In co-ordination with Reeltime Pictures, Downtime: Children of the New World is a sequel to their straight-to-video film, Downtime, which introduced the Doctor Who world to the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. Both are reunited in this new novel, appearing together in a full novel for the first time in over twenty years!
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, as played by Jemma Redgrave, became a semi-regular feature in Doctor Who following her appearance in 2012s The Power of Three by current-series showrunner, Chris Chibnall. She continued to appear throughout Peter Capaldi’s time as the Doctor, and currently enjoys her own series of UNIT adventures with Big Finish. But she first appeared in Downtime in 1995, played by Beverley Cressman, which was produced under licence from Mervyn Haisman by Reeltime Pictures Ltd, and was written by Marc Platt. Kate went on to make a few minor cameo appearances in Doctor Who novels and short stories through the remainder of the 1990s. Cressman returned to the role in 2003 for another Reeltime Pictures straight-to-video film, Dæmos Rising. Downtime: Children of the New World will be her first starring role in a novel since Marc Platt’s own novelisation of Downtime in 1995.
It’s not only Kate who is returning. Downtime: Children of the New World also features the return of her son, Gordy, who was first introduced in Downtime. Along for the adventure are other alumni from both Downtime and Dæmos Rising, including ex-UNIT captain, Douglas Cavendish. Picking up the story nine years after the defeat of the Great Intelligence in Downtime, Kate, Gordy and the Brigadier will be joined by further members of the Brigadier’s family, including his eldest grandson Conall Wilson, who first appeared in Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart series.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen, and author of the book, explains how it came to pass: “When I first heard of Reeltime’s forthcoming film, Anomaly, which would see Beverley returning to the role of Kate, I contacted Keith Barnfather. Initially it was simply to express my interest in Kate’s return, and how I’d be open to us working together to cross-pollinate our two ranges. Keith was very open to the idea, and before we knew it the conversation turned to prose and the idea of doing a sequel to Downtime. It took a while to work out when to set it, and after watching Dæmos Rising it became clear the book needed to be set after that film. The only proviso Keith gave me was that I needed to “set up” Anomaly.”
Set in September 2004, Downtime: Children of the New World picks up the story told in Downtime, which saw the Brigadier and his daughter join forces with Doctor Who companions Sarah Jane Smith and Victoria Waterfield to defeat the Great Intelligence’s plan of world domination through New World University. Although a sequel, the novel is intentionally written to stand on its own.
Andy explains: “All background details from Downtime will be treated the same way one treats background detail in a normal standalone novel; the reader will be told everything they need to know for the story to work. Of course, further insight can be gained by picking up Downtime, but it won’t be essential. Children of the New World is its own story. The basic idea came to me fairly quickly, but it wasn’t until I rewatched both films and had a chance to look through Marc Platt’s novelisation that the main plot point presented itself. I was determined to write a solid standalone tale, but one that was a logical continuation of Downtime, while at the same time bringing Kate and Gordy fully into the fold with the Brigadier’s extended family. The chance of having the Brigadier’s two grandsons together was too good to pass up, and that quickly became the crux of the plot.”
The striking cover art is by popular Doctor Who artist Adrian Salmon, who has done work for Doctor Who Magazine, Big Finish, the Doctor Who animated DVDs, and Candy Jar previously. He says: “Great to be asked to draw a cover for the new look Lethbridge-Stewart range! Andy and I had a lot of fun with this cover; as soon as he told me what the book was about, I knew the kind of thing I wanted to do. He gave me an open brief to redesign the Yeti, to make it more of a simian creature, and less like the way they’ve previous been depicted in Doctor Who. I wanted to incorporate silver into the design, initially as a kind of harness, before we settled on a fearsome face mask, to suggest the controlling intelligence and to make it clear these are not the Yeti fans have previously seen.”
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart joins her father, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, in a mission to save her son’s life!
For the last nine years Kate’s life has been a happy one. Other than a minor blip in 2003, she hasn’t had to worry about aliens bothering her or her son. Indeed, her biggest concern is Gordy’s first girlfriend. But it all changes when a face from her past appears, bringing with him a warning.
