Tuesday 2 June 2015

Big Finish Dr Who main range renewed to 2020

Yesterday, Big Finish officially announced the continuation of their monthly Doctor Who main range until the end of their current license in March 2020. This will bring them to their 262nd regular release. That's an enormous amount of Doctor Who.

I don't have the actual numbers to hand but between main range, Companion Chronicles, Paul McGann and Tom Baker spin-offs and so on there are already more Big Finish stories under the Doctor Who name (nevermind Jago & Litefoot, Counter-Measures and the rest) than have ever been made for TV. Every Doctor other than Tom Baker have done more than twice as many Big Finish audios than they did TV stories. Even Baker has enough stories on pre-order now that he will have done more stories for BF than the BBC by the end of next year. They've worked with every living regular actor from the classic series bar one and she's never gonna do it so let's just call this as big a win as they're getting.

They've done wonders with the missed opportunities of the classic series: producing stories that exploit Steven Taylor's backstory; finding a way to make new stories with Sara Kingdom; completely rehabilitated the Sixth Doctor (with no small amount of input from Colin Baker); created a bunch of innovative new takes on the companion role; gave us an actual Eighth Doctor era; and made several stories that deserve a place on an “all time classics” list.

This is not to say there aren't issues. In recent years their pool of writers has shrunk somewhat with a lot of stories coming out under the same names. Not bad names, not names I dread or anything, give me a good Nicholas Briggs monster mash or a John Dorney character study any day, but I do like a varied diet in my Doctor Who. I'm also not totally convinced hour-long single CDs were the best format for the Tom Baker range, they often feel rushed and as if the stories don't have room to breath, oddly a feeling I rarely had for the similar McGann line.

Still, in spite of any of that this is my favourite form of Doctor Who right now. I'm sort of fatigued on the TV show and the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip never quite reaches the heights of its glory days (the Eighth Doctor and 2009 Tenth Doctor strips, if you're wondering) and the less said about the direction of the books the better.

So, on balance I'm looking forward to this and I'm looking forward to what these guys have coming up next. 

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