; Date: May 25, 2020
Doctor Who fans should take a look at Big Finish because they are constantly producing new Doctor Who stories, with several published per month. Given the relative scarcity of televised Doctor Who -- only 13 episodes a year in a good year? -- having several new Doctor Who stories per month lets us have our Doctor Fix. The fact that it's just audio doesn't make a difference, since the imagination can be engaged through audio just as well as it is in video.
Big Finish has been producing Doctor Who stories for well over 20 years, and is producing some absolutely excellent stories. Consider that it is led up by Nicholas Briggs, who is well known as The Voice of the Daleks, and other luminaries of modern Doctor Who. The people involved are uber fans, they have a close relationship with the BBC, and they are treating the Doctor Who franchise with all the loving care they can muster.
That's my sales pitch -- so let's get on with discussing the changes.
Currently Big Finish produces brand new audio adventures starring the original actors who played The Doctor: Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, David Tennant and John Hurt. Additionally, the adventures often include the original Companions, as well as a cast of other Companions that are specific to the timeline established by Big Finish.
The stories have been organized into the Main Range, and various side ranges like The Companion Chronicles which are stories told from the point of view of the companions, or Continuing Adventures series for specific Doctors, for specific Masters, and even significant Companions like Dr. River Song. Oh Yes, even though River Song is not on televised Doctor Who, she is brilliant in audio.
However, as nice as it's been to have new Doctor Who episodes all the time, it could be a little confusing to figure out how it's organized. For example, the Monthly Main Range stories rotate through The Doctors and at the same time some of The Doctor's have their own ranges. Why? This range, which Big Finish now calls the Monthly Adventures, has existed since 1999, and the plan is to end it at episode #275. They are currently at episode #264 - titled Scorched Earth.
What Big Finish plans to do is to stop producing the Monthly Main Range stories.
Instead the plan, starting in January 2022, is for each Doctor for whom Big Finish has a license will have their own range. As of this writing that is roughly 12 ranges, one for each Doctor from the 1st to the 11th plus a range for The War Doctor.
Big Finish chairman and executive producer, Jason Haigh-Ellery said: “One comment we hear more often from new listeners is that they find it hard to know where to begin with our back catalogue of Doctor Who adventures. This change to our release schedule will make it easier for people to start. With a range for each Doctor, there will be a natural ‘stepping on point’ for fans.”
Creative director and executive producer, Nicholas Briggs, added: “As well as making our ranges much less confusing for Big Finish beginners, these changes will allow us more exciting new possibilities and creative freedom. By freeing the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors from the constrictions of the Monthly Adventures schedule, and giving them their own distinct ranges, we will be able to introduce more surprising cast combinations, different story lengths, and more story arcs.”
The press release doesn't discuss what will happen with other series. For example, The War Master series, the series with Dr. River Song, etc.