Review: The War Doctor Begins – Forged in Fire

Review by Jacob Licklider


The War Doctor range was one of the Big Finish ranges sadly cut off due to the passing of Sir John Hurt.  A fifth box set was actually planned and some of those scripts have been used in other ranges such as The War Master, at least in similar premises.  Now that time has passed, the character has been recast with Jonathon Carley, most well known for several fan Doctor Who productions, and instead of continuing John Hurt’s legacy as the character which may have been insensitive if done incorrectly, goes back to the beginning of the character to explore what the War Doctor actually kind of means.  The War Doctor Begins was announced as four box sets, starting release in June 2021 all looking to lead to essentially where their War Doctor releases began.  Forged in Fire sports a beautifully painted cover by Claudia Gironi featuring Daleks and Thals and a younger John Hurt.  It also is a set which sets up something interesting for the character, taking a step away from what Steven Moffat implied with the character, that he was the version of the Doctor who went against everything that the Doctor stood for, that his purpose was to be a warrior.  There is something to be said to the recast; Carley joins Jon Culshaw’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sadie Miller’s Sarah Jane, and Elliot Chapman’s Ben Jackson (among others) in Big Finish’s roster of perfect recasts.  Carley worked closely with director Louise Jameson to ensure that his impression was more than just an impression, but really embodying the younger version of the character.  He makes it his own and Jameson’s direction is also a welcome change as her touch makes the entire set have a different atmosphere to Big Finish’s usual output. Continue reading

Big Finish explore the origins of John Hurt’s doctor in ‘Doctor Who: The War Doctor Begins’

Big Finish, in association with BBC Studios, today announces the forthcoming full-cast audio drama series, Doctor Who: The War Doctor Begins. Newcomer Jonathon Carley is set to star as a younger version of the War Doctor. in four brand-new box sets of adventures for the Doctor’s disavowed alter ego, due for release starting from June 2021.

“The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, it’s like a promise you make. He’s the one who broke the promise. He is my secret.”

Continue reading