A new era is dawning for Big Finish – or rather, an old one is making its welcome return… because The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five will feature the Brigadier, Liz Shaw, and Sergeant Benton!
Tim Treloar and Katy Manning have been playing the Third Doctor and Jo Grant respectively for the audio company for a number of years now, but in next year’s boxset, Jon Culshaw, Daisy Ashford, and John Levene will be joining their ranks!
It’s always questionable territory, recasting classic companions, but we’re especially pleased to see the addition of Daisy Ashford, the daughter of the original Liz Shaw actress, Caroline John (who played the role on TV and returned to the role for several Companion Chronicles at Big Finish). Ashford says:
“I’m really excited and honoured to have been asked to play Liz, and to step into my Mum’s brilliant shoes!”
Jon Culshaw will take on the role of UNIT’s Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, a character appearing under licence from the Haisman Literary Estate.
Senior producer, David Richardson and executive producer, Nick Briggs finally remembered a conversation they’d had with Jon, when he told them the thing he’d most like to do for Big Finish would be to play the Brigadier. Briggs explains:
“After checking his rendition of the character in the BBC Audiobook of The Five Doctors, we just gave him the job! It was a very tricky thing casting someone to do justice to Nicholas Courtney’s brilliant, original performance. Jon has done this with honour and love for what the splendid Mr Courtney did all those years ago.”
The Haisman Estate adds:
“We’re thrilled at the choice Big Finish have made. We’ve always admired Culshaw’s voice work, and in particular enjoyed his rendition of the Brigadier in The Five Doctors audiobook. We look forward to hearing the Brigadier returning to Big Finish in such a substantial way!”
And we can’t forget Sergeant Benton, played by the wonderful John Levene. John first played the part of Benton (who was then a corporal) in the Second Doctor serial, The Invasion. He returned to become a regular with Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee (also appearing with later with Tom Baker), and has previously reprised the role twice for Big Finish.
Tim Treloar has portrayed the Third Doctor on audio since 2015; David Richardson, producer of The Third Doctor Adventures, said:
“It’s been so rewarding to see how Doctor Who fans have embraced these new Third Doctor stories. We knew Tim’s performance (and it is a performance, not a mere impersonation) as the Third Doctor was extraordinary – and it’s clear that listeners feel the same way too. The two adventures in The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five will require the Third Doctor, all his companions AND the full might of UNIT to save planet Earth.”
In the first story of Volume Five, Primords (from Inferno) interrupt the Doctor and Liz Shaw’s reunion, and become one of the fiercest tests of UNIT and the Doctor to date. And in the second, ‘ghostly’ adventure, the population of a village are apparently being spirited away in the oddest of manners.
Katy Manning adds:
“It was a joy working with Jon Culshaw, and working with Tim has been so much fun, watching him become the Doctor more and more. But Jon came in and in an instant (and I won’t tell him how!) caught the Brigadier immediately!”
The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five will be released in May 2019, available for pre-order now at £25 on CD and £20 on download.