|This article is written from the Real World point of view.|
BBC Books was the book publishing arm of BBC Enterprises/Worldwide from the 1980s until 2006. In that year, it was sold to the Ebury Publishing division of Random House. It published a wide range of non-fiction books based on many BBC properties, but its only long-form fictional output was related to Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Though BBC Worldwide is now only a minority shareholder, its brand identity survives through its prominent logo on book covers.
BBC Books' association with Doctor Who began in 1996 when it obtained the rights to publish a novelisation of the 1996 TV movie. At this time, however, Virgin Publishing had the licence to publish original and adapted Doctor Who fiction, a licence it inherited when it took over Target Books in the 1980s. Following the publication of the telefilm novelisation, however, it was announced that Virgin's licence to publish Doctor Who fiction would end in 1997. Thereafter, Virgin continued to publish Doctor Who-related works for several more years, although its writers were constrained from using characters and concepts that had originated on television. Consequently, Virgin stopped featuring the Doctor and concentrated instead on exploring the Bernice Summerfield character they had created.
In 1997, BBC Books launched two lines of books: the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures (EDA), featuring new adventures with the Eighth Doctor (the equivalent of Virgin's New Adventures line, which in turn switched to focusing on the character of Bernice Summerfield), and a second line, the Past Doctor Adventures (PDA), which chronicled the adventures of the first seven incarnations of the Doctor, much as Virgin's now-defunct Missing Adventures line had.
The first EDA to be published by BBC Books was Terrance Dicks' The Eight Doctors, whilst the first PDA was Keith Topping and Martin Day's The Devil Goblins from Neptune. Many authors who had contributed to Virgin's novels continued to write for BBC Books; initially the NA and MA continuities were discounted, but over time the lines became blurred in that regard.
BBC Books subsequently adapted another Virgin concept when it launched Short Trips, a series of short story collections featuring all eight Doctors, akin to Virgin's Decalog line. Only three volumes of Short Trips were published before BBC Books ceded the line to Big Finish Productions.
Between 1997 and 2005 more than 100 original novels were published by BBC Books under the EDA and PDA range. Also published during this time was a novelisation of the webcast Scream of the Shalka. BBC Books also began publishing non-fiction books based upon the franchise, such as a collection of scripts from the Tom Baker era.
With the return of Doctor Who to television in 2005, BBC Books decided to retire the EDA and PDA lines and move into a new venue of publishing: shorter, hardcover books, based upon the adventures of the new Ninth Doctor. The unnamed line, which has subsequently come to be known as the New Series Adventures, debuted several months before the EDA and PDA series ceased publication. In 2006, the New Series Adventures began featuring only the Tenth Doctor, as well as launching an annual series of paperback novellas, Quick Reads, and original novels based upon Torchwood. In 2008 BBC Books partnered with BBC Audio to release original stories for audio, read and performed by series cast members. The first of these was Pest Control.
It is anticipated that a new line of novels based upon the Eleventh Doctor will be launched in 2010, and there is recurring speculation of the PDA line being revived (perhaps in the NDA/TDA/Torchwood format), but as of early 2009 neither has been confirmed.
BBC Books also publishes non-fiction and reference works based upon the series, including a collection of shooting scripts from the 2005 series, and in 2008 it published Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, a massive (512-page) collection of production-related e-mails by series executive producer Russell T Davies; an expanded paperback edition with an additional 300 pages of material is scheduled for publication in January 2010.