While the Doctor Who series 12 finale had fans asking all sorts of big questions about what would be next for Jodie Whittaker’s alien adventurer, one query kept popping up – what did all the Timeless Children’s huge revelations mean for Big Finish?
After all, the audio drama-based production company have made a name for themselves over the past couple of decades for filling in gaps in Doctor Who history, exploring unknown adventures and expanding on series lore.
So do the series 12 plot twists – including the fact that there’s a new Doctor played by Jo Martin and a mysterious period of the Doctor’s life lost to her memory – spell a new dawn for Big Finish?
“All possibilities are open,” the company’s Executive Producer (and regular actor and writer) Nicholas Briggs told RadioTimes.com. “[Though] there’s no decisions on that made at all.”
Briggs (who also voices the Daleks and other monsters in the main TV series) noted that the licensing deal Big Finish has with the BBC means that stories featuring the current cast and storylines are prohibited, meaning any ideas of exploring the Doctor’s new backstory might need to be held until some time in the future.
“At the moment our licence covers us up until the end of the 12th Doctor era,” he told us.
“I have no idea what it holds for Big Finish in the future. That’s the absolute truth of the matter. But we try to get involved in as much and as many different avenues of Doctor Who as possible.”
The Timeless Children heavily implied that eight faces seen in classic Doctor Who story The Brain of Morbius – intended by the production team of the time to be versions of the Doctor from before William Hartnell’s First – were indeed part of the Doctor’s history after all. This appeared to leave the door open to all sorts of adventures featuring these Doctors who were ‘played’ onscreen by then-production staff including producer Philip Hinchcliffe, production assistant Graeme Harper and script editor Robert Holmes.
Given that this story was from Tom Baker’s era in the 1970s, could Big Finish be planning the Morbius Doctor adventures? Well… probably not.
“Yes, I can confirm now that Philip Hinchcliffe will be starring…who are the other ones? Graeme Harper, he’s one of them as well. They will all be starring in their own miniseries, that’s absolutely true,” Briggs joked. “No it isn’t!”
Whatever happens, Briggs said that the new changes to the Doctor’s backstory in The Timeless Children were definitely ripe for drama, dismissing some complaints that the twists somehow undermined the previous series lore.
“Imagine how people felt back in 1969, when it was suddenly revealed that the Doctor was a Time Lord, and that he’d run away, and he’d stolen the TARDIS and now they’d put him on trial… and what was it, 1977, The Deadly Assassin, the whole thing about the Time Lords?” Briggs said.
“People went bonkers about that, famously the head of the Doctor Who fan-club at the time, Keith Miller, arch-rival to Peter Capaldi. He closed the fan club down because he was so appalled by this!”
“But you know, Doctor Who’s changing all the time,” he concluded.
“That whole business of Doctor Who rewriting itself and inventing new things. That’s old news. That has happened all the time.”