Doctor Who Continues on Audio: Big Finish Productions is currently releasing monthly Doctor Who stories starring members of the series' original cast. The BBC has renewed Big Finish's current contract for an additional year, through 2002.
Big Finish Audio Magazine: Big Finish will be issuing a semi-regular audio "magazine" on CD; the first installment was recently presented at a Tenth Planet signing in London and featured a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of "Bloodtide," information on the Dalek Empire serials and interviews with cast members including Maggie Stables and Colin Baker. The audio "magazine" is narrated by Nicholas Briggs. According to Big Finish, subscribers will automatically get a copy of the first issue. Future issues will be available for purchase but subscribers will get them for free, according to Jason Haigh-Ellery of Big Finish.
A Call for Fan Talent: Big Finish has issued a call via several online boards for new blood... for the sound production side of their audio adventures. "There are lots of talented people out there, doing their own Doctor Who/SF drama audio CDs and tapes and from what we've hear, loads of them are fab. Regular followers of Big Finish's web-pages can't have failed to notice that we're doing more and more product over the next few years, Doctor Who obviously, Tomorrow People, Benny, hopefully Iris W sometime and so on and so forth. Well, that's a helluva lot for Alistair, Nick, Toby and the ERS boys to cope with by themselves. So we're on the lookout for talented post-production types but we are *not* looking for musicians (although a combination of the two, with a bent towards the post-prod wouldn't be a disadvantage). [C]onsider this an audition invite if there are any budding Alistair Locks out there. For purely practical reasons, we'd prefer UK-based people the idea of DATs winging their way across the Atlantic, or down to Oz fills me with a dread too terrible to contemplate but let's face it, if the next Dick Mills lives in Canberra or Kansas, I'd be daft to pass 'em over.... send me examples of your work, info about yourself and what programs you use and... how you'd fit stuff in to the rest of your life" to the Big Finish address located on their website, on CD. "[M]ark your envelope POST-PRODUCTION TRY-OUT."
A Second Season for McGann Confirmed: Big Finish Productions has confirmed that a second season of adventures with the Eighth Doctor and Charley, starring Paul McGann and India Fisher (right). McGann was recently in the studio taping six stories for release in January to June of 2002. There is also a linking story in the adventures: the first three "sees the Doctor and Charley attempting to get to New Year's Eve, 1930, to keep Charley's appointment with her gentleman friend Alex Grayle in Singapore the journey that led to her being aboard the R101 in the first place." More details on the forthcoming adventures below.
The Excelis Trilogy: A three-serial story arc just confirmed by Big Finish, The Excelis Trilogy (NOT "Excelsis") will feature three single-CD releases starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy each in one story. All three stories take place on the planet Artaris in its principal city, Excelis. Says Big Finish producer Jason Haigh-Ellery, "What is different about these is that although there are three separate adventures, all will take place on the planet Artaris and focus on events occurring in the city of Excelis. The three plays will therefore be linked via a special holy relic that each Doctor must locate in the three different time zones he arrives in... but of course it will never be that simple." Excelis Dawns (formerly entitled "Excelis I: Dawn") stars Peter Davison and is released in February 2002; Excelis Rises stars Colin Baker for April 2002; andExcelis Decays stars Sylvester McCoy and is released in June 2002. Big Finish confirmed to us that no authors have been assigned as of yet to pen the scripts based upon the already-complete story.
Dalek Empire: Coming soon from Big Finish is the Dalek Empire saga, a four-part adventure featuring original characters fighting the Daleks. Gareth Thomas (Blake in "Blake's 7") returns after an outing in the Eighth Doctor adventure "Storm Warning" to join the cast of the serial as the mysterious Kalendorf. Thomas is joined by three other BF returnees in the primary roles: Sarah Mowat (who played several roles in "The Sirens of Time") as planetary geologist Susan "Suz" Mendes; Mark McDonnell (Walter Jacobs in "The Fearmonger") as "slightly less than dynamic" space security agent Alby Brook; and John Wadmore (another "Sirens" veteran) as newsreader Gordon Pellan. Additional cast members include Ian Brooker, Joyce Gibbs, David Sax and, as the Daleks, Nicholas Briggs and Alistair Lock.
