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Trivia / Big Finish Doctor Who

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  • Acting for Two:
    • Colin Baker gets to toy with this in "The Wrong Doctors", where you have two versions of the Sixth Doctor 'onscreen' at the same time. Rumor has it they wanted a third, but the studio would have imploded from the awesome. Bonnie Langford also gets to play with this in "The Wrong Doctors", where two Mels are running around the story at the same time. However, unlike the Sixth Doctors, the two Mels are night and day.
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    • Tracey Childs also plays Klein's mother in "Daleks Among Us".
  • Ascended Fanon:
    • Just like with Ace, Melanie "Mel" Jane Bush's (Sixth and Seventh Doctors) last name was established in other parts of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.
    • Lucie calls the Monk "The Meddling Monk", the first time he's ever been officially called that in all of Doctor Who. He has been called that by fans for quite some time.
    • The titles used for the Seventh Doctor's Lost Stories were not the ones intended by script editor Andrew Cartmel; they had appeared in a largely speculative article in Doctor Who Magazine some years previously, and Big Finish decided to use them as they were what fandom was used to. The exception was the first story, "Thin Ice", which was referred to as "Ice-Time" in the article but used its originally intended title. (For the record, "Crime of the Century"'s Cartmel-preferred title was "Action at a Distance", "Animal" would have been "Blood and Iron" and "Earth Aid" would have been "Bad Destination".)
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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Big Finish has gained this reputation which is why they are able to nab such big name actors for their productions. Amongst the actors they have gotten for roles include but are not limited to: Sheridan Smith, Jim Carter, Emilia Fox, Bernard Cribbins, Toby Jones, Graeme Garden, Nicola Walker, Ronald Pickup, Simon Pegg, Anthony Head, Derek Jacobi, and David Warner.
  • Career Resurrection: Many of the actors who played the Doctor's companions have long since retired from acting (including Sarah Sutton [Nyssa], who works as a library attendant, and Mark Strickson [Vislor Turlough], who is a documentary producer), but made an exception to regularly reprise their roles for Big Finish. Several of them are often cited as being much better actors than they ever were on television.
  • Creator's Favourite:
    • A frequent problem that occurs is that the creators enjoy working with a particular actor/actress too much. In particular we're describing Sophie Aldred (Ace), India Fisher (Charley Pollard) and Philip Olivier (Hex). A common consensus among fans is that Big Finish keeps using and re-using their characters long past their ability to generate decent stories. The result? A character that everybody remembers for sticking around too long, characters that would have had a much more memorable run if they'd gone out on a high, and left people wanting more.
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    • Tracey Childs (Klein) is another case in which the actor's character is reeling due to not knowing when to quit. There have been at least three points where her story could have come to a natural end (Nazi, tragic villain, companion, and now Tyke-Bomb). Big Finish just enjoys working with Childs, but that isn't a strong reason in storytelling terms. Ironically, Klein was brought in as a companion because fans were tired of the Seven-Hex-Ace team.
    • The favourite monster of Nicholas Briggs is the Daleks (which he actually voices on the revival TV series), and it shows. Most of the stories he writes have something to do with Daleks, he plays all of the Daleks, he even played the Daleks in the DVD re-release of the Third Doctor story "Day of the Daleks", he does the Big Finish podcasts with his ring modulator at the ready slipping in and out of his Dalek voice, the first story he wrote for Tom Baker's much-hyped return was an attempt to give him a Dalek story with no Davros in it, the big event series Dark Eyes is all about Daleks, any event story he writes is all about Daleks... On the bright side, he is very, very, very good at it.
  • Development Gag: Quite a few.
    • Six gets to spend the entire first episode of his first long Story Arc wearing velvet. Colin Baker originally wanted to play Six in black velvet in the TV series, but it was vetoed.
    • Eight's companions get in a few snide remarks about his poncy hair, notably when Lucie asks if it's even real. Paul McGann wore a wig when he played the Doctor on TV, since he shaved his head after his audition.
    • The Doctor keeps trying to take his companions to Blackpool, with varying levels of success. The Doctor remarks at one point that the TARDIS just doesn't want to be there. Him trying to take Lucie Miller to Blackpool, and the TARDIS not being able to go there for mysterious reasons, becomes the Story Arc of an entire season.
  • Died During Production:
    • Tom Baker signed a deal with Big Finish to perform Fourth Doctor audio plays in late March or early April, 2011. When signed, among the ideas he mentioned he was interested in was doing new adventures alongside Elisabeth Sladen reprising her role as Sarah Jane Smith. (Apparently, it was Sladen and Louise Jameson who convinced him to come back at all.) Sadly, Elisabeth Sladen then passed away, putting those plans permanently in the "What Could Have Been" category. However, in 2021, Lis's daughter Sadie Miller took over as Sarah Jane.
    • Plans had been afoot for more War Doctor stories beyond the originally announced four boxsets, but John Hurt passed away shortly before the fourth and final volume, "Casualties of War," was released; he was also keen to work with Big Finish on other ranges and recorded an adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel The Invisible Man, which was also released posthumously.
