IMPRESSIONIST and comedian Jon Culshaw is one of two new additions to the Big Finish family, taking on one of the most famous roles in Who history.
Culshaw, who shot to fame in the shows Spitting Image and Dead Ringers, will take on the iconic role of UNIT commanding officer Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, originally portrayed by the late Nicholas Courtney.
Culshaw will feature in The Third Doctor Adventures Volume Five, alongside Tim Treloar as the Doctor and the legendary Katy Manning reprising her role as Jo Grant.
After an extensive casting process, senior producer David Richardson and executive producer Nick Briggs finally remembered a conversation they’d had with Culshaw, when he told them the thing he’d most like to do for Big Finish would be to play the Brigadier.
“After checking his rendition of the character in the BBC audiobook of The Five Doctors, we just gave him the job!” Nick explained.
“It was a very tricky thing casting someone to do justice to Nicholas Courtney’s brilliant, original performance. Jon has done this with honour and love for what the splendid Mr Courtney did all those years ago.”
The job of recasting the Third Doctor’s first companion Liz Shaw was a little easier, with Daisy Ashford – daughter of the original Liz, Caroline John – following in her mother’s footsteps.
“I’m really excited and honoured to have been asked to play Liz, and to step into my Mum’s brilliant shoes!”
Also returning is the original Sergeant Benton, John Levene, who most recently appeared for Big Finish in UNIT: Assembled, available now from the DWCA Shop.
The first of the two new adventures, Primord by John Dorney, sees the Primords (from TV story Inferno) interrupt the Doctor and Liz Shaw’s reunion, and become one of the fiercest tests of UNIT and the Doctor to date. Then, in The Scream of Ghosts by Guy Adams, the population of a village are apparently being spirited away in the oddest of manners.
The chameleonic Culshaw will also be providing the voice for another of the Doctor’s friends – appropriately enough, the shape-shifting android Kamelion!
Briefly serving as a companion to the Fifth Doctor, and operated by computer technology on the studio floor, the screentime of the original Kamelion was sadly cut short by the tragic death of its operator, Mike Power. Now the character is being given a new chance at life on audio, starring in three upcoming adventures in Big Finish’s Doctor Who Main Range alongside Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough.
“He’s a very elegant soul, Kamelion,” said Jon. “A cross between C3PO and a suit of armour. He was sinister, and had a graceful presence about him, it was beautifully unnerving. A fascinating character.”
The new Third and Fifth Doctor adventures will be available through the DWCA Shop next year.