Skip to content

Doctor Who: BBC Radio Shows For 50th Anniversary Announced

It’s just not TV where the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who will be celebrated – there’s also several radio shows coming up to celebrate the anniversary, and the BBC Media Centre have released details of all these shows, including broadcasts of several original Big Finish audios and novelizations of classic episodes:

Doctor Who at 50: Doctor Who and the Daleks

It’s 50 years since the very first broadcast of long-running science-fiction hit Doctor Who. Radio 4 Extra joins in the celebrations with the chance to hear a whole adventure in one go every night this week. 

With a special emphasis on the atmospheric 1960s, tonight’s reading from Audio Go is based on the original TV serial from 1963.Nuclear threat looms large in this evocative tale, no more so than in the radiation-ravaged world of Skaro. It’s there the TARDIS heads for the Doctor’s fateful first meeting…Tom and Jerry, Lex Luthor and Superman, Seinfeld and Newman… all great feuds start somewhere. 

So it is for the Doctor and the bane of all his travels, the Daleks. How did their paths first cross? Were the Daleks always ruthless and evil? How did they come into being?All of these questions are answered in the very first adventure involving the metal-plated meanies. Not only that, but it’s told in the first person by one of the very first companions, Ian Chesterton (as played by William Russell). 

Expect a very different slant on how the Doctor and Ian met, too, involving Barnes Common and everlasting matches.

Airs on Saturday 16th November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Note: all Doctor Who at 50 shows last for 45 minutes.

Doctor Who at 50: Protect and Survive

It’s Sylvester McCoy’s turn to time travel, in this brand-new four-part drama. 

Doctor Who began in the Sixties, but so did the Cold War – and like the Daleks, it came back time and again. Back in the era of Stanislav Petrov, Threads and 99 Luftballoons, the prospect of nuclear conflict never seemed more real. Thank goodness it never happened… Or did it? 

The Doctor’s young companions Hex and Ace are plunged alone into the late Eighties, where history has gone horrifyingly wrong. Global tension is escalating and the world trembles on the brink of a final, terrible war. What happened to glasnost and perestroika? Why are people actually building fallout shelters? 

Hex and Ace aren’t too worried – after all, the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) will rescue them… won’t he? 

Airs on Sunday 17th November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Doctor Who at 50: Fanfare For The Common Men

Peter Davison is the Doctor in this brand-new four-part drama. 

The Doctor has been with us for five decades or so – but what about the decade which inspired him – the Sixties? Radio 4 Extra is doing some time travel of its own to evoke that fondly remembered period, and what better way than the Common Men? 

The Doctor’s young companion Nyssa is unfamiliar with Earth’s musical heritage – so a trip to the formative days of the Fab Four is in order, to show her what all the fuss is all about.
But the Beatles are nowhere to be seen – instead their role in history has been taken by the Common Men, a trio whose rise to fame isn’t as wholesome as it first appears.

Airs on Monday 18th November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Doctor Who at 50: Thousand Tiny Wings

Late 1963 saw a number of dramatic events – the death of CS Lewis, the assassination of John F Kennedy – and Kenyan independence in December 1963. 

The Doctor arrives in a remote homestead during this bloody period of history where he is reunited with an old acquaintance, an ex-Nazi called Klein. Of course it wouldn’t be Doctor Who without some alien threat, and it comes in the form of an avian group intelligence. 

But by employing a strategy of divide and conquer, is the Doctor as bad as those he opposes? Sylvester McCoy once more plays the Time Lord in this full cast audio drama.

Airs on Tuesday 19th November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Doctor Who at 50: Farewell Great Macedon

Time travel is an odd business – it’s not just about the history you know, it’s the history you don’t. 

Hardcore Doctor Who fans can tell you when and where the Time Lord has been to on television. What about the adventures we didn’t see? What about the time the TARDIS landed in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the crew met Alexander the Great? 

Find out as the original team – Ian, Barbara, Susan and the first ever Doctor step out from the time machine into one of the Ancient Wonders of the World, in the year 323 BC. Hear the wit and guile of the very first Doctor Who in action as he thinks his way out of a walk on hot coals – and offers Alexander the Great a way to cheat death through 20th-century means… an iron lung! 

Featuring stars of the original series Carol Ann Ford and William Russell.

Airs on Wednesday 20th November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Doctor Who at 50: Human Resources

Paul McGann (Monocled Mutineer, Withnail And I) is the Doctor for this wry adventure.
Offices can be difficult workplaces – but spare a thought for the hapless humans in this story. They wind up sharing theirs with the Cybermen. 

Starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, this two-part story explains the on-going mystery of Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith) – paired off with the Doctor in a witness protection programme. 

However, one kidnap and random journey to the planet Lonsis later, the Doctor discovers the far stranger truth. It’s connected to odd company Hulbert Logistics, a dogged pursuer called the Headhunter, a very strange crystal, and ultimately the Cybermen. When Lucie learns the truth, all bets are off.

Airs Thursday 21st November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Doctor Who at 50: Dalek Invasion of Earth

As this story opens, the Daleks have won. Propaganda broadcasts, regular patrols, collaborators, black marketeers – all of this before the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan have even arrived. When they do, they are separated and find themselves fighting not just for their survival, but that of the entire planet. 

You can’t keep a good man down – so the Daleks discover when they make the grievous error of invading the Doctor’s favourite planet… but it’s a battle with a life-changing outcome for the Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan. 

Read by William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in the original television serial on which this reading is based.

Airs Friday 22nd November at 6pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Who is the Doctor?

On Saturday 23 November 1963, BBC TV broadcast the very first episode of Doctor Who. Fifty years later, the series is the most successful drama on television. In this special documentary, Radio 2 examines the reasons for its longevity and popularity. 

Featuring new interviews with the cast and crew of the series, the programme looks at the lasting appeal of Doctor Who and asks how much of its continued success can be attributed to its basic formula. 

With archive clips and the music of Doctor Who composer Murray Gold, Who Is The Doctor? considers the character of the Time Lord across all of his regenerations and revisits the origins of the series with Waris Hussein, director of the debut Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child. 

The programme also examines how the franchise survived when the show was off TV, considers the impact of the revival in 2005 and assesses the value of the series to the BBC.

Airs on Thursday 21st November at 10pm on BBC Radio 2. It will last for 90 minutes.

The Blagger’s Guide to Doctor Who

David Quantick takes a look back over 50 years of science fiction at its British best with a quick fire look at all things Doctor Who.

He’ll be lifting the lid on some industry secrets and exterminating any myths listeners might have heard about the long-running series, such as: why was William Hartnell replaced as the first Doctor? What was it about the Daleks that drove Jon Pertwee mad? And why was the show cancelled for 16 very bleak years? 

All this and plenty more, all in true off-the-wall Blagger’s style.

Airs on Thursday 21st November at 11.30pm on BBC Radio 2. It will last for 30 minutes.

There will also be three more audio dramas – Who Made Who, Lucie Miller and To The Death, broadcast the week after.

What programmes are you most excited about? Will you be tuning in to any of these shows? Comment below!

[Source: BBC Media Centre]