I listened to the first episode of the Big Finish audio play Graceless today on BBC Radio 4′s streaming service. Every so often, listeners get the opportunity to experience all the good work that Big Finish does for the cost of their license fees. I’m not sure how many sales that turns into, as I’m not seeing a link on the Radio 4 page back to Big Finish. Maybe that’s not allowed when they put their shows on the air. I did find it odd that there wasn’t even an intro in the episode itself directing interested parties on where to find more. I don’t remember what happened with the 8th Doctor audios when they were aired, as part of the late and lamented Radio 7. Of course, the whole concept of radio plays is somewhat foreign to American listeners, whose only exposure to radio drama and comedy is the occasional programme on NPR. If you’re lucky enough to live in a certain region, your local public or college radio station may actually produce audio drama, which are most likely sold over the Internet, but will anyone have heard of it? The annual Mark Time Awards are held each year at CONvergence, and I’ve no doubt that the plays being honoured are quite good; I’ve never heard of a single one of them. Big Finish has done a remarkable thing in producing a catalogue of audio drama with hundreds of stories, buoyed of course by Doctor Who, but with a number of other good ranges as well. They’re overshadowed by the television series now, but are still at it, month after month, with exciting tales. Chaz is about to start listening to the 8th Doctor stories introducing Charley Pollard, and I can’t wait to hear what he thinks!
Every once in awhile, when my parents or a friend goes out of town, I gain access to a car. This means, in turn, that I have a cd player at my disposal when driving around, and I get a chance to dig back into the various Doctor Who cds I’ve bought over the years, at various conventions. Last time, I relistened to the first season of Benny audios and the first four Doctor Who stories from Big Finish. The rest of my Big Finish collection are mp3s bought during the last Big Finish sale, and I try to save those for when I’m exercising. So what to listen to in the car this time around? I had nearly forgotten that a number of years ago, I bought nearly the whole run of BBV’s audio plays, at a pretty significant discount from Bill Baggs at either Chicago TARDIS or Gallifrey One. They got put into a box and put on a shelf and pretty much forgotten. When leaving for work a few days ago and trying to figure out whether I should listen to the Nicholas Courtney Memoirs or the first Dalek Empire disk, my eyes alighted on that box of BBV audios. The time has come, I decided to listen to the Professor and Ace in their first adventure from BBV. These discs predate Big Finish by a few years, and there was no license to use the characters, which is why you never hear Sylvester correct Sophie when she calls him Professor. So far I’ve listened to Republica and am now working on Island of Lost Souls, both of which have been quite enjoyable. They should be, as they were both written by Mark Gatiss.
Chaz finished Series 6 of Doctor Who today, so he now knows the origin and outcome of The Wedding of River Song. Meanwhile, I finished listening to The Marian Conspiracy while out and about today. I figure that if I listen to the entirety of the Big Finish library while walking or bike riding, I’m also getting a fair amount of exercise at the same time. Maybe that’s part of why I haven’t been watching as much televised Doctor Who lately, is that I feel slightly guilty for sitting and watching tv instead of being active. Sitting with Chaz and watching is, of course, the exception to the above rule.
Both Chaz and I are continuing on with Big Finish audios this week. He’s sticking with his favourite Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, and listening to Shadow of the Scourge, while I just started The Marian Conspiracy. The recent sale on the first fifty titles was an awesome deal, and I can’t wait for the next sale, whatever it may be. I didn’t take part in their Dark Shadows sale, although now that Chaz has been plowing through the episodes available on Netflix, I might have wished I had. He’s quite enjoying listening to the audio plays for Doctor Who, so he might want to try some other things. I wonder what he’ll think of Benny, as Shadow of the Scourge will be his introduction to that companion. I know a number of people who found their way to Doctor Who through her solo Virgin New Adventures, whereas I met her in her first appearance in Paul Cornell’s Love & War, back when I was reading all the Doctor Who New Adventures and Missing Adventures in order. She quickly became my favourite companion, and still is way up there in ranking. So I wonder if having his first exposure to Benny as protrayed by Lisa Bowerman, if that will affect his take on the character. I’d imagine it’s similar to watching any kind of film prior to reading the book it’s based on, especially something iconic like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. I haven’t read a Benny novel in awhile, but I wonder if I’ll be hearing Lisa’s voice in my head when I do.
