Big Finish has announced a mega eight-part audio drama, Once and Future, to mark the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who, reuniting an incredible seven former Doctors (so far!).
Once and Future stars the impressive line-up of Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, but we’re also promised ‘dozens more’ guest stars, yet to be revealed.
As if the trio of 60th Anniversary episodes next year wasn’t enough to look forward to, this announcement also means Doctor Who fans no longer have to wait until November 2023 for the 60th Anniversary fun to start, as the Once and Future audio series will begin in May 2023. The series of hour-long specials will be released monthly, with the first seven parts materialising between May and October 2023, and a final coda in November 2024.
Revealing the official synopsis, Big Finish confirm Once and Future is time to revisit the past and commemorate the legacy of those who came before:
The Time War. The Doctor has been injured and brought to a Time Lord field hospital. His body glows with energy, but this is no regeneration into a future form –instead, the Doctor’s past faces begin to appear as he flits haphazardly between incarnations…
Staggering to his TARDIS, the Doctor sets out to solve the mystery of his ‘degeneration’. Who has done this to him? How? And why? From the Earth to the stars, across an array of familiar times and places, he follows clues to retrace his steps, encountering old friends and enemies along the way. Tumbling through his lives, the Doctor must stop his degeneration before he loses himself completely…
Of course, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann and David Tennant all reunited already this year for ‘The Power of The Doctor’, but it will be the first time Christopher Eccleston has joined them, or returned to the Whoniverse since his audio series The Ninth Doctor Adventures launched in 2021. It’s also Tom Baker’s first return to Doctor Who since he appeared in a rewritten story, ‘Return of the Cybermen’, for the Big Finish series Doctor Who Lost Stories last year.
Once and Future producer David Richardson said: ‘An astonishing array of talent has come aboard to be a part of this epic eight-hour anniversary story. It’s a huge Doctor Who party and a massive celebration that has been years in the making.’
All eight episodes are now available to pre-order on the Big Finish website, either as a digital download or as one of 3,000 special edition CDs. The CD bundle includes bonus artworks and additional audio content, including music suites and behind-the-scenes interviews.
Unsurprisingly, it’s a digital-first release, so the CD mailout will be delayed, but fans who buy the CD will also receive a digital copy that will be available for download on each release date.
Looking back at previous multi-Doctor stories, it’s safe to say fans prefer them to have a bit of a twist, like the introduction of the War Doctor in ‘The Day of the Doctor’, rather than just being a nostalgia romp. It’ll be interesting to see what Once and Future delivers on this front – we suspect this is just the beginning of the anniversary announcements.
Once and Future begins on Big Finish in May 2023