Wednesday 7 October 2015

Newsie Musings

It's been a lively few days for Doctor Who. As well as an outstanding episode last Saturday, courtesy of Tony Whithouse, there have also been a number of annoucements, some of which have been greeted with considerably more enthusiasm than others.

On 1st October, the BBC had Twitter buzzing with a news of a "major announcement", more "massive" than we could possibly imagine. Naturally, this raised a whole heap of speculation; rumours of a film, an Eighth Doctor mini-series, and most predominately, the prospect of missing episodes being returned. 

When it was announced that new spin off series, entitled 'Class', had been commissioned, the news was not well received. Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you'll know that 'Class' is aimed at a young audience, and is set in Coal Hill School. Comparisons to the Sarah Jane Adventures were inevitably drawn, and many were left feeling somewhat deflated by the news. That despondency stems from the ridiculous amount of hype by the BBC, rather than the proposed content of the forthcoming series. The BBC had built people's hopes up to unimaginably high levels, and those hopes were somewhat dashed by the less than stellar announcement.

I don't intend to write off the series without at least giving it a go. It may turn out to be fantastic. I think, when it is released, a lot of people will do the same. At the moment, people are reacting to the announcement itself, and the way it was handled by the BBC, rather than the content of the announcement.

Meanwhile, under the hashtag #OnlytheMonstrous, something was brewing at Big Finish. Very little hype, simply the hashtag and a tantalising picture..

When, on 5th October, Big Finish announced that 'Only The Monstrous' was the title of a new series, starring Sir John Hurt as The War Doctor, the news was met with considerably more enthusiasm than the BBC annoucement earlier in the week.

The War Doctor is a concept I have always been somewhat ambivalent toward. Sir John Hurt was, of course, fantastic in 'Day of the Doctor', however, I have always found it oddly jarring that a hitherto unmentioned regeneration had been sandwiched into the series, largely for the sake of utilising a star of Hurt's magnitude. This can be forgiven, given the significance of the anniversary, but nonetheless, The War Doctor seemed at odds with the very nature of the titular Time Lord. That Big Finish have chosen to expand on the War Doctor is an interesting prospect; if anyone can add depth and credence to the character, it is, most certainly, Big Finish Audio.

Since the annoucement, Big Finish have updated their website, which indicates there will be at least four series of The War Doctor.

Somewhat, obscured by the announcement that Big Finish had secured the considerable talents of John Hurt, was the news that The Eighth Doctor would feature in a series focusing on The Time War. Of all the announcements, it is this one which excites me the most. Paul McGann has long been a firm favourite in the Big Finish audio range, from his earliest stories, such as 'Storm Warning' and 'The Chimes of Midnight', through to the stellar 'Dark Eyes', which spanned four, highly successful, seasons.

It seems probable that the Eighth Doctor 'Time War' series will focus on the events leading up to the superb short, 'Night of the Doctor', which delighted  so many fans by finally giving McGann a proper regeneration sequence. According to Big Finish's website, it is a prequel to their War Doctor series. The bad news is that we will have to wait until November 2017 for it! 

Add in the already announced 'River Song', 'Churchill', 'Classic Doctors, New Monsters' and 'UNIT' series, it is clear the next couple of years are going to be packed to the rafters with Doctor Who audio adventures. And if recent releases are any indication of quality, we are in for a treat (or multiple treats!) of epic proportions. 

Season Nine is shaping up nicely, 'Class' may well surprise us all, and there are no less than SEVEN series on the way from Big Finish. What a cracking time to be a Doctor Who fan!

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