It has been 20 years since Big Finish Productions released The Sirens of Time, the very first of their long-running range of Doctor Who audio dramas. Since then, they have released audio adventures every month, featuring one of the actors to have played the Doctor on TV. In this special list, I'm taking a look back at some of the strongest audio adventures to feature the Sixth Doctor, as played on TV by Colin Baker. We begin with:
It has been 20 years since Big Finish Productions released The Sirens of Time, the very first of their long-running range of Doctor Who audio dramas. Since then, they have released audio adventures every month, featuring one of the actors to have played the Doctor on TV. In this special list, I'm taking a look back at some of the strongest audio adventures to feature the Fifth Doctor, as played on TV by Peter Davison. We begin with:
Paul Darrow is a name that, for a generation of science fiction fans, will be famous for one role. On the 9th of January 1978, Darrow made his debut appearance as Kerr Avon in the second episode of the BBC science-fiction series Blake's 7, and became a legend almost instantly. His cold, ruthless nature and his dry, sardonic wit made for a killer combination that appealed to viewers, and Darrow's performance was the icing on the cake. He quite literally became Avon, and, for four years, he gunned and quipped his way through the show, becoming its leading man for the last two series after the departure of Gareth Thomas. Whenever people think of Blake's 7, they think of Kerr Avon. And whenever anyone thinks of Kerr Avon, they think, and will always think, of Paul Darrow.
Since the discovery by the wider fan-base in 1981 that the BBC had been junking episodes of Doctor Who they believed would never be seen again, there have been many attempts to reconstruct these gaps. People have gone to great lengths to recover the episodes themselves, of course, but, with 97 episodes still missing, fans have wanted a way of experiencing these stories as well as all those that exist in the archives. We've had had telesnaps, novelisations, audio releases with linking narration, and even reconstructions bringing a number of these elements together. But, in the past 12 years, we've been seeing more and more of these lost stories be recreated through animation. From Cosgrove Hall's beautifully stark animation of "The Invasion" to Planet 55's almost anime-style animation of "The Reign of Terror," we've seen a variety of styles and a variety of companies attempting to bring these missing episodes to life. Since 2016, BBC Studios have been producing animations themselves, starting with "The Power of the Daleks," and then continuing with the unfinished Tom Baker story Shada. And now, we've reached The Macra Terror, which takes the idea of animating Doctor Who to a whole new level. And now, the big question that Doctor Who fans have is this: what is the future of these animations? Where do we go next?
It's been quite a while since Big Finish actually put out any Blake's 7 content. Since the sad passing of Gareth Thomas, Big Finish has had to try and work around this, and since Josette Simon has decided not to return to Blake's 7, Big Finish were in a tight bind. However, producer John Ainsworth decided to recast Dayna anyway, and continue with full-cast audios set during the third season of the TV show. The Spoils of War is the first box set under the new regime, and, while it does have a couple of issues, it is a decent set, with some fairly good stories and an interesting linking theme. It certainly helps that the recast of Dayna is possibly one of the best things that Big Finish have done with Blake's 7, and promises exciting things for the future.
When Doctor Who Magazine started in 1979, one of the first things that creator and founding editor Dez Skinn introduced was the comic strip; which depicted the ongoing adventures of The Doctor, (played by Tom Baker) outside the TV series. And, 40 years later, that comic strip is still ongoing, now depicting the adventures of Jodie Whitaker's Doctor. Over the 40 years of the magazine's existence, the strip has gone through many changes, (changes in editors and art style, changing from black-and-white to color, the ongoing regeneration of the actor playing The Doctor), but the heart has remained very much the same. And, having now read this collection of strips from the early days of the magazine, I can see why these strips are talked about with such reverence. The Iron Legion collection features some of the most interesting ideas ever seen in a Doctor Who story, some larger than life characters and a wonderful art style thanks to Dave Gibbons, and it is a fantastic read.