Editorial: Big Finish Starting Points

Big Finish is a great way to get into the world of Doctor Who. They’ve been around since 2000, and have produced stories featuring nearly every Doctor, even the War Doctor! But it’s easy to go to their website and get overwhelmed by their endless selection of stories. Where can you even start, especially when new titles are released every month? This editorial can give you some titles worth trying.

First of all, I should point out there are several ways to enjoy Big Finish. You can either purchase or download their media from their website (downloads are less expensive) and I’ve heard Amazon also has some titles. Also, Spotify and Hoopla both have lots of Big Finish stories, and both have different selections. The drawback for Spotify is unless you’re a premium subscriber or are using it on your desktop computer, you won’t hear the story the correct way. It’ll shuffle not only the story you’re listening to, but everything else Big Finish has loaded. And what’s Hoopla, you ask? Hoopla is an app that lets you borrow media using a library card–movies, music, books, you name it!

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Eighth: Blood of the Daleks (pt. 2)

blood of the daleks 2

Writer: Steve Lyons

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Producers: Andy Hardwick & Gareth Jenkins

Companion: Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith)

Series: 1.2

Summary: Lucie has been kidnapped by the Daleks. The Doctor learns that Professor Martez is creating new Daleks using humans.

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Overview: The Christopher Eccleston Era (2005)

ninth doctorRussell T. Davies would be the person who would save Doctor Who from disappearing altogether.  He’d had some clout thanks to the success of his program Queer as Folk. He brought in several people who’d worked on Big Finish and Doctor Who novels, such as Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, and Rob Shearman. Rather than reboot the universe, he created the Ninth Doctor, having the Eighth Doctor regenerate off-screen. That Doctor would be Christopher Eccleston.

Oh, I did it again. I picked another stupid ape! I should’ve known. It’s not about showing you the universe, it never is. It’s about the universe doing something for you!–“Father’s Day”

About Christopher Eccleston

He was born into a working class family in Langworthy, Salford.  He had twin brothers who were eight years older than him He starred in Let Him Have It, earning his first breakthrough role in TV. When Eccleston became the Ninth Doctor, he was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began in the 60’s.

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Editorial: A Masterful Ranking

In “Remembrance of the Daleks”, the Doctor muses “You can always tell a man by the quality of his enemies”. To me, the Master is the most definitive enemy of the Doctor.” He is everything the Doctor isn’t. He manipulates time and space for his own goals, while the Doctor would rather maintain the flow of time correctly, because he knows how dangerous changing events is. The Master manipulates people, either compelling them to do his bidding unwillingly, while the Doctor would rather respect the freedom of others.

As with Doctor, several people have played the Master since his appearance in “Terror of the Autons”. This editorial is my personal ranking of the Masters.

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Editorial: Big Finish’s New Ninth Doctor Chronicles

ninth finishBig Finish is a great part of Doctor Who’s “expanded universe”. It helps “fill the void” between series, when no new Doctor Who is on. I like that they’re even publishing stories featuring the Tenth Doctor, River Song, and more.

Yet there is one series of stories that I’m not comfortable with Big Finish publishing.  They’ve recently started releasing new Ninth Doctor adventures. This is actually not the first time they’ve done stories featuring the Ninth Doctor.  When Doctor Who turned 50, one of the many things Big Finish released in celebration was an eleven-part miniseries called Destiny of the Doctors, with one story for each of the eleven Doctors. These stories were all narrated by the companions. Because they could not get Billie Piper or John Barrowman, their Ninth Doctor story Night of the Whisper was entirely narrated by Nicholas Briggs. Briggs actually did a passable impression of Eccleston for the narration. I don’t mind this because it was the 50th anniversary, and Destiny of the Doctors was a celebration of every era.

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Overview: The Jon Pertwee Era (1970-1974)

third doctor

1st 3rd logo

diamond

The Jon Pertwee Era marked the transition from black and white to color.  It brought many changes to the show’s structure, as this was the final era in which episodes were still being wiped. As a result of Troughton’s final serial “The War Games”, the Time Lords had exiled the Doctor on earth, taking away the one thing he valued most–freedom. Now, the menaces would have to come to him.

“Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”–Planet of the Daleks

About Jon Pertwee

Pertwee was born in Chelsea, England. Acting ran in his family–his father was an actor, and his cousin Bill was in the comedy Dad’s Army. His son Sean currently plays Alfred Pennyworth on Gotham.

Pertwee was an officer in the Royal Navy and was on the survivors of the HMS Hood after it sunk during WWII. After the war, he became a well-known comedy actor.

During his tenure as the Third Doctor, Pertwee felt as though the cast and crew were a surrogate family. He saw Barry Letts as a sort of surrogate father, and John Levene saw Pertwee as a surrogate father, as his relationship with his own father was estranged at best. He even had a close friendship with Roger Delgado, the first actor to portray the Master. In fact, it was his untilmely death that led to Pertwee’s departure.

After he left Doctor Who, Pertwee continued to find work. He was in Worzel Gummridge, and voiced for SuperTed. He also appeared in video games based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. He appeared as the Doctor in two stage plays and in a never-finished fan project (he died before it could be finished).

In a Nutshell

  • Catch Phrases: “Reverse the polarity”, “Oh good grief”
  • The Pertwee Era had shorter seasons than its predecessors. Season 7 had a total of 21 episodes; and seasons 8-11 had between 25-26. From season 8 on, no episodes were over 6 parts.
  • Two openings were used during this era, for the first time ever. A colorized howlaround was used for most of the era, while the final season introduced the famous “diamond logo”, which was used the longest in the show’s history.
  • First appearance of the Autons: “Spearhead From Space”
  • First appearance of the Silurians: “The Silurians”
  • First appearance of Roger Delgado as the Master: “Terror of the Autons”
  • First appearance of Omega, First multi-Doctor story: “The Three Doctors”
  • First appearance of he Sontarans: “The Time Warrior”
  • First mention of Gallifrey by name: “The Time Warrior”

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Short Trips Vol 1: Wings of A Butterfly

short trips 1Writer/Narrator: Colin Baker

Directors: Nicholas Briggs & Ken Bentley

Producers: Nicholas Briggs & Martin Montague

Doctor: Sixth

Running Time: 19 minutes

Summary: The Doctor is visiting Gallifrey, and runs into an old friend and mentor named Duothernos. He wants him to use the TARDIS to tracel to the planet Bixor and discover why a planet that had such a rich and thriving culture has suddenly eradicated itself.

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Editorial: What Doctor Who Means to Me

Doctor Who has been going on for over 50 years. We’ve had 12 Doctors, (13 if you count John Hurt), a successful revival, countless audio dramas from Big Finish, at least three spinoffs. I’m always surprised at how long this show has lasted. Even being cancelled didn’t stop it completely. Most shows don’t bounce back after a cancellation, and if they do get revived, it doesn’t last. So why has this show lasted? Why do people like me enjoy it so much?

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