- Caroline John, who portrayed companion Liz Shaw during Jon Pertwee's first season, has joined the cast of BF's forthcoming "Dust Breeding" as eccentric art dealer Madam Salvadori. John's husband, Geoffrey Beevers (who portrayed the decayed Master in "The Keeper of Traken") is also in the story as fellow art dealer Seta.
- Lalla Ward again reprises her role as Romana in "NeverLand"; Anthony Keetch (Vansell) returns for a third go in the same story.
Forthcoming Audios. Confirmed upcoming stories from Big Finish include:
- "Loups-Garoux" (Now In Release): Written by Marc Platt, directed by Nicholas Pegg. Stars Peter Davison and Mark Strickson as the Fifth Doctor and Turlough. "Germany, 1589: the townspeople of Cologne pronounce the death sentence on a mass-murderer who has stalked the countryside in the guise of a ferocious wolf. Russia, 1812: retreating from Napoleon's invading forces, a merchant's daughter is rescued from bandits by a handsome partisan with a ravenous appetite. Brazil, 2080: the Doctor and Turlough arrive for the Rio de Janeiro carnival. Wealthy heiress Ileana de Santos is not all she seems - and what sinister ailment afflicts her invalid son, tended by the mysterious Dr Hayashi? And who exactly is Rosa, engaged on a secret quest to fulfil the destiny of her extinct tribe? Time is running out for Rosa, Ileana and the Doctor, as the fearsome shadow of an ancient werewolf moves ever closer..." Also stars Eleanor Bron (Ileana de Santos), Burt Kwouk (Dr. Hayashi), Nicky Henson (Pieter Stubbe), Sarah Gale (Rosa Caiman), Jane Burke (Inez), David Hankinson (Anton Lichtfuss) and Derek Wright (Jorge). Music by Alistair Lock. Recording 9-10 December. (Originally called "The Werelings") The cover from Big Finish (by Clayton Hickman) is on the Forthcoming Releases page.
- "Dust Breeding" (June 18, 2001, moved from July): Written by Mike Tucker, directed by Gary Russell. Stars Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as the Seventh Doctor and Ace, with Caroline John & Geoffrey Beevers. Features the return of the Krill from Tucker's novel "Storm Warning" and also the return of the character Bev Tarrant (Louise Faulkner) from the BF audio "The Genocide Machine." "On nineteenth Century Earth artist Edvard Munch hears an infinite scream pass through nature. Centuries later his painting of that Scream hangs in a gallery on the barren dust world Duchamp 331. Why is there a colony of artists on a planet that is little more than a glorified garage? What is the event that the passengers of the huge, opulent pleasure cruiser 'Gallery' are hoping to see? And what is hidden in the crates that litter the cargo hold? The Doctor's diary indicates that the painting is about to be destroyed in 'mysterious circumstances', and when he and Ace arrive on Duchamp 331, those circumstances are well underway." Originally this slot was filled by a story called "Dark Rising" though we are told by Big Finish that Tucker was dissatisfied with his own progress on the script, and so he submitted a completely different story that Big Finish accepted.
- Dalek Empire I: Invasion of the Daleks (June 25, 2001): Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. The largest Dalek fleet ever assembled begins its invasion of the galaxy, heading straight for the Vega System. On planet Vega VI, Suz and Alby take their first, delicate steps towards romance, whiling away a lazy afternoon on the Marsh Lakes. But the Dalek onslaught is already under way. Who is the mysterious stranger Suz finds amongst the devastated remains of Vega VI? What is Alby's secret? Can the Daleks' relentless advance across the galaxy ever be stopped? Starring Gareth Thomas (Kalendorf), Sarah Mowat (Susan Mendes), Mark McDonnell (Alby Brook), John Wadmore (Gordon Pellan), Ian Brooker (Admiral Cheviat/Ed Byers/Roboman), Joyce Gibbs (Narrator), David Sax (Tanlee), with Nick Briggs and Alistair Lock as the Daleks. The cover art is very retro, harkening back to the 1960's era; see theForthcoming Releases page for the cover!
