BBC Books

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BBC Books
BBC Books logo
Parent company Penguin Random House
BBC Studios
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon
Publication types Books
Official website

BBC Books (also formerly known as BBC Publishing) is an imprint majority-owned and managed by Penguin Random House through its Ebury Publishing division. The minority shareholder is BBC Studios, the commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The imprint has been active since the 1980s.


BBC Books publishes a range of books connected to BBC radio and television programming, including cookery, natural history, lifestyle, and behind the scenes "making-of" books. There are also some non-programme related biographies and autobiographies of various well-known personalities in its list.

Amongst BBC Books' best known titles are cookery books by former TV cook Delia Smith, wildlife titles by Sir David Attenborough and gardening titles by Alan Titchmarsh. In the BBC Publishing days, it turned down The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , [1] a book which has now sold over 14,000,000 copies worldwide.

Doctor Who

Since 1996, BBC Books has also produced a range of tie-in novels connected to the television science-fiction series Doctor Who , the only full-length fiction to be printed by the company. Their first release related to the series was a novelisation of the 1996 Doctor Who telemovie published in the spring of 1996. Then, in 1997, BBC Books launched two concurrent series of books, the Eighth Doctor Adventures (EDA) (featuring the then-current incarnation of the Doctor), and the Past Doctor Adventures (PDA), featuring the seven previous incarnations. Between 1997 and 2005 approximately 150 original novels were published for both lines, combined. BBC Books also launched a short-lived line of Doctor Who-related short story collections called Short Trips; Big Finish Productions later obtained the rights to publish the Short Trips books and that series continues as of 2010.

In 2005, BBC Books began to phase out the EDA and PDA lines as it launched a new series of books (informally dubbed the New Series Adventures) based upon the newly revived television series. Featuring the Ninth Doctor, the new books were published in hardback (as opposed to the EDA, PDA and Short Trips lines that were exclusively paperback releases). The Eighth Doctor line was discontinued during the summer of 2005, followed by the final Past Doctor Adventure in November. Beginning in 2006, BBC Books continued the New Series Adventures, now featuring the Tenth Doctor, with no word (as of September 2009) whether any more Past Doctor Adventures are planned. The books continue to be published in hardback, with the exception of four novellas, I Am a Dalek , Made of Steel , Revenge of the Judoon and Code of the Krillitanes , which are paperback releases under a series called Quick Reads. The 4th novella still featured the tenth doctor David Tennant, even though the eleventh has made his TV appearance.

In January 2007, BBC Books launched a new line of original novels based upon the Doctor Who spin-off series, Torchwood . These books are also being published exclusively in hardcover and, like the TV series itself, are aimed at an older audience.

In May 2008, BBC Books issued its first original made-for-audio Doctor Who adventure, Pest Control, which was released as part of the Tenth Doctor Adventures line and read by David Tennant. The Audiobook of the Year 2010 was a Tenth Doctor adventure called Dead Air by James Goss and read by David Tennant.

Being Human

In 2010, a series of three Being Human novels were published by BBC Books. These novels describe the adventures of the three main characters Annie Sawyer, George Sands and John Mitchell of the BBC Three television series Being Human and are written by Simon Guerrier, Mark Michalowski and James Goss. [2] [3] All novels were also released as audiobooks. The Road was read by Lenora Crichlow, Chasers by Russell Tovey and Bad Blood by Lucy Gaskell.

New ownership

In 2006, the Ebury Publishing division of Random House acquired a majority shareholding in BBC Books. [4]

Sherlock Holmes

In 2011, BBC Books launched a publishing programme around BAFTA-winning TV series, Sherlock, which was inspired by the adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes. The titles will each feature the show's branding and introductions by key members of the Sherlock team, including co-founders Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. [5]

The first title, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock: A Study in Scarlet , with an introduction by Steven Moffat was released on 15 September 2011. [6] Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , with an introduction by Mark Gatiss, followed on 27 October 2011. [7]

Three books Sherlock: Sign of Four, Sherlock: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock: The Hound of the Baskervilles with introductions by Martin Freeman, Steve Thompson and Benedict Cumberbatch were released on 29 March 2012. [8] [9] [10]

In autumn 2012, BBC Books has published Sherlock: The Casebook as a hardback gift guide, revisiting all the mysteries solved throughout the TV series. [5]

Related Research Articles

<i>The Hound of the Baskervilles</i> Crime novel by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the four crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound of supernatural origin. Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson investigate the case. This was the first appearance of Holmes since his apparent death in "The Final Problem", and the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles led to the character's eventual revival.

