As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 3 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 14 May 2012

Lethbridge-Stewart: the end beginsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 16 April 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books has announced the first book in its final series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels.

The final year of Lethbridge-Stewart novels is split in two halves, with the first a trilogy of novels set during Lethbridge-Stewart’s time as a teacher at Brendon School. This first of these, A Most Haunted Man, sees the return of Sarah Groenewegen to the series, with her first novel since 2017’s The Daughters of Earth, although her most recent short story featured in the UNIT: Operation Wildcat collection.

 

Lethbridge-Stewart: A Most Haunted Man (Credit: Candy Jar Books)A Most Haunted Man

Written by Sarah Groenewegen

Cover by Martin Baines

 

 

In 1977, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart suffered a shock so great that he was hospitalised. Not that he can remember what happened. Teachers found him, knocked out cold beside the obelisk on the hill. No signs of an attack. No bumps on his head, and no memory of why he lay where he fell, who he’d been with, and great chunks of his past torn from his mind.

 

It wasn’t like any form of amnesia described in the textbooks. The clinic discharged him back to Brendon Public School and he resumed his duties as a teacher of mathematics and rugger.

 

Two years later and a series of nightmares send him back to the clinic. Then come the pranks played by identical twins, his own erratic behaviour and short-term memory loss leading to a breach of the Official Secrets Act. Someone else is living in his house, driving his car, and making changes to the school he loves.

 

It seems that the demons haunting him prove too big for him to fight on his own.

 

 

The 2022 series was put back a little when it was discovered the book planned to open the year was a little too close to the events at play in Ukraine. Thus, Spheres of Influence has been put on indefinite hold. Hopefully it will see the light of day at some point but, for now, and to make up for the delay, Candy Jar Books have also decided to reprint the very first Lethbridge-Stewart novel, The Forgotten Son: Special Edition, with a brandnew cover by Richard Young.

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:

When it became apparent that the themes and events depicted in Spheres of Influence too closely echoed current events, Andy Frankham-Allen and I quickly came to the decision that to release it at this time would be, at the very least, insensitive. Putting it on hold did mean bringing forward the rest of 2022’s books, and finding a replacement. Fortunately, Andy quickly solved that problem by commissioning a third Brendon novel, turning the first three titles into a loose trilogy. For myself, I decided it would be a nice idea to reprint The Forgotten Son with a new cover, to hopefully make up a little for the delay. I must stress, however, that the content remains the same from the previous revised version.

 

A Most Haunted Man is set two years after the Brigadier’s traumatic encounter with his future self in the Doctor Who television serial, Mawdryn Undead. Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:

This is another of those books which started an idea that came up through discussions with Shaun – a good two years ago, at least. It was a while before I realised it was the perfect fit for Sarah. I’d been wanting to do another novel with her, and she came back for a short story in The Laughing Gnome: The HAVOC Files, so it was great when she agreed to do another novel for us. The only real prerequisite, other than the core idea, was that it had to be set during the Brig’s time at Brendon when he’d lost all memory of the Doctor.

Sarah Groenewegen said:

I adore writing for the Brigadier, and being able to explore different facets of this much-loved character has been great fun. When I was offered another novel in the series, this one set in 1979 and during the Brig’s post-army career as a school teacher, I immediately said yes. It’s an honour to be asked to contribute a novel to the final season of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, which has proved to be a terrific series of stories.

Sarah’s previous novel, The Daughters of Earth, delt with the breakdown of his relationship with his then-fiancée. In this book, Sarah’s dealing with a breakdown of a different sort::

I wanted to explore how he deals with strange goings-on when he has forgotten so much, and when he doesn’t have his soldiers to call on to help. My brief was to write a psychological thriller, in which the Brig’s identity and life is stolen from him. The novel allowed me to explore the nature of identity theft, and memory loss, and the combined uneasiness of not being able to trust your own mind. I added a set of identical twins to the mix, a boy at Brendon, and a girl at a local comprehensive. They are at the cusp of their own change from creepy kids who enjoy playing tricks on people, to young adults facing choices.

Setting the book in 1979 also freed Sarah up from the ongoing narrative, and gave her a chance to explore a different facet from the usual setting of the early-70s:

The setting was apposite because of the feeling of being on a cusp of change, but without knowing its direction. In that, it parallels much of today’s politics. I found it cathartic to explore similar themes of being seduced by the apparent certainty of authoritarianism — even with the attendant feeling it could turn on its own to destroy at a moment’s notice. 1979 proved to be a watershed year in Britain. The full assault on the unions, LGBTQIA people, and appeals to jingoism of the worst kind were all yet to come; and for a while the political turmoil that brought much of the UK to a standstill ceased. It’s hard to think that in this day and age of TV-on-demand, the stations that are now ITV were off air for much of the year. 1979 was an amazing year for British pop music. Punk began to segue into the New Romantic movement, and rap, reggae and disco attracted huge numbers of fans. It was fun delving into the music of the time through a few of the kids who are important during the story.

 

The cover is by popular artist Martin Baines, returning from the success of his recent cover for UNIT: Operation Wildcat:

I was partially inspired by a German poster of a classic British film. My last Candy Jar cover I did was for the UNIT anthology, Operation Wildcat. It was very flash, bang, wallop. Because of this, I enjoyed tackling a more psychological concept for this book.”

 

Both A Most Haunted Man and The Forgotten Son are available to purchase from the Candy Jar website.

 

The final series of Lethbridge-Stewart will be split in two parts over 2022, the first half is the Brendon trilogy and will continue with Legacy of the Dominator by Nick Walters, and The Overseers II by James Middleditch. The second half will be the final in the road to UNIT narrative which began in 2015, with novels by Natasha Gerson, John Peel, and Jonathan Blum.





FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

World Book Day: Kindle books from Candy JarBookmark and Share

Friday, 4 March 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books (Credit: Candy Jar Books)

Candy Jar Books have announced a number of book titles available to download for free on Kindle as part of World Book Day 2022, which took place on 3 March 2022; the offer features a number of their chilldrens' books, including from The Lucy Wilson Mysteries, and from today also includes some titles from the Lethbridge-Stewart series. 

The full list of titles includes:

The giveaway continues over the next four days.





FILTER: - Books - E-Books - Candy Jar Books

UNIT: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories updateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 1 March 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories (Credit: Candy Jar Books)

Candy Jar is adding a further four stories to the line-up in the previously announced UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories, with new stories from established writers John Peel and Chris Lynch, plus two new writers to the series.

Range Editor Tim Gambrell explained the thinking behind the changes:

I love situations like this, because they focus everyone’s creative energies. It started with a quick conversation with Shaun Russell just before Christmas. Shaun felt we needed to add a bit more value for our readers, and I was keen to make sure we weren’t just replicating the (successful) formula of the Lethbridge-Stewart HAVOC Files books. So, the collection has expanded from 9 stories to 13. But we didn’t want to delay the publication, as it had already been announced for pre-orders, so I had to work quickly.

John Peel, who most recently penned the first Benton Files book with Tim, said:.

What are a writer’s second-favourite words to hear? Would you like to write me a story about…? (The writer hopes that they are attached to his absolute favourite words: Here’s an inordinately large amount of money, but they so rarely are!) So, when I was asked, "Would you like to write a UNIT story, with dinosaurs in it?", how could I refuse? (As you can see, I couldn’t)

Then came the inevitable dance of what the editor liked and what I felt happiest writing. “Would you include this?” “Can I use that instead?” That continued until we were both comfortable. Then it was time to buckle down and do the actual writing – which, for the writer, is where the fun really begins. Getting into the mood, resurrecting beloved characters and doing horrible things to them…

Tim continued:

I had an idea for a story to act as a coda to Invasion of the Dinosaurs. John, being the great writer he is, turned that on its head and came up with Here We Go Again, set just before Invasion of the Dinosaurs! However, Ian Ball – who is the second of three new writers in the collection – ran with some of the ideas I’d pitched to John, while developing some threads set up in Here We Go Again. Ian has written The Ptower Bridge Pterror, so we’ve ended up book-ending Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Chris Lynch – who recently wrote the free Lucy Wilson Christmas download story, The Gray Lady of Martyr’s House - provided the next story, Honourable Discharge:

It's simple. When UNIT calls, you answer! Honestly, what writer could resist the chance to craft their own corner of this world and leave a footprint in the sand next to the Brig? For my story I wanted to explore what happens in the aftermath of a UNIT adventure, the price paid by ordinary soldiers who defend Earth alongside the extraordinary heroes we know about, and what happens when one of them doesn't quite measure up to the high standards we expect. It’s a little dark, a little weird, but hopefully a part of the world of UNIT you’ll enjoy discovering.

 

Tim continued:

Chris immediately came back with a cracking idea that put the Brigadier centre stage. It felt like I’d lit the blue touch paper – he produced the goods really quickly! As with John’s and Ian’s stories, I was also able to ensure some minor continuity between Chris’ Honourable Discharge and Martin Parker’s Old Fowlkes’ Home.

Martin had pitched a story for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, which was unused. It became clear the story could be adapted relatively simply to work as a UNIT story instead. It’s not always easy to adapt stories in this way. You’ve got two choices, basically: you adapt / re-write as you go along, leaving alone what already works – which can be fiddly and frustrating, or you put aside everything you’ve already written and start the piece again from scratch. Neither option is necessarily any quicker to deliver. But there was a lot I liked about the story as it was, and I was keen not to lose that. So, I encouraged Martin to concentrate on the aspects we agreed needed wholesale re-writes.

Martin added:

It’ll be great to get my story out there with readers. It’s a bit longer than the others in the collection, I think, but we’ve worked to keep it tight and focused. I had to learn not to be precious about the story as it already was. Best of all, I can imagine it being on TV. I think when you’re writing material like this, with established characters, that’s the most important thing – to be able to picture it easily in your head. I hope the readers will, too.

 

The story line up for The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories::

Benton's First Day, part one, by Tim Gambrell

Norwegian Would, by Simon A Brett

Shadow, by Iain McLaughlin

Operation Wildcat, by Sarah Groenewegen

The Gift, by Sharon Bidwell

Parasite, by James Middleditch

How to Negotiate with a Sentient Tree in Shoreditch, by Baz Greenland

The Aftermath of Aberbuwch, by Jonathan Macho

Here We Go Again, by John Peel

The Ptower Bridge Pterror, by Ian Ball

Honourable Discharge, by Chris Lynch

Old Fowlkes' Home, by Martin Parker

Benton's First Day, part two, by Tim Gambrell

 

The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories, is available to pre-order from Candy Jar, and comes with an art card and a free copy of The Benton Files 2, with new stories by George Ivanoff and Kenton Hall. The Benton Files 2 can also be ordered separately.

 




FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

Lethbridge-Stewart: Blue BloodBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 15 February 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books ihas announced the final book in its penultimate series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Blue Blood (Credit: Candy Jar Books)

Blue Blood

Written by Chris Thomas

Cover art by Paul Cooke

 

 

People go missing every day. It’s an unfortunate part of life, and tragic for the families involved. But when bodies of the missing start turning up, as if ripped apart by wild animals, the Fifth Operational Corps is called in to investigate. 

