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Dr Who: The Timey Whimey Nature of Audio Drama Storytelling


When Dr Who went on hiatus in 1989, it continued in other forms, comics, TV specials about the actors, books and audio dramas. The Wilderness Years, as the span of 1989-2005 is called, had an odd variety of mediums and Dr Who went into weird places. Some writers instantly deciding to make Dr Who more adult in books called The Virgin New Adventures. The audio dramas are what I will be focusing on in this blog. 

Big Finish was formed in 1996, and got making it’s first stories based around the Virgin New Adventure spinoff novels featuring Bernice Summerfield, a companion of the Seventh Doctor in Virgin New Adventure books. In 1999 they got the rights to actually make audio dramas for Dr Who, usually featuring the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, after 2014 they would get the rights to the newer Dr Who cast and characters. 

They started doing monthly audios in what was called The Main Range in which they would tell new stories with the four Doctors they had the rights to, this ran from 1999-2021, 22 years of monthly new Dr Who stories. 

The Sixth and Eighth Doctors really benefited from the audios, as the Sixth Doctor’s TV era was largely characterized by him being a jerk to everyone, including his companions. I do like his TV episodes, but the general consensus, that I agree with, is the Big Finish audios add so much to his Doctor. The Big Finish era truly was able to capture the breadth of range Colin Baker could do as The Doctor. And The Eighth Doctor only had a TV movie, so most of his content was in non TV media, books and comics and audio! He got a proper series to showcase why he was The Doctor and how perfect he was for the role, and he and his companions went through story arcs, it was just like a season of TV, but audio only. 

The only real drawback of the audios is the dialogue can be a bit clunky when the companion has to say stuff like “Doctor what’s that by the door over there?” but they all have their own charm. If you are used to fiction podcasts it shouldn’t be too much a change in form from how they tell their stories.


If you are a fan of Dr Who and really want to get into the extended media, I highly recommend the audios. 


Over the years I have come to love the older series more than the new one, so if you, like me, want new content of your favorite Doctors One through Eight, Big Finish has a lot of excellent stories for you. There are a few that aren’t great, but we will be ignoring those, and if you have a friend who is deeper into the Dr Who extended media than you, ask them for recommendations too.

Big Finish started a series of audios in 2016 about the Classic Doctors meeting newer monsters, like The Weeping Angels (Blink, Time of The Angels, Angels Take Manhattan), The Sycorax (The Christmas Invasion), and the Vashta Nerada (Silence in The Library/Forest of The Dead). 

“Fallen Angels” features the Weeping Angels, creatures seemingly made of stone that steals all your time energy by sending you back in time if you don’t look at it. The story is about a tourist couple, Joel and Gabby Finch, who get displaced back in time to 1511 by a Weeping Angel, being harnessed by a mysterious sect who are paying Michelangelo to make mysterious sculptures. The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) has to keep him and his new friends safe. If you are a fan of the Weeping Angels this is a very good story, capturing how scary they can be even in audio only format. 

“Harvest of the Sycorax” takes place on a space station of a medical company Pharma Corp, which has a cure for everything, including negative emotions, invaded by vicious aliens known as the Sycorax, who want access to The Vault which contains all of humanities genetic code. The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) must convince one of the employees, Zanzibar Hashtag, to help him stop the Sycorax. The Seventh Doctor is a bit of a dark character in expanded media, so this is a nice return to his slightly goofier origins, and having some solid themes about humanity needing emotions. 

“Night of The Vashta Nerada” features the microscopic carnivores that live in the shadows, the Vashta Nerada, on a planet converted into an amusement park called Funworld. A team of mercenaries were hired by the owner to investigate the planet when all communication suddenly was cut off. They encounter the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) who now must try and convince a stubborn business woman and her mercenary group to get off the planet before it is too late, the shadows are hungry. It’s a bit of a grim story, but its written very well, even for how grim its content is I find myself returning to it again and again.

I have a lot of Sixth Doctor audio recommendations, as he is my favorite Doctor. 

