In what I hope to make an annual tradition, here's a summary of all the news from Big Finish productions that I gleaned at the most recent Gallifrey convention.
There was a lot of Big Finish at Gallifrey this year, with 4 or 5 Big-Finish-related panels on the program. I made it to 3 of them, and thought I'd try to summarize the news from them. Key 2 Time
There was, of course, a lot of discussion of the current Key 2 Time
season, with actresses Ciara Janson (who plays Amy) and Laura Doddington (who plays Zara) there. We heard trailers for all three stories. I particularly get a kick out of the Chaos Pool
trailer, because I keep forgetting that Lalla Ward as Romana is in it, and so I get to be delighted all over again whenever I'm reminded of it. See, here I go again: Hey, everyone, Romana is in The Chaos Pool
! The Lost Stories
There was also a lot of talk about The Lost Stories
. These are apparently the reason why we haven't had a 6th Doctor and Peri story in the main range for ages, as these will all feature those characters. Most of the salient details are summarized in the link above, but a few things that are new: Michael Gough, sadly, won't be reprising his role as the Celestial Toymaker in The Nightmare Fair
, since he's retired and doesn't act anymore. Nabil Shaban might be reprising his role as Sil in Mission to Magnus
While the first few stories that they're working on are from the original aborted season 23 that never got made, they've also got some scripts that weren't originally written for Colin Baker's Doctor that they're working on adapting for the 6th Doctor. For some of the missing stories, they have complete scripts. For others, they have a first episode and a synopsis, and are working with the original writer (or another writer with the approval of the writer's estate) to expand these to full scripts. (Reading between the lines, I'm pretty sure that Robert Holmes's Yellow Fever and How to Cure It
is one of the scripts being worked on. Big Finish aren't confirming anything beyond the first two titles at the moment.) While most of the scripts are never-made stories that are well-known in fan lore, there are apparently one or two more obscure surprises that David Richardson was able to unearth.
I'm looking forward to this range quite a bit. 8th Doctor News
BIg Finish are planning a 4th season of 8th Doctor/Lucie Miller stories. Beyond that, things are a little uncertain. Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith both love doing them, but Sheridan's in really high demand and her availability could become a problem. Jason Haigh-Ellery also said that Sheridan is really keen to get to a Doctor Who
convention in the US, but again, scheduling is a big problem.
There was also some discussion of The Company of Friends
, the July release in the main Doctor Who
range featuring 4 1-episode stories with companions Benny, Izzy, Fitz, and Mary Shelley. Yes, that Mary Shelley. (I love the fact that they're going to do a Mary Shelley story. And I love the fact that they're doing a 4 1-part story release for the 8th Doctor.) No real news about this release that hasn't already been publicized.
Also mentioned was the December subscriber bonus story, An Earthly Child
in which the 8th Doctor meets Susan. Nimrod and the Forge
Nimrod and the Forge are coming back. Apparently Mark Wright started writing a bit of the script on the plane over to the states. The story's not scheduled yet, so it's probably at least a year to 18 months away from release, but they will me back. Miscellaneous Doctor Who Range news
Odds and ends, mostly in response to audience questions: There will be more 6th Doctor/Evelyn stories. There are no plans at the moment for more stories featuring Erimem. The Three Companions
, a Companion Chronicles story featuring the Brigadier, Polly, and Thomas Brewster, will be available only in 10-minute episodes included on each of the monthly releases starting in April. There are no plans to make it available for purchase separately. Benny
One more person has to give their approval before Bernice Summerfield: The Inside Story
can be released. (At last year's Gallifrey, there were 4 people who had to give approval, so progress is being made.) After that, Simon Guerrier has to write another chapter to bring it up to date, and then it will be released. Gallifrey
Jason Haigh-Ellery said that they'd like to someday do more of the Gallifrey
series, but at the moment, they're "not allowed to." (I presume by the terms of their license with the BBC, though he didn't actually spell out what the restriction was.)Sapphire and Steel
Will there be more Sapphire and Steel
? The answer seems to be probably, but it's a little uncertain what form it will take. Jason Haigh-Ellery said that he has to look carefully at the financial side of this series. Sales haven't really been keeping up with the costs, something he attributed in part to illegal downloading. (I bit my tongue rather than suggesting that it would help if the series were available for legal download - I presume that he knows that as well as I do.) However, he did say that he does have someone lined up to take over as producer for the range (and it was someone in the audience at the convention, although I couldn't spot who), and that most likely what would happen is that the series would continue, but on a reduced budget. Possibly this might mean Companion Chronicles style "talking book" releases rather than full cast audios, possibly they'd find other ways to trim costs.
I really, really like the Sapphire and Steel audio range, and would really like to see it continue. So, if you like audio drama, and you like creepy stories with an emphasis on atmosphere and psychological drama rather than gore, do check them out
. The Download Service
Download sales are small but growing steadily. Jason Haigh-Ellery quoted Sony as saying that by 2012, CDs will be like vinyl LPs - the province of collectors. Having said that, he recognzies that Doctor Who
fans are collectors - I don't expect that Big Finish will stop producing CDs any time soon.
Someone asked about whether Big Finish would sell their stuff through iTunes. At present, no, because the amount of money Big Finish would get after Audible.com (who distribute all the audiobook content for iTunes) takes their cut and puts their discounts on it would be tiny.
Looks like a good year coming up for Big Finish.