With Sir John Hurt’s passing in 2017, we thought we’d heard the last of the War Doctor audio series. But Big Finish have announced today that a brand new range – The War Doctor Begins – will explore the early years of the disavowed Doctor, with actor Jonathon Carley taking on the title role.
The War Doctor Begins
Doctor Who: The War Doctor Begins will comprise four box sets, each one featuring three brand new full-cast stories, set to debut in June 2021. Further details are a little scant at the moment but we do know that Louise Jameson will be making her Doctor Who directorial debut with this range having previously directed the Big Finish Originals series ATA Girl.
Our versatile new Doctor, Jonathon Carley, will be a familiar name to anyone who enjoys online fan audios, where he has been lending his voice to the War Doctor for many years. As well as his own YouTube channel, Carley can be heard portraying many different Doctors in other projects, including this animated adaptation of the Heaven Sent speech drawn by Sophie Iles.
I honestly can’t tell you how much of a privilege and an honour it is to not only be working with the incredibly talented team at Big Finish but also to be playing the War Doctor. It is more than I could ever have expected.
Stepping into the sturdy boots of a character established by the late, great Sir John Hurt would be a challenge for any actor. But the team have been so supportive and creative in their approach to exploring further facets of this complex incarnation.
This is a cracking set of stories so it will be wonderful to put a spotlight on the rarely glimpsed early life of the War Doctor and the trials he faces, finding his new place in the Time War. I hope listeners are as eager to embrace that journey as I am.Jonathon Carley
Nicholas Briggs – Big Finish’s creative director and voice of the Daleks (let’s face it, they’re going to appear in this range) – had warm words for Carley in carrying on John Hurt’s legacy.
Jonathon is a real find. Many will be familiar with the uncanny accuracy of his War Doctor vocals from various online projects. But there’s more to a good performance than just an impersonation. You need imagination, emotion, sensitivity… essentially, great acting!
I worked really closely with John Hurt on our original The War Doctor releases, and although we only worked together for a short time, such was his commitment, charm and openness that he allowed me to feel something of a connection with him. And I can confidently say that what Jonathon is doing here will be a fitting tribute to John, in honour of his great work in the role.Nicholas Briggs
Back in May, Carley participated in the DOCTOR WHO: LOCKDOWN special Doctors Assemble! uniting all thirteen… fourteen… (are we counting the Timeless Children?)… incarnations of the Doctor in audio…where he played, you guessed it, the War Doctor…
Sir John Hurt
Hurt first appeared as the Doctor in 2013’s The Name of the Doctor leading into the 50th anniversary specials. Tasked with fighting the Time War, the Doctor abandoned his title and took on a harsher view of the universe. Reprising the role in 2015, Hurt would play the role in four box sets for Big Finish before his passing ended the series.