    • The Jago & Litefoot series came to an end after Trevor Baxter (Litefoot) passed away in 2017.
  • Fake American: Apart from many Fake American actors in stories taking place in the USA, Frobisher at one point spends almost an entire episode shapeshifted into the Sixth Doctor. Including his voice. This leads to the English Colin Baker impersonating the Canadian Robert Jezek playing the American-accented Frobisher pretending to be the English-accented Doctor. It is glorious.
  • Genre Relaunch: The TV series gave up on "historicals" (serials with no SF elements outside the Doctor and friends showing up in a time machine) in 1967. Big Finish brought the format back with a number of quite successful serials focused purely on non-SF adventures in history, such as "The Marian Conspiracy" (Mary I), "The Council of Nicaea" (... just guess), "The Church and the Crown" (Louis XIII, Cardinal Richlieu and the Musketeers), "Wrath of the Iceni" (Boudicca) and "Son Of The Dragon" (the real Dracula).
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The physical CDs of the first 50 main range stories are out of print, and it has also been announced that 51-100 will not be repressed (some of BF's other ranges, such as Doctor Who Unbound, Destiny of the Doctors and Iris Wildthyme are also starting to drop out of print as more and more people shift to downloads). However unlike most versions of the trope, the dramas are not disappearing totally, they will be available as downloads from Big Finish's website.
  • Name's the Same: The Alternate Eighth Doctor, a.k.a. Johann Schmidt, is not to be confused with the Marvel Universe's Red Skull, although both of their backstories involved Nazis.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Before Tom Baker finally signed, the Fourth Doctor was briefly played by famous impersonator Jon Culshaw for a recording in "The Kingmaker".
    • Tim Treloar's rather good impression of Jon Pertwee has led to him getting more opportunities to play the Third Doctor.
    • Since Frazer Hines can play both the Second Doctor and Jamie, and Anneke Wills is still playing Polly, Elliot Chapman was cast as Ben to allow that particular TARDIS crew to have new full-cast adventures.
    • Likewise, since William Russell doubles up as Ian and the Doctor, and Carole Ann Ford still plays Susan, Jemma Powell (who'd already played Jacqueline Hill/Barbara in An Adventure in Space and Time) was cast as Barbara for new full-cast First Doctor adventures, until 2018, when she was joined by David Bradley as the First Doctor along with the other recast actors from An Adventure In Space And Time.
    • Sorcha Cusack plays an older Molly in "Dark Eyes 4", due to a case of Real Life Writes the Plot as Ruth Bradley's burgeoning career made it near impossible for her to be available.
    • By the time "The Nightmare Fair" was adapted for the Lost Stories range, Michael Gough had retired from acting, so David Bailie played the Toymaker.
  • Out of Order: The audio adaptations of the Doctor Who New Adventures are not only selective about which novels get adapted, they're not going through them in the same release order. Most obviously, Original Sin, the novel that introduced companions Roz and Chris, was adapted after Damaged Goods, one of the last novels featuring those companions. (Damaged Goods got adapted first because it had a handy promotional hook: it was the first official Doctor Who story by Russell T Davies.)
  • Playing Against Type: In "Zagreus", Peter Davison is cast as a particularly Jerkass reverend (who is also an aspect of the Doctor — It Makes Sense in Context), a rather massive difference from the TV version of the Doctor, or even from the darker aspects of the Fifth Doctor that come out at times.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • A little-known actor named David Tennant was thrilled to receive supporting roles by Big Finish in stories set in the Doctor Who universe, before making the next step to playing the Doctor himself. It then went full circle in 2016 when he returned to the role of the Tenth Doctor in the audio series!
    • Virtually every Big Finish writer grew up watching the original show.
  • Real-Life Relative: From "An Earthly Child" onwards, Jake McGann, who voices Alexander David "Alex" Campbell (the Doctor's great-grandson), is the son of Eighth Doctor actor Paul McGann.
    • In Jubilee, the dictatorial President Nigel Rochester and his wife Miriam are played by real-life married couple Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres.
  • Recast as a Regular:
    • Tim Treloar recorded an unrelated guest spot in a Fourth Doctor story, and at the recording the producers noticed his vocal similarity to Jon Pertwee, leading them to trial him as the voice of the Third Doctor for a cameo in the 50th anniversary story "The Light at the End". This would later lead to him starring as the Third Doctor in his own range.
    • Christopher Naylor had appeared in several Big Finish productions before he was cast as Harry Sullivan, taking over the role from the late Ian Marter.
    • Impressionist Jon Culshaw had appeared in a few productions (including a humorous cameo as the Fourth Doctor a few years before Tom Baker came aboard), which led to him playing Kamelion and, more notably, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
  • Recursive Adaptation: Big Finish has produced audio versions of the two major Doctor Who stage plays, The Ultimate Adventure (with Colin Baker) and The Seven Keys to Doomsday (with Trevor Martin reprising his stage role as a non-TV Doctor).
