Big Finish Audio has long been producing new Doctor Who adventures staring classic Doctors, but until recently anything from after the show was revived in 2005 has been off limits. But, while we’re still not going to be seeing (or rather hearing) any new adventures with more recent Doctors from them any time soon, we will be starting to get some other elements of recent Who lore seeping in.
The first news of this was back in February when it was announced that they would be producing some stories featuring UNIT, and including Kate Stewart as played in the television series by Jemma Redgrave. But now, as revealed on DoctorWhoNews.net, even more elements from the show’s post-2005 revival will be making their way into Big Finish audio adventures.
One element is some of the more prominent monsters from recent years. The fifth Doctor shall have to be careful not to blink as he faces off against the Weeping Angels. The sixth Doctor, meanwhile, will encounter the Judoon while the seventh faces off against the Sycorax. This announcement also mentions the eighth Doctor getting a story against the Sontarans, which on the surface seems out of place since they are actually a “classic” series monster... but it specifies, “a new clone batch of Sontarans on the edge of the Time War.” I’m not up on some of the more recent audio adventures, but as far as I can recall, the Time War itself has always been a forbidden topic for Big Finish... until, it seems, now!
But some specific characters will be featured as well! Ian McNeice returns as Winston Churchill for a series called “The Churchill Years,” which will also feature the character of Kazran Sardick from the 2010 episode A Christmas Carol. But more interestingly, there will be a series of audio adventures staring Alex Kingston as River Song, in which she will meet the eighth Doctor as played by Paul McGann.
I’m actually a bit torn by this. On one hand, I love McGann’s Doctor, and it could be an exciting paring to listen to! On the other hand, though, how will this fit into continuity? When we first met River in Silence in the Library/Forrest of the Dead, that was (spoilers!) her character’s very last story, chronologically. And yet when she met the Doctor in that story, David Tennant’s tenth Doctor, she seemed taken back at how young he was, and it was a plot point that this was the first time, from the Doctor’s point of view, that he had ever met her.
So as awesome as River meeting the eighth Doctor could be, how will that work? Why did the tenth seem so young to her when she’d have met younger? Why will the tenth not remember ever meeting her before if he had done so as the eighth? Will this be addressed? If so, can it please not be with some cliché memory erasure at their parting? And should I even care, or should I just sit back and enjoy the story?
Here is some artwork from the other upcoming projects mentioned:
The Churchill Years tantalizingly has Doctors Nine through Eleven featured in the artwork. I doubt, however, that they will actually be heard within the tale itself. At most they’ll probably be talked about. Still, with post-2005 Doctor Who materials finally at least partially accessible to Big Finish, perhaps in a few years time we actually will be able to get some new adventures staring Tennant and Smith! Maybe even a War Doctor miniseries if Sir John Hurt is feeling up to reprising the role? (Sadly, I wouldn’t hold my breath on Christopher Eccleston, given his established reluctance to return to the part. Not that I wouldn’t love to be proven wrong!)