With ranges for the Fugitive Doctor and the current Master already unveiled, what else can we expect from Big Finish when their licence expands to include the Thirteenth Doctor’s era?
At Big Finish Day 2022, applause greeted the confirmation that Big Finish will be able to begin using elements from the Thirteenth Doctor era of Doctor Who. The first two series in the range have already been announced: The Fugitive Doctor will star Jo Martin as the Doctor, following on from the events of ‘Fugitive of the Judoon‘ as she tries to stay one step ahead of her former employers in the Division. Meanwhile, Call Me Master stars Sacha Dhawan as the renegade Time Lord.
But this could be just the beginning, with other new ranges (as well as appearances by monsters and characters from recent years) sure to be coming soon, too. No further plans have been revealed as yet, but there are some exciting opportunities.
So let’s run down some of the most likely – and most wanted – Thirteenth Doctor possibilities…
8. Khan, Lewis & Jericho: The Unseen Adventures
Between the episodes ‘Village of the Angels’ and ‘Survivors of the Flux,’ Doctor Who: Flux established exactly the sort of gap that Big Finish finds irresistible. The Thirteenth Doctor’s friends Yaz, Dan and Jericho are trapped in the 1900s, spending three years travelling the world hunting down mystics and ancient prophecies. Meanwhile, the agents of the Grant Serpent are hunting them, desperate to stop them ruining his plans to conquer Earth. (See here for more on the Doctor Who: Flux characters.)
This provides a lot of scope for unseen adventures, and even some compelling crossover opportunities with other Big Finish regulars. How brilliant would it be to match Kevin McNally’s Professor Jericho with a slightly older version of Christopher Benjamin’s infernal investigator Sir Henry Gordon Jago for an episode? Similarly, a team-up with a post-Victorian Paternoster Gang has huge potential – not just for fun, but for the elder Vastra and Jenny to give Yaz the sort of perspective on the Doctor that they once gave to Clara.
7. Karvanista, Vinder and Bel
Flux also ended with a setup for a spin-off that was practically gift-wrapped for Big Finish. The husband and wife team of Vinder and Bel set off for new adventures across the stars with the dog-like Karvanista in tow, last survivor of the Lopari species of humanoid dog aliens. It’s a setup ripe with possibilities, with the freewheeling nature of Vinder and Bel contrasting with the grumpy, perpetually complaining Karvanista.
It would also give an opportunity to explore some of Flux’s unanswered questions. The Doctor tells the Ood at Division how she plans to ‘uncompress’ the universe to undo the damage from the Flux, but never gets a chance to do it. But we also don’t get told if the Ood carried out the plan either. So is the post-Flux universe still a fractured splinter of its former self, or has everyone and everything being restored? This could be the perfect place to find out.
6. Doctor Who: The Lost Stories – The Thirteenth Doctor
Big Finish have been producing the Doctor Who: The Lost Stories range since 2009, each release recreating a story that never made it to our screens. Sometimes they adapt finished scripts for audio, while other times they flesh out what were originally little more than outlines. Most recently, Russell T Davies’ very first Doctor Who script, submitted to script editor Andrew Cartmel in 1986, has been revived with an all-star cast led by Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor. And the Thirteenth Doctor’s years have their share of stories that never got made.
Most notably, the early plans for Series Thirteen involved a much more traditional structure, with ten largely standalone episodes and an arc more subtly weaving between them. When the pandemic forced massive changes to how the show was made, some scripts were dropped altogether, while others had to be significantly altered to become part of the Flux serial.
Meanwhile, Easter’s ‘Legend of the Sea Devils‘ replaced an earlier idea that had nothing in common with the version that made it to the screen (beyond featuring pirates.) These unmade episodes – and the original versions of others – may one day find a home among Big Finish’s Lost Stories.
5. The Seventh Doctor vs Division
‘The Timeless Children‘ wasn’t the first time it had been suggested that the Doctor had been present during the earliest days of Gallifrey, playing an active part in the inhabitants’ ascension to Time Lords. In the Seventh Doctor’s era, ‘Silver Nemesis‘ hinted that the Doctor was “more than just a Time Lord,” while ‘Remembrance of the Daleks‘ saw the Doctor talking about the creation of the Hand of Omega and the invention of time travel as if he were there, before realising he may have said too much.
But, in light of recent revelations, the question becomes: How does he remember that he was there?
Of all the Doctors, the Seventh Doctor is the most scheming and manipulative. He’s also the one most concerned with a list of unfinished business with ancient superbeings from the dawn of time like the Gods of Ragnarok and Fenric. Could it be that he somehow remembers the secret of the Timeless Child and Division centuries before the Thirteenth Doctor does? Perhaps it was actually Jo Martin’s Doctor that played that original chess match with Fenric?
