who stories; and all this is before even touching on his multiple stage, audio, and non-fiction productions, or his innumerable scripts and children’s books outside of the Who universe.

Wherever stories of the Doctor were being told, Terrance Dicks’ name was sure to be found, whether in the Target Books of the ’70s and ’80s, or the Virgin New Adventures and Big Finish productions throughout the ’90s and 2000s. Through the fallow years before Doctor Who’s return to screens, the fandom was kept alive in no small part to Terrance Dicks’ prodigious output.

He was an ever-present at conventions and on documentaries, a warm, witty and humble custodian of the show he had been so pivotal in developing. In the words of James Middleditch in Candy Jar’s free PDF: “The wisdom and twinkling joy with which he spoke about Doctor Who would… become fundamental to the experience of the series in the 1990s.”

Terrance Dicks – A Tribute is a collection of memories from the authors and artists who were inspired by Terrance’s work. This range of writers and artists – with Nick Walters, Chris Achilleos, Gary Russell, John Levene, John Peel and many more – is a testament to the depth of Terrance’s influence.

In Nick Walters’ own words:
I know for absolute certain that I am not the only writer who will say that Terrance Dicks was a major, if not the major, inspiration for their career. His books, with their clarity of prose, vivid descriptions, and economic yet evocative renditions of televised Doctor Who stories, were our bread and butter.

And it’s not just writers who hold him dear. Shaun Russell, Candy Jar’s head of publishing, was motivated to compile this collection by his own debt to Terrance’s work:
Like a lot of our readers, I grew up on Target’s Doctor Who books. And when we first acquired the rights to Lethbridge-Stewart, it was their example that we aspired to. With those titles – and none more so than in Terrance’s books – you could tell that the storytelling came from a place of deep understanding and genuine love for Doctor Who and its universe.

There’s a great piece in the collection, by George Ivanoff, which talks about Terrance’s wonderful way with opening lines – how he could suck you into a story with just a few words. That’s the standard for us always: that deep knowledge, that genuine affection, but most of all that flair that came pouring off of every page of Terrance’s work. I very much doubt I’d be doing what I am today if it wasn’t for his influence. It was only right that we add Terrance Dicks – A Tribute to the many accolades he will no doubt be receiving over the coming weeks.

The free PDF also includes artwork by Adrian Salmon, Terry Cooper and Paul Cowan.

Terrance Dicks – A Tribute is available free from the Candy Jar website.





Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National Service updateBookmark and Share

Sunday, 8 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National Service (John Peel) (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books have announced a change of author for the coda of their The Laughing Gnome series of books.

On His Majesty’s National Service was originally scheduled to be written by David A McIntee and Lynette Nusbacher for a June release. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, David McIntee was unable to continue.

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:
I have always been a big fan of David’s outstanding Doctor Who work, and I truly regret having to engage a new author. It is unfortunate that, in David’s own words, he was ‘over committed’, but we’re lucky to have found such a wonderful replacement in John Peel.

The new version of On His Majesty’s National Service will be set during the same period of Lethbridge-Stewart’s life, but will be telling a different story.

Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explained:
John promptly came up with some ideas and a basic outline that fit the shopping list of elements I gave to him – certain story beats needed to be hit, to fit continuity from other books. I did give David the option of allowing John to use elements from his story, should they fit, which David was quite happy to do. However, beyond a few background details, John has opted to go his own way. It’s going to be an exciting adventure story set during the Korean War, in which we see the events that turned Lethbridge-Stewart into the hero we all know and love.

The book is currently available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website.
There was always one question that bugged Bill Bishop, what turned Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart from a man interested in teaching to a career military hero? Using the power of the Laughing Gnome, Bill travels back to the 1950s to find out...

As a young man Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart never wanted to follow in his illustrious family military history, he just wanted to be a maths teacher. But then the Korean War broke out and he was called up for National Service. He soon met Spencer Pemberton – and his life was changed forever!