There are dozens of Eighth Doctor audio dramas available from Big Finish, and for those new to the series it can be hard to know where to begin. Are there any good starting points for first-time listeners?
Big Finish has been producing Eighth Doctor audio dramas since 2001, meaning that there is a 20 year back catalogue to sift through! Of course, if you have a lot of spare time (and disposable gold dust) you could collect everything from the very beginning. In which case, you can go ahead and pick up ‘Storm Warning‘ – the very first Big Finish production starring the Eighth Doctor. It takes place close to the TV movie and introduces a new companion in the form of Charley Pollard, played by India Fisher.
This is the first of what’s known as the Big Finish Main Range, and you can follow it all the way through to 2021’s ‘The End of the Beginning,’ a multi-Doctor adventure co-starring Peter Davison and Colin Baker. Overall, the Main Range is a 36 story collection that fits around the other Eighth Doctor mini series, some of which are good starting points in their own right.
And what of these mini series? Well, there are several; the first kicks off with 2006’s ‘Blood of the Daleks: Part One‘ and introduces new companion Lucie Miller played by Sheridan Smith. Series One contains six stories in all, concluding with ‘Human Resources.’ So you could start your adventure here.
These Eighth Doctor audio dramas continue for a few more seasons, until the Doctor and Lucie part ways in ‘Death in Blackpool.’ So you could start your collection with the following adventure ‘Situation Vacant,’ as this introduces a new companion in the form of Tamsin Drew, played by Niky Wardley. But bear in mind that his former companion Lucie returns during this season, and it could be a bit confusing if aren’t already familiar with her backstory.
But then there are the standalone box sets. Eighth Doctor audio dramas like ‘Dark Eyes‘ could be good jumping-on points, as they launch brand new plot arcs. ‘Dark Eyes’ spans four box sets in all (totalling 16 stories) so you could just focus on these if time is short and you’re on a budget. The first ‘Dark Eyes’ collection is set during the First World War and brings the Doctor into contact with Molly Sullivan, an Irish nurse who has been stationed in France.
However, some of you might be curious to know about the events leading up to the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration in ‘The Night of the Doctor,’ in which case, ‘The Time War‘ box sets are for you. Again, ‘The Time War’ is a self-contained plot arc, and although there are some references to previous Eighth Doctor audio dramas (such as mysterious Time Lord known as The Twelve) you’re unlikely to be thrown into a vortex of confusion.
And finally, if you’re feeling super-casual and just want to dip your toe into the water, you could take a look at the Time Lord Victorious story arc. This encompasses multiple Doctors but there are some standalone Eighth Doctor audio dramas thrown in for good measure, none of which require you to have previous knowledge. So you could check out ‘He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not,’ or ‘The Enemy of My Enemy,’ or even ‘Echoes of Extinction‘ which brings the Eighth Doctor into contact with the Tenth. Oh yes!
So, where will you begin your Eighth Doctor journey? Or if you’ve been following the Eighth Doctor audio dramas for some time, where would you recommend people start? Let me know in the comments below.
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