- "Bloodtide" (July 23, 2001, moved from June): Written by Jonathan Morris, directed by Gary Russell. Stars Colin Baker and Maggie Stables as the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn. "The prehistoric Earth is dying. Thunderclouds roll across the skies, cloaking the land in darkness. The seas crash and boil as the rain turns to acid. The remnants of the Silurian race place themselves in suspended animation, deep below the surface. One day they will awaken and reclaim their world... The TARDIS has landed on the Galapagos Islands, a desolate outcrop of rocks shrouded in mist and fear. In the settlement of Baquerizo Moreno, there are rumours that prisoners have been mysteriously disappearing from the gaolhouse. A fisherman has been driven insane by something he saw in the caves. And the Doctor and Evelyn are not the only new arrivals; there is also a young natural philosopher by the name of Charles Darwin..." Also stars Miles Richardson (Darwin), George Telfer (Captain Fitzroy), Julian Harries (Governor Lawson), Daniel Hogarth (S'Rel Tullock), Helen Goldwyn (Shevak) and Janie Goddard (Greta). Features the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn with the return of the Silurians from the television series, and... Charles Darwin! Music by Alistair Lock.
- Dalek Empire II: The Human Factor (August 6, 2001): Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. Alby Brook and Gordon Pellan are following the best information they have to locate Suz in Dalek-infested space. But what is it the Daleks want with her? On the slave planet Guria, Alby discovers Suz is already gaining a reputation as something of an angel of mercy. Could it be that she is now working for the Daleks? But as Suz and Kalendorf travel from planet to planet a murmur of defiance is growing… 'Death to the Daleks… death to the Daleks…'
- "Project Twilight" (August 20, 2001): Written by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright, directed by Gary Russell. Stars Colin Baker and Maggie Stables as the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn. "In the renovated docklands of South East London, on the bank of the river Thames, the doors of the Dusk are open for business. Bets are called, cards are dealt and roulette wheels spun. As fortunes are won and lost, an inhuman killer stalks the local avenues and alleyways a killer with a taste for human flesh. Is there more to casino owner Reggie "The Gent" Mead or is he just a common gangster? What secrets are hidden in the bowels of the Dusk? And what connection does the apparently sleazy Bermondsey casino have to a long- buried government initiative known as Project: Twilight? The Doctor must form uneasy alliances where the line between friend and enemy is blurred, playing games of chance... But are the stakes too high?" Says DWM: "a gritty tale of vampirism in modern-day London, the story promises gore, gambling and garlic galore."
- "The Eye of the Scorpion" (September 17, 2001): Written by new author Iain McLaughlin. A Fifth Doctor & Peri pseudo-historical romp through ancient Egypt.
- Dalek Empire III: Death to the Daleks (October 3, 2001): Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. Suz decides it is time to take control of events. But when she is summoned to an audience with the Dalek Emperor, she begins to fear that all her efforts have been in vain. Meanwhile, Earth Alliance Security commander-in-chief Tanlee is intent on locating Alby. The Dalek advance across the galaxy seems unstoppable and the only possibility of salvation for the human race lies in the Lopra System. But how can Alby help, when no one will tell him the purpose of 'Project Infinity'?
- "Colditz" (October 22, 2001): Written by Steve Lyons. A Seventh Doctor and Ace story set in Colditz, Germany.
- "Primeval" (November 19, 2001): Written by Lance Parkin. A Fifth Doctor and Nyssa story. "Lance Parkin's Primeval... will focus on Nyssa and deal with the fact that ever since she encountered the Xeraphin in Time-Flight, she appears to have possessed slight psychic powers. These were used again, both in the audio adventures The Land of the Dead and Winter for the Adept. Where this hitherto unknown aspect of Nyssa came from, and why post-Arc of Infinity, she showed no evidence of it, will be explored in Primeval." This is Parkin's second script for Big Finish previously he wrote The Extinction Event, a Bernice Summerfield adventure set for release this June.