Sergeant Major Samson Ware and Captain Bill Bishop head to Newcastle, after a spike in the missing persons’ reports, and form an alliance with young photographer Gary Merrin in an effort to uncover the truth.  

Meanwhile, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers try to find the recently returned Professor Ted Travers, who himself seems to have disappeared. Their investigations lead them to a World War II veteran, who is a shadow of his former self. 

How are the disappearances linked to an experiment from the past? And just what is the connection with the missing Professor Travers? 

 

 

Blue Blood is the first Lethbridge-Stewart novel by Chris Thomas, who previously wrote Vampires of the Night for The HAVOC Files 2: Special Edition.  Born in Perth, Western Australia, Chris is a writer, actor, journalist and broadcaster. His writing includes the novel Journo's Diary for defunct publisher Metropolis Ink, the Doctor Who short story One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (published in Short Trips: Defining Patterns), the plays Which One?Reality Matters, and Appetite for Destruction

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:

I enjoyed Chris’ short story at the time, and was amused to find he originally ended it in the ‘present’, setting up a sequel. A common thing among new authors – trying to set up some future work for themselves. I remember removing that end scene and telling Chris that if we’re gonna do a sequel, let’s do one properly instead of simply setting it up. Also, by removing the set-up in the short story, we leave things open for new ideas to develop in the meantime.

Chris said:

After Candy Jar Books released my short story in late 2019, Andy got in touch when he was mapping out the latest Lethbridge-Stewart series and asked if I would like to submit a pitch for one of the stories. Vampires of the Night featured Professor Travers and was set during World War II, and I originally had a short scene thirty-odd years later with Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne, discovering something that hadn’t been quite resolved at the end of the story. The scene got cut but, about six hours after I got the initial email from Andy about the novel pitch, I think we had both reached the same conclusion – he followed up, asking if I wanted to do the sequel I had previously hinted at.

 

As the final book in the penultimate series, this book serves a bit as a preamble to the final days of the Fifth Operational Corps. Chris continued:

Given the United Nations is a global organisation, I wanted to create a problem that had its focus in the UK but was also happening around the world. Being an Aussie, I did throw in a couple of things from Down Under, but the core of the story is set in England’s north, so the focus remains on the Lethbridge-Stewart characters with sojourns to other countries to show similar things happening elsewhere.

 

Andy added:

It’s all about laying the foundations for the end of the series, as the band finally starts to break up (in a very dramatic sense), which the final series will build upon as things on the international stage start to become even more precarious. But Blue Blood does much more than that; it tells an exciting story, a bit of a mystery, introducing some fun new characters to the LSverse and, eagle-eyed observers will notice, a nice link back to a popular Doctor Who story from 1989.”


The cover is by postman and popular part-time artist Paul Cooke, back for his fourth Lethbridge-Stewart novel cover:

When I got the brief, I decided to produce an atmospheric piece, but one that was still vibrant and colourful. I went for bright sidelights and a sunset rather than night sky, and pushing the colour on the radio telescope in a non-realist but striking way (I hope!).

It was really important to me to get Samson right on this cover. I really like his character and I wanted to create a good portrait. One of the things Candy Jar have been really successful with is introducing strong (I hate this term) minority characters but treating them in a realistic period-way without denigrating them or making them in any way ‘token’. I hope I’ve done Samson justice.

It was fun creating the other characters, too. The female character had to be fairly scary without being too gory and not falling into the titillation trap with the tears in the dress. Merrin had to look alarmed without becoming a caricature, so I hope I struck the right balance. An enjoyable commission and I’m really looking forward to the book.

 

The book is available to pre-order from Candy Jar Books, and is part of the Season 8 six book bundle for subcribers.

 

The final series of Lethbridge-Stewart will be split in two parts over 2022, beginning with three novels; Spheres of Influence by Violet Addison & David N Smith, The Most Haunted Man by Sarah Groenewegen, and Legacy of the Dominator by Nick Walters.





FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

The Artwork of Jeff Cummins and Colin HowardBookmark and Share

Monday, 20 December 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Following on from the release of the artwork of Chris Achilléos in Kklak! at the end of 2020Candy Jar Books have announced two new volumes to be released next year, featuring fellow artists Jeff Cummins and Colin Howard. Both books are available to pre-order in paperback or limited edition hardback exclusively from the Candy Jar Books website.

 


 

The Invisible Artist (Credit: Candy Jar Books)


The Invisible Artist - sample images (Credit: Candy Jar Books)
Jeff Cummins has been a prolific artist on many book covers, album covers, and posters since 1976. He is well-known for his work on the Target novelisations of the 1970s/1980s, most notably The Face of Evil, The Three Doctors and Horror of Fang Rock, as well as cover art for several of the New Adventures of the 1990s, including the seminal Dimension Riders and Conundrum. His cover work for Doctor Who helped redefine the look of Target books, expanding the canvas begun by Chris Achilléos.

 

Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell said:

After the success of Kklak! it was an obvious thing to do more collections of popular Doctor Who artists. Jeff Cummins was the second one on my list, since, although popular, his Doctor Who work is only a small part of his portfolio. Which makes for an interesting book; Doctor Who fans love to discover further works of their favourite artists. So why not have it all in one book?

Born, educated and art-schooled in Flintshire, North Wales, Jeff Cummins moved to London in 1974 and while working a graphic designer there, he freelanced and painted posters for Bruce Lee, covers for Kung Fu Monthly, Doctor Who and The Six Million Dollar Man for TV Sci-Fi MagazineHowever, with many recognising his work but unaware he was the artist, he often thought of himself invisible, hence this volume entitled The Invisible Artist!

