Fifteen years ago, we released Doctor Who: The Sirens of Time, starting a tradition of audio storytelling for the worlds of Doctor Who and beyond. But in 2001 we added another Doctor to our range as things developed in a number of ways. Read on for a perspective on that, and some more special offers...
Big Finish's Doctor Who at 15 - Day 3
Released earlier today is the latest of comedian, actor and Doctor Who fan Toby Hadoke's epic run of free Podcast interviews taking in every Doctor Who story made for television. All sixty-five so far (yes, he's been busy!) can be listened to, featuring some amazing names from the show's history. Click here to see the range.
We're making another free story available as a download today - the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard tale Living Legend, originally part of a cover-disc on Doctor Who Monthly. We'd like to thank Tom Spilsbury and all at Doctor Who Monthly for their agreement on this.
Also available as downloads for £1 each are the first four Eighth Doctor stories: Storm Warning, The Sword of Orion, The Stones of Venice and Minuet in Hell, and then two of his adventures from later in the range for £5 each on CD or Download - Time Works and Memory Lane.
Apart from Living Legend, all these special offers will last 24 hours. See you for Day 4!
[Update 26/7 - due to server problems on 25/7, this offer has been extended and finishes at 7am (UK time) on 27/7]
A Few Words About 2001 from Gary Russell. We'd like to make it clear that the views expressed here are Gary's personal views and do not represent Big Finish's views:
"What an amazing year 2001 was for Big Finish's Doctor Who range. Obviously the biggest novelty of the year was kicking off with the arrival of the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard, wrapped in gorgeous Clayton Hickman covers complete with snazzy bronze logos. Paul McGann's enthusiasm for what we were doing coupled with India Fisher's willingness to be thrown into the deep end over a television series she knew very little about made those first four stories a very special run - especially as it gave us a chance to ensure that Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart maintained his meeting-with-every-Doctor record. I so recall the moment when I told Paul that Nick would be joining us in Bristol, all ready to explain who he was, to which Paul just went "The Brigadier!?! I get to meet the Brigadier!" I then began to suspect Paul was more au fait with the Doctor Who universe than he was letting on, the sly dawg!
"But the return of the Eighth Doctor wasn't the only significant arrival in 2001 - Erimem, Klien, the Master and the mammoth Forge institution all debuted during those twelve months - and let's not forget the tour de force that was The Biggins at Christmas that year. And with the release of Loups-Garous, another name became synonymous with Big Finish - Moat Studios and the marvellous Toby Robinson who runs the place and engineers so much of our product even today.
"Nick Briggs found the Moat - I cannot remember how, probably the Internet, although Toby would be aghast because he's not a fan of "the web", but I'm very glad he did. Because without Toby's patience and expertise over the years, we probably wouldn't be half as good as we are. And making the plays certainly wouldn't have been as much fun. Loups-Garoux wasn't even recorded in a studio but in Toby's band rehearsal room (the Moat was a music studio, you see). Toby ran a gazillion cable extensions from his control booth to the rehearsal room and off Nick Pegg went, directing Eleanor Bron and Nicky Henson et al in what we thought was our new home.
"At the end of the two day session, Toby asked how it was. I said it was okay but what we gained in the space we now had, we still had problems with voice separation (necessary if you want to effect a werewolf's voice in post-production). A couple of weeks later I was directing Dust Breeding, this time in one of the music studios and Toby was engineering for the first time and saw first hand how hard it was - Geoffrey Beevers actually putting his hand in front of his mouth to get the acoustic of wearing Mr Seta's mask. So when we returned to do Bloodtide, Toby took us into the other music studio, the biggest one. And therein he had built by hand, completely at his own expense and with no provocation from us, five individual wood and glass booths, meaning that every actor was now separate, every line of dialogue recorded on a clean channel. This was a marvellous feat of both engineering and caring about Big Finish. I knew then we were with Toby forever!
"One other thing sticks very closely in my mind from running Big Finish in 2001 - death-threats. The aforementioned Bloodtide was a brilliant script by Jonny Morris, his first for us. I asked him for a Silurian story, he opted to put the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn on the Galapogas Islands with Charles Darwin and thus emerged an amazing story about evolution of the species from both a human and Silurian perceptive, with the villain of the piece taking responsibility for genetically engineering mankind in the first place. And cue the complaints, every single one from certain areas of America known as the Bible Belt. And within these outraged letters came three death threats. I had apparently challenged these peoples' belief in God, and they were going to make me pay.
"Having offended possibly the same group earlier in the year by not spotting that Clay Hickman had inverted a pentagram on the cover of Minuet in Hell (which we changed for later repressings and the music collection), I really had run out of patience so rather than cowering from their self-righteous wrath, I pinned the letters up in the Big Finish office and delighted in the fact that a play I had produced and directed (not written, mind) had caused such a bizarre amount of vitriol from people whose grasp on the fundamental concepts of fiction was shaky at best.
"Yes, what a fun year 2001 was :-)"
Gary Russell, Big Finish Producer, Writer, Director, Star