Keith Topping

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Keith Topping
Topping, Keith.jpg
Keith Topping at a Doctor Who fan convention
Born Keith Andrew Topping
(1963-10-26) October 26, 1963 (age 50)
Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne
Nationality British
Occupation author, journalist and broadcaster

Keith Andrew Topping (born (1963-10-26)October 26, 1963 in Walker, Tyneside), is an author, journalist and broadcaster most closely associated with his work relating to the BBC Television series Doctor Who and for writing numerous official and unofficial guide books to a wide variety of television and film series, specifically Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

He is also the author of two books of rock music critique. To date, Topping has written more than 40 books.

Early life and background[edit]

Keith Topping's parents were Thomas Topping (1918–1991) and Lily Lamb (b. 1920) and he has two much older brothers, Terrence John (b. 1944) and Thomas Colin (b. 1948). Topping's family have Irish, Scottish, East Anglian (Snape, Suffolk, Great Yarmouth) and Cumbrian (Crosby-on-Eden) roots as well as North Eastern. He is a distant relative of the Morpeth landscape artist Thomas Bowman Garvie (1859–1944). Topping could be said to be following in a family tradition through his writing as his great- great-uncle was the Tyneside journalist and columnist Albert Elliott.

Topping attended Wharrier Street Infant and Junior school between 1968 and 1975 and Walker Comprehensive School between 1975 and 1982 leaving with an A' level in History and six O' levels.

He worked for the Civil Service as an Administrative Officer in the, then, Department of Employment between 1983 and 2001 when he left to pursue a full-time freelance writing career.


One of the leading players in British Doctor Who fandom's fan-fiction movement during the 1980s, Topping's first published fiction was the BBC Books "Past Doctor Adventure" The Devil Goblins from Neptune in 1997. The novel was co-written with his friend and frequent collaborator Martin Day.

The pair quickly followed this up with the acclaimed novel The Hollow Men in 1998.

Following Day's move into TV scripting, Topping wrote the novels The King of Terror (2000) and Byzantium! (2001) solo. The latter novel is the only BBC Books Past Doctor Adventure to be set entirely within one episode of the television series Doctor Who — 1965's The Romans by Dennis Spooner.

Topping also wrote the Telos Doctor Who novella Ghost Ship which was published in 2002 and proved so popular that it was one of only two novellas reissued as a paperback edition in 2003.

As well as writing fiction, Topping has also authored numerous programme guides to television series as diverse as The X Files, The Avengers, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Sweeney and The Professionals. These were all published by Virgin Books, and co-written with Martin Day and Paul Cornell.

Cornell, Day and Topping also collaborated on the Doctor Who Discontinuity Guide, published by Virgin Books in 1995 and re-issued, in the US, by MonkeyBrain Books in 2004, a lighthearted guide to the mistakes and incongruities of the television series.

The trio had first worked together co-writing two editions of The Guinness Book of Classic British Television (1993 and 1996 respectively).

Subsequently, Topping wrote The Complete Slayer: An Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Every Episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a number of related texts on this popular series as well as guide books to The West Wing (Inside Bartlet's White House), Angel (Hollywood Vampire), 24 (A Day in the Life) and Stargate SG-1 (Beyond the Gate), amongst others. According to the 2003 book Slayer Slang by Michael Adams (Oxford University Press), Topping was the originator of the word 'vampiry' (adj. "exhibiting features of a vampire") in the January 2000 edition of his book Slayer (pg. 26).

In addition, Topping has been a regular contributor of articles and reviews to several TV and genre titles including TV Zone, Xposé and Shivers and is a former Contributing Editor of Dreamwatch. He also worked as Project Consultant on Charmed: The Complete DVD Collection.

On radio, Topping was the Producer/Presenter of the monthly Book Club (2005–2007) and co-presented a daily television review slot, Keith Telly Topping's Top TV Tips, Monday to Friday, on The Simon Logan Show for BBC Newcastle (2006-2012).

He has also contributed to the BBC television series' I Love the '70s, Call The Cops and The Perfect Detective and has written for Sounds, the Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times Culture Supplement and many other magazines and periodicals.

Topping writes, and occasionally performs, stand-up comedy, co-authoring with Alfie Joey and Mark Deeks the comedy musical 'Monopolise', which had its début at the 2011 Liverpool Comedy Festival and was also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and, in a touring production in late 2011. He has written radio comedy sketches and a TV pilot (with Martin Day) that is, currently, stuck in “Development Hell.”

Topping continues to live and work on Tyneside. He achieved a lifetimes ambition in 2005 when his book on The Beatles, Do You Want to Know a Secret was published by Virgin Books.


Short stories[edit]

  • In the Midst of Life We Are in Death, Et Cetera (in Drabble Who, Beccon Publications, 1993, ISBN 1-870824-21-0)
  • Chain Male (in Perfect Timing. Privately Printed, 1998)
  • Disturbance at the Heron House (in Missing Pieces, Gallifrey Publishing, 2001)
  • Skulduggery? (co-written with Suzanne M Campagna, in Lifedeath, Ambrosia Press, 2001).
  • Prisoner of Conscience. To be published in 2007.[dated info]

External links[edit]