At the end of another productive year for the audio wizards at Big Finish, we have picked out ten of the best new titles from the past 12 months.
We’ll be counting down our highlights from the main Doctor Who ranges in a separate list, but 2016 was a spectacular year for Big Finish’s other properties and we would highly recommend checking out all of these releases if you have not already – some from the worlds of Doctor Who, and some from outside…
Bubbling under our Top 10 were a host of other excellent releases, including a clutch of Torchwood stories, like PC Andy’s Ghost Mission and the three-parter Torchwood: Outbreak which reunited the team of Jack, Ianto and Gwen as well as Mark Gatiss’ turn as Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
10. ‘UNIT: Silenced’
Picking up where the Doctor left them, the memory manipulators were given a new lease of life on audio, up against Kate Stewart’s finest. Offering some rather wonderful satire on recent events, The Silence found themselves in the election game…
9. ‘Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles – Volume 12’
Concluding The Liberator Chronicles, Avon was losing his mind in a labyrinth of puzzles, Tarrant was on a mission and trying to escape a doomed world, while Villa confronted family issues, with David Warner guest starring.
8. ‘Torchwood: Moving Target’
Bringing back Indira Varma as Susie Costello proved a masterstroke, as we explored the morally dubious and ill-fated Torchwood operative before her first appearance on screen in ‘Everything Changes’.
7. ‘The Torchwood Archive’
With an expansive cast list and a cleverly mounted jigsaw of a production, this Tenth Anniversary Special managed to celebrate all eras of Torchwood, as well as provide an engaging story which was by turns shocking, funny, clever and a little bit cheeky
6. ‘The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield: Volume Three – The Unbound Universe’
Different universe, same old problems? David Warner’s Unbound Doctor came knocking for Bernice, and whisked her off for a series of adventures in his own ailing reality. A fantastical forest, singing nuns and a shop at the end of the universe were in store, as well as Sam Kisgart’s unscrupulous Master.
5. ‘Survivors: Season 4’
Winding back to the outbreak of the Death to introduce Evelyn Piper (Zoë Tapper), the Survivors became involved in the fate of a community under the spell of charismatic leader Theo, played by Ramon Tikkaram as we explored dark secrets and a clash of cultures.
4. ‘Dorian Gray: Season 5’
This final box set chronicled the end of Alexander Vlahos’ time as Oscar Wilde’s famous anti-hero, bringing back old friends with a finale which was artistic, clever and moving.
3. ‘Survivors: Season 5’
A new strain of the disease which devastated humanity caused panic and the Survivors found themselves on a hunt for an “Angel of Death”, a carrier who was spreading the contagion. This was terrifically bleak drama, backed by immersive sound design, which continued to both challenge and shock.
2. ‘The Prisoner: Volume 1’
Back in January, Nicholas Briggs did the previously unthinkable and re-imagined the classic television series, casting Mark Elstob in the role of Number 6.
Channelling the essence of the original, as well as offering his own spin, guest stars such as Celia Imrie, Ramon Tikkaram and Michael Cochrane fill the Number 2 spot as three television episodes were adapted alongside a new script.
In an hour long play, writer Joseph Lidster managed to make sense of Ianto and his evolution from repressed coffee boy (with a Cyber-girlfriend in the basement) to Jack Harkness’ paramour as, deftly threading its way through the events of series one, we saw Ianto react and adapt to the horrors of his job at Torchwood.
Reuniting Gareth David Lloyd and John Barrowman, for us this was the high point in an incredibly strong year of Torchwood releases.
What was your favourite audio release from Big Finish in 2016? Let us know below…