Not only is my boyfriend Chaz a fan of post-2005 Doctor Who, he’s really enjoying a lot of the classic series. His favourite Doctor is Sylvester McCoy, and when he saw that I had a 7th Doctor audio play on CD, he wanted to give it a listen. Today on the bus, rather than listening to his beloved collection of indie rock, he passed the time enjoying The Fires of Vulcan from Big Finish. I keep receiving texts about how much he’s enjoying it. Meanwhile, I started over with the Big Finish ranges recently, starting with the first season of Bernice Summerfield. I had a four-wheeled vehicle available to me, so I decided to make good use of the cd player, and finally listen to all the Benny cds that I’d collected from various conventions over the years. It was the first season, so they were all adaptations of books from the Virgin New Adventures, some that had originally included the Doctor, like Just War. After I completed those, still needing things to listen to, I started back at Sirens of Time, trying to give it more of a chance than I had the first time around. I think I posted about that not too long ago, that I felt it was a lot better than its reputation, particularly when it comes to the performances. I’m up to Fearmonger now, and going to attempt to make Doctor Who audios my iPod selections during workouts. The episode lengths work quite well for timing exercise, actually.
I went to lunch with a friend this weekend, meeting him at his office. When I walked in, I saw a “For Victory” Dalek poster hanging on the wall. “Nice poster,” I said. He looked back, and replied, noncommitally, “Yeah.” We went to lunch, and while sitting across from me, he noticed the Dalek t-shirt I was wearing. “OOOHHH, I get it,” he said.
The subject line, by the way, is a quote from episode one of Outland.
All right, I’ll admit it. I haven’t been keeping up with my Doctor Who viewing. Around the holidays, I started letting it slide. Interestingly, the serial that I’m on right now, Robots of Death, is the one I remember as being the first story I ever watched. Robots of Death was also namechecked in episode three of Outland, which contains a multitude of Doctor Who references. Hearing it mentioned spurred me to put it back in the DVD player and watch another episode. So, basically, I made it up to the Tom Baker stories, which should’ve been easier to maintain a pace through. After all, there are no missing stories, none are in black and white, the actors are quite engaging, and it’s Tom Baker! Maybe the problem is that I’ve seen them more frequently than I’d seen the Hartnells, Troughtons and Pertwees. I still maintain something Who in my life every day, whether it’s checking the Doctor Who news page, or listening to a Big Finish audio, or reading a comic. The actual program, though? I’m working on it.
This year was one of my longer trips to California, where I arrived early and stayed late. I was out of town for a week, with Gallifrey smack in the middle of it all. Quite the convention this year. Almost a thousand more people than it was last year, and big plans for next year. It sounds like if all comes to fruition, they’ll need to plan for another thousand attendees.
It was a good time, seeing old friends, making new ones, and even selling a few Gaylaxicon registrations. Highlights were Maureen O’Brien, William Russell, Waris Hussein, panels on Inspector Spacetime, the classic book ranges, Big Finish audios and Simon Fisher-Becker doing his monologue on the stage during closing ceremonies. It gave me goosebumps!
I’m in Los Angeles for the annual Gallifrey One convention. Every February, Doctor Who fans invade the LAX Marriott for the President’s Day weekend. This is the 23rd Gallifrey, and I’ve been attending since 2001. It’s gone through a lot of changes since it began, and even since I started coming. In 2001, it was at a much smaller hotel in Van Nuys, the Air-Tel. There’s no way it could handle the size of the convention these days, but I miss it there. Taking the Flyaway bus from the airport, eating at Beeps, the more intimate feeling of the convention overall. It was a lot smaller then, far less than a thousand. This year, there are over 2000 pre-registered attendees, with a bunch of us hardcore folks already here hanging out in the lobby. It’ll definitely be larger than last year.
I admit, I let this blog founder on the rocks for the latter half of this year. I had a lot of dreams for what I wanted to do with it, with the words of wisdom from Doctor Who, and my Doctor Who memories. I am still watching Doctor Who every day, although I’m only watching one episode most days. There have been a few days where I’ve missed it, due to traveling. Even on those days, however, I still feel that Doctor Who has been an influence in my life. And that’s where I think I’m going to go with this blog into 2012. It will be less quotes, and more of my thoughts on the show and the culture of Doctor Who, and my relationship with it. There will be more of my history with the programme, and my thoughts on news on the show as it comes out. And I’ll certainly try to be more regular with my postings. I will not guarantee a new post every day, but I won’t got months at a time without an update.