“The Fourth Wall” starts as the head of a transgalactic television company debuts a new sci-fi TV show called Laser and is hosting a party to commemorate that. Meanwhile The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) has his new companion Flip Jackson mysteriously vanish from the TARDIS, before they can even set out on a new adventure and she somehow ends up inside of the TV show Laser, and The Doctor must figure out how to get Flip out, and stop a bumbling duo of anthropomorphic pig aliens called Porcians from complicating the situation even further. This one is one I listen to very often, and I think it’s one of the best Sixth Doctor audios that characterizes the Sixth Doctor very well, and his new companion Flip. 

“The Lovecraft Invasion” is a story in which the Sixth Doctor, his companions Constance Clarke, Flip Jackson and a space bounty hunter from the 51st century named Calypso Jonez must track a sentient space weapon hiding in 1930s Earth. The sentient space weapon hid itself in notorious horror author H.P. Lovecraft’s mind. Calypso and Constance have to look after Lovecraft while The Doctor and Flip travel inside his mind to banish the space weapon before it can unleash all the horrors of Cthulu and other fictional monsters on Earth. Calypso has such a strong presence throughout the story, and at the end I just want more content with Calypso, who immediately made themself among my favorite Dr Who characters ever. The Doctor has an amazing speech at the end where after saving Lovecraft and therefore the world, he gives the author a serious talk about how he is remembered by history and growing beyond prejudices. 

“The Last Adventure” is a 4 part story that tells the events leading up to the Sixth Doctor regenerating, as he never got a proper regeneration story on TV, season 24 just opened with the TARDIS being shot out of space and Sylvester McCoy in the Sixth Doctor’s outfit. This gives Colin Baker a chance to actually have an ending to his story. These four parts take place across various points of the Sixth Doctor’s life, as events around him are manipulated by an evil version of himself, known as The Valeyard, who wants to steal The Doctor’s remaining regenerations for himself. 

The first story “End of The Line” features The Doctor and Constance Clarke stuck in a pocket dimension while the same train keeps on pulling into the infinitely growing train station and creatures lurking in the mist. It seems like a standard story for Doctor Who, but there is some dramatic irony while we hear and learn more of certain characters than The Doctor does. It is a great start to this four part story. 

In the second story “The Red House” The Doctor and his companion Charley Pollard encounter a species of reverse werewolves and a mysterious Dr Pain. The concept of reverse werewolves is a wild one, but they really run with it here, all while building up to the next two stories perfectly. 

In the third story “Stage Fright” the mysterious Mr. Yardvale is recruiting for plays about The Doctor in Victorian England, and his actors keep on vanishing. When The Doctor and Flip arrive visiting The Doctor’s old friends Mr. Jago and Professor Litefoot, he decides he must investigate the disappearances. This story doesn’t try and hide what is happening, it’s a grim mystery the Doctor has to solve, even though we the audience know what is happening, its like watching a collision. 

In the fourth and final story “The Brink of Death” The Doctor and companion Mel Bush are fixing the TARDIS when The Doctor is suddenly replaced by The Valeyard, and he has to get fight his enemy inside his own mental space. This story really embodies what Big Finish did to the Sixth Doctor, improving upon his characterization from the TV show while making him a truly amazing person who wants to help people, willing to sacrifice his own life in the process. 

These four stories are a lovely sendoff to the Sixth Doctor to give him the best regeneration story of almost any Doctor. 


Only two main actors for Doctors have come back to reprise their roles in audio form, Christopher Eccleston (The Ninth Doctor) and David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor), the Eleventh Doctor and sometimes Twelfth Doctor is played by Jacob Dudman, who can do a damn good impression of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, and a passable impression of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor. I have mostly listened to the Ninth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor, as I prefer them over the Tenth Doctor. There is also a series of audios featuring the War Doctor from the 50th anniversary played by John Hurt and a series of a younger War Doctor played by Jonathan Carley who does a very good job of sounding like John Hurt, these audios have made the War Doctor among my favorite of all of the Doctors. 

