Genesis of the Daleks might just be the most beloved Classic Era story, it’s the one that has topped opinion polls and fan rankings. A classic tale of the origins of sci-fi’s most iconic villains, of nuclear holocausts and the persistence of fascism. Its nihilism is matched by a strong script from Nation and fully realised by Hinchcliffe and Holmes, some powerful performances from a central cast who clearly understand the gravity of the script. With a successful Target Novel and cutdown record version, this story has clearly stuck with fans for good reason. From a production side of things there wasn’t actually many changes, just a couple of aesthetic differences that don’t change the product we ended up with. So considering all this, considering the production history and the accessibility of Genesis, why even bother releasing this?
Harry Sullivan and Naomi Cross have been interesting characters. Harry was a companion of the Fourth Doctor played by the late Ian Marter in Season 12, leaving in Terror of the Zygons with a brief reappearance in The Android Invasion and despite being a companion of one of the more popular Doctors, he only appeared as a companion in a handful of Missing Adventures and Past Doctor Adventures partially due to Marter’s passing in 1986. Big Finish Productions has recently used Harry in stories like Return of the Cybermen and Kaleidoscope casting the wonderful Christopher Naylor in the part. Naomi Cross on the other hand is a Big Finish original companion played by Eleanor Crooks, who also travelled with the Fourth Doctor and Harry Sullivan at some point. I say at some point as the characters haven’t had their technical debut as companions with the Fourth Doctor yet and are not set to release until 2024. Further complicating the characters, they have had appearances in the spin-off UNIT Nemesis in both sets with Naomi to appear in the third set later this month. So, it comes as a complete surprise that the second Seventh Doctor set to be released this year is exploring the Doctor finding Harry and Naomi again in Sullivan and Cross – AWOL. This is set either during or after UNIT Nemesis, the writers aren’t exactly clear on how everything fits together in terms of continuity but this set spends much of its first episode focusing on Harry and Naomi in 21st century London.
The Power of The Doctor saw Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as The Doctor and featured return of the Doctor’s biggest adversary – The Master (Sacha Dhawan), who last appeared in series 12’s final episode The Timeless Children.
Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated into a familiar face and it has now been officially confirmed that David Tennant will be the Fourteenth Doctor.
But what has led to the return of a much loved face? Check out the preview below.
The upcoming BBC centenary special of Doctor Who finally has a title. As previously confirmed by Doctor Who Magazine the episode title is Power Of The Doctor. Check out the teaser images (also previously released in DWM) below which show The Doctor joined by some familiar friends & foes.
The Audio Novels have released their third installment and instead of continuing to stay in the classic series it adds to the rather low number of Twelfth Doctor novels with Emancipation of the Daleks by Jonathan Morris, a book set in the middle of Series 10. Jonathan Morris was brought on to write the novel and depart from the previous two instalment’s format of six, one-hour episodes. The length is the same with approximately six hours of an audiobook, but it is shifted to three, two-hour episodes roughly the same word count as a televised episode according to the behind the scenes interviews. I’m bringing this up so early since the format of this novel is one of the releases biggest issues, the length of the episodes make it so that a lot of it drags and doesn’t feel like a book. This has been a slight problem with the previous two releases but as Scourge of the Cybermen and Watchers have double the chapters and double the points where the narrative stops and listeners can take a break. And with Jonathan Morris treating each part of Emancipation of the Daleks as it’s own episode, it’s paced as if it is supposed to be a full-cast episode and not an audiobook which makes everything throughout drag. Morris structures the book as three distinct ideas each following a distinct version of Bill Potts, with the inciting incident of the story being Bill Potts from 20 years in the future showing up on her own doorstep in the present before a Dalek spaceship crashes into St. Luke’s University.
Perhaps one aspect of The War Doctor Begins I have found myself undervaluing is the format. While the first set is a three episode miniseries about the immediate aftermath of the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor, the second established itself as its own self-contained miniseries, though early in the War Doctor’s life. Battlegrounds, the third set in the series, follows this pattern as well cementing the fact that this range isn’t going to be an actual miniseries, but four sets exploring early parts of the character’s life. This third set has the linking theme of exploring war and the various battlegrounds war is waged upon: physical, mental, and spiritual. Three scripts from three stylistically different writers each tacking a different type of battleground makes The War Doctor Begins: Battlegrounds three episodes with very different tones and a focus on character pieces above everything else which keeps the link strong, but each of the stories can find themselves separate. The other link throughout the stories is the directing from Louise Jameson, who should be singled out for being responsible for how The War Doctor Begins sounds. Her directorial style is distinct and steeps the sets in this almost ethereal atmosphere where things feel ever so slightly out of phase to give the Time War this mythical quality.
The Companion Chronicles have the distinction of being the second longest and consistently running Doctor Who range at Big Finish Productions. They began in 2007 and released several single releases to 2014 before switching to yearly boxsets between 2015 and 2019. A box set was announced for release in June 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Second Doctor: Volume Three was plagued with production delays, finally having production finish in late 2021 for release in 2022. Among this rumours spread that the Companion Chronicles would be ending with this volume which have not yet been confirmed, though there is some contradictory evidence of actors mentioning recording a release which hasn’t been announced while higher ups mentioning that this would be the final installment in the range.If this truly is to be the final release of the range (and I truly hope it isn’t) it is a stellar release for the range to go out on, finding creative ways to explore the entirety of the Second Doctor’s era and not limit itself to the Companion Chronicles’ two-hander format as it’s rumoured Big Finish will be taking the range towards a more full cast approach if it is to continue.
The Master, Daleks and Cybermen plus two classic companions are set to return to Doctor Who.
A first look at Doctor Who’s feature-length BBC Centenary special, and Jodie Whittaker’s final episode, has revealed the return of the Doctor’s biggest adversary – The Master (Sacha Dhawan), who last appeared in series 12’s final episode The Timeless Children.
And for the first time since the show returned to BBC One in 2005, The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen will all feature in one single story.
The Unbound range essentially started as a way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who by introducing six alternate universe takes on the Doctor and Doctor Who based around questions like “What if the Doctor never left Gallifrey?” or “What if the Doctor was exiled to Earth in the 1990s?”. This allowed different actors and actresses to take on the role of the Doctor, but after the initial six release run there weren’t any new Unbound Doctors introduced, two more releases in 2005 and 2008 before the David Warner Doctor was paired with Bernice Summerfield. So, imagine the surprise when it was announced that the range would be revived for two box sets using a new Unbound Doctor, the Doctor of War, played by Colin Baker, in a timeline that diverges during Genesis of the Daleks for two box sets, Genesis and Destiny (named after the Tom Baker Dalek serials).