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The Sirens of Time
    · Doctors 5 - 7
Phantasmagoria
    · 5th Doctor,
      Turlough
Whispers of Terror
    · 6th Doctor, Peri
The Land of the Dead
    ·
5th Doctor, Nyssa
The Fearmonger
    · 7th Doctor, Ace
The Marian Conspiracy
    ·
6th Doctor, Evelyn
Dalek Empire:
The Genocide Machine

    · 7th Doctor, Ace
Red Dawn
    · 5th Doctor, Peri
The Spectre of
Lanyon Moor

    ·
6th Doctor, Evelyn
    · With the Brigadier
Winter for the Adept
   
· 5th Doctor, Nyssa
Dalek Empire: The Apocalypse Element
    · 6th Doctor, Evelyn
    · With Romana II
The Fires of Vulcan
    · 7th Doctor, Mel
The Music - Volume 1
    · by Alistair Lock
The Shadow of the Scourge
     · 7th Doctor, Ace,
      Benny
The John Nathan-Turner Memoirs - Vol 1 & 2
The Holy Terror
    · 6th Doctor,
      Frobisher
Dalek Empire:
The Mutant Phase

    · 5th Doctor, Nyssa
Storm Warning
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
Sword of Orion
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
    · Cybermen
The Stones of Venice
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
The Music - Volume 2
    · by Alistair Lock
Minuet in Hell
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
    · With the Brigadier
Loups-Garoux
    · 5th Doctor,
      Turlough
Dust Breeding
    · 7th Doctor, Ace
Dalek Empire
1. Invasion of the Daleks
Big Finish Talks Back:
The Audio Companions

    · Maggie Stables,
      India Fisher,
      Lisa Bowerman
Bloodtide
    · 6th Doctor, Evelyn
The Music - Volume 3
    · by Russell Stone
Dalek Empire
2. The Human Factor
Project: Twilight
    · 6th Doctor, Evelyn
The Eye of the Scorpion
    · 5th Doctor, Peri
Colditz
    · 7th Doctor, Ace
Dalek Empire
3. 'Death to the Daleks!'
Primeval
    · 5th Doctor, Nyssa
The One Doctor
    · 6th Doctor, Mel
Dalek Empire
4. Project Infinity

    · 21 January, 2002
Music from the Eighth Doctor Audio Adventures
    · by Alistair Lock,       Nicholas Briggs,       Russell Stone &       William Allen
Invaders from Mars
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
Excelis Dawns
    · 5th Doctor
The Chimes of Midnight
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
Seasons of Fear
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
Excelis Rising
    · 6th Doctor
Embrace the Darkness
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
The Time of the Daleks
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
Excelis Decays
    · 7th Doctor
NeverLand
    · 8th Doctor, Charley
    · With Romana II
The Maltese Penguin
    · 6th Doctor, Frobisher
Spare Parts
    · 5th Doctor, Nyssa
Sarah Jane Smith:
Comeback
Sarah Jane Smith:
The TAO Connection
Big Finish Talks Back:
The Eighth Doctor Authors

    · Mark Gatiss,
      Robert Shearman,
      Paul Cornell,
      Caroline Symcox,
      Nicholas Briggs,
      Justin Richards,
      Alan Barnes
... ish
    · 29 August, 2002
    · 6th Doctor, Peri
Big Finish Talks Back:
Paul McGann

    · DVD
Sarah Jane Smith:
Test of Nerve
The Rapture
    · 7th Doctor, Ace

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS LIST
By Gary Russell

Here at Big Finish Towers, in our plush 94th floor penthouse apartment, we get quite a few questions emailed to us and so we thought it was time that Gary Russell, putting his producer's hat on finally got around to updating some of these answers. So, hello from June 2002...!

Okay, on the FAQ:

1) What exactly is Big Finish Productions?

