Peter Haining
Born(1940-04-02)2 April 1940
Enfield, Middlesex
Died19 November 2007(2007-11-19) (aged 67)

Peter Alexander Haining (2 April 1940 – 19 November 2007)[1][2] was a British journalist, author and anthologist who lived and worked in Suffolk.


Born in Enfield, Middlesex, Haining began his career as a reporter in Essex and then moved to London where he worked on a trade magazine before joining the publishing house of New English Library in 1963.[3] He achieved the position of Editorial Director before becoming a full-time writer in the early 1970s.

He edited a large number of anthologies, predominantly of horror and fantasy short stories, wrote non-fiction books on a variety of topics from the Channel Tunnel to Sweeney Todd and also used the pen names "Ric Alexander" and "Richard Peyton" on a number of crime story anthologies. In the 1970s he wrote three novels, including The Hero (1973), which was optioned for filming.

In two controversial books,[4][5] Haining argued that Sweeney Todd was a real historical figure who committed his crimes around 1800, was tried in December 1801, and was hanged in January 1802. However, other researchers who have tried to verify his citations find nothing in these sources to back Haining's claims.[6][7][8] Strong reservations have also been expressed regarding the reliability of another of Haining's influential non-fiction works, The Legend and Bizarre Crimes of Spring Heeled Jack.[9]

He wrote several reference books on the BBC TV programme Doctor Who, including the 20th anniversary special Doctor Who: A Celebration Two Decades Through Time and Space (1983), and also wrote the definitive study of Sherlock Holmes on the screen, The Television Sherlock Holmes (1991) and several other television tie-ins featuring famous literary characters, including Maigret, Poirot, Dr. Finlay and James Bond. Peter Haining's most recent project was a series of World War Two stories based on extensive research and personal interviews: The Jail That Went To Sea (2003), The Mystery of Rommel's Gold (2004), Where The Eagle Landed (2004), The Chianti Raiders (2005) and The Banzai Hunters (2007).

He won the British Fantasy Awards Karl Edward Wagner Award in 2001.[10]

Partial bibliography

Peter Haining contributed to over 170 books, editing the vast majority, a few of which are listed here.

In popular culture

In Lucio Fulci's film Don't Torture a Duckling, at 1:42:32 in the film, one of the characters (Andrea Martelli) is seen reading the book "I Classici della Magia Nera" ("Classics of Black Magic") edited by Peter Haining, which actually belongs to the character Patrizia. This is an Italian translation of Haining's anthology The Satanists.


  1. ^ "Deaths: Sidney Coleman, Peter Haining". Locus Online. Locus Publications. 20 November 2007. Archived from the original on 2 March 2005. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  2. ^ Hawtree, Christopher (5 December 2007). "Obituary: Peter Haining - Prolific writer and editor who delighted in horror and crime". Guardian Unlimited (UK). Retrieved 27 December 2007.
  3. ^ Hawtree, Christopher (5 December 2007). "Obituary: Peter Haining". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Haining, Peter (1979). The Mystery and Horrible Murders of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. F. Muller. ISBN 0-584-10425-1.
  5. ^ Haining, Peter (1993). Sweeney Todd: The real story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Boxtree. ISBN 1-85283-442-0.
  6. ^ "Man or myth? The making of Sweeney Todd" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2006.
  7. ^ Duff, Oliver (3 January 2006). "Sweeney Todd: fact or fiction?". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 5 January 2006. Retrieved 15 November 2006. (Full text Archived 14 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine)
  8. ^ "True or False?". Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert. KQED. 2001. Retrieved 15 November 2006.
  9. ^ Mike Dash, "Spring-heeled Jack," in "Fortean Studies volume 3" (1996), pp. 1-125, ed. Steve Moore, John Brown Publishing
  10. ^ "British Fantasy Awards Winners By Year". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus Publications. Archived from the original on 24 April 2002. Retrieved 21 November 2007.