Jeff said:

I’ve been scribbling for as long as I can remember. Any blank surface was fair game; bedroom walls, the backs of family photographs, whatever I could lay my pencil or ballpoint on. My appetite to draw was voracious! I kind of stood out at school, but not for any academic achievement. I would be given any number of art projects by teachers and pupils alike.

A long-time fan of the Target range, in particular the work Jeff did, the book is edited by Andy Frankham-Allen,
who said:

It was a fascinating project to be given. I was always aware of the work Jeff did on his Doctor Who covers, both for Target and Virgin, and his work for Horror of Fang Rock and The Dimension Riders have always been among my favourite pieces of Doctor Who art. I, rather foolishly, expected this book to be highly focused on his Doctor Who work, so imagine my surprise when I discovered how much else he had done. As it turns out, I knew a fair bit of his art, even owned some on albums and singles, but I never knew it was Jeff who had painted them. I guess it’s not without reason he often calls himself the Invisible Artist. My biggest surprise was that he did the poster for Back to the Future, one my favourite movies of all time, the cover art for the Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson single Say, Say, Say. The book is a powerhouse of surprises!

Jeff added:

My Target experience overall was happy, intense, but satisfying. Although I only ever see faults in my work, the generous feedback I’ve received over the years is very humbling. I’m very proud of my association with Doctor Who and my small contribution to its history.

As well as his Doctor Who work, the book also discusses The Beatles, of Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda, how Jeff was involved in the marketing of the blockbuster film Back to the Future, painting such artists of Eric Clapton, Ozo, Blondie, David Essex… and so many more. If a pop/rock artist was popular in the late’70s/early-80s, the chances are you’ll find them in The Invisible Artist.

 


 

Timeslides (Credit: Candy Jar Books)




Timeslides - sample images (Credit: Candy Jar Books)
While most fans will know Colin Howard best for illustrating some thirty VHS covers in the 1990s, his Doctor Who portfolio further includes a vast amount of highly-detailed paintings for Doctor Who Magazine, the BBC Books ranges, private commissions, the Lethbridge-Stewart novels, calendars, posters, Doctor Who Classic Comics, and the recent DVD and Blu-ray range of animations for missing episodes like The Macra Terror, Shada, and The Evil of the DaleksTimeslides explores this incredible body of work, with each piece accompanied by a fascinating commentary from Colin.

 

Shaun Russell enthused:

One of the great things about Timeslides is that Colin’s still has a huge number of sketches he made before setting out to work on each piece. That was particularly exciting because it gives you that extra glimpse behind the scenes, sits you right at his desk, so it was immediately obvious that we’d include as many of those preliminary drawings as we could.

Colin Howard said:

I was really keen to open up my portfolio and see what fell out. We had a few disasters – I'd saved much of my original art and accompanying sketches, as well as the final products they were used on, but some of that was lost thanks to a leak in the roof!

Fortunately, the main victims were the replaceable bits: we managed to salvage all the originals, and we've worked hard to reproduce them in a high-quality that even the BBC struggled to print back in the day.

Timeslides (which takes its name from an episode of Colin's beloved Red Dwarf) is edited by Philip Bates, author of 100 Objects of Doctor Who. He said:

When Shaun told me Candy Jar would be working with Colin on a book of his Doctor Who art, I cleared a space on my bookshelf next to Kklak! I was eager to get my hands on a copy. Little did I realise that Shaun was actually asking me to edit it.

I grew up in the so-called ‘Wilderness Years’, and those gorgeous VHS covers were my introduction to Doctor Who in other mediums, probably before I was aware of the Target novels properly. So the videos hold a special place in my heart, and I know that’s true for so many other fans too. Naturally, I was super excited at the idea of getting to know Colin, let alone riffle through his archive – much of which many Doctor Who fans have never seen before. It’s an absolute privilege.

In this unique glimpse inside the artist’s studio, Colin chats about his artistic inspirations and aspirations, which aspects of Doctor Who really capture his imagination, which works he’s especially proud of, his real-life adventures at a cheetah rehabilitation centre in South Africa, and much more.Philip explained how difficult it’s been narrowing down what actually made it into Timeslides: 

One of the main challenges has been deciding on the shortlist, such is the wealth of artwork in his collection. I thought I knew Colin’s portfolio well, but I was shocked to learn just how much more he’s done. The VHS covers were essential. But how do you decide which other masterpieces make the cut? I gravitate towards artworks with great stories behind them… but talking with Colin, it became clear that that’s true of all his paintings. I mean, he's got his very own ‘missing Doctor Who story’ – one of his pieces was lost in transit and has been MIA for over twenty-five years!

But I'm really happy with the final selection and I think fans will love it too. It feels representative of Col's overall artistic journey, and delivers what readers expect, but there are also some great little surprises along the way too.

Colin concluded:

I'm really excited to share the final book with fans. My work has never been collected together like this before, so Timeslides feels like a definitive guide.




FILTER: - Books - Candy Jar

The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other StoriesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 12 December 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

From early 2023, Candy Jar will begin publishing a series of novels covering the adventures of UNIT – featuring Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Benton, and other characters from the Doctor Who story The Invasion (all authorised by Kate Sherwin and Hannah Haisman). In advance of those novels comes the first short story anthology:
 

The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories

Features stories by Tim Gambrell, Simon A Brett, Iain McLaughlin, Sharon Bidwell, James Middleditch, Baz Greenland, Sarah Groenewegen and Jonathan Macho

Cover by Martin Baines

 

Join Benton and the Brigadier in nine short stories looking at life in the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Ever wondered what happened on Benton’s first official day in UNIT, or why he left to sell used cars? Ever wondered how Benton earned his sergeant stripes? Or what he got up to on his days off? How Does UNIT select new recruits? And what happens when the clean-up after an alien incursion goes wrong?

