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"For the love of stories"note 

Big Finish Doctor Who is a long-running and ongoing audio series by Big Finish, with Nicholas Briggs as the current Show Runner. The series is written and produced by much of the regular Doctor Who crew. Pretty much every single companion and villain from the TV series shows up in the episodes, (almost) always played by the original actors, in addition to many new characters. Characters whose actors are unavailable (or dead) appear in prose stories told by their friends, or at times voiced by other actors. The episodes are available both as CDs and as digital downloads.

The company started producing Doctor Who audios in 1998, with a range of stories focusing on companion Bernice Summerfield. The following year, the licence for stories starring the Doctor was secured. The main Doctor Who range released a new story every month from 1999 to 2021note , with an extra one every September; the monthly range was made up of four trilogies of stories (having previously bounced from Doctor to Doctor every month), plus one standalone release (usually an anthology of short stories) every year, and featured the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors.

Following the huge success of Paul McGann's audio adventures, the Eighth Doctor's episodes were expanded beyond the monthlies and replaced by a long separate series from 2007 onwards ("The New Eighth Doctor Adventures"), which were also broadcast on BBC radio; these were wrapped up in 2011 and the Eighth Doctor's continuing adventures were next told in series of box sets. After the conclusion of the main range, the adventures of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctor also took on box set forms. The First, Second, Third, Fourth, War, Ninth and Tenth Doctors also exclusively star in their own series outside of the monthlies. Some stories are presented as special releases or in separate box sets. Big Finish originally did not have the licence for the 2005 revival, but now can use every Doctor up to the Thirteenth; their "classic series" (also known as the "heritage" licence) and "new series" licences were broadly kept separate at first, but have begun to crossover more and more so stories where the Fifth Doctor meets the Weeping Angels and the Seventh Doctor takes on the Sycorax start to appear.note 

The Big Finish Doctor Who continuity also currently includes (but is not limited to):

And thanks to one big-ass crossover, we've also got (if somewhat tangentially, since according to the creator they were included through Iris crossing universes):

Thanks to a smaller crossover in ''Tartarus'', there is also:

Additionally, The Lost Stories are episodes that were intended for the TV series, but never made (the stories in this range vary from scripts that were completely written before being abandoned, to plot outlines that have been adapted into complete stories). Various adaptations of existing Doctor Who Expanded Universe stories, such as the Doctor Who stage plays or various novels, have also been recorded; there is currently an ongoing range of Doctor Who New Adventures adaptations. The company also publishes original tie-in novels, and used to publish Short Trips books.

Although the audios are (and always have been) officially part of the Whoniverse, other Doctor Who media can at times contradict or overwrite the events described here, or even adapt them for the televised continuity. In the early years, Big Finish marked stories taking place in the Doctor Who New Adventures continuity or Doctor Who Magazine continuity as "Side Step" episodes. It soon took on a more holistic approach, and later stories cross over into various other Doctor Who continuities without setting strict boundaries. In the interest of avoiding a dread Continuity Snarl (considering its massive amount of interconnected and yet mutually exclusive stories), Big Finish had long since introduced the concept of the Axis of Time, which allows for different timelines to exist independently of each other. This allows the company to treat all its stories as canon within their own respective timelines and universes, which it happily does, without having to worry about being contradicting (or being contradicted by) other Who media. To cement Big Finish's general canonical status, though, the 2013 TV series minisode "The Night of the Doctor" (written by Steven Moffat) referenced several Big Finish companions by name.

Before Big Finish, the crew made many full-cast Doctor Who audio adventures under the BBV Productions brand, which had a similar atmosphere to Big Finish. Earlier than that, Nicholas Briggs played the Doctor in the 1984 fan group project Doctor Who Audio Visuals, and adapted many of these stories into later Big Finish episodes.

Big Finish ended up having a Big Influence on the TV series. A number of the writers were hired for the 2005 TV series recommission, and several new series episodes have had direct audio antecedents. Most notably, Robert Shearman's episode "Dalek" was adapted by him from his audio "Jubilee", and "Rise of the Cybermen" / "The Age of Steel" (as well as elements of "Doomsday") took strong inspiration from "Spare Parts", with author Marc Platt getting a story credit on the episodes. Also notable are a few bit characters who, from 2001 onwards, were played by some Scottish guy named David Tennant who really wanted to be in Doctor Who — which seems to have come full circle, as Big Finish now has a range of Tenth Doctor audio dramas in which Tennant reprises his role.


For tropes about the characters, see the character sheet. For tropes in specific episodes, see the episode recaps.

  • Absurdism: Two of Robert Shearman's episodes, "The Chimes Of Midnight" and "The Holy Terror". His later episode "Scherzo" is made of Absurdism tropes, only entirely Played for Drama.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • The Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, constantly gets called a "ponce" and Mistaken for Gay. The Eighth Doctor's second outfit, which made its debut in Dark Eyes, greatly resembles Paul McGann's outfit in Withnail and I. The leather jacket is a peacoat version of Marwood's jacket.
    • When Daphne Ashbrook (who played companion Grace in the TV movie) appears, her character immediately decides she wants to shag the Eighth Doctor, with plenty of Refuge in Audacity. A nod to all the controversy over having the Doctor kiss Grace in the first place.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Some of the earliest episodes are new versions of Nicholas Briggs' old unofficial Doctor Who Audio Visuals.
  • Alternate Continuity: Although there isn't technically a canon for mainstream Doctor Who (unless you count the BBC as the 'owner'), the Big Finish audio dramas are one to the television series, with changes that may overwrite or contradict the TV series in Broad Strokes. This audio drama has some other Alternate Continuities within itself:
  • Amnesiac Hero: Just like in the TV movie and the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, Eight typically manages to find some way to lose his memory.
  • Anachronic Order: The episodes are produced in any order Big Finish likes. This means that, for example, Seven can have a powerfully dramatic story with Ace one month in which he talks elder Gods to death, and a camp panto with Mel the next month where a younger Seven still mixes his metaphors and falls over a lot. It's also used as foreshadowing: the Doctor frequently reminisces about his time with Evelyn in episodes that are set after his travels with her, long before we find out why she stopped being his companion. The storylines are usually in chronological order from the companions' perspectives, though... which can still be timey-wimey in itself, as seen when Charley (previously an Eighth Doctor companion) starts travelling with Six.
    • Several episodes, notably "Creatures Of Beauty" and the wonderful Mind Screw "Flip-Flop", are completely in Anachronic Order.
    • The trilogy of "The Harvest", "The Reaping" and "The Gathering" can be listened to in any order. In release order, the episodes take place in 2021, 1984 and 2006, and star the Seventh, Sixth and Fifth Doctors.
  • Anti-Villain: Many enemies. Straxus is the trope's poster boy in the New Eighth Doctor's Adventures series.
  • Anthology: Usually, every year there is a special Monthly Range release which, rather than the usual four-part story, is made up of four one-part stories, often with a connecting theme (e.g. "You Are the Doctor and Other Stories" is themed around choice, "The Memory Bank and Other Stories" around perception, and "Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories" around Christmas).
  • Arc Number:
    • The number 45 shows up frequently in "Forty-Five" in speech, writing, or other instances (such as soldiers carrying .45 caliber weapons). It is revealed that the appearance of the number 45 is caused by the engines of the CORDIS, a non-physical ship piloted by the Word Lord Nobody No-one, and is analogous to the sound made by the Doctor's TARDIS.
