Doctor Who books out in July, writers revealed

BBC Books has announced that it will be expanding the Doctor Who Target range with five new titles in Summer 2023, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry.

The new titles from a range of great authors, among them Stephen Gallagher, Phil Ford and Peter Harness, and celebrate Target publishing Doctor Who books for half a century, and you can pre-order all of them now from your preferred bookshop, ahead of their release on 23th July 2023.

Anthony Dry has provided artwork for Big Finish’s original Doctor Who audio dramas, for Doctor Who Magazine and for the Doctor Who DVD boxsets for over a decade.

Launched in 1973, Target Books published novelisations of almost every Doctor Who serial aired between 1963 and 1989, with only a few notable exceptions. To the delight of fans, BBC Books began reissuing these classic paperbacks in 2012, and in 2018 expanded the Target range to include all-new novelisations of modern-era Doctor Who episodes.

The 2023 collection celebrates the dramatic return of David Tennant and showrunner Russell T Davies to the programme. Both The Waters of Mars by Phil Ford and The Planet of the Ood by Keith Temple are iconic Doctor Who episodes from the Tenth Doctor era.

Fans will also be able to add a Twelfth Doctor adventure, as played by Peter Capaldi, to their collection with The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness and a Thirteenth Doctor novelisation with KERBLAM! by Peter McTighe. Stephen Gallagher’s Warriors’ Gate and Other Stories will feature the Fourth Doctor.

Here are details the five books due for release and biographies of the authors, the books available to pre-order now. Just for fun, we’ve included some fan art and previously-published official art relating to the stories…

KERBLAM! by Peter McTighe

Kerblam! is the biggest online retailer in the galaxy – but how did it become so big? When the Doctor’s Kerblam! package includes a mysterious request for help, she heads straight to the company’s warehouse moon to investigate.

Going undercover as Kerblam! workers, the TARDIS fam find that several human employees have vanished in sinister circumstances. Could the automated workforce be to blame? Or has the whole operation been compromised by forces unknown? The Doctor soon learns that when it comes to wrapping things up, she has nothing on Kerblam!…

British writer Pete McTighe created, wrote and Executive Produced his six-part thriller The Pact for BBC One, which screened in 2021 and returned for a second season in 2022 (all episodes available to view on iPlayer).

Commenting on his commission, Peter said on Twitter “Ten-year-old me just imploded.”

He is currently the writer/showrunner of Risen, a new six-part supernatural thriller for Sky Studios, due in 2023. He has recently written episodes for Doctor Who (BBC), as well as Executive Producing/writing Series 2 of A Discovery of Witches (Bad Wolf/Sky/AMC), The Rising (Sky Studios) and episodes of the final season of the supernatural series Glitch (Netflix).

He was the originating writer of Wentworth (Fremantle/Foxtel/Netflix) which has been an international hit and sold to nearly 200 territories, winning dozens of Australian industry awards including Most Outstanding Drama several years in a row. He has been nominated for five Writers Guild Awards.

You can pre-order KERBLAM! here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The Planet of the Ood by Keith Temple

“The Ood came from a distant world, they voyaged across the stars, all for one purpose… to serve.”

The TARDIS lands on the Ood-Sphere in the year 4126. Here, human profiteers have subjugated the Ood: the gentle creatures are forced into servitude and sold across the galaxy as the perfect slaves. But now, some are fighting back. Their eyes turn red as they throw off their chains and kill their oppressors…

The Doctor and Donna soon learn that the planet of the Ood holds cruel and awesome secrets. As they battle for justice and survival, the fate of the entire Ood race hangs in the balance. Will the outcome be salvation – or extinction?

Keith Temple is a well established script writer for TV shows such as EastEnders, Doctor Who, Casualty and Doc Martin, has turned his pen towards novel writing. His first novel It’s Behind You, was published in 2010.

He was a fan of Doctor Who while growing up in Newcastle during the 1970s. His early writing career was spent working on documentaries, but he moved into television drama during the mid-1990s, as an assistant script editor on Heartbeat. He subsequently wrote for the show, as well as for Casualty, EastEnders and Family Affairs, followed by work in the 2000s on shows that included Crossroads, Byker Grove and Doc Martin.

A connection to Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies came via Temple’s partner, Morag Bain, who’d produced episodes of Children’s Ward written by Davies. He was invited to develop Planet of the Ood, released in 2008, and also wrote short stories for the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Doctor Who Storybook from Panini Publishing, as well as a comic strip for the Doctor Who website.

He scripted the horror film Wyvern Hill (retitled Hollow in the US), released in 2021, in which he also had an on-screen role.

Film Enterprise pupils interviewed him about his career and books here, back in 2019

You can pre-order The Planet of Ood here here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The Waters of Mars by Phil Ford

The first human colony on Mars is destined for destruction in a nuclear explosion. This tragedy is a fixed point in history. The laws of time dictate that it cannot – must never – be changed. But as the Doctor’s darkest hour comes calling, he resolves to break the rules as he never has before…

Writer Phil Ford in 2014. Image: BBC
Writer Phil Ford in 2014. Image: BBC

Phil Ford was co-creator (with Russell T Davies) and show-runner of hit CBBC series Wizards vs. Aliens. He has also written for Doctor Who – including the Hugo Award-winning episode The Waters of Mars – and wrote the Doctor Who animated adventure Dreamland, and three of the show’s four online interactive adventure episodes.