The company was formed in 1996 by Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nancy Hine as a small production company, handling both audio and video productions. Jason invested heavily in the company which is why we, honestly, plead poverty so much. We have no multinational companies backing us, no injections of cash from well-meaning sponsors or generous relatives. Like a vast majority of small businesses in Britain, BFP gets by on luck, love and some rather special talent. In 1998, Jason was approached by myself and Nicholas Briggs to do some audio science-fiction. The two of us had been responsible for much of the elbow-grease in Audio Visuals, a fan group from the late eighties who made non-profit-making, highly unlicensed Doctor Who audio plays. Jason had been a fan of ours and knew our work. We had secured the licence from Virgin Publishing to make audio dramas based upon their range of novels featuring one-time Doctor Who companion Professor Bernice Summerfield. Nick and I produced the Benny audios for Jason and Nancy's company. When we were offered the licence to make brand new Doctor Who by BBC Worldwide in 1999, we grabbed it, with Jason acting as producer for BFP, myself as artistic producer and initially BBC Books range editor Steve Cole as our Executive Producer on BBC Worldwide's behalf. After Steve's departure from the Beeb, that role was taken on by his former assistant, now Eighth Doctor desk editor herself, Jacqueline Rayner. With Nancy having departed during 2002, Jason is the only BFP full-timer, although he is ably supported by the magnificent Brenda Smith who does all the mail-order side of things. Myself, John, Nick, Alistair and the others whose names appear in the credits on the CDs and tapes are freelancers employed by BFP on a production-by-production basis. We do, therefore, live in fear of Jason one day being possessed by an evil twin who sacks us all. Until then...

2) What does the BBC license entitle us to do?

Very basically, we are allowed to make brand new audio dramas based upon the BBC Television series Doctor Who. We are not allowed to adapt books, unmade scripts, stage plays, comic strips, ancient texts from lost Atlantis etc. And nor would we want to. This is the first time such a license has been granted and it seems rather daft to us to waste it rehashing existing material when we have an opportunity, within the confines of that license, to keep Doctor Who alive and fresh well into this new century. Oh, and one other thing, no we are not allowed to regenerate the Doctor into a ninth persona.

3) Okay, so you're using Paul McGann, Colin Baker, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy, but what about Tom Baker?

Well, We've talked informally to Tom and he wavers between saying yes and no. An interview with Tom in Doctor Who Magazine some months back went some way towards illustrating the way Tom would like to re-present himself in the role, and some people have commented that it might not be very typical Doctor Who. Personally, I don't think that should present too many insurmountable challenges - but it's just a case of striking the balance to keep all parties happy and, above all, the fans pleased. Ultimately Tom will do it if and when he feels it is right. We have no intention of pressuring him into doing so - what would be the point?

4) You've got the Doctors, but what about companions, villains etc?

Again, we have a nice variety of relevant actors to team up with the Doctors. With the 5th Doctor, thanks to Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton, we have the option of adventures with Nyssa and Turlough. We also have Nicola Bryant, whom we can pair up with either the 5th or 6th Doctors. And for the 7th Doctor, Sophie Aldred is always happy to return as Ace and Bonnie Langford is happy to come back as Mel with both the 6th and 7th Doctors. Besides that, and again bearing in mind the terms of our licence, I do believe in pushing the boat out a little now and again. The 6th Doctor's era in particular is a rich untapped source of possibilities. Already we have created the character of Evelyn Smythe to travel with the post-The Trial of a Time Lord 6th Doctor before his adventures began properly with Mel Bush. And we have The Holy Terror, teaming him up with Frobisher, the shape-changing Penguin from the old Doctor Who Magazine comic strips. Plus of course we have Charley Pollard alongside the Eighth Doctor (we do not have the rights to use Grace Holloway, Chang Lee or any other elements specifically created for the 1996 TV Movie), and to keep the 5th Dotor happy, we now have the Egyptian pharoah Erimem. We do believe that if the odd experiment isn't made once in a blue moon, the audios could become a bit repetitive and predictable. Although we can't further the Doctor Who mythos with a new incarnation, we feel it would be remiss of us not to add a bit of colour now and again where we can. And remember, we cannot do anything that BBC Worldwide don't approve of first, so you're unlikely to find a rampaging, gun-totting, sex-maniac, swearing Doctor all of a sudden. We'll leave that unimaginative route to the movie producers of the future.