    • Identically before that, the anthology "100" (Which was the 100th Big Finish production in the Main Range) which involves four stories where 100 is important.
  • Arc Words:
    • Zagreus sits inside your head, Zagreus lives among the dead, Zagreus sees you in your bed and eats you when you're sleeping... The rhyme was first sung by the Sixth Doctor two and a half years before Zagreus even showed up. It was spoken by Eight a while later. In between Zagreus's first appearance and his very own episode, a Cliffhanger which infamously was not resolved for a year and a half, the rhyme was referenced by a few other characters.
    • The Divergent arc ("Scherzo" up until "The Next Life") has revolution, reincarnation, evolution, death and rebirth, becoming food for other lifeforms, reptilian into mammalian, fluid consciousness between multiple beings, mother, spinning in a circle, breaking free of the cycle, the next life and the beyond.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In a Continuity Nod, the Fourth Doctor lists Daleks, Cybermen and Morris dancers.
  • Ascended Fanon: invoked The Doctor Who Audio Visuals had a considerable fandom after the classic series ended. When Nicholas Briggs reached Promoted Fanboy status, he adapted many of them into Big Finish episodes proper.
    • The titles for the Seventh Doctor's Lost Stories weren't Andrew Cartmel's preferred ones, but since they'd become established in fanon courtesy of a speculative Doctor Who Magazine article, they decided to go with them (apart from "Ice Time", which became "Thin Ice"). The intended titles were "Action at a Distance" for "Crime of the Century", "Bad Destination" for "Earth Aid", and "Blood and Iron" for "Animal" (Though, to be fair, DWM were the ones who revealed the intended titles as well).
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Light City in "The Natural History of Fear".
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The Eighth Doctor rather frequently forgets what he's doing. Villains who try Rail Roading him tend to get extremely frustrated. One episode sees his Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! side manifesting itself as a separate person, whom Charley promptly nicknames "Tigger".
  • Author Appeal:
  • Bait the Dog: At first Red Jasper in "Doctor Who and the Pirates" seems like a Laughably Evil, Large Ham, pirate that doesn't do anything. invokedThen he cuts out a guy's tongue and forces him to eat it. Hurrah for the Pirate King...
  • Bat Deduction: Problems arise in the 17th century after Nyssa is busted for carrying anachronistic currency into a market. The inquisitor, Sir Isaac Newton, takes a gander at the coins and determines that a) the American colonies will break off from England, split the atom, and travel to the moon, b) the Doctor is an extraterrestrial time traveller, and c) the Earth will be invaded by hostile races in the future. (Circular Time)
    Doctor: (defeated) It's a good thing you weren't carrying a debit card.
  • Belated Happy Ending: For many classic series characters. Promptly subverted again with Susan, who gets deeply traumatised soon after her very happy reunion with her grandfather.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: In "The Natural History Of Fear", every single scene starts with the characters watching or listening to a recording of the previous scene. Many of which include people telling each other they're not being recorded. The effect is genuinely terrifying.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
    • The Sixth Doctor and Sally-Anne. It Makes Sense in Context. A bit.
    • Frobisher and Alicia. (And since Frobisher has decided to shapeshift into the Sixth Doctor's shape for the occasion, he's played by Colin Baker.)
    • The Seventh Doctor and Ace, since it's audio. It's not explicitly stated what type of kiss it is, so draw your own conclusions.
    • The Eighth Doctor and Charlotte Pollard, when they mash their mouths together to absorb each other's bodies. It's played for traumatising Body Horror instead of romance.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The audio dramas sometimes take advantage of the fact that they are not limited by a visual medium, nor are they limited by Ofcom regulations, and so they are able to get away with things that the television stories definitely wouldn't get away with, even at their most violent. For example, the audio drama Jubilee features shootings, stabbings, an "offscreen" beheading and an "onscreen" dismemberment, none of which would fly on television. (This was eventually averted by necessity when the show returned to television; Russell T Davies warned the company not to produce anything that wasn't family friendly in case the BBC took issue with it.)
  • Body Horror: After a while, Charlotte Pollard's life turns into one big Body Horror trauma after another, including frequent Eye Scream moments. Highlights include (but are in no way limited to) literally merging into a single organism together with the Doctor and being turned into a giant maggot-shaped breeding factory for an insect race. Continuously Played for Drama.
  • Borrowing the Beatles: The Common Men in 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men. Mark Carville is John, James O'Meara is Paul, Corky Goldsmith is Ringo, and they don't have a George. The twist is that the Doctor is familiar with the actual Beatles, and realizes someone has altered history to put a different group in their place.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • "Scherzo", featuring only the Eighth Doctor, his companion Charley, (very briefly) the TARDIS, and the Monster of the Week, who can only talk using the Doctor and Charley's words.
    • "Protect and Survive" is another, with Ace and Hex in a Groundhog Day style time-loop, trapped in the detonation and fallout of a nuclear bomb.
    • "The Kamelion Empire" features only one guest actor apart from the Doctor and his companions.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Ditzy Genius the Eighth Doctor started out much the same as he was in the TV movie. When the new TV series started and the Last Great Time War became a plot point, Briggs started slowly taking Eight in the direction of Shell-Shocked Veteran and preparing him for the actions he will one day take in the war. He's slowly become a very different man to the one who got so excited when his shoes fit perfectly.
    • Most of the companions get this in some form or another, some more often than others. Hex Schofield, Lucie Miller and Evelyn Smythe are notable in how often they hit this. Classic companions aren't immune either - Ace in particular has had some whoppers in her run, as have Peri, Nyssa, Romana and even Susan.
  • Break the Haughty: The Sixth Doctor learns a lesson or two in humility, particularly from his companion Dr. Evelyn Smythe.
  • Breakout Character: The Eighth Doctor, to the point where he has the longest-spanning Story Arc, the entire 40th anniversary centred on him, and the release of the Dark Eyes boxset was so popular it crashed the Big Finish website.
  • Breakout Villain: The Dalek Time Controller, he's quite possibly the most dangerous Dalek ever complete with a ripple-proof memory. He also freaks the Doctor out, a feat not even the Dalek Emperors could accomplish.
  • The blinding light in "Scherzo", and the pain it causes the Doctor and Charlotte, is represented by a high-pitched screech. For the better part of an hour. Because it's a Psychological Horror story, the sound is pretty much a direct psychological assault on the audience.
  • The Bus Came Back: Every single companion and villain from the classic series came back for Big Finish when they were asked, unless they were either dead or really not available. From Susan to Sara Kingdom to the Brigadier, and from Davros to Omega to the Master, they're all in there. The only exception was Jackie Lane's Dodo.
  • C-List Fodder: Companions created by Big Finish don't often survive. Those that do tend to get broken. Even classic series companions are fair game, since Big Finish has no problems with bringing them back just to have them killed. Hell, even the Doctors die a few times over, either in timelines that get reset or before being resurrected again.
  • Captain Ersatz: Dark Space Eight from "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!" is clearly supposed to be Deep Space Nine. The same drama mentions another station called Achilles 4 that is described as the last, best hope for peace.
  • Celebrity Paradox: William Hartnell is a major character in "Pier Pressure", although it's never explicitly stated that it's him.
  • Character Development: A few characters, mostly the Big Finish-only companions, are given arcs in which to grow.