Gordy and his cousin Conall are kidnapped by a radical group calling themselves the Followers of Maitreya!
The Brigadier and Kate join forces with Douglas Cavendish and Anne Travers on a mission to save Gordy and Conall, which leads them to the ruins of Det-Sen Monastery in Tibet where deadly Yeti roam, and a prophecy is about to fulfilled!
What connects the Followers of Maitreya to a developing online school, Asteroid 4179 which is heading towards Earth, and the Brigadier’s family?
NB: DOWNTIME: CHILDREN OF THE NEW WORLD IS NOT COVERED BY ANY SUBSCRIPTION OFFER.
Downtime and Dæmos Rising are available directly from Reeltime Pictures Ltd.
There will two editions of Downtime: Children of the New World, both now available for pre-order:
Standard paperback edition (limited to 500 copies) for £10.00 (+ p&p).
Limited hardback edition (FIFTY COPIES ONLY) for £25 (+ p&p). This edition will be signed by Andy Frankham-Allen and feature an exclusive forward by original Kate Lethbridge-Stewart actor, Beverley Cressman.
Also coming soon, three Lethbridge-Stewart books get reprinted, revised and updated:
Both Fear of the Web and Lineage have started shipping. UK residents, please allow at least 28 days for delivery; non-UK residents, allow longer.
A quick update on forthcoming titles…
- The Laughing Gnome: The Danger Men by Nick Walters – due for release late November 2018.
- The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Midnight People by John Peel – now up for pre-order.
- The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends by Andy Frankham-Allen – due for release January 2019
- The Laughing Gnome: Day of the Matador by Robert Mammone – due for release February 2019.
- The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & the Bledoe Cadets by Tim Gambrell – due for release March 2019.
- The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Bledoe Cadets – due for release late March 2019.
- On His Majesty’s National Service by David A McIntee – due for release at April 2019.
Simply follow this LINK to download the (almost) entire series for absolutely nothing!
Following on from The Laughing Gnome: Fear of the Web, book three sees the focus shift to Brigadier William Bishop, who, after several astral jumps through time, is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever return to his life in 2011!
The Danger Men sees the return of popular novelist Nick Walters for his third Lethbridge-Stewart novel. Nick previously wrote Mutually Assured Domination in 2015 and The Man from Yesterday earlier in 2018.
Nick says: “When I was told of the story arc for this anniversary series, I immediately knew what I wanted to do: a straight spy thriller, with no sci-fi or fantasy elements other than the framing story and elements of the wider Whoniverse. At the same time, I had the idea for the opening scene, and it’s more or less exactly as you read it in the finished book! It’s rare that ideas come so fully-formed so quickly, but it’s wonderful when they do. I intended The Danger Men to be a homage to James Bond, Jason Bourne, Mission: Impossible and the works of John Le Carre, spoofing some elements yet taking the story deadly seriously. For example, women are always throwing themselves at James Bond, and the same happens to Bill in this book, but, of course, because he’s a gent and loyal to Anne he cannot reciprocate, leading to complications and comedy.”
This is the first book in the range to focus primarily on Bill Bishop. Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explains that decision: “Ever since his first appearance in the first Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Bill has proven very popular with our readers. Up to now the books have been led by either the Brigadier or Anne, so the decision was made that, during this contained series of novels and under the steady hand of Nick Walters, we could take the risk of allowing one of our series-originated characters to take the lead. Bill was the only choice for that, really, easily being the most popular and the most connected to both the Brigadier and Anne – especially Anne, seeing as they got engaged during the course or the series and have been shown to be married by the 1990s. Of course, both the Brigadier and Anne make cameo appearances, and their presence is felt throughout. It is still every bit a Lethbridge-Stewart novel!”
