Big Finish Top 10 (2022)

Every New Year’s Eve at Who Review, we count down our top ten Big Finish releases of the past year… and this year is no different! Did your favourite release make it to the #1 spot? Read on to find out!

Honourable Mentions

Before we get onto the countdown, let’s take a look at a few releases which just missed out on making the list!

  • The Ninth Doctor Adventures Back to Earth: three emotional, Earthbound adventures for the Ninth Doctor, including the 2022 #1 story Auld Lang Syne
  • The Fourth Doctor Adventures – Solo: a spooky, Gothic horror story coupled with the Pertwee-esque Ravencliff Witch.
  • The Dimension Cannon – Other Worlds: Rose, Jackie and Clive explore more doomed parallel worlds in this excellent collection of character-driven stories.
  • Torchwood One – Nightmares: Torchwood takes on talk shows and bedroom farces in three super spooky audio adventures.

10. Tenth Doctor – Classic Companions

The Tenth Doctor: Classic Companions offers three very different but equally as exciting, poignant and creative reunions between the Tenth Doctor and some of his oldest friends. Quantum of Axos is a particular highlight, feeling like it could have been done on TV back in 2009, but all three stories are of a high class. If nothing else, it gives a nostalgic thrill to hear David Tennant interacting with Sophie Aldred, Sarah Sutton and Louise Jameson.

9. Torchwood: Cadoc Point

A super showing for Tom Price‘s Sergeant Andy as he investigates the disappearance of three school friends. David Llewellyn’s script is spooky, emotional and has an intriguing mystery at its core, keeping the listener engaged until all is revealed in the story’s final moments. Great stuff.

8. The Third Doctor Adventures: The Annihilators

The Annihilators is a very effective reboot to the Third Doctor Adventures range, succeeding in recreating the incredibly specific energy the 1970 season of Doctor Who had. Nicholas Briggs‘s script is pacy, gripping and intriguing, absolutely justifying this being such a long story at a whopping seven parts. This, combined with the stellar efforts of the entire cast (and Michael Troughton in particular, as the new Second Doctor), makes The Annihilators one of the strongest releases of 2022.

7. Torchwood: Dead Plates

Another spooky outing for the sinister Bilis Manger (Murray Melvin), which sees him infiltrate a dinner party in an attempt to solve his own murder. The cast are all on top form, portraying a variety of layered, flawed characters, while Melvin brings his signature menace to proceedings. A tense, twisty adventure.

6. Classic Doctors, New Monsters: The Stuff of Nightmares

The strongest instalment in the Classic Doctors, New Monsters series so far, The Stuff of Nightmares consists of four highly creative stories each of which does something fascinating and new with the returning villains featured. I’d even go as far as to argue that these stories each use their monsters better than in their original appearances, such is the range of ideas on display here. An excellent collection of adventures.

5. The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Old Friends

Old Friends mixes epic and intimate, adventure and introspection to create a boxset that will stick with the listener for a while after they’ve finished listening. Christopher Eccleston impresses throughout, his performance complemented by the likes of Jon Culshaw, Warren Brown, Sienna Guillory, Elinor Lawless and Nicholas Briggs. Complete with excellent music and sound design by Howard Carter and Iain Meadows, this set comes highly recommended.

4. The Third Doctor Adventures: Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope is a storytelling triumph, packed with storylines and characters, and yet remaining easy to follow and coherent throughout. The acting is on point throughout, every character is well-served by Alan Barnes‘ script and the story goes into some unexpected but very interesting territory. Were it not for a slightly less interesting second act, this story could have made it even further up the list, but as it stands it’s still one of the strongest releases Big Finish have put out this year.

3. Torchwood: Sonny

Sonny reunites Rhys (Kai Owen) with his mum Brenda (Nerys Hughes), for a story about A.I., the elderly, and family – a strange mix, perhaps, but themes that Hopley ties together excellently. The story 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.

2. The Eighth Doctor Adventures: Stranded 4

Stranded 4 was a success from start to finish, beautifully wrapping up the various storylines explored in the previous three boxsets, before delving into poignant new territory for Doctor Who with John Dorney‘s groundbreaking finale. While the first and third stories of the set are the clear standouts, the entire boxset is a huge success success, packed with emotion, character drama and the gorgeously simple sci-fi which has defined the Stranded series throughout its run.

Taking Doctor Who away from time and space and setting it on an ordinary street; introducing the show’s first transgender companion in Rebecca Root‘s Tania Bell; putting an LGBT+ relationship front and centre and letting it unfold over sixteen hours; and telling new and often very emotionally impactful stories about different ways of being stranded, this series has been groundbreaking from start to finish, and a true highlight of Big Finish‘s output over the last few years. Here’s to more of this kind of daring storytelling in the future.

1. The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield: Blood and Steel

For the past six years, Bernice Summerfield (Lisa Bowerman) has been joined on her adventures by the Unbound Doctor, played by the inimitable David Warner. This year saw the release of Blood and Steel, the fifth boxset to feature this iconic pairing… and very sadly the last.

David Warner passed away in July of this year, leaving this his final appearance as the Unbound Doctor. In this role, Warner gave us the best Doctor we never had, and his personal relationship with Lisa Bowerman shone though in every scene his character and Benny shared together, making this, in my opinion, one of the greatest Doctor/companion pairings of all time. Beyond the universe of Doctor Who, the world has truly lost one of its greatest actors, and I think it’s more than safe to say that he’ll hugely, hugely missed.

Blood and Steel is an excellent final chapter in this Doctor and Benny’s adventures, seeing the two journey to 1930s Berlin, where they must contend with the growing Nazi menace and their old enemies the Cybermen. James Goss, Aaron Lamont, Victoria Saxton and Rochana Patel give us four very different, but equally as layered, dark, emotional and thought-provoking, stories, bolstered by the best performances David Warner and Lisa Bowerman have ever given. This is heart-in-mouth, jaw-dropping stuff, and is recommended without question. Without a doubt 2022’s finest hour.

Thank you for supporting Who Review in 2022! We’ll see you again next year for more reviews of all things Doctor Who! Happy New Year!


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