Big Finish doesn’t complain enough. Personally, I’d like to see the likes of Nick Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery do a lot more moaning and hollering when it comes to the job that they do.
We are all lucky enough to live in the “Golden Age” of Doctor Who, not only do we have new television episodes each year but we’re also treated to three official magazines a month, countless novels, comics by IDW, toys and figurines, dioramas, posters, clothing and last but very, very not least- a monthly range of audio adventures featuring Doctors, companions and enemies from the show’s initial 26 year run and the TV movie.
Big Finish is very important in the world of Doctor Who, during the wilderness years it was one of the organisations that kept the dream of the show alive and introduced the whole world to a more sophisticated idea and take on the show.
The novels and the official Doctor Who Magazine did more than their fair share as well but it was back in the summer of 1999 when Sirens of Time was released that people started to get really excited again. To hear Doctors Five, Six and Seven altogether for the first time was nothing less than a Big Event.
As if that’s not enough, we then get the Daleks back in their first original (and enjoyable) story in over a decade, facing off against the Seventh Doctor in The Genocide Machine. The moment that Dalek “heartbeat” within their control started up, it sent a tingle down the spine of many a Who fan. And it was the first time that the Dalek voice started to give continuity to the creatures as well, Nicholas Briggs providing what is surely the ultimate in ring modulation.
During subsequent Dalek adventures, the Daleks finally sounded uniform, something that had been missing in their television adventures. It was so good that Briggs was eventually drafted to voice the metal menaces when the show came back in 2005.
Some Big Finish audios have even been converted into episodes for the new series. Rob Shearman created his episode Dalek from his Big Finish story Jubilee, Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel gives thanks to the Marc Platt Big Finish play Spare Parts. Relatively small time actor (at the time) David Tennant appeared in a fair few adventures as a guest star before signing up to become the tenth Doctor.
New series writers including Paul Cornell and Mark Gatiss have written several Big Finish audios before Doctor Who came back to our screens not just because of their general talents but also because the company had faith that they would produce good scripts and boy were they right.
Big Finish took the weight of the world on their shoulders and did it all with a beaming smile. Locking down contracts and scripts, getting all the actors involved with the productions (big names as well, some seemingly impossible!) and dedicating recording time to produce quality Doctor Who adventures for us each month.
Let’s remember as well, before we had story arcs and event episodes, Big Finish had signed Paul McGann up to recreate his role as the eighth Doctor and came up with one of the best season of adventures culminating in the fortieth anniversary epic Zagreus, a gargantuan effort for the production team, the writers and the actors.
And yet after all of this and all of these years, it seems that the company still aren’t as recognised as they should be. But do they ever moan? Do they ever stamp their feet? No, instead they produce amazing stories and continue to push the boundaries in what they can achieve. Finally signing up Janet Fielding to recreate her role as Tegan? No problems. New stories for old companions? Easy! Signing up Tom Baker to play the Fourth Doctor? Finally!
Here’s what to do: visit Big Finish today and purchase one of their stories. They aren’t pricey and they’re certainly worth it. Need some help deciding? Try starting with Invaders from Mars or Spare Parts or The One Doctor or Project: Twilight or Seasons of Fear or Legend of the Cybermen or…well, the list could go on and on but check them out if you haven’t, this is where twenty first century Doctor Who really began.
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