To save you the hassle of listening to the 40-odd minutes of Big Finish podcast that is their preview of 2009, I thought I’d give you the precised highlights of what you can look forward to this year in their Doctor Who range.
The big draws are, unfortunately, subscriber bonuses, both of them starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and also featuring, among others, Jemima Rooper (Lost in Austen) and Matt Di Angelo (Hustle). I say unfortunately, because at the moment, there’s not a lot really drawing me in – you’ll see why – which means to get to the good stuff, you’ll have to buy everything else, too. Ho hum.
The bonuses are:
The Company of Friends
For the best part of 10 years, Paul McGann was the offical Doctor Who, making him the longest running of all the Doctors. Unfortunately, that was only in audio plays, books and comics. With no official companion, the authors of these spin-offs had to make up new companions, such as Charley in Big Finish’s case, none of whom appeared in the others.
The Company of Friends is a series of plays featuring the companions from the comics and books: Hex/Lost in Austen‘s Jemima Rooper plays Izzy from the comics, while Hustle‘s Matt Di Angelo plays the books’ Fitz, Lisa Bowerman plays the books’ Bernice Summerfield (as she has for the last ten years in one of Big Finish’s other ranges) and Julie Cox (Dune/Children of Dune) plays Mary Shelley, who gets a lot of mentions in the Big Finish range but hasn’t been an official companion until now.
If you want to hear Jemima in action, she’s about 19 minutes in spouting a Trainspotting-esque monologue (I’d be more precise, but I was running at the time).
An Earthly Child
Eighth Doctor returns to Earth to see how his granddaughter Susan is getting on after he left her there in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Carole Ann Ford, who’s already done Companion Chronicles and Doctor Who Unbounds for Big Finish, will be reprising her role as Susan, and Jake "son of Paul" McGann will be playing her son.
Now to the regular stuff.
The Key To Time 2
A sequel to season-long Tom Baker story, in which the Doctor – with new companion Romana – had to piece together all the parts of the Key to Time at the behest of universal arbiter of goodness, the White Guardian, to stop the universal arbiter of badness, the Black Guardian, from getting too strong.
This is going to feature the Fifth Doctor, a new companion (to be launched in a Companion Chronicle and played by Ciara Janson), and a new Black Guardian (David, son of Patrick, Troughton) and will run until June or July. The slight twist this time? The companion is a living ‘tracer’ – the sort of wand thing Tombo had for locating chunks of the Key to Time with – and the Key’s parts are decaying. If they collapse, then big chunks of the universe go with them.
Looking forward to it? No, me neither.
The Three Companions
A series of 12 10-minute plays to be stuck on the end of monthly Doctor Who releases from the end of March that feature the Brigadier, Polly and that made-up rubbish one Thomas Brewster. The glimmer of hope here is that with only 10 minute chunks to work with, Marc Platt can’t possibly over-write them too much.
After that, we’ve a slew of Sylvester McCoy releases, including the giant battle that is The Enemy of the Daleks. Then in August, it’s two Sixth Doctor (and Charley?) stories. Nothing official after that.
Eighth Doctor/Lucie Miller
Parallel to all that, there’s the third season of stories featuring the Eighth Doctor and Lucie MIller (as played by Sheridan Smith of Two Pints…). Whoopy do. Guest monsters include the Krynoids, the Wirrn and the Metebelis 3 spiders. In a slight twist, a new episode will be released for download each week.
So, are you jazzed? Me neither. Oh well, fingers crossed all the same.