Jodie Whittaker has said she would be interested in doing more things as the Thirteenth Doctor, and Jo Martin who plays the Fugitive Doctor, a mysterious extra incarnation of The Doctor introduced in the Season 12 episode Fugitive of the Judoon, has had an audio series announced.

The Ninth Doctor Adventures “Back To Earth” is my favorite of the Ninth Doctor audios, and you can dive right in without having to listen to any of the previous ones. 

“Station To Station” sees the Ninth Doctor meeting a young woman named Saffron on an abandoned station called Underbridge, The Doctor has the feeling something is watching them. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but it does involve some alien mixing with folk lore which is really cool, and the character of Saffron is really good with The Doctor. This is easily my favoirte of the three stories with a nice heart to the story. 

In “The False Dimitry” the old Tsar has died and Moscow is being marched on by the successor, though the mysterious Doctor claims something isn’t right about this whole situation and elects to investigate with the help of two palace workers. This is probably the weakest story of the three, but I do enjoy it, the Ninth Doctor in a more historical setting than we usually see him in. 

Finally “Auld Lang Syne” sees Mary Litherland gather he family at Foulds House to celebrate the New Year, the caretaker here is a bit weird, only calling himself The Doctor, and there’s some timey-whimey shenanigans happening. This story is very interesting as it mimics the first story of the 2005 series “Rose” as the POV character isn’t The Doctor, but the human companion. 

The Ninth Doctor is one of the best Doctors, and I was so happy to get more content from him aside from his one series in 2005. Eccleston slips right back into the role with such ease and he seems like he’s having a lot of fun. 

The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles Volume 3 “Geronimo” sees Jacob Dudman playing the Eleventh Doctor as he searches the universe for his companion Clara Oswald, who seems to have vanished from all of time and space, and in his searching he meets a cyborg named Valarie who offers to help him find his companion. 

“The Inheritance” opens with Valarie Lockwood and her mother Patrice have dinner with friends, when it it interrupted by a mysterious Doctor who turns life upside down for all involved. The Eleventh Doctor enters this story carrying a bomb that is about to blow up and involves some random people to help him and that is perfect. The introduction of Valarie Lockwood as a badass cyborg woman instantly made her one of my favorite characters in the Doctor Who universe, she is performed very strongly by Safiyya Ingar. 

“The House of Masks” takes place in Venice during Carnivale in the 18th century, there is an assassin, Captain Tomasi, lurking who ensnares The Doctor and Valarie in his attempts to get rid of the Lady Sicura, and there is more lurking beneath the surface. There is an overarching mystery and plot to the audios with Valarie about The Doctor trying to find Clara and a mysterious force yanking the TARDIS around the universe, but this feels like an average episode of Dr Who after the introduction of a companion, going to a new place for fun. The twists in this episode are also really good. 

In the final of the audios in “Geronimo” is “The End”, Valarie rushes into a medical bay on a space station, carrying The Doctor as he is dying, and together she and the crew must figure out what killed The Doctor and is attacking the crew. Meanwhile The Doctor carries a dying Valarie into a medical bay on a space station and must figure out what has killed his friend and is hunting him and the crew. Something is wrong with time. I love when Dr Who plays with how weird time travel can get and this is one of the perfect audios to show how dangerous it is and really fleshes out the connection between The Doctor and Valarie and how much they trust each other. 

I really enjoy the Eleventh Doctor much more in the audios than in the TV show, I have soured on his run in recent years. The Doctor and Valarie’s friendship is so well done and it’s all down to the performances and the chemistry of the two actors. 


In a time of podcasting, we are returning to a love of audio medium. Though you need to purchase each of these on the Big Finish website, some of the Main Range Monthly Releases are available on Spotify for free if you search “Big Finish Main Range”. 

Much like Big Finish, we love telling stories and respect it as an art form, contact Rsquare Media for a consultation and get your real story told! 

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