Today, Big Finish Productions is releasing Free Speech, the winner of this year’s Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trips Writing Opportunity, as a free download
In May 2020, Big Finish launched its annual new writers’ competition, named for the dearly missed Paul Spragg, the producers’ assistant who would’ve been celebrating his 45th birthday on 29 December 2020. Over 1,000 entries were submitted and the winning entry was Eugenie Pusenjak’s Tenth Doctor adventure, Free Speech. Described by competition judge Robert Shearman as
Narrated by Jacob Dudman (The Stranger), Free Speech tells the tale of Aymius Todd, a young man from a disadvantaged background. Faced with being silenced forever on a world where talking out loud incurs a financial charge, he needs to explain extravagant purchases, rebellious activities, and a friendship with a man called the Doctor, before he runs out of words for good.
Short Trips producer Alfie Shaw explained why Pusenjak’s story stood out and ultimately won. “Free Speech stood out because of how it plays with the way that we tell stories, as well as featuring one of the Doctor’s greatest strengths. Not only was it wittily written with a theme that resonates in the modern world, but it demonstrated a clear understanding of how to create a story that is written to be performed.”
Free Speech offers a fascinating concept of a world where speech cost money
Narrator Jacob Dudman also shared Shaw’s enthusiasm for the script. “Recording Free Speech was a delight. It has a fascinating concept. We all have issues we wish to speak up about, and in an age when people’s opinions are slopped onto the internet, it’s refreshing to hear a story which makes the listener question not only the efficiency of their voice but what they’re using it for.
“I love the Paul Spragg opportunity and what it represents for this community, in giving opportunities to new voices. I’d like to thank Big Finish for letting me be a part of it and the judges for their diligent work in finding a winner out of so many contenders.”
Meanwhile, writer Eugenie Pusenjak spoke of their joy at getting to play in the Doctor Who universe. “I love Doctor Who and I love writing short fiction, so those two things combined seemed like a dream gig. I hope people enjoy listening to the story just as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m really thrilled to have made a contribution (however small) to the Doctor Who universe, and for any aspiring writers out there, don’t be shy when it comes to having a go and entering contests such as this one.”
Doctor Who: Short Trip – Free Speech
On Skaz, speaking costs money.
Aymius Todd is trapped in a police interrogation. They want to know about his links to the Garrulous Liberation, and his encounter with a man called the Doctor. But, Aymius is running out of words, and if he can’t afford to finish his story, then he’ll never be able to speak again.
Doctor Who – Short Trips: Free Speech is now available to download exclusively from the Big Finish website for free.