In Operation Wildcat and Other Stories, you’ll find these things out – and a lot more.

 

 

Compiled by Range Editor Tim Gambrell, it brings together nine adventures.Tim explained further:

Candy Jar has already set a standard for short story collections with The HAVOC Files books. The UNIT Files will continue in that vein. There are a lot of aspects – personal or otherwise – of life in UNIT that haven’t been covered on TV or within spin-off media published to date. That opens up a deep well of potential material that really suits the short story medium. I think we’ve pulled together a collection of pieces for this first UNIT Files that truly reflects that.

Everyone who was able to contribute seemed hugely fired-up by the opportunity and pitched some tremendous ideas. My story in The Benton Files book sparked an idea for a pair of linked situations within Benton’s career, so I’ve used those shorter ‘scenes’ to book-end the collection.

Among the authors contributing to Operation Wildcat and Other Stories are recent Lethbridge-Stewart writers James Middleditch (The Overseers), Jonathan Macho (The Serpent’s Tongue and The Two Brigadiers) and Baz Greenland (Bloodlines: Foreword to the Past), along with the return of popular author Iain McLaughlin (Mind of Stone) and long-standing Candy Jar stalwarts Sharon Bidwell and Sarah Groenewegen. In addition, Candy Jar welcomes new author Simon A Brett. Tim said:

I’ve enjoyed Simon’s work on other projects, and I was keen to introduce some new voices early on in the UNIT range. Simon had a basic concept inspired by a recent trip to the Shetlands Islands. I knew I needed to bottle that inspiration, and we quickly worked out a storyline together (along with a punning title). As expected, what Simon delivered was spot on.

The story that gives the collection its title, Operation Wildcat, is by Sarah Groenewegen. Of the opportunity to contribute to The UNIT Files, Sarah said:

I’ve loved writing for the Brigadier, and when the opportunity came to contribute a story involving more of the UNIT family I leapt at it. Sergeant Benton was, for me, the obvious choice to focus on as an ordinary squaddie facing extraordinary foes.

I grew up with the original UNIT stories, and later spent a fair proportion of my law enforcement career alongside serving and former special forces soldiers. Some of the tales they shared about their training made me wonder about the adventures prospective UNIT soldiers might face and what qualities the organisation would look for in new recruits.

The UNIT Files sees the return of author Iain McLaughlin, whose last book for Candy Jar was Mind of Stone (which is being re-released with a brand new story very soon). Iain explains about his return:

My dad was a staff sergeant, so I’ve always been hugely fond of the UNIT stories on TV. That also means that any time there’s a chance to do a UNIT or Brigadier story I’m happy to join up and do my duty.

My contribution, Shadow, is set early in Benton’s time with UNIT. He’s still learning how things work and the brass at UNIT are still getting to know him. I wanted to do a story that gave him a chance to show there was a lot more to him than just snapping to attention and saying ‘Sir’. He wouldn’t survive – and indeed thrive – in UNIT if he wasn’t resourceful and capable as well as brave. It let me have a bit of a delve into what Benton thought he was getting into in those early days.

Of contributor James Middleditch, Tim said:

I approached James just as he was completing work for Andy Frankham-Allen on The Overseers. He was very buoyed up from the experience and eager for the next challenge.

James explained:

Doctor Who, while rightfully focusing on the Doctor and his companions, leaves us some tantalising clues about what UNIT and its troops are up to in the background – including how personnel are managed, trained and promoted. Although he holds a number of positions across his various appearances, usually Benton is referred to as sergeant – it’s the rank he seems stuck with! At last, we can find out how he took on this mantle and what challenges he had to overcome.


Jonathan Macho first came to Candy Jar’s attention as a runner-up in the second South Wales Short Competition. He then went on to write the short story The Two Brigadiers, as well as the hugely creative Lucy Wilson book, The Serpent’s Tongue. He said:

When Tim kindly asked me to contribute to the first UNIT adventures at Candy Jar, my head flooded with bonkers ideas for the Brig and Benton. Where I ended up was Bong Joon Ho’s The Host in West Wales and the most fun I've had writing a story in a long time. I can't wait to see what my fellow writers have in store for the team too!

Baz Greenland’s first novel, Foreword to the Past, closed the Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines series in 2020. He said

I was delighted to be asked to contribute to The UNIT Files and to have the opportunity to write for the Brigadier once again. Not only that, I got to write for one of my favourite characters from Doctor Who – Sergeant Benton – in a story that explores just how the members of UNIT are considered by their armed forces peers.

The cover for Operation Wildcat is by ever-popular Lethbridge-Stewart artist Martin Baines. Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:

It’s always a pleasure working with Martin. His creativity is second-to-none and our readers seem to appreciate his style.

 

The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories is a hardback anthology, similar to the recent Lethbridge-Stewart books Downtime: Child of the New World, Kiss of the Ice Maiden and the illustrated Beast of Fang Rock. It will come with a postcard of the cover art and an exclusive short paperback book: The Benton Files II, featuring two new Benton short stories by 
 

UNIT: The Benton Files II (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Benton Files II

Written by George Ivanoff and new author Kenton Hall

Cover by Richard Young

 

It’s all in the mind… Or is it?

Retired Sergeant Major John Benton recounts two more tales of his experiences serving under Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. In The Lady Jessica Affair, by George Ivanoff, Benton and the Brigadier take tea with an apparently harmless elderly lady at her stately home – and end up defending the world. In Kenton Hall’s Life Assurance, life has apparently thrown a different set of circumstances John Benton’s way. But will he be able to find a path back to his true calling?

 

On the cover, Shaun continued:

As always Richard has done us proud. His work just gets better and better.

 

The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories will be available exclusively through the Candy Jar website - note, this is not included in any subscription or multi-book deal.





