The Writer’s Tale

In 2008, BBC Books published Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale, comprising my in-depth e-mail correspondence with Doctor Who‘s head writer and executive producer Russell T Davies, spanning February 2007 to March 2008, during preparation and production of the show’s fourth series. The book also contains hundreds of photos, illustrations and script excerpts, and a foreword by Philip Pullman, writer of the His Dark Materials trilogy. You can read my introduction to The Writer’s Tale here.

The book was serialised in The Times on 16 and 17 September 2008, and published later that month. It did rather well. Check out the The Writer’s Tale reviews page of this site. Richard and Judy, the couple credited with revolutionising the reading habits of Britons, selected The Writer’s Tale for their 2008 Christmas Presents book strand – in the Serious Non-Fiction category – as part of their prestigious Richard & Judy Book Club. The book was also shortlisted for a 2009 British Fantasy Award, in the Best Non-Fiction category. Inspired by The Writer’s Tale, Charlie Brooker devoted an edition of his BBC Four show Screenwipe entirely to interviews with TV writers. Here is a clip:

A second edition of The Writer’s Tale, subtitled The Final Chapter (read my introduction to the Final Chapter here), was published in 2010. It added more than 300 pages of new material, updating my correspondence with Russell to September 2009, to cover his final year on Doctor Who, taking in David Tennant’s swansong episodes as the Doctor. Critical reception was, once again, really positive (see the reviews page).

If you’re hungry for more, there’s an official Writer’s Tale website,, where you can read further extracts, download scripts to all the TV episodes discussed in the books, and browse photos from the UK signing tour that Russell and I embarked on in 2008. Also, for an excellent Writer’s Tale tribute/parody, visit online fanzine Planet of the Ming Mongs (pages 10-11, 20-21, 34-35)… but don’t tell them I sent you.