Author Talk: Andrew Cartmel

As we discuss Winter for the Adept in Audio Club, it seems a good time to have thread to discuss the work of it’s writer Andrew Cartmel.

An important, guiding influence as script editor in Doctor Who’s final days in the 80s, Cartmel was - for a long time - defined by his apparent legacy: ‘the Cartmel Masterplan’. Although, nowadays, he denies there were any clear directions he planned on taking the show, his editorship highly influenced the Virgin New Adventures, with Cartmel penning a loose trilogy of them himself - Warhead, Warlock and Warchild.

He also wrote the novella Foreign Devils and contributed three stories to Big Finish’s Lost Stories range - ostensibly from the abandoned Season 27 - Crime of the Century, Animal and Earth Aid.

Of late, Cartmel has been vocal about his time on the show revisiting it quite often on Toby Hadoke’s podcast and also having published a book about his time as script editor on the show - Script Doctor.


Caramel actually also wrote a fair number of comic stories too.


I’ve long been a fan of Cartmel’s era as script editor, since the McCoy era is probably forever my favorite TV era (also kinda tied with the Hartnell era), and was consequently looking forward to reading his novels. His first one, Warhead, i think is mostly pretty damn genius. Less so his later two VNAs, especially Warlock, which actively made me uncomfortable on a couple levels despite also having some really good writing in it, and consequently turned some bits in Warhead which I’d taken for typical misguided VNA edginess into things that make me look at Cartmel differently and less favorably as a person.


Has anyone else read this?

I found it a tricky read as I thought Cartmel came across as rather arrogant in it.

It’s odd because I’ve enjoyed his contributions to Toby Hadoke’s podcast where he seems much more reflective on his time and open to different things being pointed out to him but I found his ‘book persona’ unlikeable (and I didn’t particularly like his prose style either).


I have read it and would agree that his book persona isn’t that likeable. I met the man himself in the late nineties and had a brief chat. He came across as the complete reverse: quiet, self-effacing and quite likeable.