Audio Visuals (1985-1991) was a Fan Work audio play series based upon Doctor Who. It was created by Nicholas Briggs, Gary Russell, Bill Baggs, and a couple dozen of Briggs' pseudonyms. The series is notable for being the source of much Ascended Fanon, and for kick-starting the careers of its creators in Doctor Who proper. Although the Audio Visuals productions were in violation of copyright, The BBC chose to look the other way.
Unusually for a fan production, the series barely even mentioned the events of televised Who, let alone got excessively into it. From the second story onwards, in which the Doctor regenerates, Nicholas Briggs played the Doctor for the remainder of the series, which lasted four seasons. In the planned fifth season, Briggs' Doctor would have regenerated.
The Audio Visuals were not licensed and are not considered official material in the Whoniverse or in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, but when Big Finish Doctor Who was eventually licensed, the company adapted several of the Audio Visuals stories into official Doctor Who audio play episodes. One Big Finish audio, the Seventh Doctor story "Frozen Time", acts as a sequel to the Audio Visuals story "Endurance", though obviously with a different Doctor. The Audio Visuals Doctor was also incorporated into the Doctor Who Magazine serialised comics: he first showed up briefly as a future incarnation of the Doctor, and was subsequently impersonated by another character for an extended story arc.
- The Doctor: Stephen Payne in the Pilot Episode "The Space Wail". He regenerates into Nicholas Briggs in the second story, "Time Ravagers": a rather level-headed — if very hammy — incarnation with a fondness for tea.
- Greg Holmes (Doctor Who Magazine editor Richard Marson, played by another Doctor Who Magazine editor Gary Russell in his last story), this series' first companion. A 16-year-old schoolboy from modern day Earth, whom the Doctor meets in "The Space Wail". He leaves in "The Mutant Phase".
- Nadia, (Sally Baggs) the Doctor's short-lived other companion, who he meets later on in "The Space Wail". An Emotionless Girl who tries to become more human. Lasts until the third story, "Connection 13".
- Ria (originally Patricia Merrick, then Heather Barker and Liz Knight), a companion who he meets in "Maenad". The longest-running companion of this Doctor next to Truman. Appears until "Planet of Lies".
- Truman Crouch, the companion the Doctor meets in "Secret of Nematoda".
Stories remade as official Doctor Who episodes:
- "The Mutant Phase"
- "Sword Of Orion"
- "Minuet In Hell"
- "Last of the Titans", from "Vilgreth".
- "Frozen Time" - Not a direct adaptation, but a Stealth Sequel to "Endurance".
- A Spot Of Tea: Briggs' Doctor is extremely fond of tea.
- Adaptation Expansion: Several of the audio stories were later reworked into official Big Finish Doctor Who episodes.
- Alternate Continuity: Like virtually all works featuring a fan-created Doctor, the series doesn't explicitly state whether the stories feature a future Doctor, an alternative one or both. The Doctor Who Magazine story "Party Animals", mentioned below, makes the AV Doctor explicitly a future Doctor, but it doesn't say which one. "Wormwood" does something trickier: a shapeshifting character pretends to be the Nicholas Briggs Doctor for several chapters, with his introduction scene even mirroring the regeneration into Briggs in the Audio Visuals.
- Anyone Can Die: To a greater extent than Canon Who, Audio Visuals tended to kill off its companions.
- Arc Words: "Justyce [sic] will be served." Echoed occasionally in Big Finish Doctor Who these days.
- Camp: The otherwise very dark "Cloud of Fear" has one of the campiest scenes of anything, ever, when the Doctor teases Greg about his badly-dyed hair. (You really have to listen to it to understand.)
- Emotion Eater: The Psionovores, as their name would indicate.
- Fan Work: A creative Derivative Work made about Doctor Who by Doctor Who fans. Indeed, given the amount of creators who would go on to work on the "real thing", and the number of stories re-written for the official series, it may be the single most influential Doctor Who fan work.
- Iconic Item: The toothbrush, similar to Five's decorative vegetable.