It’s the end. But the moment has been prepared for…
The Doctor Who monthly adventures range from Big Finish has sadly come to an end with The End of the Beginning. When Big Finish were granted a license to create original Doctor Who audio adventures it was a time of trepidation. New televised Doctor Who had come and gone for one night in 1996. Unsurprisingly more ‘new’ Doctor Who was approached with caution.
July 1999 saw the range begin with ‘The Sirens of Time‘. Personally I began with the third release ‘Whispers of Terror‘. Immediately I was impressed with how well Doctor Who stories could be told on audio. This medium expanded the world and the possibilities for story telling. Not limited by the restrictions of television production, stories of a grander scope and scale could be told. However, to maintain the legitimacy of the product, and ensuring we knew it was still Doctor Who, original cast members returned to the roles they had played on television.
Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy continued to play the Doctor, but on audio. They reunited with old friends, made new enemies and had exciting adventures. This strategy proved successful. It didn’t take long before Paul McGann also took the chance to have more adventures as the Eighth Doctor. Now, the range comes to a conclusion with release number 275. It remains consistent with the strategies used over more than 20 years. Why mess with a winning formula?
The End of the Beginning
There are obvious parallels with the original release ‘The Sirens of Time‘. The End of the Beginning is also a multi-doctor story proving that these are the stories fans love to experience and that writers enjoy telling. It’s no coincidence that significant moments require more than one Doctor. Once again this multi-part story sees individual incarnations given the opening three episodes with a collaboration for the finale.
Part One, Death and the Desert, sees the Fifth Doctor and Turlough in a location that would be fairly unlikely in 1984; Edwardian Arabia. The second instalment, Flight of the Blackstar, has the Sixth Doctor united with a companion specially created by Big Finish, Constance Clarke, in a more futuristic tale. The Eighth Doctor and Charlotte Pollard, another Big Finish companion, travel to that time period when ‘The Sirens of Time‘ was released for Part Three. Finally, the strands of the story come together in The Lost Moon.
By Robert Valentine
Writer Robert Valentine has delivered an exciting and engaging story which does everything you’d want from a finale. Whilst it retains the core ingredients of a successful Doctor Who story on Big Finish, it doesn’t dwell or linger on sentimentality. The four Doctors who have been the centrepiece of the Monthly Adventures remain as consistent as always. Davison, Baker, McCoy and McGann inhabit their roles wonderfully and bounce off each other beautifully. Moments where incarnations converge never feel tiresome and will always be a joy.
The supporting cast all contribute admirably given the remote nature of the recording. Bringing together all the contributors is a terrific achievement by producers Emily Cook and David Richardson. David Schofield, playing the Doctor’s favourite tutor Gostak, has similarities with Borusa of The Five Doctors. Much like that story, The End of the Beginning feels like an anniversary special. It is celebratory in tone and that’s what this final release is; a celebration. But once the party is over everyone shakes hands and goes their separate ways.
“It’s time we were off on some new adventures!”
So it is a fond farewell to the Big Finish Monthly Range. Personally, I would’ve liked this particular range to have bowed out on 300 but that’s because I prefer round numbers. However, The End of the Beginning is the perfect way to bring the Monthly Adventures to an end. It remains consistent with the strategy that has been so successful over the last 22 years. Incarnations of the Doctor remain familiar whilst the adventure is less so, diversifying the scale and scope of the stories being told. Expanding the history of the show whilst being faithful to what has gone before is a challenge. Robert Valentine however has achieved this task perfectly. In conclusion, The End of the Beginning is the finale one could hope for.
Thank You Big Finish
Congratulations must go to every individual who has worked on the range over the years. From the head honchos of Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs through to relative newcomers such as Emily Cook and Jack Townley. Every actor, writer, director, sound designer et al. who has contributed to the range has helped cement Big Finish as a vital component of Doctor Who. In the same way some aspire to work on the Doctor Who television production many also dream of contributing to Big Finish.
The influence of the Monthly Adventures cannot be underestimated. Iconic releases such as ‘Spare Parts‘ and ‘Jubilee‘ impacted the televised product. Even David Tennant appeared in a couple of stories, long before he became the Tenth Doctor. Now Big Finish have expanded to create stories for a wide variety of other intellectual properties. They really do offer something for everyone. As for Doctor Who, the future is bright. New adventures are coming. Long may it continue.
Appropriately, The End of the Beginning is only just the beginning…
This title was released in March 2021. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until 30 April 2021, and on general sale after this date.
The Universe is in a state of crisis, facing destruction from the results of a strange spatio-temporal event. And the Doctor is involved in three different incarnations – each caught up in a deadly adventure, scattered across time and space.
The whole of creation is threatened – and someone is hunting the Doctor. The three incarnations of the Doctor must join together to confront their implacable pursuer – but in doing so will they unleash a still greater threat?
- Peter Davison (The Doctor)
- Colin Baker (The Doctor)
- Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)
- Paul McGann (The Doctor)
- Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough)
- Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke)
- India Fisher (Charlotte Pollard)
- Robyn Holdaway (Calypso Jonze)
- Kieran Bew (Dwayne Pherber)
- Tim Faulkner (Highgate)
- Richard Goulding (John Quarrington)
- Youssef Kerkour (Ibrahim)
- Glen McCready (El Zeddo / Freebooters)
- Kevin McNally (Vakrass)
- David Schofield (Gostak)