Then there's the question of the bad guys. Okay, let's deal with the Master first. We held informal discussions with Anthony Ainley but sadly we couldn't agree terms and conditions. Thus we went back one, as it were, to Geoffrey Beevers, who was more than happy to give further voice to the decrepit Master seen in The Keeper of Traken. Thus Geoffrey is our on-going Master. we'd love to use the Rani sometime and even if we negotiated with Pip and Jane Baker, who own the copyright on the character, if we could not employ Kate O'Mara, again, what's the point? Far better to create a new character. Yes, of course the Master and Rani could regenerate, but clever as that concept is, it can also be badly overused (vis a vis Borusa on television). We have discussed the possibility of finding a way of using the Valeyard that would be a departure from his TV appearance (it would be too easy to use the character as a substitute Master) and I would like to work with Michael Jayston, but we'll have to see what we can come up with. We do have plans, though...

6) Why don't you get sound-alikes to play the first three Doctors. Maybe David Troughton could do the Second Doctor and Sean Pertwee the Third?

I will not recast those three Doctors under any circumstances - to do so would I believe be the height of bad taste. On TV they got away with it in The Five Doctors, and that should remain a unique event. William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee were three great actors whose memory is better served by enjoying what we have rather than muddying it with sound-alikes. And to ask their sons to impersonate them would be insulting to them and their fathers. It's a definite no-no.

7) Does that therefore mean we won't see their companions returning, paired with other Doctors?

It's happened in a number of the novels, with varying degrees of success. Personally, I'm against it. It's been far more fun working with Anneke Wills and Caroline John in totally different roles, and hopefully they won't be the last familiar faces we bring to unfamiliar parts. Recently we enjoyed working with Elisabeth Sladen on a new Sarah Jane Smith series, but I can't see how it would benefit Sarah to bring her back into a Doctor Who story. Gallifrey opens up a number of interesting possibilities - Leela could work well alongside unfamiliar Doctors and of course Lalla Ward has recently returned to play Romana alongside both the 6th and 8th Doctors.

8) Will we ever see/hear the Brigadier again, particularly alongside Colin Baker's Doctor as Dimensions in Time aside, they never properly met in the series?

Already sorted. The Brigadier meets up with the Sixth Doctor in The Spectre of Lanyon Moor and encounters the Eighth Doctor in Minuet in Hell. Hopefully, he'll be back again...

9) Why do you use that particular version of the Doctor Who theme?

My preference, more than anything. We initially commissioned four new versions and although they are all great reinterpretations, I still believe that to most people, the Pertwee/Baker theme is Doctor Who. When the Comic Relief team used it for The Curse of Fatal Death, that finally swung it for me. And we were fortunate to be aided by Mark Ayres who had prepared the special stereo short mixes for the charity special and that's the version we use. And for those who wonder why we use so little of it, well, that's straightforward, ugly old economics I'm afraid. We have to pay the copyright holders a percentage per second's worth used. It's not cheap and therefore we use what we can afford. A number of people have suggested that we use the different themes for each Doctor but that gets us further into the red! Not only do we still have to pay the copyright on the piece of music itself, but those individual re-arrangers would need to be paid each time too. Honestly, we simply cannot afford it. And, as I say, I believe the theme we do use is the one most closely associated with Doctor Who to a majority of people. For the 8th Dotor series, it seemed a fun idea to create our own unique version and thus, thanks to Mark Gatiss, we were able to work with David Arnold in between Bond movies, to produce a quite exciting version that can be found, reworked by Alistair Lock on the first run of 8th Doctor plays, and re-edited by Davy Darlington on the second run. David's full, untouched mix appears on the Music From The Eighth Doctor Audios double CD.

10) Do you intend to have big-name guest stars?

Doctor Who has a fine tradition of employing great actors to be in the series, and, budgetary considerations allowing, I think it's great if we can continue that. Already we've had familiar 'faces' such as Jacqueline Pearce, Derren Nesbitt, Michael Sheard, Eleanor Bron and Hugh Walters as well as the type of actor you always thought should have done the show but never did like David Ryall, Stephen Greif, Holly de Jong, James Bolam, Don Warrington, Charles Kay, Bruce Montague, Sally Knyvette, Peter Guinness and Gareth Thomas for instance. I have a list as long as my arms (legs as well) of people I'd kill to work with. But I don't believe in guest stars for the sake of it. Actors must be cast for what they bring to a part, not what they bring to publicity.