- Dalek Empire IV: Project Infinity (December 3, 2001): Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. The Seers of Yaldos have a sad story to tell, but Alby and Kalendorf know they must listen. Meanwhile, the Daleks seem unconcerned by their recent defeats. They have their sights firmly fixed on Project Infinity. In the hands of the Daleks, the human race's only hope of victory could signal the destruction of the entire universe.
- "The One Doctor" (December 17, 2001): Written by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman, directed by Gary Russell. Features the Sixth Doctor and Mel in their first audio together. "When the evil Skelloids launch an attack upon the seventeen worlds of the Generios system, its peace-loving inhabitants face total destruction. So it's fortunate that the famous traveller in time and space known only as the Doctor is in the area, and doubly lucky that, with the help of his pretty young assistant, Sally-Anne, he manages to defeat the deadly creatures and save the day. But now it looks as though the Doctor¹s luck has run out. Who is the mysterious, curly-haired stranger who insists on causing trouble? What role does the feisty redhead Melanie play in his scheme? And what have they to do with the sinister alien cylinder approaching Generios? One thing is certain: for the Doctor and Sally-Anne, there's deadly danger ahead ..." Gary Russell tells Doctor Who Magazine that the story is "our tribute to The Feast of Steven - The Big Finish Christmas Special!" The cast list includes actor, entertainer and pantomime veteran Christopher Biggins, as Banto Zame - an intergalactic entrepreneur. Together with '2 Point 4 Children' star Clare Buckfield as Sally-Anne Stubbins, Banto's partner-in-crime. Comedian Matt Lucas, better known as George 'What are the scores' Dawes from the BBC2 Comedy Quiz 'Shooting Stars', plays the sinister Cylinder. The impressive cast list is rounded off with Adam Buxton, one half of the team behind the critically acclaimed Channel 4 series 'The Adam and Joe Show', plays a furniture obsessed Robot.
- "Invaders From Mars" (January 2002): Written and directed by Mark Gatiss. The second 'season' of Eighth Doctor & Charley adventures starring Paul McGann and India Fisher begins. "The TARDIS misses the date by a few years and miles, arriving instead in New York, 1938. While the Doctor assumes the guise of a local gumshoe and helps out a dame searching for her missing uncle, Charley is kidnapped by hoodlums trying to break into another gangster's 'patch'. Meanwhile, in the studios of CBS Radio, Orson Welles is transmitting his ground-breaking War of the Worlds radio drama, blissfully unaware that New York has indeed been visited by aliens..." Also stars Ian Hallard (Mouse), Mark Benton (Ellis), Jonathan Rigby (John Houseman), David Benson (Orson Welles), Paul Putner (Bix Biro), Simon Pegg (Don Chaney), Jessica Stevenson (Glory Bee) and John Arthur (Cosmo Devine).
- "The Chimes of Midnight" (February 2002): Written by Rob Shearman, directed by Barnaby Edwards. "Still unable to reach 1930, the TARDIS places the Doctor and Charley into a Victorian household, in 1906. There they meet the servants of Edward Grove who seems to keep his workers in a constant state of bewilderment and terror. When the scullery maid is found murdered, it falls to the famous amateur sleuth known as the Doctor to solve the mysteries. The only trouble is, the household keep shifting into different moments in time." Also stars Louise Rolfe (Edith), Lennox Greaves (Mr. Shaughnessy), Sue Wallace (Mrs. Baddeley), Robert Curbishley (Frederick) and Juliet Warner (Mary).
- "Excelis Dawns" (February 2002): See above for details.
- "Seasons of Fear" (March 2002): Written by Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox, directed by Gary Russell. "The TARDIS finally gets Charley to Singapore in time for the festivities. However, while she enjoys her young man's company, his Grandfather, Sebastian Grayle, taunts the Doctor. Apparently, they are old and bitter enemies and Grayle has finally succeeded in killing the Doctor. With time running out, the Doctor and Charley must embark on a journey through history to discover how Grayle received the 'gift' of immortality and just how he has managed to destroy the Time Lord..." Also stars Stephen Perring (Sebastian Grayle), Stephen Fewell (Marcus and Richard Martin), Robert Curbishley (Lucillius), Lennox Greaves (Edward the Confessor), Sue Wallace (Edith), Justine Mitchell (Lucy Martin).