    • The Sixth Doctor mellows out around companion Evelyn Smythe, a 55-year old history teacher, who is intelligent, confident, and stomachs precisely none of Sixie's ego-trips. He's still plenty boastful about himself afterwards, just less jerkassy. Six later tells Mel that having Evelyn continually clip him round the ear significantly improved his people skills... from plain "Insufferable" down to "Mostly Sufferable", admittedly, but still an improvement.
    • We get to see much of the Seventh Doctor near the end of his life, travelling alone — including his very last adventure before dying. In the episode "Master", it's darkly lampshaded: he no longer plays the spoons, or mixes his metaphors. He's too busy destroying planets and toppling empires.
    • The Eighth Doctor is still a total ditz when he first meets Charley. By the end of Lucie Miller's run, he's slowly but steadily become the person who will eventually fight in the Last Great Time War. This includes him stating he's willing to change time, not being able to forgive a fellow Time Lord anymore, and promising the Daleks he'll commit genocide on them if he ever gets a chance to.
    • Lucie Miller also grows up considerably throughout her four seasons, and makes some very tough life decisions.
  • Character Focus: A few. The loosely tied trilogy of "Omega", "Davros" and "Master" each focused on... well, the villains Omega, Davros and The Master. The Companion Chronicles are also all about this trope.
  • Characters as Device: Several companions, notably C'rizz and Tamsin, explore the idea of a companion who's just not suited for TARDIS travel. It's entirely Played for Drama, and the Doctor's rather flippant response to losing companions whom he didn't entirely get along with in the first place triggers major plot developments.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • "The One Doctor" (2001): A very silly Panto.
    • "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!" (2002): Another very silly Panto.
    • "The Chimes of Midnight" (2002): An Absurdist mix of Black Comedy and invokedNightmare Fuel.
    • "Death In Blackpool" (2009): A depressing and plot-heavy episode, deliberately closer to the style of the new TV series. Not standalone, being part of the Eighth Doctor Adventures.
    • "Relative Dimensions" (2010): A Lighter and Softer episode, with the Doctor stating he'd like to make up for the depressing events of "Death In Blackpool".
    • "Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories" (2019): An anthology of Christmas stories.
  • Chore Character Exploration: In "My Own Private Mozart," Evelyn is accidentally abducted by the villain behind Mozart's unwanted immortality and transported back to his secret lair... which turns out to be an enormous kitchen. As it turns out, the villain is actually a servant and has an enormous amount of washing-up to get through, so in exchange for Evelyn helping him out, he agrees to explain his evil plan to her. As it happens, the villain is actually a clone of Mozart - one of an entire series - created in the far future, but thanks to the collapse of the product's popularity, the Mozart clones have been reduced to the level of glorified slaves. The villain was lucky enough to be bought by a master in possession of a time machine, and is trying to make Mozart too unpopular to ever be cloned, namely by keeping him alive until he runs out of creativity and starts producing nothing but uninspired crap. Evelyn is horrified, and refuses to dry the dishes until the villain washes them more diligently.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Raine Creevy, introduced in "Thin Ice", and Lady Lilian Hawthorne, a.k.a. "Janus", from "The Veiled Leopard".
  • Clawing at Own Throat: In"The Shadow of the Scourge", the eight-dimensional alien invaders have a voice that will compel humans to do anything, however suicidal. And the Scourge like to kill.
    "Now put your fingers to your neck. And push..."
  • Cliffhanger: The Eighth Doctor is good at long, long cliffhangers such as "The Next Life", "Vengeance Of Morbius" and "To The Death" Most notably, the release gap between "Neverland" and "Zagreus" lasted for a year and a half.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: Used quite a few times, most notably in "The Kingmaker".
  • Continuity Nod: Each audio opens with the appropriate theme for each Doctor.note  The exception is Eight; as the rights to the TV Movie theme are held by a separate entity, a new theme was composed. The War Doctor gets his own theme for his audios. Originall subverted with the covers of each audio, all of which used the default "Classic" logo, minus a brief period where each cover had the appropriate logo for each Doctor. As of 2018, they've begun to use the current logo.
  • Continuity Porn: The entire episode "Zagreus". As well as the ending of "Babblesphere", in which the Doctor and Romana list Ice Warriors, Ood, Mandrels, Bandrils and Chumbleys; Gallifreyan Presidents Morbius, Slann, Pandak, Pandak II and Pandak III; and Gallifreyan nursery rhyme characters Rassilon, Zagreus, Salyavin, the Shakri and the Krafayis.
  • Continuity Snarl: Big Finish nominally takes place in a different continuity from the Doctor Who New Adventures, Eighth Doctor Adventures and Doctor Who Magazine comics (and of course the TV series has contradicted them all at times). Very early on, Big Finish stories were nominally in the same continuity as the novels. Soon after, they decided to consider them separate and stories that took place in other continuities were marked "Side Step", something else they eventually abandoned. Sometimes the writers just can't resist throwing in a sneaky reference, and as a result some episodes cheekily reference the novels or the comics, even when those are mutually contradictory! note  Of course, the TV series itself has had quite a few snarls, such as the destruction of Atlantis and the infamous UNIT dating controversy, so one could make a case that Big Finish's continuity is very true to that of the TV series, From a Certain Point of View.
    • Benny Summerfield introduces a whole lot of snarls. She debuted in the New Adventures, then took over that series as the lead character, leading to some Writing Around Trademarks when the Doctor was mentioned. Then she got one of the first Big Finish series, some of which adapted the books, but without the Doctor involved. They also involve her boss, Braxiatel. Then she meets Bev, who's come over from the mainstream Big Finish Seventh Doctor continuity. And Braxiatel appears in the Gallifrey series, again in the mainstream continuity. Then Big Finish adapt some more of the novels as part of the BS series, but featuring the Doctor again. Even better, a recent New Series Adventure features the Twelfth Doctor meeting Benny, along with a Continuity Nod or ten to novels, audios and TV episodes. More recent prose stories indicate Benny's timeline is so twisted now she remembers Just War happening both ways (once with the Doctor and once with Jason)! And of course, she's met Iris Wildthyme, who gleefully tramples over ideas like "continuity" just for laughs.
    • Though interestingly enough a villain from Big Finish, the Dalek Time Controller, appeared in an 11th Doctor novel, The Dalek Generation. And the Destiny of the Doctor arc has Big Finish continuity with New Who. "The Night of the Doctor" essentially confirms a large deal of the dramas as canon by having the Eighth Doctor reference multiple Big Finish companions by name before he regenerates.
    • The mini-episode "100 Days Of The Doctor" seems determined to cause as many Continuity Snarl moments as possible. This includes Eight meeting Lucie before they first met. (Though as Six notes to Evelyn, these future incarnations' adventures of himself he and she are viewing aren't necessarily set in stone... yet.)
    • The writers have also freely admitted that the timeline of Six' companions is slightly wobbly. Which is something of a Mythology Gag to the TV series, where trying to figure out the Six & Mel timeline has caused many a fan a headache. Made more complicated in the Big Finish adaptation of "The Ultimate Adventure", a non-canon stage play, during which Six unexpectedly mentions Big Finish companion Evelyn. (Nicholas Briggs called the reference "a bit naughty" in regards to canonicity.)
      • The multi-Doctor story "The Wrong Doctors" involves two different Sixes meeting up with the wrong Melanie Bushes.
