Since 1999, Big Finish Productions has been releasing original, full-cast Doctor Who stories to fans always hungry for more — first on CD and even audio cassette, and then as digital downloads. Now, the vast library of aural adventures is starting to stream its way to an entirely new audience on Spotify.There are playlists for all of Big Finish’s major “ranges”: There’s a playlist for “Main Range” releases, representing the three Doctors Big Finish started out with (Fifth, Peter Davison; Sixth, Colin Baker; and Seventh, Sylvester McCoy) — and here, you’ll find some of Big Finish’s greatest early hits, including The One Doctor, The Chimes of Midnight, Spare Parts and Jubilee (both of which were eventually adapted for television), and the heartbreaking (Doctor Who) … and the Pirates.
There are also playlists for the “Fourth Doctor Adventures” starring Tom Baker, who held out his contribution for years before relenting, and the “Eighth Doctor Adventures” starring Paul McGann, who previously only got one outing in a doomed 1996 Fox TV movie and briefly returned to the screen in spectacular fashion to fill in some important gaps in the Doctor’s history for the program’s 50th anniversary in 2013. (That TV short, The Night of the Doctor, also took pains to “legitimize” many Big Finish characters from McGann’s audio adventures into the TV canon, ending many a fan dispute.)
“Destiny of the Doctor” contains a special range of 50th anniversary stories celebrating all the Doctor’s first 11 incarnations. “The Lost Stories” feature scripts abandoned for television in Doctor Who’s first outing (1963-89) but resurrected by Big Finish; “Short Trips” collect many brief adventures, sometimes read like more traditional audiobooks by single actors from the show’s history; and then there are spinoff series such as “The Companion Chronicles,” “Bernice Summerfield,” “Dalek Empire,” “Cyberman,” “Iris Wildthyme,” “Jago & Lightfoot,” “UNIT Dominion” and others. There’s also a more generic “Doctor Who” playlist labeled “audiobooks” comprising sample first tracks and introductions from many Big Finish releases.
I stopped collecting regularly around the 50th release, Zagreus (which you can find in the Main Range playlist), so this is all rather overwhelming — but the Spotify playlists are a great way to catch up on some of what I’ve missed. (My mind boggles as I start to tally up the cost of truly catching up, though…)
Whether you’re new to Big Finish or have drifted away as I have, you can explore these samplers via the official Spotify playlists here.