Is Big Finish in a Baker-era rut?

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Science Fiction Doctor Who Doctor Who Audio Is Big Finish in a Baker-era rut?

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    Big Finish has posted a blurb on its site about the last Davison story of 2013 [LINK]…

    Magnus Greel – aka the murderous Chinese god Weng-Chiang – is returning to Doctor Who this year in a new audio adventure from Big Finish. Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton are back as the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa in The Butcher of Brisbane, facing this old enemy in a story set before Robert Holmes’s 1977 tale The Talons of Weng-Chiang. The script is written by Marc Platt, whose previous work includes the TV story Ghost Light and a large number of Big Finish audios.

    “Marc Platt has extrapolated a whole 51st century world from a few enticing phrases in The Talons of Weng-Chiang,” says audio script editor Alan Barnes. “So if you ever wanted to know more about the advance of the Filipino Army on Reykjavik, Findecker’s discovery of the double nexus particle or the murderous origins of the Peking Homunculus, you can’t afford to miss The Butcher of Brisbane… which, as the title suggests, begins with Tegan’s arrival in the ruins of her home town.”

    Hmmmmm. Mixed feelings. I really should know better – it’ll probably be good stuff with Platt writing it – but I’m detecting a pattern. Let me quote from our own release calendar thread, with notations:

    January 4th Doctor – Destination: Nerva (setting refers back to The Ark In Space / Revenge Of The Cybermen)
    March 6th Doctor – Wirrn Isle (enemy from The Ark In Space)
    May 4th Doctor – Trail Of The White Worm (enemy from The Deadly Assassin)
    June 4th Doctor – The Oseidon Adventure (enemies from The Deadly Assassin, The Android Invasion)
    June 5th Doctor – The Butcher Of Brisbane (enemy from/prequel to The Talons Of Weng-Chiang)

    Rewinding a bit:
    The Lucie Miller / 8th Doctor audios sequelized Ark In Space, The Seeds Of Doom, The Brain Of Morbius, and Terror Of The Zygons, and one of 2011’s 7th Doctor stories revisited Robots Of Death.

    Now… to be fair… sequels to stories from other eras have been done as well, and the thought has occurred that Tom Baker’s much longer run means that there’s simply more of his stuff to go around; if Big Finish is going to crank out sequel stories, the amount of Baker-era sequels could easily seem disproportionate.

    But… it’s not just that. Big Finish has gone sequel-happy since Nick Briggs took over the creative reins from Gary Russell. In the old days, under Russell, the writers’ guide specifically said that writers were to assume that they couldn’t use anything from the TV series other than the Doctors and companions. Anything else – Daleks, Cybermen, UNIT, the Brigadier, the Master – would be generated in-house or be assigned to writers whose work they already knew. And you know what? That really kept things fresh. The batting average was actually pretty good. And on those occasions when they did do a sequel to something, it was unusual, and often it was real special-occasion stuff. Remember what a big deal it was the first time Janet Fielding came back to play Tegan for a Big Finish audio? Now we can’t get rid of her.

    And it’s not like they’re following up on State Of Decay or City Of Death or Underworld; they’re concentrating all of this sequel obsession on the Hinchcliffe/Holmes era – basically, from Ark In Space through The Talons Of Weng-Chiang. It’s a great epoch of the show, but geez, Big Finish… it’s not the only one.

    Steve W
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    It sounds like Briggs has taken the company firmly in the direction of fanwank. Just because there was a well-loved episode from your childhood doesn’t mean that you need to write a spin-off or sequel to it when you’ve grown up.

    I’m wondering… how are these ‘revisits’ doing sales-wise? Maybe Big Finish has gone that direction because the numbers show that it’s what the punters desire.


    It could be… and they started down this road toward the end of RTD’s era, when we were getting Sontarans and Daleks and Davros all in a single season, so it could be that they were just following the same prevailing winds as the TV series.

    I suppose it’s really started to bug me now that the TV series just isn’t all that and a bag of Dalekanium bombs – I want Big Finish to be better than that if Who is gonna be “meh” on TV.

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