Since reaching the Big 2-0-0, Big Finish has been asking us our favourite audio adventure of the main Doctor Who range – and the results are in. Our favourite Big Finish is The Chimes of Midnight!
Released in February 2002, the story stars Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor with India Fisher as Charley Pollard, a relatively-new companion back then; the pair find themselves in a Groudnhog Day-style house, full of horror. It’s Proper Good.
Hallowe’en 1938. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring…
But something must be stirring. Something hidden in the shadows. Something which kills the servants of an old Edwardian mansion in the most brutal and macabre manner possible. Exactly on the chiming of the hour, every hour, as the grandfather clock ticks on towards midnight.
Trapped and afraid, the Doctor and Charley are forced to play detective to murders with no motive, where even the victims don’t stay dead. Time is running out.
And time itself might well be the killer…
Big Finish caught up with its writer, Robert Shearman, who told them:
“The funny thing is, I’ve been thinking a lot about The Chimes of Midnight recently. Not just because it’s nearly Christmas – though it is, so plum puddings at the ready! But because I was writing it *exactly* fifteen years ago today. It was so exciting to do – we’d just got Paul McGann as the new Doctor, and Doctor Who was never, ever, ever coming back to TV – perish the thought – and I felt so privileged that I was being allowed to nudge on the Doctor’s life one adventure further.
“If I could have guessed Chimes would still be listened to fifteen years later, I think I’d never have written a word, I’d have frozen in fear! I love Big Finish. They never shy away from telling the weirdest of stories, they truly believe that the only limit to where the Doctor can go is your own imagination – they are at once both inspired and inspiring. I always feel I got so lucky with Chimes – Barnaby Edwards directs the perfect cast extraordinarily well, and Russell Stone’s music is gorgeous.
“Thank you to everyone who made my odd black comedy work, so that it’s still so fondly remembered today – and to Gary Russell for commissioning the bonkersishness of it all with only a raised eyebrow in judgement. And thank you, all of you, who bought Big Finish back then in the so-called wilderness years, and who still buy Big Finish now in the years of plenty. There are thousands more untold stories about the Doctor out there, so let’s go tell them.”
Shearman’s a dedicated Whovian and also wrote the brilliant 2005 TV story, Dalek. If you’ve not heard The Chimes of Midnight, you really need to. It’s only £2.99 to download it!
In second place was Spare Parts (2002) by Marc Platt (Ghost Light), which was inspiration for the 2006 story, Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel, and tells the tale of the genesis of the Cybermen.
It’s those gorgeously grim original Tenth Planet Cybermen, and stars Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa.
And in third place, it’s Lance Parkin’s Davros (2003), all about… erm, well, you can probably guess. It features Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor with Terry Malloy returning as the creator of the Daleks. Wendy Padbury also stars (not as Zoe), as does Bernard Horsfell.
All three of those stories are now download-only, but further stories from the Top 20 Poll including The Silver Turk, The Kingmaker, and 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men can be bought on CD too.
It’s sad that the top 3 were all released over a decade ago, but I think it’s fair to say some nostalgia influenced the decision; we’re still consistently impressed with the audio company’s output, as you can tell form our frequent reviews.
Yep, we still love Big Finish!