Fourth Doctor comic strips adapted for 2019 audio with Tom Baker

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Tom Baker and Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker and Nicholas Briggs (Images courtesy Big Finish Productions)

As part of celebrating 20 years of Doctor Who audio adventures, Big Finish Productions is planning two new recordings adapted from the pages of Doctor Who Magazine’s Fourth Doctor comic strips.

Originally by Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons, when the publication was known as Doctor Who Weekly, “The Iron Legion” and “The Star Beast” are being adapted for audio by Alan Barnes, and will be released as part of the 5-disc CD box set or download Doctor Who: The Comic Strip Adaptations in March 2019.

In these two adventures, we find the Fourth Doctor travelling with his famed elongated technicolour scarf for company. He’ll encounter the Iron Legion, an army of robotic Roman legionnaires, and in Doctor Who and the Star Beast, the Fourth Doctor encounters one of the deadliest and most adorable villains ever – Beep the Meep!

“These Fourth Doctor comic strip adaptations have a whole different feel to them,” said Nicholas Briggs, director of the Fourth Doctor audio adventures, in a news release. It’s like they’re from a parallel universe vision of Doctor Who. Tom Baker spotted it straight away, emailing me the moment he’d read The Iron Legion, commenting that this was ‘a bit DIFFERENT’ – actually typing ‘different’ in capitals! But he rose manfully to the challenge and entered into the spirit of it all wonderfully. And that spirit is that they are, essentially, wackier.

“There’s a feeling of ‘we could do anything because there are no budget restrictions’ in the original comic strips, and our adaptor, Alan Barnes, has captured this perfectly. Crazy characters, extravagant action sequences. And Alistair Lock has done a superb job with his sound design and music.

“The Star Beast has a slightly different feel. The alien monster craziness is contrasted sharply with a dash of kitchen sink drama and a touch of Grange Hill, which predated the TV series exploring more domestic settings. It’s interesting how the brilliant comics writer of these strips, Pat Mills, kind of anticipated this. Alan has a great love for Pat’s work, and he was absolutely the right fit to adapt these beautiful, bonkers adventures of an extra-eccentric Fourth Doctor.”

Below are some examples of the original Doctor Who Weekly Mills and Gibbons comic strips:

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