    • A deleted scene in "Return of the Cybermen" would have blamed the Time War for every snarl in Doctor Who ever, explicitly naming the contradictory fates of companions across the various expanded universe canons, "Human Nature" being both a Seventh Doctor New Adventure and a Tenth Doctor episode, and the Thirteenth Doctor episode "The Haunting of Villa Diodati" overwriting Big Finish on the subject of Mary Shelley's life with the Doctor as its ramifications as it spread across the Doctor's timeline from the fallout of "Genesis of the Daleks". It was cut for being "very, very silly".
  • Cool Old Guy: Governor Rossiter from "Arrangements For War" and "Thicker Than Water". Voiced by Sutekh, no less! And he's not even remotely evil!
  • Cool Old Lady: Evelyn Smythe. Awesome enough to mellow out the Sixth Doctor.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover for "The Sontaran Ordeal", which is part of the "Classic Doctors, New Monsters line", as the Sontarans were of course on the Classic series. The only thing related to the New Series are the redesigns and Christopher Ryan. That's because it's not the monster that's from the New Series, it's the events of the Time War.
  • Creator Cameo: Many. Gary Russell in particular, as he has a distinctive voice, it's a joke amongst listeners to try and spot his various cameos in every other release (Yes, just like Alfred Hitchcock). Although, the entire cast has helped with putting in the odd voice in more recent releases. Nicholas Briggs and Barnaby Edwards frequently have small roles too (although with Briggs it's more of a case of invokedDescended Creator half the time, especially when playing the Daleks). One sarcastic fan once suggested that they make a story with two insane geniuses played by Russell and Briggs who were planning to seed the universe with their genes and end with a montage of their numerous roles in order to suggest that they succeeded.
  • Creepy Monotone: The Editor (Paul McGann) in "The Natural History Of Fear". He edits people. While they're still awake. The episode makes full use of Paul McGann's Cozy Voice for Catastrophes and adds a grand helping of Mind Screw and Medical Horror.
  • Credits Gag: Bang-Bang-A-Boom! gleefully pokes fun at the pat endings of Star Trek, with at least 3 fake-out before it ends for real: In one instance, the Doctor delivers a leaden 'Patrick Stewart Speech' which appears to go over well with the villain, only for him to turn around and take Mel hostage. In another, the Doctor Who theme is cut short by a needle scratch.
  • Cross Through: A few arcs will pit different Doctors against the same villain / species. Charley's arc is a particularly odd example, as she first meets up with Eight and goes on to travel with Six. The Excelis arc involves the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors as well as Bernice Summerfield and Iris Wildthyme.
  • Cuckoo Nest: The 8th Doctor audio drama "Minuet in Hell"
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: One of the story elements in "Spare Parts", which is often considered one of the best Cybermen stories out there.
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In the episode "Protect And Survive," Ace and Hex find themselves in an alternate history where the Cold War ended in a nuclear apocalypse, and barely have enough time to seek shelter with the elderly Marsdens before the nearby RAF base is nuked. It soon becomes clear that they've suffered a Fallout Shelter Fail and all of them have absorbed a lethal dose of radiation: consequently, when Albert and Peggy Marsden's initial symptoms escalate to crippling fatigue and longer periods of sleep, it's a good indication that they don't have long to live. Sure enough, the next scene features Ace and Hex hauling Albert's corpse out of the shelter. However, it turns out that all four of them are trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and the Marsdens are soon alive - and forced to go through the apocalypse all over again, on each occasion dying in their sleep due to radiation exposure.
  • Darker and Edgier: While still keeping much the of the tone from the TV show, Big Finish often utilize concepts and elements that would be much too dark for the show to explore.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Eighth Doctor becomes this whenever he's about to be killed, to the point where it starts to look like an emotional defence mechanism more than anything. (His enemies notice it too, at one point stating that "he uses it to suppress his fear".) A notable moment is when he tells someone that he's really glad the guy's going to kill them all on purpose. Because he'd hate to think that someone would do something that monumentally stupid by accident.
  • Determinator: As the Eighth Doctor will tell you, whatever happens, the Doctor does not give up. In "Zagreus", the fact that he might have given up, even for a second, not only risks his injuries killing him, with no regeneration, but confused the hell out of illusionary versions of his prior incarnations that were gathered around him.
  • Discontinuity Cavalcade: In "Zagreus", the Eighth Doctor is able to see all possible incarnations of himself. He describes the plotlines of many of the novels in rapid succession, listing them all as "what-ifs" that may have happened to him in alternate timelines.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: The story "Cobwebs" has the Fifth Doctor and his companions arrive at a base on another planet where they find their own skeletons, including their own clothing right down to a cut on the Turlough's coat. It turns out the bodies were not of the Doctor and his friends in the end.
  • Distressed Dude: The Doctor, of course, and especially the Fifth (who has had to endure broken limbs, agony machines, brain blueprint harvesting, a lot of knocks on the head, and strappado).
  • Ditzy Genius: Eight breathes this trope.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "To the Death". They're not kidding with the title.
    • "Gods and Monsters."
    • "The Holy Terror" has the biggest kill count Six ever had to endure.
  • Dystopian Edict: No one is allowed to ask questions in Light City in "The Natural History of Fear" and Alternate Timeline England in "Jubilee" bans contractions.
  • Early Instalment Weirdness: Whilst Nicholas Briggs is essentially the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen today, the audio dramas of the early 2000s had him share this duty with Alistair Lock, who most notably voiced the Dalek Emperor in "Neverland".
  • Evil Is Hammy:
    • The Eighth Doctor, to the extent they should rename it Face Ham Turn in his honor. Except for those times when he isn't, as in "The Natural History of Fear". Then he's just goddamn terrifying.
    • Davros also, but that almost goes without saying.
  • Expanded Universe: Depending on whom you ask, the audios may or may not have been originally intended as canon to the TV series. (Stephen Cole insists they were; other writers disagree.) When Russell T. Davies revived the TV series, he personally made sure that Big Finish kept their licence (since he's a huge fan), but contradicted or overwrote the canon of the audios on many occasions.
  • Evil Is Petty: If the Daleks can fuck with Eight, they will, even when he has no idea that they are there.
  • Eye Scream: In "Night Thoughts" and in "Embrace The Darkness", something is going around and ripping out people's eyes. It should be noted, however, that in "Embrace the Darkness" it was all a big misunderstanding (yes, really) and the victims get their eyes back at the end.
  • Falsely Reformed Villain: The Daleks pull this one at least thrice. One attempt involved them going undercover as Shakespeare scholars.
  • Fantastic Racism: As seen in the TV series, Time Lords do not like vampires, due to a generations-old feud between the two. Big Finish takes this idea and runs with it, making Rassilon's feud with the vampires into a massive Story Arc involving many more species.
  • First-Person Smartass: Frobisher.
  • For the Evulz: According to "Master", all the Master's plans were designed to cause as much misery and destruction as possible. Why? Because as one of the Doctor's titles is Time's Champion, the Master is Death's Champion.
