Sometimes all you need is a good story.

2003 was possibly the peak year for Big Finish.

Alchemy
The belief that the world can be represented in a symbolic form, and that by manipulating those symbols, while following a strict set of rules, one can both understand and manipulate the world itself. Yes, yes, very clever, we see what you’re doing, you’re making a clever reference back to your piece on Logopolis, which was structured this way. You’re so sharp you’ll cut yourself.

Ancestor Cell, The
Subversive propaganda by the enemies of Faction Paradox

Scholars attempting to trace precisely the cataclysm that is known variously as “the Time War”, “the War in Heaven” and “the Wilderness Years” have placed the events of July 2000 at the centre of the mystery surrounding that most ambiguous of events.

Meanwhile, the people at Big Finish had been busy. They’d got the license to create new Doctor Who audio adventures, initially featuring the fifth, sixth and seventh Doctors, and had started with a range that was more-or-less straightforward pastiche of the TV show, although generally with a standard of writing that was much higher than it had been during the time those Doctors were on the TV.

Colin Baker, in particular, had been very well served by his first few stories.

Dead Romance is one of the best novels I’ve ever read, and it’s a novel that will never, ever, reach the readership it deserves.

The problem is this — Dead Romance is a novel that was originally published in the New Adventures series.

While the Eighth Doctor Adventures had taken over the Doctor Who name and character, the Virgin New Adventures series hadn’t given up. In fact, freed from being a Doctor Who series, at least in name, it had something of a late flourishing.

The stories instead followed the character of Bernice Summerfield

Over the course of our history we’ve seen that there have been a handful of creative figures who have dominated particular periods of Doctor Who. When those figures have fit with what one might call the spirit of the show — people like David Whitaker, David Maloney, Robert Holmes, or Christopher Bidmead — the results have occasionally been stunning.

Here, with Alien Bodies, we see the introduction of Lawrence Miles as the latest in the line of dominant figures in the series, the heir to Whitaker and Holmes.

“Paul McGann doesn’t count!”

There are two very different ways of looking at the character of the Doctor — two mutually-contradictory views of the character that have usually remained unspoken but which have fuelled decades of fan arguments, many of which have been proxies for one or other view.

The first is that the Doctor is not, in himself, a particularly special person.

By the early 1990s, it had become clear, despite the BBC’s occasional claims otherwise, that Doctor Who would not be returning to the TV any time soon.

While the New Adventures were an acceptable substitute for many Doctor Who fans — and in the opinion of many even an improvement on the TV show — there were those who simply weren’t satisfied by words on a page, and needed to see old character actors being menaced by improbable monsters before they could feel fully happy.

Enter BBV Productions, producers of Who Methadone.