Today we look at one of the exciting upcoming Early Adventures, starring Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines and Elliot Chapman!
This Early Adventure by writer Roland Moore has a lot of excited fans, as Big Finish has its first historical adventure in a while. The skies of Stalingrad aren’t ready for this TARDIS crew in Doctor Who: The Night Witches.
When the TARDIS materialises north of Stalingrad in 1942, the Doctor, Jamie, Ben and Polly are captured by the Night Witches, an all-female unit of flyers tasked with disrupting the German forces nearing Moscow.
They suspect that the travellers are spies - part of the Germans’ Operation Barbarossa. Despite their pleas they are locked up while it is decided what to do with them.
Polly, however, is receiving strange looks from the pilots and clearly unnerving them. When the TARDIS crew discover why this is, it becomes clear that they’re about to get far more involved in the war than they could possibly have imagined.
We talked to director of this dangerous adventure, Helen Goldwyn, “It’s been a real treat to work on a historical story this time, especially with such a legendary cast. When I first started reading The Night Witches I assumed that these female flyers came from the writer’s imagination, so I was thrilled to learn that these amazingly brave women actually existed.
“When it came to the casting, the first actor who sprang to mind was Kristina Buikaite. I worked with her in The Prisoner (again, playing an Eastern European role) and was impressed by her unique interpretation. She brought something so fresh to her role in The Night Witches. I love that she never goes for the obvious inflection and that her accent is so authentic. We were fortunate too to have Wanda Opalinska recommended to us. Of Russian origin and with an intense quality to her voice, she was perfect casting for the ruthless leader of the female pilots. The final member of our Russian trio was the versatile Anjella Mackintosh, who didn’t just provide a brilliant accent but who also (as requested) performed in exactly the same pitch and tone as Anneke….which will be very necessary for the story!
The only drawback on the recording day was that every woman and every female role (apart from Polly) ended with the letter ‘a’ (Anjella, Wanda, Kristina, Nadia, Liliya and Tatiana). To say this frazzled my brain would be an understatement!
Needless to say, working with Anneke and Frazer was as wonderful and fun as you would imagine. We laughed a lot and what a combined history there is between them! Those Green Room anecdotes don’t get much better!"
We also chatted to designer Tom Webster about his unforgettable and surprisingly Soviet artwork for this very different of releases, “As ever, it was an open brief - I got to read the script & come up with my own ideas of how to visualise it. It's such a rewarding way of working, being given complete creative licence. It was such an exciting setting, in the bleakest of winters in the most desperate conditions imaginable.
"I knew I wanted to make it very dynamic, with lots of movement & fragments from battle. It was also extremely fun to put Anneke in a different costume, I hope it's created a bit of excitement. It's always fun seeing characters from the classic series in situations that just wouldn't have been possible in the 1960s. I think that's one of the main strength of Big Finish audio, the scope is so much wider!
Do you know what, I think this may well be the first Communist Big Finish cover! I just couldn't resist using the insignia, it gave me a strong colour choice with the red!”
Fly off with this adventure in September, you can pre-order now from £12.99 on download or £14.99 on CD. Don’t forget that CD purchases only from the Big Finish site unlock a digital download exclusive from the Big Finish site, and on the Big Finish app.
The next episode features Frazer Hines, Anneke Wills and Elliott Chapman reprising their roles as The Doctor, Jamie, Polly and Ben in Doctor Who: The Outliers, by Simon Guerrier.
The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie to a flooded underground town on an alien world. The streets are empty. The houses are bare. Not a trace of life.
The miners working here are vanishing. And it isn’t long before the time-travellers are suspected of being responsible for the disappearances. But even the authorities haven’t fully realised the scale of the problem.
There’s something else on this world. Something dragging people away. And it won’t stop until it’s taken them all.