News just in from Unit, aka the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. Its top operatives Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) are today teaming up for Big Finish Productions. It’s a first for the company that’s been making Doctor Who audio dramas since 1999.
“We feel privileged to work within the universe of ‘new series’ Doctor Who for the first time,” says producer David Richardson, “and we’re thrilled that Jemma and Ingrid are on board.”
Until now, Big Finish has mined the Time Lord’s back catalogue, very successfully, with a roster of old Doctors (recently even the elusive Tom Baker) and former companions in brand-new adventures. They’re released on CD and as downloads, and are often later aired on Radio 4 Extra.
Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver are staples of the current TV series. As chief scientific officer Kate Stewart and scientist Osgood, they’re the modern face of Unit. The Time Lord’s Earthbound allies have been part of Doctor Who lore since way back in 1968, originally under the stewardship of the Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart.
BF executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery speaks from the heart: “Having worked with the greatly missed Nicholas Courtney [who died in 2011] and his magnificent portrayal of the Brigadier since the early days of Big Finish, it’s wonderful to see the return of Unit under the Brig’s daughter, Kate.”
Kate and Osgood were last seen on screen in the 2014 series finale, Death in Heaven. We know they’ve filmed episodes for series nine, coming to BBC1 this autumn. Of course, one big mystery remains unanswered – how will Steven Moffat reintroduce Osgood, who was cruelly vaporised by the Master/Missy?
In the mean time, Redgrave and Oliver go into the studio this week for Big Finish, recording Unit: Extinction. A four-hour adventure, written by Andrew Smith and Matt Fitton, it pits the duo against an old foe – the amorphous Nestene Consciousness and its deadly plastic Autons.
The first adventure will be released as a CD box set and available to download in November, after Kate and Osgood’s return to Doctor Who on BBC1. There’ll be three other sets available at six-monthly intervals.
Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio dramas are available to buy from their website.