But if any Doctor is equipped to play Tecteun at her own game, it’s certainly McCoy’s version. Perhaps he comes so close to defeating Division before being forced to forget them again that Tecteun draws up her plans for the ultimate sanction if the Doctor ever discovers their existence…
4. Gallifrey: Division
The existence of Division – the clandestine agency that grows beyond the Time Lords’ control – opens up fertile new ground for Big Finish’s long running Gallifrey series. Detailing the political machinations and clandestine manoeuvrings underpinning Time Lord life, the introduction of Division and Tecteun could spark an entire new area of conflict. And who knows what role Gallifrey’s most pragmatic and calculating star Coordinator Narvin might play: Division’s greatest opponent, or an agent of Division all along?
There’s also potential for boxsets exploring Division’s impact on present day Gallifrey, and how far they’ll go to eliminate knowledge of their presence. But also for ones going back in time to the power struggles between Rassilon, Omega and Tecteun – a delicate balance maintained by each holding a vital secret behind something fundamental to Time Lord dominance: time travel, black hole power and regeneration.
In short, the concept of a secret elite of Time Lords with unlimited regenerations fits perfectly with the style of the Gallifrey series.
3. Classic Doctors, New Monsters
When Big Finish first obtained a licence to include elements from Doctor Who‘s 21st century revival, one of their earliest uses of it was Classic Doctors, New Monsters. These special boxsets were ideal for speedily taking advantage of the new opportunities without waiting for those elements to filter through the regular ranges, most of which were recorded years in advance. It’s very possible that Big Finish will use the same tactic again to introduce monsters and villains from the Thirteenth Doctor’s era.
Perhaps the Fourth Doctor will find himself among the vast, cruel empire of T’Zim-Sha’s people, the Stenza. Or maybe the Eighth Doctor will take on the scorpion-like scavengers the Skitrath. Perhaps the Seventh Doctor will add Zellin to his list of ageless immortal gods he’s defeated.
2. UNIT: Defunded
Another of Big Finish’s earliest uses of their New Series licence was their range of UNIT box sets starring Jemma Redgrave’s Kate Stewart and Ingrid Oliver’s Osgood alongside a whole new team of heroes. But when 2019’s ‘Resolution’ revealed that UNIT had been defunded and closed down, it was a storyline that Big Finish couldn’t touch. Until now, that is.
Flux explains the reasons behind this: a UNIT compromised from the inside by the Grand Serpent, Kate going dark and on the run, and a new covert war to uncover the Serpent’s sinister plans and stop them. And all, presumably, while doing their best to continue to keep the world safe from every other threat without their usual resources.
The current UNIT epic, Nemesis, is due to run until March 2023. But after that, a new four box set cycle exploring events during the Thirteenth Doctor era with Kate, Osgood, Captain Carter and the rest of the team on the run has to be on Big Finish’s to-do list.
1. The Thirteenth Doctor Adventures
It goes without saying that the biggest achievement of the new licence would be persuading Jodie Whittaker herself to appear in the Big Finish studios. And the initial signs look promising. She’s close friends with both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant – two former Doctors quick to praise how good Big Finish are to work with. And she’s already returned to the role on audio once since filming her regeneration in BBC Sounds’ Doctor Who: Redacted series. So the chances of her returning to the role for Big Finish look promising.
The Thirteenth Doctor’s era is also full of Big Finish-friendly gaps. After all, the Fam – as seen in Series Eleven and Twelve – aren’t full-time TARDIS travellers; the Doctor simply drops in on Sheffield from time to time to lure them on another adventure. So there’s nothing to say she doesn’t have any solo adventures, or even makes other friends that she also sometimes travels with. The same logic also means that, if reasons of availability or budget make assembling the whole Fam impossible, stories featuring any combination (such as Graham and Ryan, or Ryan and Yaz, or just Ryan by himself) could be easily explained.
There are also many possibilities for fan-pleasing encounters they didn’t find time for on television. For instance, the Thirteenth Doctor finally meeting River Song will be high on many wish lists.
Jon Culshaw’s version of the Brigadier would also be fun, with the UNIT leader having to adjust to yet another new face for his oldest friend. Clashes with Big Finish regulars like Michelle Gomez as Missy, or Rufus Hound as the Monk, are also on the cards. The scale of Big Finish’s metaphorical toy box, meanwhile, means that everyone from the Autons to the Zygons (by way of the Ice Warriors and the Quarks) could be lining up for battle with the Thirteenth Doctor.
Of course, even if Jodie Whittaker herself isn’t available, the Thirteenth Doctor may still appear at Big Finish. Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi have yet to join the Big Finish family, but the Doctor Chronicles range has told new stories of the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors regardless, thanks to impressionist and actor Jacob Dudman.
So perhaps a similar solution will lead to the release of The Thirteenth Doctor Chronicles. If they go down that route, Big Finish actor Emma Swan has already been suggested by fans as a potential Doctor, with her appearances in the River Song series revealing an accent and speaking voice very like Whittaker’s, along with a similar energy to her performances.
… and so much more!
We’ve only scratched the surface of the possibilities opened up by the addition of the Thirteenth Doctor era to Big Finish – and the already-announced Fugitive Doctor and Call Me Master series haven’t even been recorded yet!
But what do you think of the options above? What adventures would you like the Thirteenth Doctor to go on with Big Finish? And which characters would you like to see? Let us know below!
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