Music has a large influence on The Danger Men, and Nick explains more: “The story arc title, The Laughing Gnome, was inspired by David Bowie, of course. It’s set in 1999 so there are a lot of references to contemporary pop, rock and indie, in chapter titles for example, and the naming of operations by Department M, which subverts the conventions of naming such things after works of high culture in Le Carre and Deighton novels. There is, however, one group, one very famous group spanning the ’80s and ’90s, who are still going now, who inspired the majority of the character names and references. Stella Van Steiner, Dieter Allegro, Otto Di Catania – I’ll let you guess who! We plan to do a soundtrack for the book, containing all the songs referenced therein, which should be available on Spotify soon. Such things as pop music references are great fun, of course, but only the icing on the cake. The Danger Men is, I hope, a fast-moving, thrilling, funny and sometimes alarming spy caper with loads of twists and turns. It’s also a study of identity – Bill has to take on various aliases in his mission, and the more he takes on the further he feels isolated from his true self. So, underneath all the fun is all this existential musing on the nature of existence.”
The cover is by Paul Cooke, returning for his second novel after providing the artwork for Nick Walters’ previous book, The Man from Yesterday. Paul says: “It was a very pleasant surprise to be asked back to do another cover for the series. When I read what the story was about, I was thrilled – it was a perfect opportunity do a cover influenced by some of the period film posters I enjoy. I was thinking I would approach this in a slightly different style to my last one, a bit more painterly. The only problem was not to make it too pulpy in look, which is when I hit upon the idea of the computer screen type, which immediately gave the piece a sense of time.”
2011 and Brigadier William Bishop visits his old commanding officer, Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, who is a little concerned about a garden gnome he recently found. Soon both Bishop and his wife, Anne Travers, find themselves dragged through time after the Brigadier…
He’s a man on a mission. But he has no idea what the mission is. It’s 1999. Bill Bishop is plunged into a world of intrigue as he inhabits the body of Calum Bence of Department M – aka the Danger Men – on the trail of millionaire entrepreneur and suspected super-spy Dieter Allegro.
But is Allegro really the bad guy he’s made out to be? And who is the mysterious Otto Di Catania, and why is he so interested in the contents of a certain CD-ROM?
As he seeks these answers, Bill can’t help but wonder: will he ever find Anne and the Brigadier, will he even return to 2011, or is he destined to be lost in time forever?
Join Bill in his borrowed body as he travels from Johannesburg to London to Torquay and Austria on his mission impenetrable…
The Laughing Gnome will continue in early 2019 with book four. The Day of the Matador, by Robert Mammone, sees our heroes reuniting in 1970s England dealing with gangsters and Dominators! This is followed by book five, Lucy Wilson and the Bledoe Cadets by Tim Gambrell, with On His Majesty’s National Service by David A McIntee following a month later.
NB: IF YOU HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION THE LAUGHING GNOME SERIES IS COVERED BY THIS.
The Laughing Gnome: The Danger Men is available for pre-order now for £8.99 (+ p&p). The book is due for release at the end of November.
The Brigadier, Benton and Liz Shaw Return!
When Tim Treloar and Katy Manning return as the Third Doctor and Jo Grant in The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five, they’ll be joining forces with three other iconic characters from 1970s Doctor Who.
In this new audio box set from Big Finish Productions made in association with BBC Studios, several friends of the Third Doctor will be returning for more Doctor Who adventures in this iconic science-fiction franchise.
Jon Culshaw takes on the role of UNIT commanding officer Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, a character appearing under licence from the Haisman Literary Estate.
After an extensive casting process, senior producer David Richardson and executive producer Nick Briggs finally remembered a conversation they’d had with Jon, when he told them the thing he’d most like to do for Big Finish would be to play the Brigadier.
‘After checking his rendition of the character in the BBC Audiobook of The Five Doctors, we just gave him the job!’ explains Nick. ‘It was a very tricky thing casting someone to do justice to Nicholas Courtney’s brilliant, original performance. Jon has done this with honour and love for what the splendid Mr Courtney did all those years ago.’
The Haisman Estate told us about bringing back the Brigadier for the Third Doctor Adventures. “We thrilled at the choice Big Finish have made. We’ve always admired Culshaw’s voice work, and in particular enjoyed his rendition of the Brigadier in The Five Doctors audiobook. We look forward to hearing the Brigadier returning to Big Finish in such a substantial way!”
Tim Treloar, who has portrayed the Third Doctor on audio since 2015, has been at the forefront of a new era of 70s audio Who treats.