  • Foregone Conclusion: From 2005 onwards, the new TV series established that the Doctor would one day destroy Gallifrey in the Last Great Time War. As of 2012, the Eighth Doctor is slowly starting to understand that he's at war with the Daleks, and that it can't end well. In the Gallifrey audio series, a lot of background is given to the start of the war; the Eighth Doctor series Dark Eyes tiptoes around it.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Happens to the monthly range's story arcs on occasion; the "Older Peri" arc (featuring a post-Mindwarp Peri reunited with the Doctor) began in 2014 with a trilogy of stories, but since then the Sixth Doctor's stories have mostly focused on new companion Constance or guest characters, with the Peri arc not resuming until 2019.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale:
    • The TV series episode "The Night of the Doctor" provides the conclusion of the Eighth Doctor's arc in Big Finish.
    • The Companion Chronicles episodes "The Catalyst", "Empathy Games" and "The Time Vampire" end Leela's arc, which was set up in Gallifrey.
    • Gallifrey, in turn, concludes Ace's arc as a Time Lord Academy student, which was planned on TV during the Aborted Arc of the Cartmel Master Plan and explored further by Big Finish in the Lost Stories releases.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Six does not approve of what Seven and Eight have done to the TARDIS interior. Eight is very weirded out when (in a radio promo for his episodes) he's asked why he doesn't have a Northern accent or a leather jacket. Iris seriously freaks out when she realises Bianca is her. Peri meets an older self who's apparently a secret agent although the truth is much sadder, Eight gets a fake glimpse of the Time War. And when Six from just after his Trial tries to pick up Mel but instead encounters Six from after his travels with Evelyn — the two do not get along.
  • Gambit Pileup: "Prisoner of the Sun" and Dark Eyes.
  • Gayngst: Played With in the case of original companion Oliver Harper, who's scared as hell of having to come out of the closet to the First Doctor and Steven Taylor. Of course, the Doctor really doesn't care, and neither does Steven, being from the 23rd century.
  • Genius Ditz: Mel. So, so much.
    Mel: But, Doctor, we know they can't change history because we've seen the future already.
    Seventh Doctor: No. Unfortunately there is an awkward thing called "free will".
    Mel: Oh. You mean that predeterminism is merely a philosophical abstract and that the physical reality of the universe is the one in which all potential actions are permitted, including those whose effect cancel out their own logical cause?
    Seventh Doctor: ... Yes, Mel.
  • Genre Shift: "The Kingmaker" is much sillier than a standard Doctor Who episode, with all of the characters talking more like they're in Blackadder. "Scherzo", on the other hand, is much more serious than any other Doctor Who episode and entirely devoid of the show's usual amounts of silliness and camp. Both episodes are extremely well-loved.
  • Good with Numbers: "The Boy That Time Forgot." Block transfer computations. That is all.
  • Gothic Horror: The Eighth Doctor's stories often go in this direction, though typically with an alien twist at the end. Appropriately enough, he at one point enlists Mary Shelley as his companion for a few episodes.
    • "The Chimes Of Midnight" in particular gets right on top of this genre and runs with it.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Subverted (boy, is it ever) with Queen Angvia (Pat Quinn), who's built like a butch Valkyrie and has the lung capacity to match.
    Doctor: But I have to go! The fate of the entire universe is at stake!
    Angvia: The Universe can VAIT! I AM A VOMAN!!
  • Grim Up North: The Land of the Dead
    Doctor: T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a—
    Monica: Moose?
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • At the end of "Arrangements for War", the Sixth Doctor suffers a massive one following the pointless deaths of Marcus and Krisztina, two young lovebirds he'd been befriending the past few months. He's a scant few millimetres of ignoring all the laws of time to undo it, before Evelyn manages to stop him.
    Sixth Doctor: This wasn't supposed to happen. This wasn't supposed to happen!
    • The Eighth Doctor has a massive and comparable one at the end of "To The Death". Also leads to an Important Haircut in his case.
  • Holding Hands: The iconic imagery of "Scherzo", seen on the episode's CD cover. The Doctor and Charley spend the entire episode holding hands. It doesn't end well.
  • Identical Stranger: Apparently, Peri is a dead ringer for Queen Anne of France.
  • Important Haircut: Eight gets one around Dark Eyes, which neatly allows Paul McGann to do new promo pictures without having to wear the movie wig again.
  • In Name Only: The 2017 series of the Fourth Doctor Adventures was advertised as being set during Season 18 of the television programme. However, none of the stories had more than a passing resemblance to that season's very strong themes and story arcs, or indeed were particularly different to the previous series, and the incidental music of the first release in particular was obviously more reminiscent of the 1970s rather than the 80s. Several reviewers accused Big Finish of simply slapping a different theme tune and logo on the stories rather than trying to make them feel like Season 18 stories in any way.
  • In the Style of: "The One Doctor" and "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!" are in the style of Christmas Panto. "The Maltese Penguin" is a Film Noir parody. "Invaders From Mars!" is in the style of a 1940's sci-fi radio drama, a format central to the plot. "Caerdroia" has a thing or two in common with Looney Tunes. Episode three of "Doctor Who And The Pirates" is a full-on Gilbert and Sullivan musical. "The Auntie Matter" is a loving homage to P. G. Wodehouse. "Castle of Fear" is nearly spot on for a Monty Python skit.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: While images of the Doctor and other screen-original characters on Big Finish's cover art are based on existing stock photography of those characters from the TV series, their cover artists routinely model audio-original characters on real-life photos of their voice actors. Actors' existing headshots or photos taken by the studio are photoshopped into appropriate costume and/or alien makeup as the story requires.
  • Internal Homage: "The Chimes Of Midnight" is In the Style of the TV series episode "Ghost Light". Episodes starring the Eighth Doctor that were made after 2005 tend to subtly reference the Last Great Time War.
  • Interquel:
    • Every audio drama featuring the Doctor takes place between television stories during the relevant incarnation's run. In several cases, they are set during a television story:
      • All of the stories in the Companion Chronicle and the Early Adventures featuring the First Doctor, Steven Taylor and Sara Kingdom take place during "The Daleks' Master Plan", specifically between the seventh episode "The Feast of Steven" and the eighth "Volcano".
      • In "Excelis Dawns", the Fifth Doctor and the unseen Tegan Jovanka arrive in Excelis on the planet Artaris after they drop off the Gravis on Kolkokron in the fourth episode of "Frontios" and before they return to the titular planet for Vislor Turlough later in the same episode.
      • "Winter", the fourth story in the anthology "Circular Time", takes place during the Fifth Doctor's regeneration in "The Caves of Androzani".
    • "Return of the Daleks" takes place between the second and third Dalek Empire stories, "The Human Factor" and "Death to the Daleks!".
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    • Zagreus sits inside your head, Zagreus lives among the dead, Zagreus sees you in your bed and eats you when you're sleeping...
    • "Night Thoughts" had... something... whistling "Oranges and Lemons" while it went around ripping out people's eyes. This was apparently considered such a great idea that "Oranges and Lemons" kept on returning throughout Big Finish during particularly nightmarish moments.
    • "Scherzo" briefly features "Frère Jacques".
    • "The Chimes of Midnight" likewise gave "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" this treatment. Sensing a pattern yet?
  • Is That a Threat?: In "The Faith Stealer", the leader of a religious cult confronts the local Sheriff-equivilent.
    Bordinan: Are you threatening me?
    Carder: Come come Bordinan, we're both adults here... of course I'm threatening you.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync: "Time Works" has the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz landing in the space between seconds used by the Time Keepers to make sure everyone stays absolutely punctual. Halfway through Part One, the Doctor ends up falling into the normal flow of events while Charley and C'rizz end up exploring the back corridors of time.