- "Embrace the Darkness" (April 2002): Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. "The Doctor and Charley travel to the remote Cimmerian System to unravel the mystery of its sun. But darkness has already embraced the scientific base on Cimmeria IV in more ways than one. In a fight for survival, the Doctor must use all his wits against a deadly artificial life-form and an ancient race whose return to the Cimmerian System threatens suffering and death on an apocalyptic scale." Also stars Nicola Boyce (Orllensa), Lee Moone (Ferras), Mark McDonnell (Haliard) and Ian Brooker (ROSM).
- "Excelis Rises" (April 2002): See above for details.
- "The Time of the Daleks" (May 2002): Written by Justin Richards, directed by Nicholas Briggs. "The Daleks are back and face the Eighth Doctor for the first time. As the Dalek Empire continues to spread through the galaxies, they seek, once again, to conquer the fourth dimension and travel back to the post-apocalyptic twenty-first century Earth to find a particular leader who can aid them in their quest. To the Doctor, their time device is crude and unworkable. And yet it does lead him to wonder if the Daleks know more than they are letting everyone else believe." Also stars Learman Dot Smith (General Mariah), Nicola Boyce (Viola), Julian Harries (Major Ferdinand), Jem Bassett (Kitchen Boy), Mark McDonnell (Priestly), Lee Moone (Hart), Ian Brooker (Professor Osric) and Nicholas Briggs & Alistair Lock (Dalek Voices).
- "NeverLand" (June 2002): Written by Alan Barnes, directed by Gary Russell, featuring special guest star Lalla Ward as President Romana. "Why are the Time Lords so keen to track the Doctor down? Exactly what lengths will the Celestial Intervention Agency go to in their efforts to retrieve something important from within his TARDIS? Who is the mythological destroyer Zagreus? And what has caused Imperiatrix Romanadvoratrelundar to declare war on the rest of creation? The Doctor seeks the answers deep within an entirely new universe and must face up to the actions not only of himself but the hundreds and thousands of Time Lords who have gone before. NeverLand is set to end this run of adventures for the Eighth Doctor on an explosive high and it is true to say that nothing will ever be the same again!" Also stars Anthony Keetch (Vansell), Peter Trapani (Kurst), Holly King (Levith), Lee Moone (Under-Cardinal), Mark McDonnell (Rorvan), Nicola Boyce (Taris) and Dot Smith, Jonathan Rigby and Ian Hallard (Matrix Voices).
- "Excelis Decays" (June 2002): See above for details.
- July 2002 release TBA
- "...ish" (August 2002): Written by Philip Pascoe, starring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri in their first audio together since "Whispers of Terror" in 1999. It concerns a conference convened to compile the biggest dictionary in the Universe
- "The Priory" (August 2002): Written by Joseph Lidster, starring Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace, set around a nightclub.
Big Finish: The Music: A 'surprise' release from Big Finish, "Music from the New Audio Adventures - Volume 2" features music composed by Alistair Lock. This time the scores are taken from the adventures Last of the Titans (the one-episode Sylvester McCoy story that was a free giveaway with an issue of Doctor Who Magazine), The Shadow of the Scourge and The Fires of Vulcan. It is currently in release. Additionally, Volume 3 has been announced for release in July 2001; it features Russell Stone's scores for Winter for the Adept, Red Dawn and The Holy Terror; and Volume 4 for December 2001, containing scores for the four Big Finish Doctor Who audios with Paul McGann: Storm Warning, Sword of Orion, Stones of Venice and Minuet in Hell by Alistair Lock, Russell Stone, Nicholas Briggs and William Allen.
Big Finish Audio Online Ordering: Big Finish has opened its online store, allowing secure ordering from its website. Big Finish's website can be found at http://www.doctorwho.co.uk.