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.





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.