Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor. seated and holding a cricket bat

Doctor Who: Goth Opera – Big Finish to adapt a 5th Doctor vampire novel

Posted Filed under

From acclaimed writer Paul Cornell, Goth Opera sees The Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa battling bloodsuckers in 1990’s Manchester. 

After a long gap, Doctor Who audio producers Big Finish are back in the novel adaptations business.

Between 2012 and 2016, the company dramatized various Doctor Who books, many by authors subsequently wrote for the Doctor onscreen. The range included stories from Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts.

Now, after a long break, there’s new adaptation arriving this July. Hailing from Virgin’s Missing Adventures range, Goth Opera, Paul Cornell’s 90’s vampire tale, becomes a three-part audio drama.

Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) & Tegan (Janet Fielding)

The tale features the Fifth Doctor, travelling with companions Nyssa and Tegan, and takes place in both Tasmania and Manchester.

Here’s the synopsis for Goth Opera:

Manchester, 1993.The Time Lady Ruath, an old friend of the Doctor’s, arrives on the planet to inform Earth’s vampires that the arrival of their legendary messiah is imminent. His rising will herald an age of endless night where the undead reign supreme. All that is needed is the blood of a Time Lord.

In Tasmania, the Doctor, Tegan, and Nyssa are enjoying the sun and plenty of cricket. When they are attacked by vampires, they escape unscathed, except for Nyssa who suffers two small puncture wounds to her neck. Compelled by her attacker to remain silent, she can tell no-one what she’s turning into.

Why is Ruath so determined to see the descendants of the Great Vampire rise to power? If only the Doctor knew the truth, she’s certain he would turn to her side, and help to secure the future of Vampire kind, no matter how much humanity must suffer.

Sarah Sutton, Peter Davison & Janet Fielding
Sarah Sutton, Peter Davison, Janet Fielding (c) Big Finish

Naturally, Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding all reprise their roles. Joining them for the three-part audio drama are Natalie Gumede (Jekyll and Hyde) and Micah Balfour (The Gold). Plus, Richard Armitage reprises his role as Rassilon to read the story’s prologue.

Goth Opera has been adapted by writer Lizbeth Myles. The script editor is Scott Handcock and the producer/director is David O’Mahony.

David O’Mahony said:

“Goth Opera has got everything: vampires, superpowers, blood, guts, and gore, and of course Peter Davison’s Doctor along with Tegan and Nyssa. It’s also set in and around Manchester, which gave us a lovely opportunity to bring in young and exciting northern actors.

“Lizbeth Myles has brilliantly adapted Paul Cornell’s novel and, with an incredible voice cast –including the wonderful Richard Armitage giving us a Rassilon prologue – it’s a vampiric romp through the Whoniverse not to be missed!”

You can pre order Doctor Who – The Novel Adaptations: Goth Opera as a 3-disc collector’s edition box set, or on digital download only, from Big Finish now.

Blood Harvest?

It will be interesting to see if the Terrance Dicks penned Blood Harvest is adapted too. Although it can be read separately, and features the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Bernice, Goth Opera is sequel to the events of that tale.