Stephen Noonan takes over First Doctor voice work for Big Finish audio adventures

Big Finish Productions’ range of First Doctor Adventures is entering a new era, with a brand-new actor stepping into the TARDIS for the first time in today’s new audio drama release.

Since 1963, the Doctor has been portrayed by many people on stage and screen, including William Hartnell, who originated the role on television. Several actors have since portrayed the First Doctor – including, most recently, David Bradley (both on TV and in six box sets of full cast audio dramas at Big Finish).

Now, character actor and former Royal Shakespeare Company member Stephen Noonan is joining their number, with two exciting new full-cast audio dramas – entitled The Outlaws and The Miniaturist – marking his debut as the First Doctor at Big Finish in April 2022.

This brand-new box set in Doctor Who — The First Doctor Adventures range, announced in February, is now available on collector’s edition CD with download or digital download only from www.bigfinish.com.

After leaving Steven Taylor on the planet of the Savages, a new era of adventures begins for the First Doctor and Dodo Chaplet. From swashbuckling adventure in the 13th century to unsettling happenings in the depths of a 21st-century mine, the Doctor and Dodo experience new dimensions and meet an old adversary… 

The First Doctor Adventures: The Outlaws

Details of the two exciting adventures in this box set are as follows:

The Outlaws by Lizbeth Myles — Landing in 13th-century Lincoln, the Doctor and Dodo are soon caught up in the battle between Sheriff Nicholaa de la Haye and outlaw gangs in the nearby forest. King John requires funds for his conflict with France, and Nicholaa is determined to provide it, whatever the efforts of William of Berkshire and his gang of wolves’ heads… After taking refuge in Lincoln Castle, the Doctor and Dodo are separated. The Doctor is detained at the pleasure of the Sheriff, while Dodo indulges her adventurous spirit and plays forest outlaw with William’s gang. But William is not acting alone. The outlaws’ true leader knows the Doctor and has a plan for revenge. A man with a passion for meddling. A man who wears a monk’s habit…  
 
The Miniaturist by Lizzie Hopley — Coulton Salt Mine: a rare environment for geological exploration on the North Yorkshire coast. The Doctor is fascinated by the experiments of Professor Medra on the Zechstein seabed, but Dodo is distracted. Didn’t her family settle in this part of Yorkshire? As the Doctor delves deeper into the work of Professor Medra, Dodo is helped by security guard Mick Huff, who is concerned about the strange happenings in recent weeks. Who are the children that keep appearing around the mine workings? Why are local landmarks vanishing? And how can the bedrock of a geological ‘quiet place’ be screaming? 

Stephen Noonan and Lauren Cornelius (c) Tony Whitmore
Stephen Noonan and Lauren Cornelius (c) Tony Whitmore

Producer Mark Wright said: “We’ve been working away behind the scenes for months, and I’m thrilled to finally reveal our brilliant new First Doctor, Stephen Noonan. His preparation for playing the Doctor has been immersive and awe-inspiring. Stephen’s performance is uncanny, going to great lengths to honor the memory of William Hartnell while bringing his own interpretation.

“Here we are at the start of a new era of adventures for the First Doctor and we’re pairing him with Dodo Chaplet  which hasn’t really been done before on audio. I was keen to do adventures that were both traditional and also slightly out there. This first volume shows off our TARDIS team to the best of their abilities.” 

Stephen Noon The First Doctor Big Finish Productions
Stephen Noonan

Director Nicholas Briggs added: “This is the beginning of a new era for the First Doctor with Big Finish. Stephen’s performance is, in my view, breath-taking and beautiful, authentic yet somehow brand-new, delivering deliciously Hartnell-esque belligerence, humour and charm in this box set, and offering up all sorts of exciting prospects for future adventures. It’s not simply an impersonation, it’s a full and rounded, detailed performance that I can’t wait for listeners to be thrilled by.

“Stephen Noonan has done some staggeringly detailed work to recapture the authenticity and spirit of the original Doctor, William Hartnell, whose success in the role is one of the main reasons the show is still with us today. “(He) is a really brilliant actor. There is such a phenomenal attention to detail in his work. Not only has he created a performance that feels uncannily like William Hartnell, he’s also brought to it the sense of a very real and unique energy.” 

Stephen Noonan said: “When Nicholas Briggs emailed to calmly offer me the role after I had auditioned, my initial reaction was one of extreme trepidation, considering it to be something of a sacred undertaking.

“I’m excited and daunted in equal measure to be following in the footsteps of William Hartnell. I hope we’ve done the great man justice and that you enjoy the new adventures to come.

“Having completed these two stories and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the preparation and the recording, it would be lovely to have another go and perhaps improve. It’s just been an unalloyed joy from start to finish.”

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