Penguin Random House Children’s will publish what is believed to be the first ever all-female authored Doctor Who collection of short stories, with input from writers Jenny Colgan, Dorothy Koomson, Scottish comedian Susan Calman and Doctor Who author Jacqueline Rayner.
It will be published in hardback on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2018 by PRH Children’s imprint BBC Children’s Books retailing at £12.99.
Designer Kelly Wagner has created the cover for the title which is aimed at primary school-aged and teenage readers “as well as Doctor Who fans of all ages and genders”.
The publication of The Day She Saved the Doctor also marks the year in which the role of the Doctor will be taken up by a female actor for the first time in the BBC series’ history. Jodie Whittaker will take over from Peter Capaldi’s in the upcoming Christmas special.
PRH editor Gabriella de Matteis bought world rights in all formats for all four stories from Jo Unwin of the Jo Unwin Literary Agency on behalf of Colgan, Vivienne Clore from the Vivienne Clore agency on Calman's behalf while Antony Harwood of the Antony Harwood Ltd literary agency represented Koomson. Rayner represented herself in the negotiations.
Ruth Knowles, publisher at PRH Children's, told The Bookseller: “As the publishers for Doctor Who in the UK, Penguin Random House imprints BBC Books and BBC Children’s Books have both previously published Doctor Who books by female writers. With the year of Jodie Whittaker’s doctor ahead of us, we wanted to create a special book to release on International Women’s Day, which for the first time brought together a group of female writers, alongside a cover design from a female artist."
She added: "Whether they’ve been watching "Doctor Who" for years or are tuning in for the first time in 2018, we’re confident that Doctor Who fans everywhere will be delighted by these tales.”
Calman, Colgan, Koomson and Rayner’s stories feature “fan-favourite companions” Clara, Rose, Bill and Sarah Jane respectively, as they “explore time and space, get into trouble, fight enemies with the Doctor and step in to save his life”.
It was revealed in July that BBC Books and PRH Children's had struck an exclusive two-series deal with BBC Worldwide to continue their line of Doctor Who publishing. The deal for global rights included all formats including non-fiction, fiction, activity, novelty, audio and the annual, which PRH said marked a "new era" for the franchise.
PRH children’s publisher, Ruth Knowles, added: “At this momentous time in Doctor Who’s history, with millions excitedly awaiting Jodie Whittaker’s arrival in the Tardis, we are thrilled to be publishing these four Doctor Who stories by such talented female authors.”
Calman revealed that she was “excited, delighted and honoured to contribute to this amazing book”. She added: “Doctor Who is one of my greatest passions in life and it’s a thrilling time for the show with the wonderful Jodie Whittaker about to take the helm.”
Colgan said: “It felt quite odd to be asked to write a story for Rose where she was the central character - Rose has always been absolutely central to Doctor Who for me, from the second she appeared, and I think the fans agree.”
Koomson described her “story is very much about accepting who you are, enjoying what you look like even if you don’t fit expected beauty aesthetics and always, always being yourself”. She said: "I think that’s a message a lot of young girls and women need to hear.”
Rayner said: “The Doctor’s assistants are often looked upon as being interchangeable sidekicks, just there to say ‘Why, Doctor?’, but that’s very far from the truth.
“It’s wonderful to be part of a project celebrating some of the strong women of Doctor Who.”
"Twice Upon a Time" will air on BBC One on 25th December, featuring the debut of new lead Whittaker, the series' first female Doctor.