FILTER: - Books - Candy Jar Books - UNIT

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Overseers / Short Story Collection 3Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 17 October 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books has announced the second book in it’s ninth series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels:

 

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Overseers (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: The Overseers
Written by James Middleditch
Cover by Adrian Salmon

 

 

The Fifth Operational Corps is preparing for the future, but are horrified to see the shape of things to come.

 

A new form of surveillance is spreading across the South Coast of England. The British people are being shown a new kind of peace, but at what cost? Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and his team fear it may already be too late when this revolutionary method of control extends its reach through the ordinary city streets.

 

There are other secrets at work too, stretching from the past through the hidden world beneath the surface.

 

With nowhere to hide, Lethbridge-Stewart, Anne Travers, Bill Bishop and Samson Ware must find new allies. With their own histories part of the pattern and the fate of the country at stake, can they resist a force that’s closing in from every direction?

 


The Overseers is the first novel from author James Middleditch after two previous short stories for the series. Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:

From the first time I read James’ first short story, Piece of Mind, I knew I had found a very good author. And it was after his second short, Latent Image for The Laughing Gnome anthology, that I knew it was time to test him on a novel. By that point plans were underway for the final eight Lethbridge-Stewart novels, which meant if I was going to use James, there would be no better time. James’ inventiveness is matched easily by his enthusiasm, and that shows in his writing. It took a few attempts to break his story, slotting in a few new elements and characters, but when the idea was locked down, James’ true skills came on full display.

James said:

I’ve loved spending time reading about these characters over the past few years and was thrilled to be able to write a couple of short stories featuring some of them. I was then asked to pitch a story for a full novel, and was quite overwhelmed to be selected. This will be my first published novel. Nothing quite prepares you for the task, so I’m grateful for the guidance Andy has provided throughout.

Andy continued:

It had been some time between finalising the outline and the first pass edit of the completed novel, time during which I had worked on a lot of other projects, so in many ways it was a nice surprise to read James’ book. I recalled only bits of the outline. What I discovered was some very sharp writing, in a book that exemplifies the what Lethbridge-Stewart (and indeed Doctor Who) does best, telling a good adventure story by playing on common fears and issues with modern culture. An even more clever task, considering the book is set in 1971.

James added:

Chapter planning was a great intermediate stage, although I’ve learned that these have to evolve as things progress and new ideas emerge. Spending an even more immersive time with these characters has been a pleasure. They have always felt so real, especially in the face of extraordinary things, and I feel privileged to have contributed one of their full adventures, especially as the series heads to its conclusion.

As well as keying into some of the more disturbing sides of popular culture, The Overseers highlights some of the more interesting aspects of the South Coast of England. James explained:

I’ve taken the chance with The Overseers to show off (and embellish!) some of our own local history here on the South Coast of England, while also exploring some very contemporary debates about surveillance and control. A few news stories have even broken during the time I’ve been writing that seem frighteningly close to the fiction. That blurry boundary between reality and speculation is an ideal one for our team of familiar characters to navigate. Likewise, the point between the past and the future, where each exerts a pull, is a great one to have taken them, and I hope readers enjoy going there too.


The cover sees the return of popular artist Adrian Salmon, hot off his work on the latest Doctor Who animation, The Evil of the Daleks:

I loved the ICUs the moment I read the brief – it's such a brilliantly simple idea, yet incredibly creepy: big brother on legs. I felt there should be a big bold drawing of an ICU with gun arm raised to catch the readers eye, whilst the rest of the montage hinted at scenes from the story. The speeding Volkswagen T2 Camper gave the cover a sense of movement, and all that was needed was Anne and Lethbridge-Stewart to complete the design.

 

The Overseers is due out at the end of October 2021, and can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the series 9 bundle from the Candy Jar website.

 

The next book in the series will be Blue Blood by Chris Thomas

 


 

Lethbridge-Stewart: Short Story Collection 3 (Credit: Candy Jar Books)

In 2017, 2019 and 2021 Candy Jar offered aspiring writers and fans of the Lethbridge-Stewart series the/ opportunity to pen their own story. Notable entrants included Jonathan Macho (who has since written several short stories and The Lucy Wilson Mysteries book, The Serpent’s Tongue), Richard Brewer (the author of the recent Lethbridge-Stewart anthology, The Ever-Running) and the 2019 winner Megan Fizzell (who co-wrote Domination Game with Aly Leeds).

Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce that the winner of the third Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Competition is Peter Frankum.

Head of publishing, Shaun Russell, said:

It’s always a privilege going through entries and, as you can imagine, it was extremely difficult choosing a winner, but we felt that Peter’s stories were outstanding.

Peter’s two winning stories are called Prologue and Epilogue, and sit at the beginning and end of the book.

Will Rees, editorial co-ordinator at Candy Jar Books, said:

We have always offered entrants the opportunity to send in two stories, but not until now have we felt obliged to use both of them. Peter’s stories were both equally brilliant that we didn't really have a choice. Peter instinctively understands the characters of Professor Travers and Anne, and offers a new perspective on their lives. We look forward to working with him in the future.

 

The runner-up story is by Susan Brand. Shaun said:

In the Lucy Wilson books we usually include a flashback prologue; basically Lucy sitting on the Brig's knee as he recounts a fantastical story from his action-packed past. Susan has taken this concept and lovingly expanded it. As a co-creator of the series, I felt that this story was a joy to read!

 

The idea for the Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Competition came from the company’s commitment to shedding light on fresh writing talent. Since 2015 the Lethbridge-Stewart novels have championed previously unknown authors such as James Middleditch and Gareth Madgwick, alongside famous writing names in the Doctor Who universe including John Peel, Nick Walters, Simon A Forward and David A McIntee.

The Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Collection features eight exclusive short stories featuring Lethbridge-Stewart at various stages in his life (as well as one story from the wider LSverse). This is a chance for fans to see the Brigadier like they’ve never seen him before!

 

The eight stories are:

  1. Prologue by Peter Frankum
  2. The Grotesque by Tim Beeley
  3. The Dulcians by Dallas Jones & Roger Reynolds
  4. And... Cut by Robert Kilmister
  5. Feeding Animals in the Zoo by Peer Lenné
  6. A Master of Perception by Alan Darlington
  7. Perfect Day by Susan Brand
  8. Epilogue by Peter Frankum

 

Fully licensed by the Haisman estate, and featuring concepts and characters created by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, the Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Collection is a must for fans new and old. Readers are advised that this book will be a limited edition release, only available to purchase directly from Candy Jar Books.





FILTER: - Books - Candy Jar Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - The Children of JanuaryBookmark and Share

Sunday, 5 September 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books has announced the latesrt instalment of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries,
 

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - The Children of January (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Children of January
Written by Tim Gsmbrell
 

A new calendar year. A new term. A new set of challenges for Lucy Wilson and Hobo Kostinen.

The two of them discover they’ve been selected to represent their school at a national team event, that weekend.

But why such short notice? Who are the other seven children making up their team? And why are none of them bothered by the prospect of searching out concealed aliens on the frozen wastes of Dartmoor in January 2020?

Pretty soon, Lucy and Hobo realise that no one is quite what they seem on this particular weekend away.

 

 

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries is a Lethbridge-Stewart spin-off adventure inspired by characters created for Doctor Who by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. It also features Sergeant Benton, created by Derek Sherwin.

 

Lucy is the granddaughter of the iconic Doctor Who favourite Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, and the last four years have seen her contend with a succession of extra-terrestrial threats drawn to her home in the seaside village of Ogmore-by-Sea, Wales.

This time, however, Lucy is packed off on a school trip to Dartmoor, where to her surprise she encounters seven other young defenders of Earth.

 

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

Lucy and Hobo have really grown as characters since Sue Hampton masterfully introduced them in Avatars of the Intelligence. Since then we’ve seen them thwart an invasion of Mirror Clowns, end the TV career of Billy Bandrel, meet the Quarks, help the Brigadier save the universe, visit Fang Rock, and even witness Lucy’s birth. But now Lucy and Hobo are taking on their greatest challenge – and this time they need help!

Enter Joshua Benton, Reisha Travers and many more – the Children of January!

 

Tim Gambrell, the author of The Children of January, is thrilled to be kicking off this new phase of the Lucy Wilson saga. He said:

For one reason or another, I seem to have spent a lot of time with Lucy Wilson and Hobo over the past two years! It wasn’t planned that way, that’s just how it’s worked out. For me, at least, it’s been a joy. Lucy and Hobo are great characters to write for and build stories around. But since The Brigadier and the Bledoe Cadets was published, the next planned step for me was always The Children of January.

The book is set in January 2020 (hence the title), before the impact of COVID-19. Lucy and Hobo are sent off to Dartmoor to represent their school, alongside various other pupils from schools nationwide. This adventure ties up a few loose ends from the previous books, and establishes a brand new mystery for our heroes. Tim continued:

The Children of January was never going to be just another Lucy Wilson Mysteries book. Shaun gave me the title and a shopping list of things he wanted the book to contain. This included quite a large cast of characters. In fact, there’s even a guest appearance from a certain well-known warrant officer! Shaun then left me to turn his shopping list into an engaging Lucy Wilson Mysteries book. It was a challenge, for sure, but hopefully I’ve succeeded.

 

The book is now available for pre-order exclusively from the Candy Jar and Lethbridge-Stewart websites. You csn read a free chapter from the book via our website.

 

 




FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lucy Wilson

UNIT - The Benton FilesBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 August 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce a very special book for 2021, the first of its standalone UNIT books: 

UNIT: The Benton Files (Credit: Candy Jar Books)
The Benton Files
 
Written by Tim Gambrell and John Peel
Cover by Richard Young

 

 

Rifleman John Benton finds himself summoned to London, to the HQ of a brand-new organisation – UNIT – under Waterloo Station. There, he meets an old barrack room buddy, Major Bill Bishop, and UNIT’s Commanding Officer, one Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

The young rifleman is about to learn that not everything is as innocuous as it appears. Major Bishop has specially selected Benton to assist him on a mission – a mission that could change Rifleman John Benton’s life forever.

 

 

Featuring two UNIT stories…

Into the fire by Tim Gambrell

Car Wars by John Peel

The book features the very first meeting of the Brigadier and Benton, followed by Benton’s very first ever UNIT adventure.

 

Taking over as range editor from the hard working and very talented Andy Frankham-Allen is the equally assiduous Tim Gambrell. Tim said::

The Brigadier and Benton meeting for the first time seems such a momentous occasion in the Doctor Who universe. And we never saw it on screen. Of course, the Brigadier has a history of meeting much-loved characters off-screen. We never see the moment he first meets the Doctor in The Web of Fear, for example. And Benton is already a UNIT corporal when he shows up in The Invasion. But how did Benton join UNIT? The first story Into the Fire helps bridge that gap.

UNIT: The Bention Files (Credit: Candy Jar Books)To mark this occasion, Candy Jar recorded an audiobook version with John Levene. This will be released simultaneously with the paperback

The second story has been written by popular Doctor Who author John Peel, and is quite literally a race against time around the streets of Birmingham. Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:

As we approach 2022, we will soon be wrapping up the Lethbridge-Stewart range of novels. It’s been a great journey, but it’s time to move on to our planned next phase.

