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Before there was Big Finish Doctor Who, there were the Third Doctor Radio Dramas.

In 1993 and 1996, two BBC radio serials were produced for Doctor Who, starring the Third Doctor, The Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith, and set in Season 11, the Third Doctor's final season. Joining team TARDIS in both stories is a new character named Jeremy Fitzoliver, Sarah Jane's ditzy coworker, who would go on to have a few more appearances in the Expanded Universe. They were notable as the first "proper" Doctor Who stories produced by the BBC since the show had gone off air in December 1989.

  • The first serial, "The Paradise of Death", sees UNIT investigating a theme park which seems to have actual alien monsters on display. The plot eventually takes the gang to an alien world where a single source of food and energy has plunged its population into apathy. Bread and Circuses and virtual reality (and combinations of the two) have replaced all entertainment, and the Doctor has some very nasty suspicions as to where the fertiliser for the universal food source comes from. Team TARDIS joins up with La RĂ©sistance to liberate the planet and overthrow the MegaCorp that enforces this ghastly state of affairs. The episode takes place between "The Time Warrior" and "Invasion of the Dinosaurs".
  • The second story, "The Ghosts Of N-Space", takes the Doctor and his companions to Italy, where a mad monk has been causing trouble for centuries. The Brigadier's Italian uncle (well, cousin — well, something a few times removed) helps the gang fight demons of a scientific purgatory equivalent while the Doctor and Sarah dash through different time periods. It takes place between "Death To The Daleks" and "The Monster of Peladon".

Both stories were novelised by their author (the latter was released as part of the Missing Adventures range as Target Books was defunct by this point, and was also released over a year before the story was broadcast). A third serial was planned, but cancelled due to Jon Pertwee's death. However, a short story (recorded in 1974) with the title "Glorious Goodwood" does exist, which is ten minutes long — and was kept hidden in the BBC archives until 2005.

Jeremy Fitzoliver returned in many Doctor Who Expanded Universe prose stories.

Tropes:

  • Aside Comment: Generally averted, but Sarah Jane has one very noticable moment.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: While the television series is known for being considered first and foremost a children's show, these audios featured a lot more adult references that wouldn't have flied on TV. Perhaps most famously is when, while posing as a page boy, Sarah Jane briefly gets mistaken for the Doctor's catamite. She's not amused.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Apparently, Hieronymus Bosch' paintings look exactly like N-Space, and the Doctor realises that Bosch must have visited the place.
  • Big Brother Is Watching
  • Bound and Gagged: Sarah Jane, for a while, in The Paradise Of Death.
  • Bread and Circuses: The virtual reality allows the citizens of Holborough to experience the fights from the warriors' perspective. Dissidents are forced to fight for their friends' entertainment.
  • Butt-Monkey: Jeremy has it worse than most companions, with shades of Harry Sullivan.
  • The Ditz: Jeremy.
  • Doing In the Wizard: The Doctor spends a lot of time in "The Ghosts Of N-Space" explaining how ghosts are not magic.
  • Dystopia
  • Fix Fic: "The Paradise Of Death" features the Doctor casually introducing Sarah Jane to the Brigadier. They were both in "The Time Warrior", but never met until the next episode.
  • Giant Flyer: La RĂ©sistance flies on giant space bats.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory
  • Hotter and Sexier: The episodes have just slightly more sexual references than in the classic series, but nothing out of bounds for its timeslot.
  • Human Resources: The fertiliser in "The Paradise Of Death" is people.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Sarah Jane gets kidnapped by an alien who wants to torture her, kiss her, and see what could break her.
  • The Load: Jeremy in the first story. He reveals his excellent sniping skills in the second one (which he picked up shooting for pink teddy bears at fun fairs), though.
  • No One Could Survive That!: The Doctor survives a fall by relaxing his bones.
  • Painting the Medium: Since only one person at a time can go into the virtual reality machines, the characters have to describe to each other what they're seeing. This includes the entire final battle of "The Paradise Of Death", in which the Doctor is forced to be a gladiator in the Bread and Circuses and Sarah Jane has to listen to the villain describing his experience of it through the virtual reality's Psychic Link.
  • Skinny Dipping: The Doctor fondly recalls invokedgoing skinny dipping with his old teacher back on Gallifrey.
  • Stepford Smiler: The entire population of Holborough.
  • Suddenly Ethnicity: The Brigadier is one eighth Italian, seven eighths Scottish (a combination not all that uncommon or implausible. Perhaps the most relevant Italian Scot to Doctor Who would be... Peter Capaldi.)
  • You Already Changed the Past
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: The Doctor, although he's not remotely scared.

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