By the time Big Finish’s Doctor Who License comes up for renewal in 2025, they will have been producing Doctor Who on Audio for twenty-six years. For us old fans, that’s a very significant number. There would be no shame if they just stopped there but, all being well, there is a good chance they could outlast the original series. And with good cause, they have continued to take what was long considered ‘old property’ and breathed new life into it. That said, there’s always more we’d like to hear. And here’s mine…
1. The Ninth Doctor!
Just getting the obvious out the way first. Blah blah blah Eccleston was great grumble grumble one series! Mur mur mur recently expressed regret grrr ‘nuff said.
2. Original Drama
I have a feeling they already tried this one and disappointing sales lead to it folding (correct me if I’m wrong). However, this, if it happened at all, would have been back in the day when Big Finish was a niche market that really needed to give its listeners exactly what they wanted, and the majority of said listeners were Doctor Who fans. While that is still true today, the difference is the fandom has expanded and by proxy, diversified. All those years I ago I must confess I wouldn’t have been interested in such a thing as I was only interested in new Doctor Who. Having been spoilt rotten for new Doctor Who in recent years I find myself yearning for Big Finish to turn their considerable expertise and talents to something different, which brings me to my next choice;
3. Another Adventure in Space and Time
If ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ showed us anything it’s that what was happening behind the scenes was as unusually dramatic and bizarre as the series it spawned, perhaps even more so. And it left a lot of us saying ‘so what happened next?’ ‘AAISAT’ was a real one-off (more so than the ‘actual’ anniversary episode I hasten to add). Despite being an absolute gem of a film, it was very much ‘of the moment’. Such a thing would never have been commissioned were it not for the occasion it represented. So will the BBC do a follow-up? Unlikely. But would Big Finish? Who knows, but the fact is they could! It’s not like they are short on writers who know the period and as Doctor Who is their most precious commodity there would definitely be an audience for it, with the added bonus that some of the key players need not be recast, though they may find playing themselves fifty years younger a bit weird. Although, and no disrespect to the man, but I’d much rather hear Hines play Troughton than Sheersmith. Although Christopher Thompson’s Troughton is flawless!
4. Original Comedy
Well why not? I am in no way suggesting this because I am predominantly a comedy writer looking for a way into Big Finish. Absolutely not. But in all seriousness, why not? Toby Hadocke frequently collaborates with them and his ‘Moth’s ate my Doctor Who Scarf’ is a masterpiece. If he was going to make a series with anyone, Big Finish would be the obvious candidates. Plus, they could have regular ‘open submissions’ where new writers… okay I’ll shut up now.
5. The Curse of the Ninth Doctor
There are a new ‘ninth Doctors’. Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Christopher Eccleston and (in a roundabout sort of way) John Hurt and those are just the ones that made it to the screen. In fact, if you put those actors together they could read the phonebook to each other and turn it to gold. Despite not one of them having much screen time, they all managed to be memorable in their own rite. Of course, everyone wants more Eccleston, we are lucky enough to have more of Hurt, people seem content with Grant’s seventy-five minutes but no one ever mentions Atkinson. Unsurprising since he was a comedy Doctor, but what makes the comedy work so well is how good he is in the role. It’s funny because the script is funny, but Atkinson doesn’t play it ‘as comedy’ he plays it so straight that it’s easy to imagine him playing the part for real. I don’t necessarily want that, but a whole series of Comedy-Who with the Atkinson Doctor? Shut-up and take my money! Also I hear Steven Moffatt is free from 2018…
6. The Mark of The Master
‘He seemed a bit put out, but it’s not called Mark of The Master, it’s called Mark of The Rani’So spoke Colin Baker in reference to Anthony Ainley’s alleged disdain for that particular adventure. But wouldn’t ‘The Mark of The Master’ have been so much better? Actually yes it would have been! Now I don’t mean that exact same story without The Rani, but a Master spin-off series with that name, would be brilliant. Not so long ago, I submitted a story to Big Finish which didn’t get picked up, most likely because it didn’t feature The Doctor (or it was just rubbish, but that’s not for me to say). I didn’t think they would but as I was writing the thing I just found myself drawn more to The Master than The Doctor and as my options were that or nothing I thought ‘what the heck’. I might get lynched for saying this, but frankly The Master is so much cooler than The Doctor. He has a slew of unseen incarnations, he’s the keeper of Traken, his TARDIS works, he duped the Daleks, poked Davros in the eye and handles regeneration far better than The Doctor ever has. With that in mind, I like to think that The Master can change gender but The Doctor can’t, because it’s just one more thing that he’s better at. Big Finish have already alluded to the notion that he has spent time on Earth as a Godfather-like figure. Imagine that, The Sopranos/Breaking Bad/The Godfather meets Doctor Who. Who wouldn’t want to hear that? Plus I want to find out about the ‘few worthy opponents’ he claims to have had. I wonder if The Doctor ever gets jealous.
7. Classic Plays
This is a personal one. I’m a theatre lover, but as a theatre maker I find I have little time to actually go to the theatre, with much of my entertainment being restricted to the car. While I’m sure there are radio versions of classic plays out there, I once again refer to that Big Finish magic. I’d love to hear them tackle ‘The Crucible’ or ‘Death of a Salesman’ or in light of the Doctor Who connection, Sylvester McCoy’s turn as ‘The Pied Piper’. I’ve never managed to see ‘Of Mice and Men’ either so that would tick my box. I remember once asking Nicholas Courtney if he had ever done ‘An Inspector Calls’. Imagine those rich, clipped tones delivering Priestly and it’s hard not to smile. Speaking of Classic Plays, there is one that only Big Finish could do…
8. Twelve Angry Doctors
We never got ‘The Twelve Doctors’ and with good cause, after all you can’t have twelve leading men… well not unless you are doing ‘Twelve Angry Men’. Imagine that; an audio version of the play featuring all surviving Doctors, with companions representing the first three (Either William Russell and Frazer Hines or a name change to ‘Twelve Angry Jurors’ so the lady companions could be utilised). A great play with Twelve great actors, what more could we ask?
9. BONUS CHOICE!
Ok, so that was a not-so-sneaky plug for one of my shows. Well I said I wanted to hear them do more comedy…
So do any of these things sound like something you’d enjoy hearing? If so spread the word, you never know who might be listening.
Dominic Fellows is an actor and writer from Birmingham in the UK. He is also producer of the group Stripped Down Theatre (find them on Facebook). His shows have had more than one or two ‘geeky gags’ in them.