When I first learned that the BBC was bringing its massive ace down upon my favourite Time Lord, I was less than impressed. In what I considered to be one if Sylvester McCoy’s strongest seasons yet. Things for me were vastly improving. Such strong stories played their way through my humble TV including the Curse Of Fenric, Battlefield and the spooky eerie Ghost Light! Yet there it was the end of my adventures with the Time Lord.
However there was hope…a series of original novels starring the Seventh Doctor were published by Virgin. Some very dark stories helped take the series in a slightly different direction. Alas there was still an itch I needed to scratch, something was missing. Then in 1996 Doctor Who fans were treated to a new incarnation with a joint venture from the BBC and America. The Dr Who Movie was released starring Paul McGann and Eric Roberts. This was supposed to be a pilot for new beginning of Adventures in Time and space. I watched with baited breath. I left wanting more.
Then in 1999 I stumbled upon a company called Big Finish. They were reuniting some of the original Doctors for a series of new audio plays. Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester had signed up to carry on their adventures through time and space. I was sceptical at first. Unsure whether this would complete my yearning for more shenanigans with the Time Lord and his companions. So with a slight trepidation I purchased the first audio play: The Sirens Of Time.
It blew my mind… I couldn’t believe how they had so wonderfully managed to recreate one of my favourite TV shows and bring it back, albeit on audio. The way they used effects to conjure the story and whisk me away throughout time and space. My itch had finally been scratched.
I’ve been hooked ever since and seen the characters grow beyond the confines of my imagination. With some chilling stories and wonderful narratives, my favourite Time Lord was back with me. Big bold chances have also seen me grow fond of new companions including Hex and Lucy Miller. Old friends have returned such as Peri, Ace, and Tegan.
Joined by the Daleks and Cybermen once more, Big Finish have managed to recreate the classic adventures. I’m pleased to say they continue to do so today adding the wonderful Tom Baker’s incarnation to their list. Even Paul McGann’s eighth doctor has returned allowing the actor to really develop his version of the Time Lord; which has proven to provide some marvellous adventures. Unsure? Then I urge you to check out his adventure Zagreus a truly stunning adventure, breaking the mould.
Big Finish very rarely let me down, near constantly providing a strong narrative, allowing us to see different sides to the various incarnations of the Time Lord. Especially with Sylvester’s incarnation. In the last season shown on telly I caught a glimpse of a darker side to the Time Lord. Something which has evolved in the reboot. However Big Finish have masterfully highlighted this side of the Doctor, resulting in some very mature stories. Stories that have generally given an all-round shadier more developed setting, allowing us to see another side to the famous Time Lord. For instance one of my all-time favourite stories was called simply Master, based around one of the greatest foes of the Doctor. It sets up quite the shocker as it reminisces and unveils the duos friendship back on Gallifrey. It gave me a new insight into the Master and why he feels so cheated. Heck I even ended up feeling a little sorry for the guy.
Big Finish haven’t stopped there though, last year saw the return of Tom Baker, joined by Leela for more original adventures. Add this to the extensive plays based around new and old characters, spin off adventures based in the same Universe – there’s a wealth of choice for Dr Who fans the world over. Including the Gallifrey series, chronicling Romana’s reign as President.
Big Finish have done us fans proud and continue to do so, breathing new life into the classic Doctors. For this I salute the team behind them and may their reign of audio plays continue. If you love Dr Who and haven’t yet tried any audio books, then I urge you to try now. What have you got to lose? Who knows you might even get hooked like me.