Big Finish Productions suspended the recording portion of their audio drama productions this week. They join the rest of the Film & TV industry in shutting down to avoid spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19). The company produces audio drama versions of Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Prisoner, Space: 1999, The Prisoner, Blake's 7 and may more series from the canon of classic British genre dramas. They helped keep the flame of Doctor Who alive during the years when the show was off-air.
They produced original stories featuring surviving Doctor Who actors like Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker. Paul McGann, who only appeared once as the 8th Doctor in the 1996 TV movie, had a long run in audio dramas produced by Big Finish. Their greatest coup might be convincing Tom Baker to reprise his role as the 4th Doctor after decades away from the show.
Big Finish chairman Jason Haigh-Ellery issued a statement to the Radio Times, offering some details behind and about the decision:
"We have always worked considerably in advance – indeed some of our series have recordings dates that are up to four years in advance of their release date. So we are lucky enough to have many productions already 'in the can'.
Subsequently, pausing recordings will cause minimal disruption to this year's releases.
The majority of Big Finish's staff are freelance and work from home and so are fully able to continue to work remotely, whether writing productions for when we re-open the studios, or editing and sound designing those productions already recorded.
However, the safety of our actors is of paramount importance and, given the advice by public health experts to limit the risk of transmitting the virus, we have taken the decision to suspended our recording schedule in consultation with the studios that we use on a regular basis.
We will obviously continue to review all productions on a case-by-case basis and take further expert advice where necessary."
The production company is exploring ways to continue production. This includes recording remotely with cast and crew from their homes.