Candy Jar Books have announced that the release of Beast of Fang Rock had been delayed by a week. Publishing co-ordinator Hayley Cox says, “The books arrived on time, but unfortunately there was a problem with the printing and so we had to send them all back. Only the best produced product is sent out by Candy Jar Books, and so a small delay is unavoidable. Our apologies to all waiting on this new title, but be assured we hope to have the books sent out by October 29th!”
Beast of Fang Rock can still be pre-ordered direct from Candy Jar Books for the reduced price of £7.99 (plus p+p). Pre-orders will receive a free pdf-only short story, The Cult of the Grinning Man.
“The one with the lighthouse…” That’s how most people remember Horror of Fang Rock, the Doctor Who story first transmitted in 1977. It has gone on to be a classic, a fondly remembered story not only for fans, but for the general public as well. Including lighthouse keepers themselves!
Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart novel Beast of Fang Rock is the official prequel to the original television story, fully authorised by author Terrance Dicks. Eighty years prior to Horror of Fang Rock a beast is said to prowl the crags of Fang Rock, killing two keepers and driving one quite mad. What is the Beast? Where did it come from? Just was did happen in 1822? Finally the answers will be revealed.
Just as Horror of Fang Rock was a replacement script, so too is Beast of Fang Rock a replacement novel. But that is not the only way in which the two stories mirror each other. Author Andy Frankham-Allen explains: “Originally we had Terrance Dicks pegged to write this one later in the series, but when we lost a book in our first year a replacement was quickly needed; and so with Terrance’s approval I jumped on Beast of Fang Rock. The period setting of Beast is a deliberate echo of Horror. Three keepers stranded on the rock, hunted by something unknown and deadly. It was essential that I recreated that sense of claustrophobia, and so I developed a very similar dynamic, taking my cues from Terrance Dicks’ original script. Terrance is such an important part of Doctor Who’s history, indeed he’s had his hand in almost every piece of Doctor Who lore modern fans get to enjoy in the current series, that it was imperative his vision and ideals be honoured in this book.”
Not only is Beast of Fang Rock a prequel to Horror of Fang Rock, it is also a sequel, dealing with the fallout surrounding the mysterious happenings of 1902. It is set almost seventy years later, in the late 1960s, featuring hauntings, time travel, and the return of Anne Travers, last seen on television in 1968s The Web of Fear, who takes her place as co-lead in the novel series. “One of the main goals of this book,” says Candy Jar Books head of publishing Shaun Russell, “was to establish Anne Travers as a key player in the series. She had a cameo in the first book, The Forgotten Son, and a timey-wimey role in The Schizoid Earth, but this is the first book in which her part is essential to the plot. Indeed, in every way that matters, Beast of Fang Rock is Anne’s story. Doctor Who has a large female fan base, and it has always been our plan that our series has a strong female lead to whom all those fans can relate.”
Another key aspect of Beast of Fang Rock is the lighthouse. Hayley Cox, senior publishing coordinator at Candy Jar Books, says: “For centuries lighthouse have protected and saved many lives all over the world, keeping safe those who dare to battle against the ferocious elements of our world. Lighthouses feature so little in literature, and are often relegated to stories told by the older generation, but this book will hopefully remind today’s generation of the importance of the lighthouse. Not only in the past, but in today’s world. Andy has done a wonderful job of paying testament to these bastions of hope for the unwary traveller.”
Horror of Fang Rock was the opening story in Tom Baker’s fourth season as the Doctor, watched by 9.9 million viewers. It came about after author Terrance Dicks was asked for a new story to replace his script, The Vampire Mutations, which conflicted with the BBC’s prestigious dramatization of Dracula. Script editor Robert Holmes suggested Dicks write a story set on a lighthouse, even though, by his own admission, Dicks knew nothing about lighthouses. A veteran of television, with almost ten years involvement with Doctor Who under his belt, Dicks rose to the challenge and produced one of the most taught and claustrophobic scripts in Doctor Who’s history. Says Terrance Dicks, “I knew nothing about lighthouses. ‘Go and find out!’ said Bob. So I did. I soon became reconciled to the idea. A lighthouse is an isolated environment where your characters can be confined with no escape from danger. It was obvious that the menace had to come from the sea. I imagined a sort of giant jellyfish which made me think of the Rutans — the never before seen enemies of the Sontarans. The show was eventually produced and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Curiously, Horror of Fang Rock, a hastily contrived stop-gap in response to a crisis, has grown in prestige through the years. Some fans consider it my best work. Certainly it’s grimmer and darker than most Doctor Who, more akin to today’s Scandinavian dramas. The interest seems to have continued and perhaps some readers would like a further instalment. I’m sure this exciting book will fill the need.”
The making of the story was under threat by industrial action at BBC Television Centre, and the whole production had to move to the Pebble Mill Studios at Birmingham, turning the whole affair into something akin to a touring theatre troupe. Commuting was out of the question, and for weeks the cast and crew lived in each other’s pockets. These unexpected conditions led to the smoothing of relations between the series’ stars, Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, who had something of an initially fractious relationship. But with no escape, and tempers fraying, the two stars finally found a mutual respect and a very happy crew returned to London.