Lead writer and co-producer on Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures (BAFTA-nominated and 2012 Winner of the WGGB Award for Best Children’s TV Script), Phil has also wrote episodes of Torchwood (together with the online game for series 2 and an original novel for BBC Books), and was the writer of 22 out of 26 episodes of Gerry Anderson’s CGI series of Captain Scarlet.

Other TV credits include Coronation Street (over 80 episodes), a three-part Taggart, The Bill and WATERLOO ROAD. He wrote comedy-drama Rendezvous in Paradisefor Golden Globe-winning director Alain Berliner and adventure movie The Fantastic Jules Verne for Amber Entertainment. His vampire thriller Thirst, in development with ZDFE, won the 2022 C21 Media Digital Pitch. Other projects in development include a detective series with Safiar 64 and Element 8 Entertainment; a kids sci-fi for Boat Rocker Media and the adaptation of Victor Dixen’s Phobos novels for Cyber Studios.

You can pre-order The Waters of Mars here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

A scene from Terror of the Zygons recreated by Lee Sullivan and Tom Connell for an issue of Doctor Who - The DVD Files magazine
A scene from Terror of the Zygons recreated by Lee Sullivan and Tom Connell for an issue of Doctor Who – The DVD Files magazine

“We will die in the fire instead of living in chains.”

For years, 20 million shape-changing Zygons have lived among us in secret. They wear human form, hiding in plain sight. Now a fanatical Zygon splinter group seek to expose their own kind and provoke a conflict that will force both sides to the brink of Armageddon to ensure their own survival.

It took three Doctors to broker a fragile peace between Zygons and Humans. Now the 12th must face the fallout alone. With his allies compromised and his companion believed dead, can he stop the world from plunging into war?

Writer Peter Harness. Image: Curtis Brown
Writer Peter Harness. Image: Curtis Brown

Peter Harness was born and grew up in Yorkshire. He studied English at Oxford University, where he was president of the Oxford Revue.

Peter’s first broadcast script was A View From a Hill (2005), based on a short story by MR James: a revival of the BBC’s beloved ‘Ghost Story for Christmas’ strand. Since then, he has written and created magical, frightening and audacious worlds; focusing on imaginative adaptations of classic tales (such as fantasy epic Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015) and The War of the Worlds (2019)), as well as weird and compelling original work, like his new series for Apple TV, Constellation.

Peter Harness, script writer tells us the importance of nailing down a first draft

Peter has also written a number of theatrical films (such as his debut feature Is Anybody There? (2008), starring Michael Caine); TV films (including the Spanish Flu drama The Forgotten Fallen (2009) and the Frankie Howerd biopic Rather You Than Me (2008, starring David Walliams)); and contributed episodes to such series as City of Vice (2008), Case Histories (2011-13) and MacMafia (2018).

He wrote and executive produced the third and fourth seasons of the hit detective drama Wallander ((2012-15) starring Kenneth Branagh). He has also written several stories for Doctor Who (2014-17).

Peter lives in Sweden and is working on original projects in the UK and Europe. Other upcoming projects include The People vs Gary McKinnon, a feature drama for Wall to Wall Media and the BBC.

You can pre-order The Zygon Invasion here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Warriors’ Gate and Other Stories by Stephen Gallagher

Doctor Who: Warriors' Gate by Adrian Salmon, created for a "The Time Team" feature for Doctor Who Magazine No. 371, but unused
Doctor Who: Warriors’ Gate by Adrian Salmon, created for a “The Time Team” feature for Doctor Who Magazine No. 371, but unused

A new-to-print, expanded novelisation of the classic 1981 adventure. With the TARDIS caught in the collapsing void between two different universes, the Fourth Doctor is drawn into a dangerous alliance with a race of enslaved, time-sensitive aliens. The consequences are explored in two further short stories, one exclusive to this volume.

Writing on Twitter, Stephen explained the Warriors’ Gate collection will comprise the restored text of the Warriors’ Gate novelisation (previously exclusive to audio), the continuing story of Romana and Laszlo in “The Kairos Ring” (originally released as a audio story, now available for the first time in print), concluding with a new piece, “The Little Book of Fate”.

“Each of the three pieces stands alone, but they combine to offer a through-narrative,” he added.

You can read an interview with Stephen Gallagher about the making of The Kairos Ring here on SciFi Bulletin.

Stephen Gallagher is a novelist, screenwriter and director specialising in suspense. Born in Salford, Lancashire, his original TV/ film credits include Chimera, Chiller, Bugs, Oktober, Crusoe for NBC, Eleventh Hour and The Forgotten; he’s also written for long-term series including Doctor Who, Rosemary and Thyme and Silent Witness.

A comic, Faustine, featuring art by Martin Geraghty, from Cutaway Comics, is part of the epic Gods and Monsters project set in the expanded universe of Doctor Who.

You can pre-order Warriors’ Gate here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Each of the authors for the 2023 Target books are the original screenwriters of the TV episodes. Target fans can expand their collections with these new, iconic novelisations.

You can pre-order all these Target novelisations now ahead of their release on 23rd July 2023 (Amazon UK Affiliate Link, using this helps support downthetubes)

Artist Anthony Dry is online over on DeviantArt


Tom Connell


Doctor Who Worlds Apart Game

Francesco Francavilla

Adrian Salmon

Lee Sullivan

Doctor Who © 2023 BBC

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