BBV

BBV is a video and audio production company specialising in science fiction drama, known for its links with the television series Doctor Who (founder Bill Baggs is a fan, and BBV productions often feature characters and/or actors from the series). The name of the company is short for Bill & Ben Video, "Ben" being the nickname of Bill Baggs's wife, Helen.

Table of contents
1 Video
2 Audio
3 Productions
4 Related topics
5 External link

Video

BBV's first production, in 1991, was Summoned by Shadows, co-produced with the BBC Film Club. Partly as a homage to Doctor Who, of which Baggs was a fan, and partly in a pragmatic attempt to take advantage of a pre-existing audience, Summoned by Shadows was a Who-style tale of strange doings on a distant planet featuring three actors known for their roles in Doctor Who. The nameless protagonist (listed in the credits as "The Stranger") was played by Colin Baker, his assistant Miss Brown by Nicola Bryant (who had played the Doctor's assistant Peri Brown opposite Colin Baker for two years), and the villain of the piece by Michael Wisher (Davros). The adventures of The Stranger ran to six videos (and two audio dramas, although the second audio drama was much the same as the sixth video), in the course of which the series established its own style and backstory, by the end abandoning any pretence of being merely Doctor Who by another name. The series was re-released on DVD beginning in 2003.

BBV's next effort was The AirZone Solution, an ecologically-themed thriller. Released in 1993, Doctor Who's thirtieth anniversary year, it featured four ex-Doctors, Baker being joined by successor Sylvester McCoy and predecessors Peter Davison and Jon Pertwee as members of a small group struggling against a sinister conspiracy.

The Zero Imperative (1994) marked a new departure for BBV. Although stuffed to the gills with ex-Doctor Who guest stars, one of them was actually playing the same character: the story was built around Caroline John's Dr Elizabeth Shaw, the Doctor's companion in the seventh season of Doctor Who, now depicted as an investigator for PROBE (the "Preternatural Research Bureau"). The PROBE series ran for an additional three stories; all four were written by Mark Gatiss, who later found more widespread fame as a member of the League of Gentlemen. The potentially-confusing mixture of Caroline John reprising her Doctor Who role with other recognisable Who stars playing different characters worked against the series, as did the way that Liz Shaw often seemed to be herself a different character from the Doctor Who original. (The latter problem may have been exacerbated by the fact that, although BBV had obtained permission to use Liz Shaw, they had no rights relating to Doctor Who itself - which meant that no explicit reference could be made to any other aspect of Doctor Who, including the events of the stories in which the character appeared).

BBV's next series was a spin-off from two Doctor Who stories in the 1970s in which the Doctor assisted the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) in defeating the Autons, a robotic invasion force sent to conquer Earth on behalf of the alien Nestenes. The trilogy, beginning with Auton in 1997, recounted UNIT's battle against another Auton invasion, this time without the Doctor's aid (since BBV had obtained permission to use UNIT and the Autons, but permission to use the Doctor himself was as always unavailable). Auton was also the first BBV production to have no Doctor Who guest stars at all, after Nicholas Courtney (who would have reprised his Doctor Who role as UNIT commander Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) was forced by ill health to withdraw from the project. With Courtney out, the focus of the series was an original character, an enigmatic UNIT agent played by Michael Wade.

Other BBV video productions include Cyberon (featuring a race of alien cyborgs almost but not quite entirely unlike the Cybermen) and "Do you have a Licence to save this planet?" (a Doctor Who parody featuring Sylvester McCoy as the Chiropodist).

Audio

After a few earlier experiments, BBV began regularly releasing audio dramas on CD in 1998, under the umbrella title Audio Adventures in Time & Space. The mainstay of the CD line to begin with was a series starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred (the Doctor/companion team from the 1988 and 1989 seasons of Doctor Who) as a pair of wanderers in time and space who so closely resembled the characters McCoy and Aldred had played on Doctor Who - even addressing each other by the same nicknames - that the BBC stepped in and their seventh outing, Ghosts, consequently introduced a number of changes to the characters that made the resemblance somewhat less close. (For one thing, they had to stop using the nicknames.)

The first of the Audio Adventures in Time & Space not to feature the McCoy/Aldred double act was Cyber-Hunt, the first BBV production to feature the Cyberons. A further Who-ish note was added by the introduction of an amnesic space traveller (who one of the other characters dubs "Fred" after her pet goldfish) played by Nicholas Briggs, who some years earlier had played the Doctor in the Audio Visuals series of unlicensed fan audios.

More recently, BBV have moved away from characters-who-might-be-the-Doctor (a field that, in any case, lost some of its appeal for fan audiences once Big Finish Productions began producing official licensed Doctor Who audio dramas featuring characters who were definitely the Doctor) and, following the success of the Auton trilogy, focussed more on stand-alone dramas featuring various Doctor Who alien races, licensed directly from the writers who created them. For some of those writers, the BBV audios have offered a chance to revisit their creations: for instance, the range includes a story by Pip & Jane Baker explaining what happened to the Rani (last seen in Doctor Who being abducted by a group of aliens that, conveniently, were also created by Pip & Jane Baker), and a series of stories by Lawrence Miles about his history-spanning terrorist organisation Faction Paradox.

Productions

Video

Audio

Related topics

External link


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