“Horror of Fang Rock has always been a favourite with the fans,” says Louise Jameson in her foreword to Beast of Fang Rock. “Part of the ‘recipe’ for a frightening yarn is to create something claustrophobic. And that feeling of climbing the stairs at night taps in to almost everyone’s personal childhood terror. Add the fog, the fear of being ‘jumped’ and you’re left with the stuff of nightmares. This book is hard to put down, and it’s marvellous, and very touching, that so many people are still connected to the classic series in a way I could never have predicted, even though I had the privilege of travelling through time.”
Horror of Fang Rock has maintained a healthy reputation among Doctor Who fandom for almost forty years, often being regarded as the best story of the fifteenth season, and one of the last great Tom Baker adventures. It was dark, moody, claustrophobic, helped no end by the period setting – period dramas being something the BBC has always excelled at. It is also one of those very rare Doctor Who stories in which nobody but the Doctor and companion survive. Seven supporting characters take part in the story, and all of them die by the end, through the gruesome altercation with the alien Rutan, the mortal enemy of popular Doctor Who monster the Sontarans.
That a sequel was never commissioned could be considered something of a surprise. Until now, thanks to Candy Jar Books and their Lethbridge-Stewart series of books.
Reveals the truth behind the Beast of Fang Rock (as mentioned in Horror of Fang Rock)!
Features the Rutans!
Brand new Doctor Who-inspired cover art by Colin Howard!
If you liked Day of the Daleks and Before the Flood, you’ll love this!
Sees the return of Lethbridge-Stewart’s nephew Owain!
Lethbridge-Stewart: Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen, due to be released on 23rd October. The book can be pre-ordered from Candy Jar Books.
Due to the unfortunate delay of The Schizoid Earth, Candy Jar Books have revised their release schedule for 2015. They have also released the covers for Beast of Fang Rock and Mutually Assured Domination and a revised cover for The Schizoid Earth.
David A McIntee says: ‘I’m sorry nobody’s had a chance to read the book yet. I had hoped to be able to finish it earlier than originally planned so that it could be brought forward somewhat. A family bereavement has negated that hope (my mother-in-law died a few weeks ago) leading to all the irritating practical and bureaucratic interruptions you might imagine. The book, however, is nearly finished and will be coming very soon.’
Hayley Cox, publishing co-ordinator at Candy Jar Books, says: ‘We are determined to not let this setback affect the rest of this year’s releases, and we are committed to getting four titles out by the end of 2015 as originally intended.’
The Schizoid Earth will now be released September 25th, and features a slightly revised cover incorporating new artwork by Adrian Salmon, who has provided art for Doctor Who Magazine and Big Finish Productions, among many others. It features a foreword by Amanda Haisman, daughter of Mervyn Haisman, co-creator of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. The Schizoid Earth serves as a prequel to the television story Inferno by Don Houghton and David A McIntee’s Doctor Who novel The Face of the Enemy.
Beast of Fang Rock will be released October 23rd, and features cover art by Colin Howard, who has provided artwork for Doctor Who Magazine, Red Dwarf and BBC Video, among many others.
Fang Rock has always had a bad reputation. Since 1955 the lighthouse has been out of commission, shut down because of fire that gutted the entire tower. But now, finally updated and fully renovated, the island and lighthouse is once again about to be brought back into service.
Students have gathered on Fang Rock to celebrate the opening of the ‘most haunted lighthouse of the British Isles’, but they get more than they bargained for when the ghosts of long-dead men return, accompanied by a falling star.
Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart is brought in to investigate what he believes to be signs of alien involvement. But it is not only Lethbridge-Stewart who has an interest in Fang Rock. Anne Travers is called to her family solicitor’s, who have in their possession a letter from Archibald Goff, the paranormal investigator who once visited Fang Rock back in the 1820s, and along with it a piece of alien technology.
What connects a shooting star, ghosts of men killed in 1902 and the beast that roamed Fang Rock in 1823? Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers are about to discover the answer first hand…
With a foreword by Louise Jameson, who played Leela, the Doctor’s companion from 1976-1978. Beast of Fang Rock is both a sequel and prequel to the 1977 Doctor Who story Horror of Fang Rock by Terrance Dicks.
The late ‘60s. Global power balances are shifting and the peace movement, preoccupied with the Vietnam War after the Tet offensive, has perhaps taken its eye off the nuclear ball.
Certain ‘outside interests’ take advantage of this situation and soon the world is poised on the brink of nuclear armageddon.
It’s up to Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart and uneasy ally journalist Harold Chorley to fight the forces of darkness and save the day.
Featuring the return of the Dominators and their weapons of mass destruction, the Quarks! Also features a forward by novelist and Doctor Who scriptwriter Paul Finch.
Pre-order The Schizoid Earth and Beast of Fang Rock direct from Candy Jar Books
Click covers to see larger size.