Big Finish has announced an epic adventure featuring seven Time Lords for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary.
Titled Once and Future, this ambitious adventure will star (deep breath) Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant and will be spread across eight episodes starting in May 2023. It seems that these offerings for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will be released monthly up until the anniversary itself in November.
Here are the episode titles…
- Past Lives
- The Artist at the End of Time
- A Genius for War
- Two’s Company
- The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50
- Time Lord Immemorial
- The Union
- The Final Act
Intriguingly, Once and Future will be very different from the multi-Doctor adventures we’ve seen (or heard) in the past, as this one plays with the concept of degeneration – something we hadn’t seen in Doctor Who prior to Jodie Whittaker’s surprise transformation into David Tennant in the closing moments of ‘The Power of the Doctor.’
Here’s the synopsis for this upcoming adventure for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary…
“The Time War. The Doctor has been injured and brought to a Time Lord field hospital. His body glows with energy, but this is no regeneration into a future form – instead, the Doctor’s past faces begin to appear as he flits haphazardly between incarnations…
“Staggering to his TARDIS, the Doctor sets out to solve the mystery of his ‘degeneration.’ Who has done this to him? How? And why? From the Earth to the stars, across an array of familiar times and places, he follows clues to retrace his steps, encountering old friends and enemies along the way. Tumbling through his lives, the Doctor must stop his degeneration before he loses himself completely…”
Presumably, the Doctor will be able to resolve this crisis before he ends up as William Hartnell or even Jo Martin. But this is Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary after all, and Big Finish has confirmed that “dozens more special guests” are still to be revealed. Perhaps John Culshaw will be dropping by with his finest Jon Pertwee impression. Or maybe we’ll get a chance to hear Frazer Hines as Patrick Troughton, or Jonathon Carley as John Hurt’s War Doctor.
One casting possibility was hinted at by Christopher Eccleston a few months ago, when he confirmed that he’d recorded some special scenes for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary alongside the late David Warner, who played the Unbound Doctor for Big Finish. This is a parallel universe version of the famous Time Lord, and one who ended up in Hong Kong during his Earth exile, meaning that he never joined UNIT as its scientific advisor. The result of this was a devastating war that wiped out the rest of the Time Lords and left much of the universe in ruins.
However, it’s unclear whether Eccleston was referring to Once and Future when he talked about Warner, or whether he was referring to another (as yet unannounced) project from Big Finish.
“I did something very special for the 60th anniversary,” he explained, “and for me it was all about working with this incredible actor, an incredible human being called David Warner.
“I think the 60th is my favourite and you’re going to have to wait, but it’s going to be worth the wait because David Warner is extraordinary and if any actor should have been the Doctor it would have been David.”
And then there is the question of all the other incarnations of the eponymous Time Lord. With the issue of the Timeless Children still hanging over the Whoniverse, could some other (formerly unknown) regenerations be thrown into the mix? Or – if it’s even possible – could Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi or Jodie Whittaker show up in their TARDISes, either in person or via gifted impersonators?
Certainly, it seems possible that a roster of former companions will be featuring in the adventure, somewhere. And how could you celebrate Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary at Big Finish without having the Daleks?
Naturally, with Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary still a year away, there is a lot more speculation still to come. Expect more news over the next few months as more casting announcements are made. In the meantime, we have the TV return (or debut) of David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor on its way, with three epic specials that will see him reunited with former companion Donna Noble, alias the Doctor Donna, alias The Best Temp in Chiswick.
Until then, we’ll leave you with producer David Richardson’s words on these upcoming plans for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary. “An astonishing array of talent has come aboard to be a part of this epic eight-hour anniversary story. It’s a huge Doctor Who party and a massive celebration that has been years in the making.”
What are you most looking forward to about Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary? And which other casting announcements would you like to see in Once and Future? Let us know in the comments below.
You can pre-order your copy of Once and Future here.
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