Paul McGann plays the Eighth Doctor regeneration who, sadly, only appeared in one movie – and not a very good one at that. In recent Doctor Who history fans were reunited with the Eighth Doctor in the internet short Night of the Doctor where we were privy to the moments prior to his reincarnation into the War Doctor (played by John Hurt).
Big Finish is a production company based in Britain that produces top quality Doctor Who audio dramas and they have been the heralds of the greatest Eighth Doctor adventures told and yet to be told (it was announced earlier this year that the Eighth Doctor would share in an adventure with River Song!).
There are some truly amazing stories being told about the Eighth Doctor by Big Finish and Major Spoilers present you with the Top 5 Eighth Doctor Audio Dramas!
#5. Worldwide Web
Written by: Eddie Robson
Released: October 2009
Summary: In 2015, a doomsday cult prophesies the coming of a rebel sun.
Why it’s Awesome: The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann), and Lucie (Sheridan Smith), probably have more bad adventures than good, but the Worldwide Web from the third season is definitely one of their best.
It is set in 2015, so at the date of this list’s construction there’s a lot of charm to the predictive storytelling about our present. There is no heavy relation on old villains (something that these audio adventures too often fall into), but rather several clever mentions of the number Eight that are certainly meta although fun nonetheless.
Worldwide Web pits the Eighth Doctor and Lucie against truly alien foes and plays into one of the aspects of Doctor Who tales that is the most interesting – they don’t have to focus around humans and the Earth, they can take us to the stars.
Plus, Lucie gets a chance to hold her own in a scene that exemplifies why the Doctor both trusts and values her.
#4. Blood of the Daleks
Written by: Steve Lyons
Released: January 2007
Summary: To the Doctor’s puzzlement and consternation, Lucie Miller appears in the TARDIS; he attempts to return her to the North of England in 2006, but finds that a temporal shield prevents him from landing there. Instead, the two find themselves on the human colony world Red Rocket Rising, which has suffered an asteroid strike and the consequent impact winter. The survivors include the colony’s acting president, Eileen Klint, disgraced scientist Asha Gryvern and the apparently paranoid Tom Cardwell. Klint receives a message from a Dalek fleet offering rescue to the colony’s citizens, and accepts the offer, believing the Daleks to be benevolent. Lucie reveals that the Time Lords have placed her in the Doctor’s care because of something she’d seen, although she doesn’t know what it is. Asha, apparently the assistant to one Professor Martez, is in reality Martez himself, who had combined dead and living humans with technology salvaged from a crashed Dalek ship in an effort to ensure survival; Martez has created a new race of Daleks. When the true Daleks land, they welcome the survivors onto their ship, and demand that Klint turn the Doctor over to them. Meanwhile Martez orders his Daleks to open fire on the Doctor.
Why it’s Awesome: This is a two-parter, but for the purpose of this list we are going to focus on Blood of the Daleks part 1. Listeners are introduced to a new companion named Lucie Miller (voiced by Sheridan Smith), making this episode not only a strong jumping on point for new fans, but inherently important to the overall Doctor Who canon.
Lucie Miller is mouthy and she can really hold her own against the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann). Her challenging-to-the-point-of-being-harsh personality creates a compelling new paradigm against McGann’s Doctor who, for all his repeated rushing into action, is a proper gentleman.
Blood of the Daleks obviously feature some of the most iconic villains in the Doctor Who pantheon (it’s right there in the title), and the narrative threat forces the Eighth Doctor and Lucie to settle into a working relationship that will carry them forward through the rest of her stories.
#3. The Natural History of Fear
Written by: Jim Mortimore
Released: February 2004
Summary: In Light City, a prole can remember details from the Information which have not yet been shown, about the three characters the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz, and is brought before the Editor for daring to ask Questions, a terrible Thought Crime.
Why it’s Awesome: Do you like David Lynch? And twisting plots? And parallel universes? Then The Natural History of Fear is for you! C’rizz (played by Conrad Westmaas), is an alien from a parallel universe, so the Doctor Who audio equivalent of a psychedelic trip was inevitable with him joining both the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann), and Charley (Indie Fisher), on their travels in the TARDIS.
The plot in and of itself is difficult to describe with many aspects existing then not existing then perhaps they really did exist? Not only does The Natural History of Fear Itself push the limits of what Doctor Who can do by way of storytelling (in a similar vein to Blink, if you will), it also pushes the limits of auditory storytelling and is a credit to the entire creative team.
#2. The Chimes of Midnight
Written by: Robert Shearman
Released: February 2002
Summary: An Edwardian home, Christmas 1906. Or is it? The Doctor and Charley are caught in a mysterious house outside of time and when the grandfather clock strikes, someone will get murdered. Can the Doctor unmask the murderer? Or is something far more sinister at work?
Why it’s Awesome: This is the timey wimey-iest of all the Eighth Doctor adventures! It is one part Dickensian Christmas tale, one part Charley Pollard (Indie Fisher), biography and one part time travel mystery.
The Chimes of Midnight is probably the episode that listeners will have to engage with the most if they are to keep track of the twists and turns along the way. Every time the clock strikes and another character dies the entire environment and timeline are reset and only the Doctor and his Companion retain the details of previous timelines – along with the audience members.
This adventure embodies Doctor Who as a franchise: inherently English, time travel, a sold mystery. Well worth a listen to.
#1. Storm Warning
Written by: Alan Barnes
Released: January 2001
Summary: October, 1930. His Majesty’s Airship, the R101, sets off on her maiden voyage to the farthest-flung reaches of the British Empire, carrying the brightest lights of the Imperial fleet. Carrying the hopes and dreams of a breathless nation.
Not to mention a ruthless spy with a top-secret mission, a mysterious passenger who appears nowhere on the crew list, a would-be adventuress destined for the Singapore Hilton… and a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.
There’s a storm coming. There’s something unspeakable — something with wings, crawling across the stern. Thousands of feet high in the blackening sky, the crew of the R101 brace themselves. When the storm breaks, their lives won’t be all that’s at stake…
The future of the galaxy will be hanging by a thread.
Why It’s Awesome: This the Eighth Doctor’s audio drama debut and it also introduces Charley – a new companion! Played by India Fisher, Charley steps up immediately as an extremely compelling character – she is an adventuress much like Irene Adler, although with a spunkier, happier attitude – and a great foil for McGann’s Doctor.
Storm Warning draws heavily from real life events, but even if the listener knows how the story ends the alien characters introduced and the Eighth Doctor’s rush to action lends a high stakes feel to the episode.
This edit also gets a lot of credit for being the first team-up of the Eighth Doctor and Charley because they fall into the roles of traveler/companion with such grace and energy that listeners cannot help by fall in love with them.
What are some of your favourite Eighth Doctor audio dramas? Let us know in the comments below!