11) Have you considered enhancing your CDs with extra material, like a lot of singles and albums do with pop videos etc.

Yes, we're actually looking into it now and again, but it's not a cheap option. Certainly, the most we could do would be photographs and such like, and that has to be costed against whether or not it's truly worth it. Also, there may be a slight licence query over that as our contract with BBC Worldwide doesn't cover such a thing. We'll have to see. Certainly we won't be doing enhanced CDs in the near future.

12) You're doing a series of linked Dalek plays. Will Davros be there as well?

No, categorically not. Nick Briggs and I are massive Dalek fans and don't ascribe to the lazy notion that Daleks need Davros to do their talking for them. Throughout the Sixties and early Seventies, the Daleks came across as powerful adversaries, adept with cunning, intelligence and power. Once you stick Davros with them, they simply end up as mobile tanks, doing his dirty work. In Genesis of the Daleks, Davros was essential and unequalled. No matter how good David Gooderson and Terry Molloy are in the subsequent adventures, Davros seems to us to be superfluous to requirements. We're basing our Daleks on the ruthless conquerors of the Sixties. The Dalek Empire adventures do, we believe, echo those classic serials. That's not to say we wouldn't do Davros minus the Daleks one day...

13) What about story arcs?

Very difficult to do when you have a play with a different Doctor every month. Within their own eras, I think it can be fun to have running themes, as opposed to continuing arcs. For instance, in our 5th Doctor/Nyssa stories there was a slight arc, starting in Land of the Dead concerning Nyssa that was eventually resolved in Primeval. But these are things that are very minor themes that people can spot and enjoy but if you miss them, they're of no great importance. Again it comes back to what I mentioned earlier about pushing out the boat a bit. It's fun, and necessary, to play around a bit with what we're doing, without altering or damaging the canonicity of the TV series that started it all. The status quo must always appear to be maintained, but that doesn't prevent us all having some fun along the way. The Eighth Doctor stories we have recorded with Paul McGann offered us a greater opportunity to provide close links which is one of the reasons I chose to release the plays sequentially, akin to seasons, was so that we could do this. Although all ten stories are separate entities, listened to in order, they do possess an extra dimension, particularly in regard to Charley.

14) Big Finish also do the series of Bernice Summerfield audios. Are we likely to see her crossing back into the world of Doctor Who proper?

Yes, definitely. Paul Cornell, who created Benny for the Doctor Who novel Love and War, wrote a story entitled The Shadow of the Scourge set during her travels with the Seventh Doctor and Ace, and Trevor Baxendale has recently completed another one, The Dark Flame for release during 2003.

15) Have the BBC suggested doing novelisations of the audios as Virgin did with the two Jon Pertwee radio serials The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N Space?

No, they've never mentioned it, and it's not an avenue that I'm keen to go down yet. Getting people interested in listening to audio is hard enough as it is. It's not as immediate as TV, nor as convenient as a book. And Doctor Who fans these days are far more used to getting a new adventure in print than on audio. We believe that given the option of the story on audio or in a novelisation, a large percentage of our potential audience would plump for the book. Which would put us out of business rather rapidly! Hopefully everyone agrees with us that that'd not be a good thing.

16) Are you accepting submissions for scripts?

Not at the moment. As fans ourselves, we know what it's like to be part of creating new Doctor Who and decided right from the outset, it would be churlish to say an outright no to submissions. Doctor Who fans are amongst the most literate genre fans out there and we'd kick ourselves if a great story was out there but we never had a chance to see it. However, and this is important for would-be scribes to remember, the chances are actually slim - probably far slimmer than they are for getting a BBC Book accepted. This is not because we're ogres (well, I am, but that's a different kettle of fish...) but one of practicality. Writing audio is far harder than it at first seems, and to be brutally honest, I have provisionally filled all available slots until well into 2004 already. For that reason, we closed our submissions policy. When the time comes to look beyond 2004, we may well re-examine the policy.

17) Where can we actually get the audios?