  • Just Think of the Potential!: The Cybermen were a last-ditch effort to save Mondas after it left orbit and became a snowball, driving its population deep underground. Explorers were outfitted with cybernetics to see if they could endure conditions on the surface (they couldn't). Logic dictated that the fewer organic components the humans had, the better their chances were of survival. (Spare Parts)
  • Kudzu Plot: Many Big Finish plotlines spawn sequels, prequels and spin-off series. Which in turn may get their own spin-off series. Standalone arcs have prose sequels, Perspective Flip special releases (which aren't available from Big Finish at all), and links to other Doctor Who media. The Doctor will merrily take a vacation in Doctor Who Magazine comics locations, meet up with Iris Wildthyme and reference future events from the new TV series — which only serve as fuel for new plotlines. Every supposed trilogy has at least four parts, and villains or companions from the early 2000's have a tendency to return a decade later for an entirely new story. In short, every little piece of Big Finish is connected and constantly growing.
  • Large Ham: It is Doctor Who, what did you expect?
    • Special mention to Sylvester McCoy in "Unregenerate!", where Seven comes down with a case of frothing insanity. You can almost hear the bacon frying.
    • Bonus point to Queen Angvia, played by the legendary Pat Quinn in "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!", for almost out-hamming Sylvester McCoy.
    • Another special mention to Paul McGann in "Zagreus", with a grand helping of Evil Is Hammy.
    • Davros makes an admirable effort to out-ham everything else on the planet, including entire armies of Daleks - on some occasions, he succeeds.
    • Any time any Master actor appears, especially Alex Macqueen who seems determined to eat the entire world. He often succeeds.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The cover art for "Human Resources: Part One" spoils its own plot twist by blatantly listing Nicholas Briggs as The Cybermen.
  • Leitmotif: The Cybermen have an eerie theme in Spare Parts.
  • Light Is Not Good: Light City from "The Natural History of Fear" is a Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque dystopia that mind rapes its citizens who dare ask questions. The blinding light in "Scherzo" is as painful for the Doctor and Charley as it is for the fans, because it's represented by a sound directly from your nightmares.
  • Lighter and Softer: The two Christmas Pantos starring Mel.
  • Lovecraft Lite: "Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge" is basically a Whole-Plot Reference to At the Mountains of Madness with some meta-concepts thrown in and a thinly veiled H. P. Lovecraft expy playing a central role.
  • Make Room for the New Plot: It is rather evident that Big Finish had planned the Eighth Doctor's stay in the Divergent Universe to be quite a bit longer than it actually ended up being, but the fact that Doctor Who was returning to the small screen in 2005, led the arc to be cut short, most probably because potential new listeners coming in with the revived show would likely be hit hard by Continuity Lock-Out if Eight and friends were running around in an alternate universe, so the Divergent Arc was quickly wrapped up and Eight was returned to the Prime Universe.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Pat Quinn forces the Seventh Doctor into this in "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!"
  • Mind Rape:
    • The trope is name-checked in "The Natural History Of Fear", and we're treated to Paul McGann performing a thoroughly disturbing Medical Horror Mind Rape on both India Fisher (Charley) and Conrad Westmaas (C'rizz).
    • The Eighth Doctor delivers one in "Phobos". When facing a monster that feeds on adrenaline but is harmed by actual fear, the Doctor conquers it effortlessly by showing it his own mind. He starts by feeding it memories of all the things he's seen in the past, followed by all the evil he's seen from the future... and as a final blow, all the things he's afraid he might do someday. The whole invokedMoment of Awesome takes several minutes, with the Doctor continuously mocking the monster throughout. Oh, and he does it while bungee jumping into the monster's transdimensional portal.
    • The Sixth Doctor gets mind raped in "The Holy Terror".
  • Mind Screw:
    • "Neverland" and "Zagreus" are pretty much the series' equivalent of Neon Genesis Evangelion... and "Scherzo" is the series' End of Evangelion. "The Natural History Of Fear", which almost directly follows that trilogy of episodes, will destroy whatever was left of your sanity.
    • "Flip-Flop" has quite possibly the most severely tangled timeline in Doctor Who history.
  • Motive Rant: The story "Davros" starts off with the title character giving an absolutely epic one, summing up his entire character masterfully.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Paul McGann, as usual, manages to lose his shirt on occasion... even in a sound-only medium. According to Charley, Eight also naturally smells like honey.
  • Mr. Smith: Made into a plot point a few times over, notably in "The Marian Conspiracy". It becomes a hugely important concept in "Master", which basically asks the question: "what if Human Nature had happened to the Master?". It has the Master living as "Dr. John Smith", and the Doctor realising with increasing horror all the ways in which he and his archenemy are similar.
  • Musical Episode:
    • "Doctor Who and the Pirates, or The Lass That Lost a Sailor"; episode 3 is 20 minutes of Colin Baker, Bill Oddie and company breaking into song. It's awesome.
    • "The Scorchies" has Jo Grant in the middle of a very deadly children's show, with such numbers as The Killing The Doctor Song.
    • "The Rapture" is a variation, since most of the story takes place in a night club. The soundtrack is awesome.
    • The episodes "The Wormery" and "Nocturne" both involve songs.
    • "The Magic Mousetrap" has two songs, both of which are awesome.
    • "Horror of Glam Rock" has, unsurprisingly, a Glam Rock song - sung by Stephen Gately, of all people. It also has a Glam version of the Doctor Who theme.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Fifth Doctor is unable to prevent the creation of the Cybermen in "Spare Parts", and his memories of Adric make him go just a bit off the deep end in the process. He knows that he can't mess with the Web of Time and that the existence of the Cybermen isn't his fault, but it becomes a deeply traumatic experience for him. The Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors still show the emotional scars from that day.
  • Mythology Gag: Many.
    • In "Flip-Flop", the Seventh Doctor and Mel wear anti-radiation gloves, which the Doctor claims were created by one of his previous incarnations. In the TV episode "The Daleks", William Hartnell was supposed to say "anti-radiation drugs" but instead said "anti-radiation gloves".
    • In "...ish", the story apparently resulted in the creation of an impossibly thick encyclopedia volume starting with DAL, referring to Terry Nation’s apocryphal claim to have named his creations from the spine of an encyclopedia volume covering DAL to LEK. Also, "The Adjective of Noun" is used to describe the structure of many classic episode titles (especially those of Season 14).
    • In Dark Eyes, the Eighth Doctor ends up in a place that's stated to be the result of the Time War... although it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
    • The Seventh Doctor constantly snarks at his own death, without realising it. It's remarkably subtle and blink-and-miss at times.
    • In "A Thousand Tiny Wings", the Seventh Doctor makes a passing reference to the TARDIS' inability to translate Esperanto. In Legacy of The Daleks from The Eighth Doctor Adventures books, the Eighth Doctor ends up meeting the Delgado Master for a quick chat in said language.
  • Never My Fault: In the Drashani Empire trilogy ("The Burned Prince", "The Acheron Pulse" and "The Shadow Heart"), Prince Kylo- a Distressed Dude in the first audio and the main villain of the second and third- blames the Doctor for all his crimes, when all the Doctor did was save Kylo's life before they learned that Kylo's fiancé was a psychopath who'd been manipulating him as part of her plans for revenge against his family.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A few times, notably in "Max Warp" with the cast of Top Gear (UK).
