Stephen Cole (writer)

Stephen Cole (writer)

Stephen Cole (born 1971)[1] is an author of children's books and science fiction. He was also in charge of BBC Worldwide's merchandising of the BBC Television series Doctor Who between 1997 and 1999: this was a role which found him deciding on which stories should be released on video, commissioning and editing a range of fiction and non-fiction titles, producing audiobooks and acting as executive producer on the Big Finish Productions range of Doctor Who audio dramas.


Early career

Cole was brought up in rural Bedfordshire. He attended the University of East Anglia 1989-92 where he read English Literature and Film Studies, graduating his BA course with first class honours. After a brief stint working in local radio with BBC Radio Bedfordshire (now Three Counties) he became a junior assistant at BBC Children's Magazines in 1993. By 1996 he was Group Editor, Pre-School Magazines, managing a team and overseeing the production of various magazines and special editions. In summer 1996 he wrote his first children's books: Cars on Mars, Alien Olympics, School on Saturn and Mucky Martians, a collection of pop-up poem books published by Levinson the following year.[2]

Cole's counterpart in BBC Children's Books was Nuala Buffini two floors above, and the two often met for lunch and meetings. Cole's curiosity was piqued when he learned BBC Books were taking back the rights to publish Doctor Who fiction in the wake of the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie – and that Buffini would be commissioning for a new range of Eighth Doctor Adventures and Past Doctor Adventures until a dedicated staff member was recruited. Buffini was soon swamped with novel submissions and Cole's involvement with the range began with reading the slush pile. Having been a fan of Doctor Who all his life, when the position of Project Editor, Sci-Fi Titles was advertised, Cole applied and was successful.

Buffini had commissioned the first six books in the Eighth Doctor Adventures range, although one of these — Legacy of the Daleks — was held back for publication later on in the range to prevent two Dalek stories being published in consecutive months. This means that the first novel commissioned by Cole was actually the sixth published, Lawrence Miles' Alien Bodies. Cole also edited the BBC's Short Trips short story collections, for which he began to write under the pseudonyms of "Tara Samms" and "Paul Grice". He has since published other work under these pen-names, including the 2003 Doctor Who novella Frayed, part of a series published by Telos Publishing Ltd. He has also written several short stories and audio plays for Big Finish Productions. A clue to Samm's true identity can be found in the "About the author" section at the end of Frayed in which the author's insomniac dog is described with the enigmatic phrase "he slept once" — an anagram of "Stephen Cole".

In addition to the books he also commissioned and abridged stories for inclusion on various Doctor Who talking books and selected TV stories to be released on home video.

Moving on

Worn down by the grind of commissioning and editing 22 80,000 word novels per year as well as producing nonfiction titles, audiobooks and videos, Cole shifted roles in the Children's department to become Special Development Editor in 1999, commissioning and writing children's books tying in to series such as Walking With Dinosaurs and Microsoap. He retained responsibility for certain of the Doctor Who novels on a freelance basis before passing them to the care of author-editor Justin Richards.

Leaving BBC Worldwide in October 1999 Cole moved to be Managing Editor for Ladybird Books. But while he continued to write TV and film tie-ins he missed involvement with fiction. After a stint as senior editor at Simon and Schuster Children's Books (where he commissioned books from Who writers Paul Magrs and Justin Richards) he went freelance in 2002, editing fewer books in favour of writing more of his own. Cole's first original fiction was a series called The Wereling,[3] a trilogy of young adult horror books published by Bloomsbury. He followed this up with a further trilogy detailing the adventures of misfit criminal teen genius Jonah Wish and his friends – Thieves Like Us, Thieves Till We Die (also released as The Aztec Code) and The Bloodline Cipher. He has also written several more Doctor Who titles, including four tying in with the new series.