The Baker Street Irregulars are fictional characters who appear in three Sherlock Holmes stories, specifically two novels and one short story, by Arthur Conan Doyle. They are street boys who are employed by Holmes as intelligence agents. The name has subsequently been adopted by other organizations, most notably a prestigious and exclusive literary society founded in the United States by Christopher Morley in 1934.

Mycroft Holmes

Mycroft Holmes is a fictional character appearing in stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The elder brother of detective Sherlock Holmes, he is a government official and a founding member of the Diogenes Club. Mycroft is described as having abilities of deduction and knowledge exceeding even those of his brother, though their practical use is limited by his dislike of fieldwork.

<i>The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes</i> Collection of short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, first published on 14 October 1892. It contains the earliest short stories featuring the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, which had been published in twelve monthly issues of The Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. The stories are collected in the same sequence, which is not supported by any fictional chronology. The only characters common to all twelve are Holmes and Dr. Watson and all are related in first-person narrative from Watson's point of view.

Inspector Lestrade Fictional character from Sherlock Holmes

Inspector G. Lestrade, or Mr. Lestrade, is a fictional character appearing in several of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Lestrade's first appearance was in the first Sherlock Holmes story, the novel A Study in Scarlet, which was published in 1887. The last story in which he appears is the short story "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs", which was first published in 1924 and was included in the last collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.

Nicholas Briggs British actor (born 1961)

Nicholas Briggs is an English actor, writer, director, sound designer and composer. He is associated with the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who and its spin-offs, particularly as the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen in the 21st century series.

The New Series Adventures are a series of novels relating to the long-running BBC science fiction television series, Doctor Who. The 'NSAs', as they are often referred to, are published by BBC Books, and are regularly published twice a year. Beginning with the Tenth Doctor, a series of 'Quick Reads' have also been available, published once a year. With exception to the Quick Reads, all of the NSAs have been published in hardcover to begin with, and have been reprinted in paperback for boxed collections that are exclusive to The Book People and Tesco. Some of the reprints amend pictures of the companion of the novel from the cover. Some of the hardback editions have also been reprinted to amend pictures of Rose.

The stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were very popular as adaptations for the stage, and later film, and still later television. The four-volumes of the Universal Sherlock Holmes (1995) compiled by Ronald B. De Waal lists over 25,000 Holmes-related productions and products. They include the original writings, "together with the translations of these tales into sixty-three languages, plus Braille and shorthand, the writings about the Writings or higher criticism, writings about Sherlockians and their societies, memorials and memorabilia, games, puzzles and quizzes, phonograph records, audio and video tapes, compact discs, laser discs, ballets, films, musicals, operettas, oratorios, plays, radio and television programs, parodies and pastiches, children's books, cartoons, comics, and a multitude of other items — from advertisements to wine — that have accumulated throughout the world on the two most famous characters in literature."

Sherlock Holmes has long been a popular character for pastiche, Holmes-related work by authors and creators other than Arthur Conan Doyle. Their works can be grouped into four broad categories:

<i>The Hound of the Baskervilles</i> (1981 film)

The Hound of the Baskervilles(Russian: Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона: Собака Баскервилей), is a 1981 Soviet television film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1902 novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was the third installment in the TV series about adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

<i>Sherlock Holmes</i> (1954 TV series)

Sherlock Holmes was a detective television series syndicated in the autumn of 1954, based on the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. The 39 half-hour mostly original stories were produced by Sheldon Reynolds and filmed in France by Guild Films, starring Ronald Howard as Holmes and H. Marion Crawford as Watson. Archie Duncan appeared in many episodes as Inspector Lestrade. Richard Larke, billed as Kenneth Richards, played Sgt. Wilkins in about fifteen episodes. The series' associate producer, Nicole Milinaire, was one of the first women to attain a senior production role in a television series.