“It’s been so rewarding to see how Doctor Who fans have embraced these new Third Doctor stories,” says David Richardson, producer of The Third Doctor Adventures. “We knew Tim’s performance (and it is a performance, not a mere impersonation) as the Third Doctor was extraordinary – and it’s clear that listeners feel the same way too.”
The two adventures in The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five will require the Third Doctor, all his companions AND the full might of UNIT to save planet Earth.
Primord by John Dorney
The Scream of Ghosts by Guy Adams
The Primords (from the Doctor Who TV story Inferno) interrupt the Doctor and Liz Shaw’s reunion, and become one of the fiercest tests of UNIT and the Doctor to date. And in the second, ‘ghostly’ adventure, the population of a village are apparently being spirited away in the oddest of manners.
Katy Manning (who plays Jo Grant) told us during recording what it was like to bring back these beloved characters: “It was a joy working with Jon Culshaw, and working with Tim has been so much fun, watching him become the Doctor more and more. But Jon came in and in an instant (and I won’t tell him how!) caught the Brigadier immediately!”
Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five will be released in May 2019, available for pre-order now at £25 on CD and £20 on download.
The Doctor Who Short Trips range will continue to be released every month during 2019 and 2020 at £2.99 on download from Big Finish Productions. Featuring new writing talent and a new producer, Alfie Shaw, these quick journeys in the TARDIS are a perfect introduction to Doctor Who on audio.
Also for the first time at Big Finish these new Short Trips will include adventures told from the perspective of the Twelfth Doctor, plus there are first time encounters for classic companions as we continue exploring the Doctor Who universe.
In the first Short Trips coming out in 2019, Leela will be meeting Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in a Fourth Doctor story. Then there’s a Twelfth Doctor (a first for Big Finish) historical tale that sees him meeting a female pioneer of literature, plus the Seventh Doctor – master strategist that he is – will be playing the most deadly game of all of his lives, and finally we’ll find out how the Doctor learnt Venusian Aikido!
The first Short Trips for release next year is:
The Revisionists by Andy Frankham-Allen
Guests at the Hôtel des Rois are being haunted by ancestors that never existed. The Brigadier was only in Geneva to finalise his retirement, but how could he resist? Investigating, the Brigadier quickly finds something unusual. A warrior in leathers. A warrior called Leela…
History is about to catch up with both of them. History that neither of them thinks is real.
Andy says: “Originally I wrote Leela’s sections in first person, knowing Louise Jameson would be narrating, but Alfie rightly suggested jumping from first to third person would confuse things with only one voice actor involved. I have spoken to Louise a few times in the past, and was aware of the kind of things she liked to explore with Leela, so I deliberately picked an aspect of Leela that would greatly appear to her. And it was, of course, a forgone conclusion that the story would explore the differences between the Doctor’s two warrior friends. And, for Lethbridge-Stewart fans, there’s a direct connection between the final chapters of The Laughing Gnome: Scary Monsters and this story.”
Short Trips is one of the many Doctor Who audio ranges produced by Big Finish. After four superb years of being produced by Ian Atkins, the reigns are now being handed over to a new producer, Alfie Shaw.
Alfies tells us more, “Joining Big Finish has been a dream come true. Growing up between the end of the classic series and the beginning of the new one, Doctor Who has always been, to me, a show on audio as much as it was a TV one. Not only did Big Finish provide new stories for a show I love, but introduced me to new favourites, such as The Prisoner, Jago & Litefoot and Survivors.
“It’s a privilege to be producing new Doctor Who adventures for Big Finish and David, Ian and Nick have all been so supportive and made me feel very welcome.”
“Doctor Who on audio is Doctor Who unchained. As a TV show, its storytelling ambitions have, at times, exceeded its budget or the technology available. On audio, there’s none of that. The walls don’t wobble unless you want them to! The sound designers and composers are uniformly fantastic and do such wonderful, evocative work that really highlights how a show like Doctor Who naturally lends itself to audio.”
“Short Trips is a range that succinctly showcases the inherent flexibility of the format of Doctor Who. From comedic stories to heart-breaking character studies to more action orientated pieces, and from the First Doctor to the Twelfth, there really is something for everyone! All of writers, whether returning or new, have created beautiful scripts and I’m looking forward to getting them out to the listeners.