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: James Dreyfus was announced as playing the very first incarnation of the Master to much fanfare, with the promise that he would play the character on a semi-regular basis. However, there was much controversy when transphobic comments he'd made on social media came to light, which he proceeded to double down on. Whilst it has not been expressly stated that he has been dropped, it appears that the only stories he will appear in are ones which were recorded before his comments came to light, which are being released as quietly as possible, with no mention of his role in promotional material. As further evidence a story titled "Masterful" has been announced that sets to unite all the surviving TV actors with the actors who played incarnations exclusive to Big Finish, except for Dreyfus.
  • Self-Adaptation: Lance Parkin wrote the audio adaptation of his own novel Cold Fusion.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Sorcha Cusack plays an older Molly O'Sullivan in "Dark Eyes 4". She plays it so well that you'd be convinced that she was related to Ruth Bradley.
  • Talking to Himself:
    • Frazer Hines now voices the Second Doctor - it started with him doing the Doctor's voice in narrated stories, but his impression of Troughton is so spot-on (and fan reception so positive) they eventually transitioned to doing full-cast stories where Hines doubles up as both the Doctor and Jamie. William Russell also does a rather good William Hartnell, which scripts have also taken advantage of.
    • In "The Holy Terror", Sam Kelly plays both Eugene Tacitus and the monstrous form of his posthumous genetic son and Big Bad of the story, the Child.
  • Trolling Creator:
    • Nicholas Briggs deliberately trolled the fanbase as much as possible in "Dark Eyes", almost diving into the Last Great Time War for just a few minutes before yanking the idea away again.
    • The Cliffhanger between Zagreus' first appearance and the subsequent episode lasted a year and a half. Close to the end of that release gap, in the audio "Omega", Zagreus is prominently listed in the credits. It's an in-story actor playing Zagreus on a Gallifrey-themed cruise ship. He has one line.
  • Voices in One Room:
    • Generally how Big Finish operates, although scheduling conflicts with actors sometimes means dialogue has to be recorded separately.
    • Averted with Lalla Ward since her relocation to Hong Kong in 2018, as she now records her lines in a studio thousands of miles away from the rest of the cast.
    • This was already averted with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward even prior to Ward's relocation, as the two have always recorded their lines separately. If asked at cons whether Baker and Ward performed together, the producers and writers tended to avoid the question, so it's not clear if it was down to their turbulent past romance or other reasons (Baker's advanced age means he has to use a recording studio close to his home).
    • Also averted in dramas recorded March 2020 and later, as the Coronavirus forced everyone to record in remote locations, though all over internet links so that the Voices in One Room vibe could be preserved to the greatest extent possible.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Molly O'Sullivan would've had a larger role in "Dark Eyes 3" if Ruth Bradley didn't have other commitments. Likewise, she was kept out of "Dark Eyes 4" for the same reason, and was eventually recast with another actress, Sorcha Cusack.
    • When Sally Armstrong was conceived by Nicholas Briggs, he intended for her to eventually become the Doctor's companion in a later "Dark Eyes"; however, halfway through the series the writing duties was picked up by Matt Fitton, and Sally perished in "Dark Eyes 3".
    • This trope is basically what the "Lost Stories" range runs on, realising stories that were intended to be made for the television series but weren't for various reasons.
    • Sir John Hurt had expressed interest in reprising his War Doctor role for at least four additional box sets after completing the first four. That was before he passed away in January 2017.
    • Steven Moffat was asked to write audio plays when the idea started. He was interested, but the only Doctor he wanted to write for was the Eighth and Paul McGann hadn't signed on yet, so he passed.
    • According to Nicholas Briggs, Peter Capaldi was approached to appear in an audio play around 2009, but had to decline due to his commitments to appearing on Torchwood: Children of Earth.
    • As mentioned above, Tom Baker had been a long-time holdout on appearing with Big Finish. It took both Elisabeth Sladen and Louise Jameson continuing to persuade him for him to finally sign on to play the Fourth Doctor again. Baker finally signed in 2011, and was looking forward to a series of adventures where Baker and Sladen would portray the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane again. Tragically, Elisabeth Sladen died shortly after of cancer, and so the plans could not be realized.
    • Kate O'Mara was going to reprise her role as the Rani, but sadly passed away a few weeks before recording was to begin. Big Finish was left unsure on how to proceed until O'Mara's agent assured them that she had wanted them to continue without her, leading them to cast Siobhan Redmond as a new regeneration of the Rani.
    • Before his death in 2004, Anthony Ainley was approached about returning as the Master, but they couldn't agree on terms.note  So Big Finish approached Geoffrey Beevers instead, paving the way for Beevers to become the primary Master for Big Finish Doctor Who.
  • You Sound Familiar: A number of actors who've appeared in the show have also been in Big Finish (or were in Big Finish before the revival). These include Derek Jacobi, David Tennant, Anthony Stewart Head, Bernard Cribbins, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones, Dan Starkey and Nicholas Briggs.


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