<i>The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson</i>

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is a series of Soviet television films portraying Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional English detective, starting in 1979. They were directed by Igor Maslennikov. In 2006, Vasily Livanov became an Honorary MBE for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

<i>Sherlock</i> (TV series) British crime drama television series

Sherlock is a British crime television series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. Thirteen episodes have been produced, with four three-part series airing from 2010 to 2017, and a special episode that aired on 1 January 2016. The series is set in the present day, while the one-off special features a Victorian period fantasy resembling the original Holmes stories. Sherlock is produced by the British network BBC, along with Hartswood Films, with Moffat, Gatiss, Sue Vertue and Rebecca Eaton serving as executive producers. The series is supported by the American station WGBH-TV Boston for its Masterpiece anthology series on PBS, where it also airs in the United States. The series is primarily filmed in Cardiff, Wales, with North Gower Street in London used for exterior shots of Holmes and Watson's 221B Baker Street residence.

Dr. Watson Fictional character, associate of Sherlock Holmes

John H. Watson, known as Dr. Watson, is a fictional character in the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Along with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson first appeared in the novel A Study in Scarlet (1887). The last work by Doyle featuring Watson and Holmes is the short story "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" (1927), though this is not the last story in the timeline of the series, which is "His Last Bow" (1917).

<i>The Sign of Four</i> (1983 film)

The Sign of Four is a 1983 British made-for-television mystery film directed by Desmond Davis and starring Ian Richardson and David Healy. The film is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1890 novel of the same name, the second novel to feature Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1982) is a British television serial made by the BBC, produced by Barry Letts, directed by Peter Duguid and starring Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes and Terence Rigby as Doctor Watson. The serial is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's 1902 Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. The music score was composed and conducted by Carl Davis.

From 1921 to 1923, Stoll Pictures produced a series of silent black-and-white films based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Forty-five short films and two feature-length films were produced featuring Eille Norwood in the role of Holmes and Hubert Willis cast as Dr. Watson with the exception of the final film, The Sign of Four, where Willis was replaced with Arthur Cullin. Consequently, Norwood holds the record for most appearances as Sherlock Holmes in film.

"The Empty Hearse" is the first episode of the third series of the BBC television series Sherlock. It was written by Mark Gatiss and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson, and Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes. It also marks the first appearance of Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan and Lars Mikkelsen as Charles Augustus Magnussen.

Michael Hardwick (1924-1991) was an English author who was best known for writing books and radio plays which featured Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation Sherlock Holmes. He adapted most of the episodes of the Sherlock Holmes 1952–1969 BBC radio series.


  1. Simpson, M. J. (2003). Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams (First US ed.). Justin Charles & Co. p. 131. ISBN   978-1-932112-17-7.
  2. Joanne Black (2011): Read all about it – the books. In: Joanne Black: A guide to being human [series 1-3]. Cambridge: Classic TV Press. P.432-433
  3. Debi Moore (7 January 2010). "BBC Books Publishing a Three-Novel Tie-In to Being Human". Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  4. The Random House Group acquires majority shareholding in BBC Books BBC Press Office. 22 June 2006
  5. 1 2 "BBC Books to develop series around TV's Sherlock | The Bookseller".
  6. ""Sherlock Holmes" Sherlock: A Study in Scarlett". BBC Shop. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012.
  7. ""Sherlock Holmes" Sherlock: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes". BBC Shop. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011.
  8. ""Sherlock Holmes" Sherlock: Sign of Four". BBC Shop. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012.
  9. ""Sherlock Holmes" Sherlock: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes". BBC Shop. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012.
  10. ""Sherlock Holmes" Sherlock: The Hound of the Baskervilles". BBC Shop. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012.