  • No Hugging, No Kissing:
    • Played With, a lot. The classic TV series never allowed the Doctor to be intimate with anyone, and the Doctor is smart enough to weaponise this fact a few times over. The Sixth Doctor, at one point, convinces his enemies he's not the Doctor by grabbing a woman and kissing her deeply. The Seventh Doctor realises something's very wrong when he suddenly wants to shag a woman, and quickly works out that he's being drugged. The Fifth Doctor just gets a bit flustered when the topic comes up and claims that women are not his area. (At which point Turlough rather drily pointed out the existence of Susan).
    • The Eighth Doctor is painfully aware of his status as a Chick Magnet, which Zagreus delights in mocking with rather more explicit imagery than the classic TV series could ever get away with. Eventually, he gets The Big Damn Kiss with companion Charley, but it's not a happy one. Bernice Summerfield also lampshades the trope when she runs into the Eighth Doctor again, saying that the last time she saw him, they "shook hands and said goodbye". (Their infamous final encounter in the novels ended with Bernice tackling him to the bed with a kiss, followed by a fade-to-black.)
  • Not Quite Dead: "The Boy That Time Forgot." Adric comes back. As a heavily-aged, insane, reality-bending, giant insect god-king. Wow.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Every so often Big Finish will bring back a not-very-well-regarded monster or villain from the classic series and make them goddamn terrifying.
  • Orphaned Series: The Companion Chronicle "The Child" was meant to be the first of a trilogy, but the range was cancelled before the other two stories could be made.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • The series dives right into this trope in its third episode, "Whispers Of Terror". It features a museum of aural antiquity, a sound-only monster which can be fought using soundwave manipulation equipment, and a character whose only intact sense is his hearing.
    • "Omega" also has its twists and turns based on what we can't see.
    • "Scherzo" uses this trope for Psychological Horror. The Doctor and his companion arrive in the most alien world ever seen in Doctor Who, where all of their senses are painfully cut off and all they have left is their hearing. The episode represents their agony with a searing, high-pitched noise that lasts for the better part of an hour.
    • "The Natural History of Fear" does this brilliantly. The voices of the three main characters sound like the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C'rizz... but they sure behave oddly. The episode revolves around a Loss of Identity theme, and figuring out just who is who proves to be a challenge to the characters as much as it is to the audience.
  • Pantomime: "The One Doctor" and "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!", Christmas early specials, were done in Panto style. Both star Mel, who's extremely at home in the genre.
  • Phrase Catcher: The Eighth Doctor gets called a "ponce" (and sometimes a "fop") a whole lot. Most likely an Actor Allusion to Withnail and I.
  • Playing with Syringes: The Forge, a mysterious organization run by cyborg vampire mad scientist Nimrod, gets up to everything from creating vampires to brainwashing soldiers during WWII to cloning the Doctor himself.
  • Rail Roading: The entire Divergent Universe arc. Of course, the Eighth Doctor eventually steers the whole thing way Off the Rails.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: "Peri And The Piscon Paradox", "The Veiled Leopard" and "The Four Doctors", among others. "Flip-Flop" is a variation.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The reason Molly was Demoted to Extra in Dark Eyes 3 was because Ruth Bradley had filming commitments in LA and it was thought she would have to record what few lines she did have over there. Turns out she got finished ahead of time, but production had reached the point where the scripts couldn't be rewritten to give her a larger role. Ruth was so busy during the production of Dark Eyes 4, they decided that Eight should meet her forty years after they parted ways and cast a new, older actress.
  • Rescue Romance: The Eighth Doctor and his companion Charlotte have a very twisted, dysfunctional version of this trope. He saves her life in their first episode together, despite the fact that she was supposed to die, and they come to love each other as a result. However, whereas she's madly in love with him, his love for her is limited to a deep-seated need to keep rescuing her. It goes From Bad to Worse and gets entirely Played for Drama.
  • Retool: There was a feeling around 2014/2015 that the monthly range's ongoing story arcs had made it too inaccessible for new listeners to follow. Hex's story arc (which had been seeded amongst the very first releases in 1999) was wrapped up in late 2014, and the Older Nyssa arc (begun in 2010) ended in early 2015; since then the monthly range has been free of story arcs, with We Are the Daleks marking a new cover design and being specifically promoted as a jumping-on point.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: An ice age was just the beginning of Mondas' troubles. The decadent rulers were rounded up and killed, with a secretive government (the "committee") installed in its place. No one has ever seen the committee, for good reason it turns out: they're all zombies, their withered bodies still connected to a computer.
  • Rubber-Band History: Any time reality on Earth really goes to bits, this trope comes into effect. "The Mutant Phase" and "Jubilee" are notable examples of the Mind Screw version of this.
  • Rule of Funny: Whenever Iris Wildthyme shows up, reality tends to go straight out the window.
  • Running Gag:
    • Tons of references to the infamous "I'm taking you to — Blackpool!" Aborted Arc from "Revelation Of The Daleks".
    • In general, the Doctor complaining about companions twisting their ankles.
    • The Sixth Doctor and new companion Evelyn easily escape from the Tower of London in their first episode together. This was deemed so ridiculous by fans that Big Finish constantly makes tongue-in-cheek references to it in other releases. The Running Gag became downright morbid in "Jubilee", when the Doctor and Evelyn got stuck in the Tower again... and, in a timeline that would be eventually aborted, gruesomely died in there.
    • For specific Doctors:
      • The Fifth Doctor: Getting physically incapacitated, everyone around him dying, and accidentally committing genocide. And getting into villains' secret lairs simply by politely knocking on the front door.
      • The Sixth Doctor: Being genuinely oblivious to his crimes against fashion, and being in terrible physical shape. Also, being a total Combat Pragmatist and simply shooting things to sort out the plot.
      • The Seventh Doctor: Unknowingly snarking at his own death, and as an even more morbid Running Gag, him being unable to bring himself to commit murder (even if it would save the Web of Time). He also has a habit of claiming he hasn't manipulated someone just after he manipulated them, be they friend or foe. He gets chewed out for it a lot.
      • The Eighth Doctor: His ability to contract amnesia no matter what he does. Whether it's in the movie, the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels or Big Finish, he'll always find some new and exciting way to lose his memory. Oh, and losing his shirt.
  • The Sandman: There's an alien race called the Galyari that fight the Doctor in various times (against the Sixth and Seventh Doctor) as well some of his companions (Bernice Summerfield). They're anthropomorfic chameleon-like aliens who had a shared story with the Doctor, whose see him as "The Sandman".
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Being in a dimension without time renders Eight's time senses useless, which renders him more than a little crabby. The baby TARDIS that gets transplanted into the Seventh Doctor's body at one point also panics hard.
  • Shakespeare in Fiction: Met the Eighth Doctor when he was a kid. Then seen getting plastered with the Fifth Doctor in "The Kingmaker", after which he became Richard the Third. And vice versa.
  • Shoot the Dog: The Seventh Doctor tries to in "Night Thoughts".
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare
  • Show Within a Show: An, erm... invokedreinterpreted Doctor Who appears in "Jubilee". Yes, it's Doctor Who within Doctor Who.
    "The Doctor": Daleks. I hate these guys.
    Dalek: Oh no! It is the Doc-tor! Scar-per! Scar-per!
