2022 has been quite the year for Doctor Who. We’ve had three new adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor on television, culminating in her explosive regeneration story: The Power of the Doctor. Not one but two new Doctors have been announced, in David Tennant‘s Fourteenth Doctor and Ncuti Gatwa‘s Fifteenth Doctor. Big Finish have released hours of brand new audio drama from the worlds of Doctor Who, featuring much-loved characters from all across Who history.
There’s been so much to enjoy… but what’s been the best of the best?
And stay tuned for our top 10 Big Finish releases of 2022 on New Year’s Eve!
Best Big Finish Story (Doctor Who)
Heartwarming, heartbreaking and with an intriguing mystery at its heart, Auld Lang Syne by Tim Foley is best Big Finish story this year, eschewing hard sci-fi for some beautiful character drama. Christopher Eccleston and Leah Brotherhead, who plays Mandy, have excellent chemistry, and form a fantastic pairing, their relationship taking the Ninth Doctor in an unexpected but delightful direction. I quite literally cheered at the ending too- what a treat!
Best Big Finish Story (Torchwood)
Sonny by Lizzie Hopley touches on some really emotional themes, and Hopley makes no compromises when it comes to exploring these in detail. Though it may seem like a run-of-the-mill robot invasion story peripherally, Sonny is much more than that, and continues the trend of the Torchwood range setting an extremely high bar not only for Big Finish, but also for audio drama in general.
Best Big Finish Story (Spin-Off)
Tense and layered, The Forest of Penitence by Lou Morgan takes the title of best spin-off episode of 2022. As is common in the War Master range, the main strength of the story is in its characters, all of whom are varying shades of morally grey, allowing for some electric interactions between them and the Master. This is a prime example of a good War Master story: dark, character-driven, thought-provoking and very, very twisted.
Best Big Finish Writer
Roy Gill takes the top writer spot this year, with three of his scripts making up our top 10 stories of 2022. Together in Eclectic Dreams is a triumph of a story, taking the concept of the Dream Crabs and weaving a gripping tale around them. Albie’s Angels takes the listener on an emotional rollercoaster ride, exploring the injustices of the past and giving Hattie Morahan‘s Helen Sinclair her defining story. The Keys of Baker Street is hard to talk about without spoiling the complex arc of the Stranded range, but it’s an excellent pseudo-finale to the series packed with strong performances and shocking revelations. Bravo, Roy Gill! Here’s to more stories in 2023!
Best New Big Finish Series
Right from the opening moments of its first episode, I knew UNIT: Brave New World would be a hit. Set in the 90s and giving airtime to one of Doctor Who‘s most underrated characters, Brigadier Bambera, Brave New World takes the familiar concept of the UNIT series and makes it better. With three immediately likeable characters at its heart, creative plots which are both seeped in 90s nostalgia and delightfully modern, and a great variety of stories, Brave New World
A huge thanks to the cast- Angela Bruce, Alex Jordan and Yemisi Oyinloye– and the behind the scenes team- Robert Valentine, Emily Cook, Borna Matosic, Scott Handcock, Lizzie Hopley, Tajinder Singh Hayer, Alfie Shaw and Alison Winter– for giving us such a joyous run of stories. More in 2023 please!
Best Continuing Big Finish Series
The Third Doctor Adventures range has had quite the renaissance in 2022, moving to longer-form storytelling that takes its characters on journeys that feel both modern and appropriate to the era the series is based on. Tim Treloar, Daisy Ashford, Sadie Miller and Jon Culshaw go from strength to strength in their roles, perfectly capturing the voices of such iconic characters. Both of this year’s Third Doctor Adventures releases, The Annihilators and Kaleidoscope, are part of our 2022 top 10 (to find out where, check back on New Year’s Eve!), allowing this series to effortlessly clinch top spot in these awards. Thanks to Heather Challands, Nicholas Briggs and Alan Barnes for putting together two such strong stories!
Best Cover Art
Sean Longmore‘s cover art for Kaleidoscope wins this award: a breathtaking piece of work that perfectly captures the frenetic, action-packed story it was released with. As soon as I saw this cover, I wanted to listen to the story.
Who else could it be? The late, great David Warner kept the world entertained for decades in a variety of roles, but from 2016 until his death earlier this year, he gave us some of the best Doctor Who stories ever as the Unbound Doctor. His final performance, in September’s Blood and Steel, was no exception: raw, powerful and utterly unlike anything seen or heard before. RIP to a wonderful actor, and a wonderful Doctor.
Check back on New Year’s Eve for our annual countdown of the top 10 Big Finish releases of the year!