Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Adventure from Big Finish

The longest running science fiction program on television, Doctor Who is possibly the most influential and ground-breaking series of its kind. Making advances in storytelling, electronic music and special effects on a budget best suited for a comic drama such as All in the Family or Party of Five, it forever changed what was possible with TV serial sci-fi. With stories set in the past, future, parallel dimensions and other worlds and realities, viewers watched the strange nameless adventurer known as the Doctor along with him triumph against any number of menaces that spat green goo from their rubber mouths.

Doctor Who_Frontios

The Doctor converses with the Gravis

Today, Doctor Who is still a cult series but it is enjoying an unparalleled popularity since its triumphant return in 2005.

But back in the day, it was this lot who pulled in the viewers and put down the paving stones that the BBC Wales Matt Smith series prances across (and knowingly so, if the inclusion of several references to the program’s past is any indication).

The initial cast from 'An Unearthly Child'

Doctor no. 1 (William Hartnell) with the initial cast from ‘An Unearthly Child’

Doctor No. 2 (Patrick Troughton) surrounded by monsters

Doctor no. 2 (Patrick Troughton) surrounded by monsters

Pertwee with monsters

Doctor no. 3 (Jon Pertwee) faces his foes in this publicity still

Doctor no. 4 (Tom Baker) with Daleks

Doctor no. 4 (Tom Baker) with Daleks


Doctor no. 5 (Peter Davison)

Colin Baker_Nicola Bryant_1984

Doctor no. 6 (Colin Baker) happily lifts companion Peri skyward (Nicola Bryant)


Doctor no. 7 (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred)

Doctor no. 8 (Paul McGann)

Doctor no. 8 (Paul McGann)

Doctor Who has been adapted in comic strips, video games, table top role playing games, bathrobes and underwear (yes, underwear). The neat trick of Doctor Who was that it could appeal to adults and children alike as well as continuing past the loss of the lead actor by replacing him with someone entirely new. In that fashion, Doctor Who stayed fresh and new for decades to come.

While it achieved acclaim in the United Kingdom and abroad, it never really broke through in the Unites States to the same degree. In the late 1970’s, Doctor Who made its appearance in the US through public television affiliates. Fans grew accustomed to Tom Baker’s seven year stint as the duffle-coated time and space traveler but seemed reluctant to follow the series past his tenure when the lead actor was replaced several times over.

Lasting from 1963 straight through to 1989, Doctor Who was off the air for some time but found new life in another format, audio. Big Finish reunited the cast members of the classic series and introduced some new ones in exciting stories that delved into the rich legacy of Doctor Who while paving new ground with the eighth actor (there are some others you can shoe-horn in here such as the great Peter Cushing) to play the Doctor, Paul McGann. The audio series by Big Finish has taken the mantle of Doctor Who and fleshed out a wonderfully impressive realm of adventure, drama and sometimes comedy that brings an entirely new set if facets to the beloved program.

It is still unclear what the plans are for the anniversary year on TV, but for the 50th anniversary, Big Finish is pulling out all the stops. The crew at Big Finish is bringing Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann and several supporting actors and actresses for a celebratory extravaganza.

DrWho_LightattheEndIn November 2013, Big Finish will be releasing Doctor Who: The Light at the End, a very special 100-minute story to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. Tom Baker (1974-81), Peter Davison (1982-84), Colin Baker (1984-86), Sylvester McCoy (1987-89) and Paul McGann (1996) will all reprise their roles as, respectively, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, whose paths suddenly intersect when they face imminent destruction.

“We wanted to do a proper, fully-fledged multi-Doctor story for this very special occasion,” says writer, director and executive producer Nicholas Briggs, “and it’s wonderful that all the surviving Doctors threw themselves behind the project so enthusiastically. That’s not to say the first three Doctors don’t appear – we wanted to pay homage to the whole history of the classic series.”

The Doctors will also be joined by a number of their regular companions: Louise Jameson reprises the role of the savage Leela, Sarah Sutton plays the scientist Nyssa, Nicola Bryant is American botany student Peri, Sophie Aldred is streetwise kid Ace and India Fisher returns as Edwardian adventurer Charley Pollard.

“And that’s not all,” says producer David Richardson, “because Geoffrey Beevers is back to create mayhem as the Master, and there will be a number of appearances from some much-cherished old friends from the TV series…”

Doctor Who: The Light at the End will be released in two different versions. A five-disc limited special edition comes with two hour-long documentaries, plus The Revenants, a Companion Chronicles tale which began life as a free Doctor Who Magazine download. It’s performed by William Russell, who starred in the very first TV story as Ian Chesterton. The special edition comes in beautiful special packaging, and will include a number of exclusive professionally photographed images of the cast.

The standard edition comprises two discs, featuring the two hour-long episodes of the story.


3 thoughts on “Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Adventure from Big Finish

  1. Read about this earlier and it sounds great. My only worry is that while Nicholas Briggs is a good director and voice actor, he’s not always the best writer. The Big Finish play “Embrace the Darkness” had a great setup with a lousy payoff, “The Sirens of Time” the very Big Finish DW play and first audio multi-Doctor story is okay, and the BBV home video “The Airzone Solution” is a mess.


      • I haven’t gotten around to those yet.
        I forgot to mention the audio drama “Exile” which is the part of the Unbound series. Its the worst piece of sh*t I’ve ever heard from Big Finish. Following on the heels of the previous “What if…?” stories, this story is: what happened if The Doctor committed suicide to change his appearance and escaped the Time Lords at the end of War of Games…and he was now a woman (played by Arabella Weir). What exciting adventure will this female version of the Doctor face? Working in a supermarket and getting blind drunk with her co-workers every night. Seriously, Weir’s performance as The Doctor is an hour of making vomiting noises and slurred speech. I know its trying to be a comedy but its off-puting compared to the serious and dark tones of the rest of the Unbound series and, important of all, its not funny. At all.
        But honestly, I have more faith in Briggs than I do with Moffat at this point. Looking at the next series (which is highly rumored to feature the Ice Warriors) the only uninteresting episodes are the Moffat-penned ones (opener and closer).
        So no doubt I’ll enjoy this 50th anniversary audio play. It has five Doctors afterall. Even if the story isn’t that great at least hearing them interact will be worth it. I’m just a little hesitant because there are better writers at Big Finish than Briggs.


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