|Those of you reeling from the emptiness of a year without BBC Doctor Who may take heart from the fact that Season 3 of Big Finish's Eighth Doctor Adventures is about to start.
On Saturday, 7 March 2009, the first episode of the third season of Lucie Miller/Eighth Doctor adventures will be released.
"Orbis" continues directly on after the rather enormous cliffhanger at the end of season two's finale, "Vengeance of Morbius". Thereafter, a new episode will be released each month through October — taking us almost all the way to David Tennant's last turn as the Doctor. Like last season, this one promises the return of a number of one-off televised villains, such as the Krynoids and the Wirrn.
Individual episodes are priced at about US$16 per physical CD, but the entire series of eight episodes will only cost US$55 if downloaded. This seasonal download price represents a substantial savings off the usual per-adventure yearly subscription price. But it's not exactly "recession sale pricing". Eighth Doctor Adventures have a different, shorter format than those for "past Doctors".
Still, the 60-minute adventures represent the closest thing to "new Who" we're likely to find outside of the four BBC specials this year. They'll also provide a much needed fix for those of us who'd be eagerly anticipating more Lucie Miller, even if there were a new season of BBC Who this year. What they won't do — based on trailers from Big Finish homepage — is offer a return to the original David Arnold Eighth Doctor theme music.
July to offer a double dose of Doctor #8
Not only will July see the Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith hopping back to Nazi-occupied France for a rendezvous with Samantha Bond, it wiill also allow the Eighth Doctor to revisit the pre-Lucie part of his life for the first time since December 2007. "The Company of Friends" will contain four separate adventures with Bernice Summerfield, Izzy, Fitz and Frankenstein author, Mary Shelley. The common thread to the piece will be to showcase the literary side of the Eighth Doctor, throwing him together with three companions he had in print, and one famous historical author.
It's a first for the Benny/Eighth Doctor team-up in audio, and, following the novel The Dying Days, only the second time it's ever happened in the pantheon of Doctor Who fiction. Long-time "Benny" actor, Lisa Bowerman, will reprise her role from her solo Big Finish series. It is currently unknown whether this vignette will clarify the ending to Days, which heavily implies she and the Eighth Doctor had sex. While this might at first seem to be a prurient interest, it's made relevant by the fact that Days author, Lance Parkin, will be penning the script.
Meanwhile, "Friends" is an outright audio first for two other co-starring characters: Fitz and Izzy.
Fitz was an early, novel-only male companion for the Eighth Doctor, with a complicated history — especially given his relatively brief run. Author of some of those novel outings, Stephen Cole, will write his audio script as well.
Izzy Sinclair is the longest-running comics-only companion of any Doctor. She appeared for almost a decade — virtually the Eighth Doctor's entire, record-setting run — in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine. Izzy will join Sixth Doctor companion, Frobisher, as one of only two comics-only companions to leave the confines of the printed page. Izzy creator, longtime comics author and Infinite Quest scribe Alan Barnes, will write Izzy into the audio age.
Prices given may not obtain in all areas of the world.