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Audio Doctor Who Spinoffs

Big Finish has produced a bunch of Doctor Who Radio plays. By and large they are great. As time has gone on, they have made a bunch of spinoffs that don’t include the Doctor in any of his versions. Most of these use characters or groups directly from the TV show although they have done a few that are products of Big Finish. I wasn’t too impressed with the first one I heard, Graceless. It was about a pair of “sisters” that were created by powerful entities during one of the story arcs. Never really felt like it went anywhere. They have since put out a second set, but I haven’t heard anything about it and I’m not all that interested in getting it. I am looking forward to one that has been in the works for years. Nick Briggs keeps promising that he is going to do a Charlotte Pollard spinoff. Charlie was played by India Fisher. Charlie was a long time companion to the 8th and the 6th Doctor (in that order interestingly) and she is a favorite of a lot of fans, including myself. Nick says it will come out at some point, I will definitely get it…

Big Finish has released a ton of other spinoffs. I’ve listened to the Cyberman, Dalek Empire I-IV, UNIT, I Davros, Sarah Jane Adventures series and enjoyed them. They do have two series that really stand out though, Gallifrey and Jago and Lightfoot.

Gallifrey chronicles the goings on back on the home planet of the Time Lords. It stars the regular Doctor Who characters of Leela, Romana II, and K-9. It also includes a book/audio character named Irving Braxital. The first three episodes were gripping political dramas with lots of action and intrigue. The fourth series was a real departure and that made a lot of fans angry. I’ve warmed up to it, mostly because we have been told that the series will finish up picking up where we left them in series three. Gallifrey does an excellent job of showing how conniving and political the Time Lords were. No wonder the Doctor had to get out of there…

The other standout series is Jago and Lightfoot. Henry Gordon Jago and Professor Lightfoot were characters in the classic 4th doctor adventure “The Talons of Wang Chiang.” Big Finish has managed to create an entire series based around those characters’ infernal investigations in the Victorian era. It seems strange to think that secondary characters that showed up in one TV show could have 12 more stories, but it works very well. The acting is fantastic and the whole thing is all kinds of fun. Lots of fog, lots of monsters and bad guys. Even a little time travel thrown in. All in foggy Victorian London. Good stuff, well worth listening to.

There is a new series coming out from Big Finish. Since they hit a home run with one set of secondary characters, I guess they are going to try again with a different set. This time it is a group from the 7th Doctor story Remembrance of the Daleks. I’m looking forward to hearing it. The trailers make it clear that they are aiming to recreate a 60’s sound. We’ll see if Big Finish can do it again.

Another audio spinoff that is well worth listening to is from Magic Bullet productions. The Kaldor City series uses the world created in the 4th Doctoe show “The Robots of Death.” It is a classic episode and Magic Bullet have managed to make a great political thriller out of it. It is very reminiscent of Robots of Death, there are plenty of mentions of Terran Capel, robophobia, sand mines, etc. If you liked Robots of Death, you’ll love Kaldor City!

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