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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Doctor Who

Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old December 11 2013, 02:08 PM   #1
Emperor-Tiberius
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The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

I've been listening to a lot of Big Finish audio stories lately, mostly centered around the Fifth and Eighth Doctors (nearly done on the latter), and just started on Sixth's run, and doing so in a chronological run to get the advantage of intentions by BF for the said stories. I stopped after Revelation of the Daleks because, quite frankly, season 22 was the worst season of DW I've ever seen - even with gems like Vengeance on Varos and the audio Davros included. But I started listening again to the Lost Stories of his, and then got into Whispers of Terror, ...ish and The Reaping, and I was amazed how most of the Lost Stories and all the BF originals by not only good and well-written they were, but by how narratively cohesive and consistent they were. Moreover, the Sixth Doctor gains a lot more understanding and the writers seem to have a far better understanding of his idiosyncrasies and what not. He's still not my favorite Doctor, but he's evolved from his brutish self in S22.

And that got me thinking. Likewise with the Fifth, I had a real problem going through a lot of his stories - Warriors of the Deep, Time Flight and King's Demons are appalling, for that matter. He barely has a top 10 of stories, and even then, I don't think he was ever written in the show in a comprehensible, all-encompassing way. Now, I know the stories were written with certain time constraints, and that all Doctors were basically written the same, but I feel Pertwee was allowed to have more character in his stories, for instance, than Davison had with his. And of course Tom Baker had seven years, which gave him quite a leverage in fine-tuning and perfecting his character. In Big Finish, though, the Fifth Doctor seems to, at the best of times - The Burning Prince, Spare Parts, Mutant Phase, Primeval and Loup-Garoux, for example, he's been written pretty much the way Robert Holmes redefined him in Caves of Androzani - dynamic, compassionate but not naive (at least not TOO naive), resourceful and all that stuff. Not to say this wasn't always his characterization - but the Big Finish audios seem to be able to get stories that allow the character to shine through, and without necessarily putting the rest of the characters or story down for his sake. I got the feeling that the Fifth wasn't needed for quite a few of his adventures, and was mostly spouting exposition endleslsy - and thats despite the fact that Peter Davison seemingly gave his all in every performance, and indeed has worked on the character considerably more than the script editors and JNT ever did.

I can't comment on the Seventh Doctor yet, as I've not listened to many audios of his other than Master (which was amazing, though), but my question is: Do the audio stories by Big Finish actually improve upon the Doctors themselves, and their companions? Moreover, to anyone who has gone through most if not all of the BF stuff, does your perception of the characters change after the said immersion? Is, for instance, the Sixth Doctor one of your faves because of those audios, or do you like him less because he's not edgy anymore (and similarly for the others)?

Finally, what did BF do right where BBC got wrong? Its widely accepted that the 80s were the weakest era of DW, after all, so... What do you think?

Bonus question: Which of the three do you think has the best collection of audio stories?
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Old December 11 2013, 04:09 PM   #2
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

Emperor-Tiberius wrote: View Post
Finally, what did BF do right where BBC got wrong?
Have drama-minded showrunners rather than one who really wanted to be doing variety/light entertainment, who was basically forced to stay in the only job his bosses would let him have.

That pretty much sums it up...
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Old December 12 2013, 03:16 AM   #3
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

Was going for something meatier, actually. But the basic gist is in what you said, definitely.
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"Spock...?" Kirk said, whispering.
"I am... most pleased to see again, Captain" Spock formally replied.
McCoy shook his head in disgust. "Oh, for crying out loud, Spock. Its been eighty years!"
"Seventy eight point four years, Doctor."

The Holy Three meet again, in The Return
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Old December 12 2013, 04:29 PM   #4
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

Emperor-Tiberius wrote: View Post
Was going for something meatier, actually. But the basic gist is in what you said, definitely.
I don't think it can be said any more succinctly!
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Old December 12 2013, 08:27 PM   #5
Emperor-Tiberius
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

That wasn't the only point and discussion I was trying to raise. Clearly.
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"I am... most pleased to see again, Captain" Spock formally replied.
McCoy shook his head in disgust. "Oh, for crying out loud, Spock. Its been eighty years!"
"Seventy eight point four years, Doctor."

The Holy Three meet again, in The Return
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Old December 15 2013, 03:36 AM   #6
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

I enjoy the BF productions, though, honestly, I've listened mostly to the 8th Doctor ones. I do have "The Sirens of Time," though, and enjoyed it.

So I can't really comment to your OP, as I've not listened to the 80s Doctors audios.

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Old December 15 2013, 01:55 PM   #7
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

All right, let's look at some of the other questions...

Do the audio stories by Big Finish actually improve upon the Doctors themselves, and their companions?
Yes, especially the Sixth Doctor and Mel, mainly by allowing the actors to play the characters as they had been sold to them in the first place. This goes back to the producer problem I originally mentioned.

For example, Bonnie Langford took the role because she'd been told she'd be playing the smart and sassy computer programmer, not a screamer. Guess what happened on TV? But in the audios, Mel gets to be the character that was originally described but never actually done on the tellybox.

Yeah, I speak from experience here, having written her in BF...

Moreover, to anyone who has gone through most if not all of the BF stuff, does your perception of the characters change after the said immersion? Is, for instance, the Sixth Doctor one of your faves because of those audios, or do you like him less because he's not edgy anymore (and similarly for the others)?
Six is definitely improved, as is Mel, and to a lesser extent Five (lesser because I was OK with him on TV already) - and of course Eight actually gets a run of stories, which is an obviously improvement on 40 minutes of screen time. Six is definitely my favourite audio Doctor.

Seven's still as bad though - the R-rolling is worse, but at least the gurning is out.
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Old December 16 2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

Yeah, I quite like Six now, the audios have done a lot to improve the character.
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Old December 16 2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Yeah, I quite like Six now, the audios have done a lot to improve the character.
Improve on perfection! Fantastic. Might have to check them out now.
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Old December 16 2013, 06:33 PM   #10
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Re: The Eighties Doctor(s): Big Finish vs. BBCTV

Professor Zoom wrote: View Post
JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Yeah, I quite like Six now, the audios have done a lot to improve the character.
Improve on perfection! Fantastic. Might have to check them out now.
Yea, I wouldn't say Six is my favorite Doctor on TV, but, I've always liked all of them. After listening the Evelyn Smythe Series with Six (Along with a few other excellent ones), he is the Doctor I have the most experience with for the Audios and is my favorite Audio Doctor.

I've listened to a few Peter Davison Audios, and although I have great affection for his Doctor on TV, I haven't really warmed to his Audio Doctor (I'm hoping I'll like him better on Audio after more exposure to his Audios, but, so far his portrayal of the Doctor just doesn't seem to suit the Audio format for me)
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