Doctor Who geeking-out will commence in 5… 4… 3… 2…
It’s great that the Doctor Who News Page has recovered from the disappearance of its old home at Outpost Gallifrey, but man, they got their butts kicked on this story by, well, nearly the entire web…especially since it hit the web about three days ago. I only just found out about it this morning.
The big news: Tom Baker is reprising the role of the Doctor in audio form… but not for Big Finish. The “season” of five new stories will be produced and released by the BBC itself. No word on whether or not they’ll also hit the radio, especially since Paul McGann is the BBC’s “current radio Doctor”. The five stories are written by Paul Magrs (Who novelist, occasional Big Finish contributor, and creator of irrepressible extended universe Time Lady lush Iris Wyldthyme), and Baker’s sidekick is former UNIT captain Mike Yates, played by Richard Franklin. The stories take place between The Invasion Of Time and The Ribos Operation, a handy undocumented and unspecified stretch of time into which any number of adventures could have taken place that we didn’t happen to see on TV.
One wonders what the BBC had to offer Baker that Big Finish couldn’t, though I suspect that the answer involves towering stacks of pound notes. For years, Baker has not only refused to work with Big Finish, but has ridiculed the company – sometimes as rudely as possible – at conventions and other public appearances.
One wonders if the BBC will develop a taste for doing these in such a way that might spell the end of the road for Big Finish at a later date; with the BBC’s distribution channels, built-in promotional muscle and just the sheer newsworthiness of Baker returning to the role after almost 30 years, it’s almost a given that these will outsell anything Big Finish has done this year.
Between this, Children of Earth, and the K-9 standalone series which is supposedly kicking off this fall, my job in terms of writing a complete guide to the Who universe seems to be getting more complicated by leaps and bounds.