Big Finish Audio, which produces Doctor Who audio dramas, has recently announced plans to adapt the “lost” season of the classic science fiction television series for release on CD. The stories were originally scripted in 1985 to be produced and aired the folowing year for the TV program’s twenty-third season, but were shelved after then-BBC One Controller Michael Grade put the show on an eighteen-month hiatus. When Doctor Who returned in late 1986, Season Twenty-three was comprised of the fourteen episode epic “The Trial of a Time Lord.”
Colin Baker, who played the Doctor’s sixth incarnation from 1984-86, will reprise his role as the bloved Time Lord while Nicola Bryant returns as Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown. Big Finish plans to release the Lost Season, which includes the original Season Twenty-Three stories, plus a couple of bonus adventures, beginning in November of this year.
Here is a rundown of the stories that have been confirmed for production of the Lost Season:
1) The Nightmare Fair: This adventure was originally scripted by the late Graham Williams, a former DW producer, and has now been adapted for audio by John Ainsworth. This story involves the return of the title villain from a 1966 DW TV serial called The Celestial Toymaker. The original Toymaker, actor Michael Gough, was slated to reprise the role in this story. Gough is now in his mid-90’s and retired from acting, David Bailie will step in as the Toymaker. Audio series producer David Richardson told Big Finish’s website “We felt that David had just the right mix of cold authority and charismatic presence for such an iconic role.”
2) Mission to Magnus: This story was written by Phillip Martin, who scripted Season 22’s Vengeance on Varos. Nabil Shaban reprises his role as Vengeance villain Sil (Shaban also played Sil in the “Mindwarp” segment of The Trial of a Time Lord). Classic 60’s DW aliens the Ice Warriors also turn up in this story set on planet called Magnus, whose female rulers are seeking time travel technology from the Time Lords.
3) Leviathan: Originally written by screenwriter Brian Finch, this adventure was adapted for audio by his son, novelist and screenwriter Paul Finch. In this story, the Doctor and Peri arrive in a medieval village where they find the people being terrorized by a local baron. David Richardson adds, “A bonus Lost Story, and one we’d not heard of before. After we first announced the series, Paul Finch – a novelist and scriptwriter – got in touch via DWM (Doctor Who Magazine) to tell us about his father’s script, which was commissioned and written for Season 22… Paul sent me the script, I read it, and commissioned an adaptation right away.”
4) The Hollows of Time: This story was scripted by Christopher H. Bidmead, a former DW script editor. Hollows is set in a town called Hollowdean, and involves the return of an intelligent insectoid species called Tractators, which had been introduced in the 1984 adventure Frontios. Richardson describes Hollows as “a very intriguing story,” with “a very unusual structure.”
5) (To Be Announced): Details of this story (including the title) are not yet available. “The one story we can’t quite announce yet,” Richardson states on Big Finish.com, “as we’re in the process of negotiating the delivery date on the script.”
6) Point of Entry: This story, set in sixteenth century England, originated with writer Barbara Clegg, who scripted the 1983 serial Enlightenment during Peter Davison’s run as the Doctor. Richardson brought Marc Platt, who had written the 1989 story Ghost Light, in to complete the script, believing that Platt’s sense of imagination made a great match for Clegg’s.
7) Paradise 5: The Doctor and Peri arrive on Paradise 5, a holiday planet where they investigate a serious of unexplained disappearaces. P.J. Hammond had originally written this story to be produced as part of Season Twenty-Four, although he only got as far as a detailed storyline and a script for the first episode of the serial. Richardson recently contacted Hammond, who sent his materials to the Big Finish producer. Richardson was so intrigued with the story he brought in Andy Lane, one of his favorite writers, to complete the script.
8) The Space Whale: This is a story which the Doctor Who production staff had tried to produce for years, but without any success. This adventure was originally written for the Fourth Doctor, then the Fifth and then the Sixth. Richardson met with writer Pat Mills and invited him to finish the script. The plot involves a species called the Ghaleen, the only creatures capable of surviving in the vacuum of space. The Doctor finds that the Ghaleen are threatened with extinction by a factory space ship.