Authorised by the Sherwin estate, these UNIT new books will move the story onwards, to after The Invasion and beyond. Tim continues:

Launching a series of books based around UNIT, and featuring the Brigadier and Benton, is by far my biggest creative challenge yet. But what an amazing opportunity it is! When Shaun telephoned and offered me the role of range editor, I remember thinking, "If I turn this down I know I’ll always regret it." So here I am, excited, enthused, immersed and loving every minute of it.

The series will be launched in 2022, although The UNIT Files (similar to The HAVOC Files) will be released later this year.Tim, who has written for both the Lethbridge-Stewart and Lucy Wilson series, is indebted to the outgoing range editor, Andy Frankham-Allen. He continued:

UNIT owes a debt to the work of Andy, and everything he established with the Lethbridge-Stewart books. UNIT won’t be a direct continuation of these novels, largely because the cast will change, and we don’t want new readers to feel they need to have read the Lethbridge-Stewart books first, but I hope the two ranges will complement each other. And if we get new readers jumping onboard with UNIT, it would be great if they feel they want to check out what else Candy Jar has done previously. Personally, I want to tell stories that will appeal to fans of Doctor Who, but also to readers who enjoy action-adventure stories in general. Character-driven narratives, grounded in their contemporary world, but with a modern inclusive awareness.

 Tim concludes:

How wonderful it is to have The Benton Files narrated by Benton himself, the fabulous John Levene.You can hear John’s love and enthusiasm for the character of Benton as he narrates Into the Fire and Car Wars. I really hope people enjoy both versions ofthis release. Also, I’d like to thank Richard Young for such a gorgeous cover. He has really done us proud this time.

 

The Benton Files novella and accompanying audiobook are available to pre-order from Candy Jar Books. and will be released in the next few weeks.

 

From the worlds of Doctor Who U.N.I.T. The Benton Files - Coming Soon!
An introduction to a brand new series of Doctor Who spin-off novels featuring the characters created by Mervyn Haisman, Henry Lincoln and Derrick Sherwin. Licensed by Hannah Haisman and Kate Sherwin.





FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - UNIT

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Ever-RunningBookmark and Share

Monday, 21 June 2021 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books has announced a new collection of short stories in their Lethbridge-Stewart series:

 

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Ever-Running (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Ever-Running
Written by Richard Brewer

 

Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, the stoic and ever dependable defender of Earth, is about to discover that reality is under attack from an enemy that strikes from beyond the boundaries of space and time. The Ever-Running have vowed that they must never be caught, and to prevent capture they are willing to destroy all that Alistair has sworn to protect.

 

Explore six new adventures throughout Alistair’s life and beyond, including a desperate battle for survival on a distant ice planet, General Lethbridge-Stewart facing the outbreak of World War 3 in the 1980s, a young girl escaping a remote Hampshire village where the sick never return from an idyllic island, and three further adventures that take the Brigadier to the far future, and a realm beyond the universe itself.

 

The Ever-Running is written by Richard Brewer, the author of the short story File# 161229 and Shadows in the Glen. Profits from this book will be donated to the Brain Tumour Charity.

 

 

If you are a fan of dystopian melodrama or futuristic space operas, then this collection is just for you. However, this book offers something for everyone, especially if you are fond of the classic Doctor Who stories The Daemons or The Android Invasion.

 

The collection of stories form an arc taking the Brigadier into situations and locations that he has never encountered before, and is written by Richard Brewer, who previously penned Shadows in the Glen for the first Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Collection.

Candy Jar’s Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell, said:

I was very impressed with the quality of Richard’s work, and after he submitted A Message from the Brigadier – a companion piece that featured alongside the free Lucy Wilson story Copy/Paste during lockdown in 2020 – we began to talk about him writing a full book.

The book introduces a new enemy for the Brigadier,one who has the ability to manipulate his timeline and beyond! Richard said:

I wanted to take the Brigadier to places that he has never been before, It was tremendous fun to drop him into unknown territory!

However, the book had been written whilst Richard had received terrible news:

I started writing The Ever-Running during a particularly difficult time. My wife was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the beginning of last year. At first, she and I shared a deep sense of powerlessness and frustration at the news. But after the initial shock, and following some investigation into the current state of research into brain tumour treatment, we both knew that we desperately wanted to raise some money. I approached Shaun about writing a selection of short stories to raise funds for this urgent cause and he readily agreed.

Shaun found himself working on The Ever-Running under similar circumstances, as his daughterwas knocked down by a car, fracturing her lower back and pelvis on both sides leaving her unable to walk:

COVID restrictions meant that I had to stay with her as she recuperated in hospital, so as she was sleeping (or playing on her Nintendo Switch) I edited Richard’s book, and I am so grateful that I was able to do this during the obvious worrying times I was facing. As a cancer survivor, I wholeheartedly support this book and encourage all readers to support Richard, either by buying this book, or donating to the Brain Tumour Charity.

 

The Ever-Running is available to pre-order via The Candy Jar website and will be released in early July 2021. Please note this book is not covered by any subscription offer.

 

Every year some 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour; a disease which is responsible for more deaths of children and adults under the age of forty than any other cancer. Sadly, despite this startling fact, the funding into research is very low, as is evidenced by the fact that the prognoses for brain tumours have not changed in forty years. The Brain Tumour Charityhelps lead the fight against this devastating and indiscriminate disease.

You can find out more and donate via their website at www.thebraintumourcharity.org

 

 

We are delighted to be able to present Richard's short story Shadows in the Glen for readers as a PDF; click on the cover image below to read it!

 

Lethbridge-Stewart: Shadows of the Glan (Credit: Candy Jar Books)





FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lethbridge-Stewart