Doctor Who’s first companion goes to war in audio series

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Carole Ann Ford stars in new spin-off ‘Susan’s War’

William Russell and Carole Ann Ford
William Russell and Carole Ann Ford

Get ready for Susan’s War.

The Doctor’s first ever companion, his granddaughter Susan Foreman, takes on a new, heroic role in her very own series from Big Finish Productions, in association with BBC Studios. 

Carole Ann Ford reprises the role she first created for television back in 1963 in Doctor Who: Susan’s War, a four-part full-cast audio drama releasing April 16, 2020.   

Gallifrey needs every Time Lord to fight the Time War. A summons has been issued across the universe to its prodigals. Whatever their skills, the war effort can use them. 

Susan’s call-up papers have arrived, and, unlike her grandfather, she is willing to join her people’s battle and finally return home. 

Because Susan knows the Daleks, and she will do her duty… 

Doctor Who: Susan’s War is now available to pre-order as a collector’s edition box set from Big Finish.

Carole Ann Ford – Vidal Sassoon’s contribution to Doctor Who! (Look it up!)

Ford previously returned to the role of Susan in 1983’s anniversary special, “The Five Doctors.” She has worked with Big Finish Productions since 2003’s Doctor Who: Unbound story, “Auld Mortality.”  Claudia Grant plays the younger Susan in a Big Finish series that re-casts the original TARDIS crew, with David Bradley playing the First Doctor.

Also joining Susan in this conflict are her old friend, Ian Chesterton (played once again by original series actor William Russell) and the Doctor himself… but probably not the one she was expecting.  

Actor Carole Ann Ford said: “It’s a very complex, interesting and fascinating piece of work which goes backwards and forwards in time in a way we’ve never actually done before in Doctor Who. We’re finding all sorts of extraordinary ways to chase after time machines, and the different phases in Time Lords’ lives are being investigated.  

“Also, it’s Susan when she’s pushed on a few years. She has different attitudes to things and expects different behaviour from people that she’s with. So this is marvellous. She’s a much stronger person, and I really like that.

“Although she doesn’t sometimes give the impression that she is, Susan is actually quite brave. She’s been attacked by all sorts of weird and wonderful things, and she’s quite happy to go launching herself off into time and space.

“I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t playing a younger Susan. Otherwise she just comes leaping back. It’s difficult to eradicate. It’s difficult too for the writers as they have no experience of the older Susan being portrayed anywhere.”

Script editor Matt Fitton added: “I had an image of Susan from the special TV episode, “The Five Doctors,” in that trenchcoat which makes me think of her as a spy! So here we have her on diplomatic and espionage missions rather than military operations, to show another aspect of how special ops are going on behind-the-scenes in the Time War.”

Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, conscientious objector in the Time War …

Producer David Richardson added: “The Time War is a mighty battle on many fronts, and we are telling that huge story on many fronts too. This is Susan’s story — drafted into the war, an agent of the Time Lords and reunited with her past, firstly with Ian Chesterton, and then later with her grandfather in his Eighth incarnation.  

“How lucky was I to spend recording days with legends like Carole Ann Ford, William Russell and Paul McGann, such key figures from the classic series thrown into this compelling era of new series Doctor Who? And with them are Veklin (Beth Chalmers) and Rasmus (Damian Lynch) – two characters whose story arcs spread through a myriad of releases, and help tie together our intricate Time War range.” 

Susan’s War will comprise four stories:  

  • “Sphere of Influence” by Eddie Robson — Susan’s first mission is one of diplomacy. The Sense-Sphere could prove a valuable ally to Gallifrey. But she is not the only one who knows the Sensorites of old. Susan will have the support of an old friend. Ian Chesterton is about to rejoin the adventure he left a lifetime ago!
  • “The Uncertain Shore” by Simon Guerrier — Susan and Commander Veklin are on the trail of a spy. Under cover on a ravaged world, they find a weary population, trapped, and waiting for the inevitable. But one among them is a traitor. The Time War is coming to Florana, and Susan will face a struggle to simply survive… 
  • “Assets of War” by Lou Morgan — Cardinal Rasmus believes that Susan’s special abilities will help him assess a new weapons project. On a secret military base, creatures from the vortex are being bred for war. Gallifrey’s scientists think they can be used as assets against the Daleks. But the Orrovix are not easily tamed…
  • “The Shoreditch Intervention” by Alan Barnes — When Susan’s TARDIS is intercepted, she is given a highly classified mission. Earth, 1963 is a nexus point in the Time War, but the timelines must be negotiated carefully. Mods and rockers are not the only dangers on the streets of Shoreditch. In Susan’s past, the Daleks are waiting. But so is the Doctor!

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