Astrosaurs and beyond

Cole's most successful titles to date are the Astrosaurs children's books, published under the name Steve Cole. The first two titles were published 3 February 2005. So far there are twelve Astrosaurs books available including a special edition book written especially for World Book Day 2007 (published 1 March 2007) with further titles to follow. Astrosaurs was followed up by the series Cows In Action (first two titles published 3 May 2007). There are four Cows In Action books published to date with the fifth due to be published on 5 June 2008 and further titles to follow. An Astrosaurs spin-off series, Astrosaurs Academy, begins in May 2008.

Partial bibliography

Astrosaurs books

  • Riddle of the Raptors, published - 1 February 2005
  • The Hatching Horror, published - 1 February 2005
  • The Seas of Doom, published - 5 May 2005
  • The Mind-Swap Menace, published - 4 August 2005
  • The Skies of fear, published - 5 January 2006
  • The Space Ghosts, published - 2 March 2006
  • The Day of the Dino Droids, published - 1 June 2006
  • The Terror Bird Trap, published - 3 August 2006
  • The Teeth of the T-Rex, published - 1 March 2007
  • The Planet of Peril, published - 5 April 2007
  • The Star Pirates, published - 7 June 2007
  • The Claws of Christmas, published - 4 October 2007
  • The Sun Snatchers, published - 7 February 2008
  • The Revenge of The Fang, published- 7 August 2008
  • The Carnivore Curse, published- 1 January 2009
  • the Dreams of Dred
  • The Robot Raiders published 28 January 2010
  • The Twist of Time published 29th April 2010
  • The Sabre Tooth Secret published 3 February 2011
  • The Forest of Evil published 4th August 2011
  • Earth Attack! published 6 October 2011
  • Steve Cole has also written a series on Tegg's training - see Astrosaurs Academy

Cows in Action books

  • The Ter-moo-nators – 3 May 2007
  • The Moo-my's Curse – 3 May 2007
  • The Roman Moo-stery – 6 September 2007
  • The Wild West Moo-nster – 4 January 2008
  • World War Moo- 7 August 2008
  • Battle for Christ-moos- 4 September 2008
  • The Pirate Mootiny- 2 April 2009
  • The Moo-gic of Merlin 6 August 2009
  • The Victorian Moo-ders- 1 January 2010
  • The Moo-Limpics- 4 October 2010
  • First Cows on the Mooon 2 June 2011
  • The Viking Emoo-gency 2 February 2012

Astrosaurs Academy

  • Destination: Danger! – 1 May 2008
  • Contest Carnage – 1 May 2008
  • Terror Underground – 4 September 2008
  • Jungle Horror – 5 February 2009
  • Deadly Drama- 2 July 2009
  • Christmas Crisis- 1 October 2009
  • Volcano Invaders!- 1 April 2010
  • Space Kidnap - 3 March 2011

The Slime Squad

  • The Slime Squad vs The Toxic Teeth
  • The Slime Squad vs The Fearsome Fists
  • The Slime Squad vs The Cyber Poos
  • The Slime Squad vs The Supernatural Squid
  • The Slime Squad vs The Killer Socks
  • The Slime Squad vs The Last Chance Chiken
  • The Slime Squad vs The Alligator Army

Z Rex Trilogy

  • Z Rex
  • Z Raptor
  • Z Apocalypse


  • Tripwire
  • Tripwire DEATHWING

Partial bibliography - other stories

Young Adult fiction

There is also 'Thieves Till We Die' however that is the same as the 'Aztec Code' just a different title and cover.

Doctor Who novels

Miscellaneous TV tie-in children's books

  • The Adventures of Mr. Bean: Bear Essentials 2002
  • The Adventures of Mr. Bean: No Pets! 2002
  • Sea Captain Ned 2004
  • The Thirsty Penguin 2004
  • Josie's Big Jump 2004

Bernice Summerfield Novels for Big Finish

Doctor Who plays for Big Finish

Other plays for Big Finish


  1. ^ Author biography
  2. ^ Steve Cole biography
  3. ^ The Wereling publisher website

External links

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