  • The Slow Path: The Eighth Doctor in "Orbis" and "Prisoner Of The Sun"; Romana in "The Apocalypse Element"; Peri and Erimem in "The Kingmaker"; Lucie, Susan and Alex in "Lucie Miller" / "To The Death".
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Classic example by the Seventh Doctor to an Eldritch Abomination in "The Shadow Of The Scourge":
    Doctor: As William Shakespeare once said to me, come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.
  • Street Urchin: Sometimes-companion Thomas Brewster.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Big Finish dives headfirst into the trope a few times, most notably in "The Reaping". Poor Peri finds out exactly what happens when you introduce the Doctor to your family and friends. Its direct sequel, "The Gathering", has Tegan dealing with the trope. She doesn't make it.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Seven gets his share of this as usual, and Eight also occasionally dabbles in it. Six uses the trope in the most literal possible way in "...ish", when he uses his Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness to combat a sentient suffix.
  • Team Pet: Antranak the cat for the Fifth Doctor, and Ramsay the Vortisaur for the Eighth.
  • That Poor Cat: Played for Drama in "Master". The entire episode is an elaborate Internal Homage to the novel Human Nature, which introduced the Seventh Doctor's pet cat, Wolsey. In "Master", there's also a cat, which gets ripped open halfway through.
  • Theme Song Reveal: At The Stinger of "The Girl Who Never Was", Charley has been stranded on a desert island, after foiling another Cyberman plot. Unbeknownst to her, the Eighth Doctor believes they've parted company and has continued on his merry way. She nonetheless hears the TARDIS landing and rushes inside...
    Charley: I knew it! I knew you'd come back! I kne-... oh! Sorry. I... I was expecting someone else.
    [Sixth Doctor theme music starts playing]
  • Thinking Out Loud: The Eighth Doctor often suddenly notices he's soliloquising, and considers it a bad habit. He even does it at times when Charley is standing right next to him, thanks to his rampant Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Sixth Doctor encounters several enemies whose exact weakness is a pompous living thesaurus who can't stop talking about himself. It works beautifully.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: "The Chimes Of Midnight", "Jubilee", "Seasons Of Fear", "The Four Doctors", "The Eye of the Scorpion", "Flip-Flop" and Dark Eyes are just a few examples of the many different ways time travel can work. The Web Of Time is a fickle thing as well; "Storm Warning", "Doctor Who And The Pirates" and "To The Death" all show wildly different things that may or may not happen, should someone who's supposed to be dead get rescued. In addition to that, the entire Divergent arc takes place in a separate universe, which operates under its own laws of physics and technically doesn't even have time.
  • Tomboyish Name: Female companions Benny, Charley, Flip and Crys.
  • Torture Porn: "Project: Twilight", "Project: Lazarus", "Jubilee", "Spare Parts", "Scherzo", "The Natural History Of Fear", "Something Inside"...
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Cyberman, no surprise there. Spare Parts is a slow unveiling of their evolution on Mondas: from humanoids with a few modest cybernetic enhancements, to a ruling body governed by computerized zombies, all culminating in the uncontrollable Cyberman race.
    Doctorman Allan: How dare you, Zheng! All this is my work! I created you!
    Commander Zheng: And I am superior to you. be proud while you still have the capacity.]]
  • Warts and All: Big Finish usually goes for a realistic portrayal of historical figures, who are shown in a very human and relatable way: as people who genuinely thought they were doing the right thing. In the case of Queen Bloody Mary, Oliver Cromwell, Richard III and Cardinal Richelieu, this ends up making them look much better than the history books tend to do. In some cases, like Christopher Columbus, the portrayal doesn't end up flattering at all (since Columbus was, in reality, a ruthless slaver and murderer). The trope is hilariously exaggerated with William Shakespeare in "The Kingmaker".
  • Wham Line: The end of episode 2 of "Dust Breeding" features the surprise, out of the blue appearance by an old foeSpoiler .
    Klemp: Who are you!?
    Mr Seta: I am The Master, and you will obey me.
    • Also, one hell of a Wham Line by Davros in "Terror Firma":
      Davros: I was able to operate —
      Eighth Doctor: My TARDIS.
      Davros: Operate on your TARDIS.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Loups-Garoux" to "Little Red Riding Hood"; "Neverland" to Peter Pan; "Zagreus" to Alice in Wonderland; "The Natural History Of Fear" to Nineteen Eighty-Four, Logan's Run and Dark City; "Doctor Who And The Pirates" to Gilbert and Sullivan musicals; "Flip-Flop" to Groundhog Day, Terminator and It's a Wonderful Life; "Master" to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; "Singularity" and "Exotron" to Neon Genesis Evangelion; "Something Inside" to Cube; "The Magic Mousetrap" to Agatha Christie, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain and The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a bit of Shock Treatment thrown in (pun very much intended); "Bernice Summerfield And The Criminal Code" to Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius; "Minuet In Hell" to a The Avengers (1960s) episode called "A Touch of Brimstone"; "Iterations Of I" to π.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Fifth Doctor's tendency to stumble into genocide plots — and the Eighth Doctor slowly starting to realise that he's at war with the Daleks, and that it may end very, very, very badly.
  • Worldbuilding: "The Game", "LIVE 34", "Red" and "Arrangements For War" / "Thicker Than Water" are notable examples.
  • World of Ham: "The Stones of Venice", with a side of Purple Prose. And it's GORGEOUS. Also "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!" and "The One Doctor".
  • Wrap It Up: The Divergent Universe arc with the Eighth Doctor was planned to go on for twice as long as it did. However, the news of Doctor Who returning to television in 2005 came in the middle of all this, so things were wrapped up and the Eighth Doctor returned to more conventional stories in order to not alienate the expected influx of new audience.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • The Seventh Doctor telling a character the current TARDIS configuration was better than the "leopard skin", the Sixth Doctor reassuring a companion that the "assembled hordes of Genghis Khan" couldn't break into it, and the Fifth Doctor sending a message to Peri in the past via a "big-eared Northern chap" (he even says he'll keep the letter and "must remember to send it next time he's passing through the earlier part of the century" to make it more obvious.) In one radio promo, Eight is asked why he doesn't have a Northern accent or a leather jacket, and he's a bit put out by the idea. And the Word Lord called Nobody No-One is written as an Evil Counterpart of the Tenth Doctor.
    • The Eighth Doctor from the Last Great Time War shows up in "Mary's Story" regardless, despite Big Finish's license at that time not covering anything from the new series. It's just never explicitly stated what kind of terrifying war he's been in.
      • It's heavily implied that the Eighth Doctor's clashes with the Dalek Time Controller, particularly over the course of Dark Eyes and its sequels, are the earliest days of the Last Great Time War. Notably, some factions predict that a Dalek/Time Lord war is coming and would devastate the Daleks, but annihilate the Time Lords. In fact, this is revealed to be why the Time Lords resurrect the Master.
    • Prior to its licence being extended in 2015, Big Finish had been getting permission for more and more new TV series nods over the years; "The Beginning" features the original TARDIS design seen in "The Name of the Doctor", which was quickly changed from Big Finish's own design after the TV episode aired and one of the scenes in that story is Susan's point of view of The Teaser of "The Name of the Doctor", with Clara being referred to only as "someone".
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    Frobisher: I began to wish for one of those nick-of-time rescues. The sort that never happen in private eye stories, worse luck. Only in science fiction nonsense.