Listening to the January 2019 First Doctor Adventures release, a thought struck me: what if Big Finish remade Unearthly Child? Is it a mad idea? Why would you want to make it? Could you even get the permissions? Stay with me and I’ll walk you through my thinking…
The First Doctor team @ Big Finish
The current Big Finish First Doctor team are David Bradley as the Doctor, Claudia Grant as Susan, Julian Glover as Ian Chesterton and Jemma Powell as Barbara Wright. This is the cast as shown in An Adventure in Space and Time. Unlike other Big Finish recastings (I’m thinking Elliot Chapman as Ben Jackson) this team weren’t chosen to perfectly recreate the voices of the original actors, more their appearance.
Meanwhile Big Finish very much started out as Familiar Actors in New Stories. As we all know not all actors are available and recasting / re-voicing has become necessary, with the Brigadier the latest to be approached in this way.
Now this isn’t at all wrong, despite a tendency for some fans to rail against this as a possible step too far. Of course actors are recast all the time and to make a point in an extreme way, Shakespeare is still performed even though the original actors have long since deceased and there’s no need for casting to worry about anything other than the ability to perform the role.
Back to the First Doctor Team. Waters are muddied further by David Bradley taking part in the Christmas Special Twice Upon a Time. What’s slightly bothering me (and I do enjoy these adventures) is still around provenance. I want a first story starting at the beginning. I’d really like a new version of An Unearthly Child.
The Unearthly Child potential
I’m not suggesting slavishly following the original script. There’d be some adaptation for audio (I’m free!) but why not go further? We all know the story, so why not balance out the Shoreditch and prehistory elements, with two of each. A more drastic approach (I’m not recommending) might be to even segue straight to Daleks!
And speaking of Daleks
I assume the copyright for Daleks remains with the Terry Nation estate, and Big Finish deals with them frequently so in principle getting permission would be achievable. Nick Briggs can do the Dalek voices, we’ve got a TARDIS team… why not? If it sells next stop an adapted Dalek Invasion of Earth, then some missing stories…
It might not be the most plausible idea or commercially viable, but something tells me it would be rather wonderful.
What do you think? Madness or genius? Let me know in the comments!