The end of the December Bonus

December Special MashupBig Finish has conformed on their forums that there will be no more main range subscriber December specials and that last year’s Trial of the Valeyard marks the end of an era. As was suspected when the announcement of new pricing was made this is in part funded by withdrawing the bonus release.


So a series of subscribers specials than began and ended with the Sixth Doctor is no more and it is a pity that the original pricing announcement hadn’t made this clearer. Subscribers still get a hefty discount and the 12 story subscriptions also get a free extra title.

As to the stories some had been excellent some maybe less so. It is also the case that there are many more special releases throughout the year than there were when Real Time was released. I am pleased with the stories I have heard but I can accept that they are no longer necessary. December may be a tiny bit less special but I think we will all cope;-)


6 thoughts on “The end of the December Bonus

  1. Loved The Maltese Falcon. An Earthly Child was another excellent release. And Return to the Web Planet was great – even though I don’t enjoy The Web Planet! But ‘event’ releases like The N Doctors/Companions started to feel a bit desperate & left me cold. Overall, more misses than hits in this series, as far as I’m concerned. Also, as you say, it’s no longer the place where BF do something a bit different, a special (I think deciding not to make Voyage to Venus the subscriber bonus killed that, and now we’re getting a plethora of bigger specials in the form of box sets etc. which is great) So I’m happy to take my £10 instead and call it a day.

    I agree with you the announcement should have made it clearer. I’ve huge respect for Big Finish and the people that run it, but deciding not to ‘complicate’ that announcement with the facts made it seem like spinning the headline was more important to them than maintaining trust. I suspect they have learned from that, they’ve certainly shown previously that they listen to customer feedback.

    And with the release of The Highest Science scheduled for December (assuming the mention of ‘October’ in the announcement is an error) that month is still going to feel quite special to me 🙂


    • Simon,

      You make a good point about the variability of the December bonus. I did really like Trial of the Valeyard but as you say the previous year Voyage to Venus got moved out leaving a perfectly fine but not special story to fill the space.

      I haven’t actually heard all the earlier ones though Earthly Child is again marvellous. I’m thinking of writing a post about the future of the main range itself (which I don’t think would ever go away) but it might stir some opinions!

      Thanks for the comments!


      • I’ll look forward to your post on the main range – I agree it won’t go away, but I think it’s changed quite a lot – not just the obvious such as the trilogies (and before that the less than popular 3+1s – though I liked them – and the longer lived 4x1s). It seems to me there used to be more variety, more experimentation. More duds, if I’m honest, but many distinctive and innovative releases like Creatures of Beauty, Flip Flop or Scherzo as well as the so-called “side steps” such as Holy Terror or Shadow of the Scourge. I think some of that experimentation is happening in the special releases and box sets now, which is fine, but the main range has taken on a new character as a result.


      • I may produce a post on this in the next week (day job permitting). I wonder how much we subscribe to myths about the older releases; I didn’t subscribe at the time and everyone on the forums suggests that there was a dip in form sometime after Zagreus. There is also the change from Gary R to Nick which had consequences as has David R arriving.

        I agree experiments seem to be to one side of the main range and would suggest that the Companion Chronicles has seen a few of these – Scorchies for example.

        I will gather my thoughts and pen something once they have had time to ferment


      • Interesting that you use the word myths – I’m certainly conscious of the danger of romanticising ‘the old days’ and the fact that it’s easy to look back ignore the clunkers among the classics. By definition, every release cannot be a standout release, and A Death in the Family wasn’t ‘the old days’ by any stretch.

        I don’t know if the ‘dip’ in quality is a fair judgement. Maybe a plateau, where expectations had continued to grow…? I intend to listen again soon to most of the releases from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s with exactly that question in mind, but I’m already conscious that many of my favourite releases (The Wormery, Arrangements for War, The Harvest, Faith Stealer, Other Lives, Time Works, The Kingmaker and Red) emerged from that era. Not all of them became favourites on first listen, so maybe when I re-evaluate others I’ll find more to like…?

        I have a strong sense that Gary R was determined not to look back, and to keep things fresh, while David R has a nostalgic affection – and keen ear – for recreating eras past. I don’t know if that’s fair or not – but if it is it has produced both successes (The Avengers) and turkeys (The Lost Stories – Series 1) in my opinion.

        I haven’t listened to many Companion Chronicles as I’ve not been impressed by the prose of some of my favourite BF dramatists. Of those I’ve listened to, Solitaire is the one I’ve enjoyed most – the one that is a pure drama. But is Scorchies an experiment, or does it just capitalise on what And The Pirates did so well? I haven’t listened to it, but that’s what I’d assumed…


      • More interesting points – I would say Scorchies is very fresh and in Pirates the singing was almost a red herring whereas in Scorchies it is more fundamental to the story. I think the Lost Stories suffers (when it suffers) from being trapped with the material it is given and I would be happy to agree that (for what I have heard) it is more miss than hit.

        Meanwhile I am working through the 50s for the first time and building my opinion on the Divergent Universe;-)


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