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1963: The Assassination Games

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Audio - 1963: The Assassination Games
1963: The Assassination Games
(John Dorney)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the television show Big Finish Productions are releasing three stories as a countdown to the anniversary itself. These three stories are based in 1963 – the year Doctor Who was first broadcast.

Big Finish Productions announced that they had big plans for Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary, and this set of three stories is where it all begins. The 1963 trilogy, which boasts a story each for the Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor and the Seventh Doctor, takes us back to the year of Doctor Who's creation.

The third and final release, in this fiftieth anniversary series, is called "1963: The Assassination Games" and stars Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as his travelling companion Ace.

Seventh Doctor
Seventh Doctor

Written by John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley this story was recorded on the 11th and 12th February 2013.

This story guest stars: Simon Williams (as Group Captain Gilmore), Pamela Salem (as Rachel Jensen). Also starring are Karen Gledhill, Hugh Ross, Oliver Cotton, Gemma Saunders, Gerald Kyd and Alisdair Simpson.

With this rel
ease Big Finish Productions is marking the 50th anniversary with a reunion: The Seventh Doctor and Ace once again encounter Gilmore, Rachel and Alison from the 1988 television story "Remembrance of the Daleks" - who are now best known for their own audio spin-off series, Counter-Measures. 'It takes place between Remembrance and Counter-Measures itself', writer John Dorney has revealed. 'I set it right at the end of November 1963. But for the Seventh Doctor and Ace, I thought it would be slightly weird to set it straight after Remembrance, and didn't particularly want to set it in their current audio storyline'.



Instead, John Dorney has chosen a relatively unchartered space in their relationship. 'I've always been aware that there's not been much spin-off fiction set within the Season 25/26 time period so it seemed quite fun to put it there instead. It's between "Greatest Show" and "Battlefield", so The Doctor and Ace have a quite friendly and knockabout relationship - it's only once you get into Season 26 that she starts to distrust him a little bit. Setting it there meant I could pay tribute to that era, and their dialogue could be full of 'wicked' and 'Professor' and 'Gordon Bennett'. Though I only allowed myself one of each!'.

And it couldn't be more 1960s if it tried. 'It's set around the press launch of a new missile, funded by an enigmatic multimillionaire arms-dealer. There are various different threads happening around that: a nuclear disarmament group, various politicians getting assassinated, dodgy double-dealings and conspiracies, aliens thrown in the mix as well... basically my intention was to make the play relate to the entire early 1960s!'


Big Finish Magazine - Vortex: Issue 57 (November 2013)

Audio - Big Finish Magazine - Vortex: Issue 57
Vortex: Issue 57
 Issue 57 of 'Vortex - The Big Finish Magazine' was also sent out to subscribers with this release.

  In this issue...

    1. Sneak Previews and Whispers – Vienna - Series One

    2. Editorial
    - Paul Spragg

    3. Article - Light Headed - The Light At The End

    4. Article - Geneses - 50th Anniversary

    5. Vortex Mail

    6. Article - What Happened Next...? - Blake's 7

    7. Article - Listen Again: The Four Doctors

    Forthcoming Releases - November 2013 – August 2014

Published By: Big Finish Productions Ltd
Managing Editor: Jason Haigh-Ellery
Editor: Paul Spragg
Executive Producer: Nicholas Briggs
Line Producer: David Richardson
Design: Mark Plastow
Published: November 2013
Page Count: 24

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  • Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 120 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 28'42", 2 = 29'49", 3 = 29'33", 4 = 30'42"
  • Total Length: 118'46"
  • Also features 33 minutes of trailers, music and special behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and producers.
  • This story takes place between the television stories "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" and "Battlefield"
  • Cover Illustration: Alex Mallinson
  • Recorded: 11th and 12th February 2013
  • Recording Location: Moat Studios
  • Released: November 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-78178-080-0

On the Back Cover:

Audio - 1963: The Assassination Games

London. The end of November, 1963. A time of change. The old guard are being swept away by the white heat of technology. Political scandals are the talk of the town. Britain tries to maintain its international role; fanatics assassinate charismatic politicians and Group Captain Ian Gilmore is trying to get his fledgling Counter-Measures unit off the ground.

When his life is saved by a familiar umbrella bearing figure, he knows something terrible is going on.  Whilst Rachel investigates an enigmatic millionaire and Allison goes undercover in an extremist organisation, Gilmore discovers a sinister plot with roots a century old.

The Doctor and Ace are back in town. A new dawn is coming. It's time for everyone… to see the Light.


On the Inside Cover:

Director’s Notes

1963: The Assassination Games
It's how the dots are connected that makes this such a delightful anniversary story. In 1988, they celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Doctor Who on television by going back to where it all began. For the fiftieth anniversary, Big Finish reunites that twenty-fifth anniversary team for the first time in twenty-five years, not in order to bring us full circle, but as a launch pad for a new adventure.

Reunions are, sadly, not always possible in the world of Doctor Who. (If only we really could go back in time.) The question of reuniting the Counter-Measures team with the Doctor has been circulating almost since the first series of Counter-Measures was announced. Possibly the only way it could happen appropriately is with this anniversary release.

What's so impressive is that it carries its anniversary credentials so lightly that it still manages to be a standalone monthly range release. It's subtle feats like this that keep me in a state of constant awe of my colleagues at Big Finish. So it feels only fair - since we're saluting the Doctor - to take this opportunity to salute them too. After all, if it wasn't for them...


Writer's Notes

Here's a sobering fact for fans of a certain age. It's now been longer from when Remembrance of the Daleks was I transmitted than its initial showing was from An Unearthly Child.

It's an obvious point, given the celebratory nature of that classic story, its twenty-fifth season placement and this fiftieth anniversary release... but it seems so hard to contemplate. That first story felt so removed at the time - its long-lost Doctor, its black and white, studio-based, videotape feel-whereas Remembrance feels so fresh and alive even now.

I was twelve when it was first shown, and I remember my immediate reaction after episode one was to turn to my parents and ask if I could watch it again straight away. It was jaw-droppingly good.

So is most of that era, in my opinion. And that's one of the reasons why I wanted to set this story in season 25 (well, technically just after, but you know what I mean). A fabulous era of Who, but often overlooked in spin-off fiction as you can always do Seven/Ace stories post-Survival. What opportunities do you gain by placing it earlier?

I've had a lot of privileges this year, and writing the fiftieth anniversary monthly release is but one of those. To get the opportunity to pay tribute to another fabulous era and a wonderful story at the same time is the icing on the cake. I hope I'm worthy of them all.



Full Cast List:

The Doctor Sylvester McCoy
Ace Sophie Aldred
Ian Gilmore Simon Williams
Rachel Jensen Pamela Salem
Allison Williams Karen Gledhill
Sir Toby Kinsella Hugh Ross
Sir Gideon Vale/Handler Oliver Cotton
Eleanor Vale/Amanda Caulfield Gemma Saunders
Martin Regan/Sir Robert DeVere/Mulryne Gerald Kyd
Sir Francis White/Ritchie Alisdair Simpson

The Production Team:

Writer John Dorney
Director Ken Bentley
Sound/Music Wilfredo Acosta
Theme Music David Darlington
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Producer David Richardson
Executive Producers Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
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