Introducing Anji Kapoor: BBC Books editor Justin Richards has given fans a taste of new companion Anji Kapoor, who makes her official debut in the February 2001 Eighth Doctor novel "Escape Velocity" by author Colin Brake. Anji is a trainee stockbroker in the London's City financial district and will join the Eighth Doctor for further adventures in space and time. "Anyone suddenly throw off into space is going to be out of their depth," says Richards. "The new companion, Anji, who we've got coming in, is someone very professional, very good at the job she does - she's 27, 28 and something in the City and absolutely the tops at what she does - and yet suddenly she's in a situation where none of these skills matter, and it's all completely over here head. She's out of her depth not through any fault or lack of intelligence of her own - it's something she's completely untrained in, and environment she's no idea how to influence. Very much how we'd really be if that happened to us - if you woke up one morning and found yourself on an alien planet, God knows what you'd do. You wouldn't have a clue. I'd probably go to pieces. ... The brief I gave Colin Brake -- who's writing Anji's introductory story 'Escape Velocity' -- was pretty much what I've just told you. She's got skills that aren't directly related to what she'd going to be doing - if she was in the SAS or something, it'd be obvious how that would relate to the sort of adventures she'd going to be having. But if she's got a head for numbers, or can predict how economies are going to rise and fall, then that's more interesting to play with in a different sort of way. So that's what I gave Colin. He came up with the background for her -- an Asian Englishwoman -- and also a wacky brother, who's into UFOs and stuff, which she really has no time for at all. ... Since we announced she'd be coming in, a couple of people have asked if she'd based on Milly in 'This Life'. I've never watched 'This Life' - well not more than 10 minutes at a time. I asked Colin and he said 'I've never seen it. I haven't got a clue!'. However you build them, companions have to be an archetype to some degree - so it wouldn't be a surprise if there was some contemporary resonance..."
The Monthly Telepress: Jac Rayner of BBC Books has created The Monthly Telepress, a new email newsletter designed to keep readers updated with developments in the world of Doctor Who fiction. To subscribe, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New BBC Submissions Guidelines Online: BBC Books has shared with Outpost Gallifrey the latest version of the submission guidelines for prospective Doctor Who fiction. Check it out by clicking here. (Thanks to Jac Rayner.)
BBC Book Release Notes (Fiction):
- The demise of Lawrence Miles ("Interference") in the BBC Books line may have been premature... as it now appears Miles is currently pitching a new novel for 2001.
- Author David McIntee will indeed return in August 2001 with "Bullet Time", a Seventh Doctor story that takes place prior to the TV movie, and features the character Sarah Jane Smith (actually, says McIntee, the book is more a Sarah novel with the Doctor rather than the reverse).
- Martin Day pens the February 2001 Past Doctor adventure "Bunker Soldiers". It's a First Doctor, Steven & Dodo pseudo-historical adventure. Day has confirmed that the book has been moved to the February slot, replacing "Psience Fiction" which was delayed until later in the year.
- Kate Orman returns to the Doctor Who fold with June 2001's The Year of Intelligent Tigers, an Eighth Doctor book. Meanwhile, Trevor Baxendale, as previously reported, pens Eater of Wasps, an Eighth Doctor book set for May 2001.
- Former BBC Books editor Stephen Cole returns in April 2001 with Vanishing Point, an Eighth Doctor book with Fitz and Anji.
- According to Doctor Who Magazine, one of the Past Doctor books in the first half of 2001 (probably June) will feature the Daleks. The title and author are as yet unknown.
- BBC assistant editor Jacqueline Rayner recently confirmed that there would be no fourth "Short Trips" volume for 2001 from BBC Books.
- Novelist Nick Walters will write his third Doctor Who novel for BBC Books, Superior Beings (formerly "The Gardens of Rocosia"), a Fifth Doctor & Peri novel tentative for summer 2001. The book "introduces a new race of aliens, the vulpine Valethske, and is set on the "garden planet" of Verde Alturas" according to Walters, who told Outpost Gallifrey: "The novel features some human characters - the story has changed a great deal from the initial synopsis. The main stars are, however, the Valethske - a race of vulpine, bipedal aliens on a quest to track down an ancient enemy of legend."
- Editorial assistant Jacqueline Rayner's first Who novel is on the schedule: EarthWorld, an Eighth Doctor book with Fitz and Anji, scheduled for March 2001. "Earthworld" marks a return to adventures in time and space, following the earthbound arc of stories ending with Escape Velocity. It is set on an alien planet which is the site of a huge theme park celebrating Earth history, staffed and peopled by androids. In addition to lots of 'evil teenage girls', it also features a cameo appearance by a monstrous adversary of the Doctor in the 1960s.
- "Rags" is a new Third Doctor/Jo Grant/UNIT novel by Mick Lewis, the author of the horror novel "The Bloody Man"; this is his first Doctor Who commission. "Rags" will be released in April 2001.
- Gary Russell returns in May 2001 for "Instruments of Darkness", the 'third and final' part of the loose 'trilogy' of his books from the Sixth Doctor era (including "The Scales of Injustice" and "Business Unusual"), featuring Melanie and a special guest appearance by Evelyn Smythe, the new companion character created for the Big Finish Doctor Who audio line.
- Craig Hinton pens his first BBC Doctor Who novel, "The Quantum Archangel" in early 2001. The book is a sequel to the TV episode "The Time Monster" and features the Master and the Chronovores and is set for release in January 2001.
- Terrance Dicks pens the November 2000 Eighth Doctor book, entitled "Endgame".
- Colin Brake's novel "Escape Velocity," slated for February 2001, introduces new companion Anji Kapoor and features an invasion of Earth.
- Author Andy Lane makes his long-awaited return to the Doctor Who fold, co-authoring "The Banquo Legacy," the June 2000 Eighth Doctor book. Richards told Outpost Gallifrey that the book is "set on Earth, but not part of the so-called Earth arc thingy".
- Newcomer Steve Emmerson pens "Casualties of War," set in England shortly after World War I, while Paul Leonard also returns with"The Turing Test," set shortly after the second war with guest appearances by Alan Turing and Joseph Heller.
- Chris Boucher is penning a third novel for the range, "Psience Fiction," featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela (who else?). Previously confirmed for early 2001, it is now confirmed that the book has been delayed until September 2001.
- Lance Parkin returns to the Doctor Who fold with "Father Time", the January 2001 Eighth Doctor novel. "Earth in the nineteen-eighties is a battleground. Rival alien factions have travelled from the far future to pursue their vendetta. As UFOs fill the skies, a giant robot stalks the Derbyshire hills, and alien hunters search for the mysterious Last One, the Doctor is the only man who can protect the innocents caught in the crossfire. But old scores are being settled, the fate of a Galactic Empire is at stake, and, against his will, the Doctor is drawn into a decade-long war that will strike at those he holds most dear. The Doctor has lost his memory, his friends, his past and his TARDIS. All he has now is the love of his daughter. But will even that be taken from him?"
- Peter Darvill-Evans, former publisher and editor of Virgin Publishing's "Doctor Who: The New Adventures" and "The New Adventures of Benny Summerfield" series, is penning Independence Day. This past Doctor novel features the Seventh Doctor and Ace, and is due in November 2000.
- Keith Topping (co-author of "Devil Goblins of Neptune" and "The Hollow Men" for BBC books) has been commissioned for his first solo novel, a Fifth Doctor/Tegan/ Turlough/UNIT adventure called "The King of Terror," set in Los Angeles and due out in November 2000.