Direct from us - to be honest, that's the best way to ensure we keep going simply because all the costs go back into subsequent productions. If mail-order/web-ordering isn't your thang, then in the UK, a majority of specialist shops and convention dealers (Forbidden Planet, Galaxy 4, 10th Planet, Bruce Campbell etc) carry the CDs, while some branches of HMV carry, or can order, them. In the US Ministry of Sound and Vision are our distributors and usually any little 'gifts' we give to subscribers in the UK will find their way to MOSV's subscribers, too. We're always looking for ways to further our invasion of Australia and New Zealand, so fingers crossed on that...

Plug over.

18) What is in the future?

The newspages of this web-site carries our latest news, as of course do the many news sites on the internet, and the Gallifrey Guardian section of Doctor Who Magazine. And of course, other genre magazines regularly feature us. Which is nice and we appreciate it. But this page is always the best for accurate and, more importantly, up-to-date news.

20) How long will you be doing the New Audio Adventures for?

Our license with the BBC is not indefinite and needs to be renegotiated like all licenses do every few years. Hopefully by the time ours comes up you'll still want us to keep making the plays and the BBC will similarly want them to continue. If it were down to Jason, Nick, John, myself, our actors, writers and directors, we'd do them for as long as people want us to. As Doctor Who fans, our job is to give other fans new and exciting Doctor Who adventures and keep the show alive for a whole new generation.

There's a sly old joke out there: How many Doctor Who fans does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they just sit around and wait for it to come back on.

And whilst there's a grain of truth in there somewhere, for a majority of us, it's not true. For as long as fans keep reading books, reading magazines, listening to audios and watching the videos, let alone buying toys, calendars, posters etc, then there's a good chance that one day someone in the BBC will wake up to the fact they have on their hands the most unique piece of entertainment ever created for television. Until then, it's up to the fans to keep it all going...

Enjoy the audios, and thanks for reading this.

 


Disclaimer and Copyright: This FAQ V.3 document is Copyright (c) 2002 Big Finish Productions Ltd., and its contents, opinions or information may not be modified and/or distributed or used elsewhere without consent of the current maintainer. Please feel free to address further questions to bigfinish@easynet.co.uk, putting FAQ in the Subject header.


Coming Soon 
Sarah Jane Smith:
Ghost Town

    · 10 October, 2002
Music from the Fifth Doctor Audio Adventures
    · 14 October, 2002
Music from the Sixth Doctor Audio Adventures
    · 17 October, 2002
The Sandman
    · 24 October, 2002
    · 6th Doctor, Evelyn
Sarah Jane Smith:
Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre

    · 7 November, 2002
The Church and the Crown
    · 28 November, 2002
    · 5th Doctor, Peri,
      Erimem
Short Trips: Zodiac
    · December, 2002
    · short story
      collection

    · edited by
      Jacqueline Rayner
Bang-Bang-a-Boom!
    · 12 December, 2002
    · 7th Doctor, Mel
Music from the Excelis Audio Adventures
    · 19 December, 2002
Dalek Empire II:
Dalek War - Part 1
    · January, 2003
Jubilee
    · January, 2003
    · 6th Doctor, Evelyn
Music from the Seventh Doctor Audio Adventures
    · February, 2003
Dalek Empire II:
Dalek War - Part 2
    · February, 2003
Nekromanteia
    · February, 2003
    · 5th Doctor, Peri,
      Erimem
Doctor Who and The Pirates
    · 6th Doctor, Evelyn
    · March 2003
Dalek Empire II:
Dalek War - Part 3
    · March, 2003
Dalek Empire II:
Dalek War - Part 4
    · April, 2003
The Dark Flame
    · April, 2003

    ·
7th Doctor, Ace,
      Benny
Creatures of Beauty
    · May, 2003

    ·
5th Doctor, Nyssa
Project: Lazarus
    · June, 2003

    ·
6th Doctor, Evelyn,       7th Doctor
Flip-Flop
    · July, 2003

    ·
7th Doctor, Mel
Omega
    · August, 2003

    ·
5th Doctor
Davros
    · September, 2003

    ·
6th Doctor
Master
    · October, 2003

    ·
7th Doctor
Zagreus
    · November, 2003
 

Copyright (c) 2002 Big Finish Productions Ltd.