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Doctor Who – Once and Future – Big Finish reveal 60th Anniversary plans

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The eight-part adventure stars multiple Doctors in a special ‘degeneration’ story. 

After various hints, Big Finish have announced a celebratory series for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary in 2023.

Their plans sound epic: Once and Future, is an eight-part series featuring all the television Doctors who work with them; the series promises to “… revisit the past and commemorate the legacy of those who came before…”

Doctor Who Once and Future logo

Here’s the synopsis for Doctor Who: Once and Future:

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…

Doctor Who – Once and Future stars Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. We’re promised that dozens more guest cast members are still to be revealed.

The eight episodes are ‘Past Lives’, ‘The Artist at the End of Time’, ‘A Genius for War’, ‘Two’s Company’, ‘The Martian Invasion of Planetoid 50’, ‘The Union’, ‘Time Lord Immemorial’ and ‘Coda: The Final Act’.

While there are no further story details yet, we know the script editors are Matt Fitton and Robert Valentine, with Ken Bentley and Helen Goldwyn directing.

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.”

It’s intriguing that this idea shares similarities with the Doctor’s current on screen predicament; The Fourteenth Doctor looks remarkably like the Tenth, with David Tennant returning to the role. He’s onboard with Catherine Tate for a trio of anniversary specials in November 2023, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role.

Multi-Doctor epics

Big Finish have form with big multi-Doctor tales. For the show’s 50th Anniversary, they celebrated the classic era with ‘The Light At the End’, as well as collaborating on the linked audiobook series ‘Destiny of the Doctor’.

Big Finish Doctor Who: The Legacy of Time cover art

More recently, in 2019, the company’s own 20th anniversary produced an impressive six-part tale, ‘The Legacy of Time’. It’s currently a bargain as part of their Whovember sale, and we highly recommend it.

David Tennant’s unexpected lockdown availability also enabled a series of classic encounters; The Tenth Doctor has now met the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Doctors, as well as four classic companions.

Once and Future

Seven hour-long episodes will be released monthly between May and October 2023, with a final coda episode landing a year later, in November 2024.

The whole series can be pre-ordered on special edition CD (+ download), or digital (download only), exclusively from the Big Finish website. The CD bundle is strictly limited to just 3,000 pressings; it includes numbered CDs, special bonus artworks and additional audio content, including music suites and extended behind-the-scenes interviews.

Alternatively, all eight stories can be pre-ordered separately on standard collector’s edition CD (+ download), or on digital download. The standard edition does not include the extras contained in the special edition, but does include behind-the-scenes features.