Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Big Finish Productions
Big Finish Productions is a British company that produces audio plays released straight to compact disc, based on British cult science fiction properties. They are best known for their Doctor Who line; other properties include 2000 AD characters Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, The Tomorrow People, Sapphire & Steel and Dalek Empire.
The Managing Director of the company is Jason Haigh-Ellery , with Gary Russell as the producer of the Doctor Who audios.
The company name, "Big Finish", comes from the title of an episode of Press Gang.
The Doctor Who audio plays feature four of the surviving lead actors to play the character of the Doctor (Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann) as well as many of the regular supporting actors over the many years of the programme. Tom Baker, the other surviving Doctor, has declined invitations to participate in the plays. Even the late Jon Pertwee's voice is featured in the 40th Anniversary story Zagreus. His part in the story was pieced together from snippets of dialogue (from the fan-produced Doctor Who video "Devious") recorded prior to his death.
McGann, who appeared as the Doctor in a 1996 telemovie but never got a television series of his own, stars in an ongoing series of audio adventures, which has concluded its fourth and last continguous "season".
The audio plays have also introduced their own companions. These include Professor Evelyn Smythe (played by Maggie Stables ), Erimem (Caroline Morris ), Charley Pollard (India Fisher ), C'rizz (Conrad Westmaas ) and "Hex" (Philip Olivier). The character of Professor Bernice Summerfield, from the spin-off novels, has also appeared, and stars in her own line of audio plays, written by a number of authors including her creator Paul Cornell. Frobisher, a shape-changing alien stuck in the guise of a penguin created in the mid 1980s for the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, has appeared in two stories, portrayed by Robert Jezek .
Other spin-offs include the Gallifrey series (with Lalla Ward as Romana and Louise Jameson as Leela), the Dalek Empire series, and the UNIT series. Big Finish have also produced a series of Doctor Who plays based on alternative scenarios (for example, what if the Doctor had never left Gallifrey), collectively titled Doctor Who Unbound. This has allowed them to cast other actors in the role of the Doctor, including Sir Derek Jacobi and David Warner.
A number of new villains have also been introduced, which include Nimrod, the deputy director of a United Kingdom "black ops" military research establishment known as the Forge. Thus far, Nimrod and the Forge have appeared in two Doctor Who audios, namely Project: Twilight and Project: Lazarus, both written by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright. Other writers for Big Finish include Rob Shearman and The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss, who are also writing for the 2005 relaunch of the Doctor Who television series.
Big Finish has said that the new series will not impact much on the audio plays, save that the current grouping of Eighth Doctor adventures into "seasons" will cease and future releases starring McGann will be folded into the regular releases featuring previous Doctors. Big Finish's license has been extended to 2007.
Former adversaries of the Doctor who have reappeared in the audio plays include the Master, the Cybermen, the Daleks, the Nimon and the Silurians. The Sea Devils made an appearance in the Bernice Summerfield play, Bernice Summerfield and the Poison Seas.
Big Finish also publishes a series of short story anthologies taking place in the Doctor Who universe under the overall title of Short Trips. Three Short Trips collections were published by BBC Books in the late 1990s, before the license was granted to Big Finish, who have produced them ever since.
Big Finish have released eighteen audio plays featuring characters from the British sci-fi comic strip anthology magazine 2000AD. These have mostly featured Judge Dredd although three have starred characters from the Strontium Dog strip.
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