A Journey to the Edge of Space (The Sword of Orion)
While in audio CDs we have The Sword of Orion. As we’ve already discussed, the Big Finish line has an overt focus on being “classic” Doctor Who. But with The Sword of Orion that gets downright literal: this feels like it was written in 1988. Mainly, as it happens, because it was. But the history of that, as well as the fact that it didn’t stick out like a sore thumb in 2001, is worth looking at in more detail. Which means that we have to do the actual history of Big Finish, which we largely skipped last time in favor of some remarks on style.
The first thing to understand are the origins of Big Finish as a company. A fair amount of their personnel had originally worked on the Audio Visuals line in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Audio Visuals line were fan-made Doctor Who audios that starred Nicholas Briggs as an alternate version of the Doctor, and featured several names that are of obvious future relevance to Doctor Who: Garry Russell, Jim Mortimore, and Andy Lane all worked for them, as did Bill Baggs, who directed The Airzone Solution and whose company put out several other almost-but-not-quite Doctor Whos, including audios featuring K-9 and Lalla Ward as “The Mistress,” and ones featuring “The Professor and Ace,” and, later, a run of Faction Paradox audios by Lawrence Miles.
So eventually a chunk of the Audio Visuals folks formed a proper company and got the rights to do a run of Bernice Summerfield audios, which they did a good enough job with to persuade the BBC to give them the rights to do some actual Doctor Who audios. Initially only Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy signed up. Tom Baker declined because, well, that’s the sort of thing Tom Baker does. And Paul McGann didn’t so much decline as not even have the offer forwarded to him because his agent at the time was Janet Fielding, who was in a period where she vocally disliked Doctor Who and didn’t think doing the audios was the right career move for him. Then McGann changed agents and ended up doing the Big Finish audios after all, and now you’re more or less caught up.
Unsurprisingly, when Big Finish started up they turned to the Audio Visuals line and remade a few of their greatest hits.…