A Third Doctor and U.N.I.T. reunion is coming from Big Finish

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Daisy Ashford, Tim Treloar, Jon Culshaw and Katy Manning
Daisy Ashford, Tim Treloar, Jon Culshaw and Katy Manning (Courtesy Big Finish Productions)

The Brigadier, Benton and Liz Shaw return next year when Big Finish launches a new set of adventures with the Third Doctor and Jo Grant.

The Third Doctor, played on TV’s Doctor Who in the early 1970s by the late Jon Pertwee, returns courtesy of performer Tim Treloar, who joins the incomparable Katy Manning as his assistant Jo in “The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five.”

The new audio box set from Big Finish Productions, made in association with BBC Studios, sees them join forces with several friends who are returning for more Doctor Who adventures in this iconic science-fiction franchise.

Jon Culshaw takes on the role of UNIT commanding officer Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, a character appearing under licence from the Haisman Literary Estate who was played on TV by the late Nicholas Courtney.

After an extensive casting process, senior producer David Richardson and executive producer Nick Briggs said they finally remembered a conversation they’d had with Culshaw, when he told them the thing he’d most like to do for Big Finish would be to play the Brigadier.

“After checking his rendition of the character in the BBC Audiobook of The Five Doctors, we just gave him the job!” Briggs explained. ‘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.’

Tim Treloar, Jon Culshaw, Katy Manning and John Levene
Tim Treloar, Jon Culshaw, Katy Manning and John Levene (Courtesy Big Finish Productions)

The Haisman Estate said of bringing back the Brigadier for the Third Doctor Adventures” “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!”

Returning alongside the Brigadier is Liz Shaw, the first companion of the Third Doctor. She will be portrayed by 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 before her passing).

Returning to play U.N.I.T. Sergeant Benton is John Levene. John first played the part of Benton (who was then a corporal) in the Second Doctor TV adventure “The Invasion.” He returned to become a regular with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee (also appearing with later with Tom Baker), and has previously reprised Benton twice for Big Finish.

Tim Treloar, who has portrayed the Third Doctor on audio since 2015, has been at the forefront of a new era of ’70s-style audio Who treats.

“It’s been so rewarding to see how Doctor Who fans have embraced these new Third Doctor stories,” says David Richardson, producer of “The Third Doctor Adventures.”

“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 U.N.I.T. to save planet Earth:

  • “Primord” by John Dorney
  • “The Scream of Ghosts” by Guy Adams

The Primords (from the Doctor Who TV story “Inferno”) interrupt the Doctor and Liz Shaw’s reunion, and become one of the fiercest tests of U.N.I.T. 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 (who plays Jo Grant) told Big Finish during recording what it was like to bring back these beloved characters: “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!”

Daisy Ashford said of coming to the Big Finish fold to play Liz Shaw: “I’m really excited and honored to have been asked to play Liz, and to step into my Mum’s brilliant shoes!”

“Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five” will be released in May 2019.

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Jayson Peters

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