Doctor Who Audio Dramas: Listening Order and Guide

::: audio-guide

If you just want to skip ahead to the full-length listening order, click here. But if you’re new to the Audio Dramas and want to get a clearer view of where to begin, then read on.

Note: The reviews in this guide are still a work in progress – so far, I’ve reviewed 56 audio dramas.

Heck, there’s so much! Where do I begin?

There are a lot of audio dramas, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed! Here are my suggestions:

Starting Place A: The Monthly Adventures

The best place to begin is the Big Finish’s range of audio dramas called The Monthly Adventures – each month, they release a standalone adventure featuring one of the classic doctors. Since they’re all self-contained, you can just choose any one of them and listen to it.

The Monthly Adventures used to be known as the Main Range or the Monthly Range.

You could start with the first, The Sirens of Time, or with one of my favourites:

My favourites

The first 100 are around £3 each from the Big Finish website, and a number of them are also available with things like a Google Play or Spotify subscription. (Note that on Google Play and Spotify, they are likely are named after the old terminology, so they’ll be something like “Main Range 15: The Mutant Phase”.)

Pros and Cons



Starting Place B: The New Series

If you’ve only watched the New Series, you might prefer to start somewhere more familiar – luckily, Big Finish makes a bunch of audio dramas under the Doctor Who New Series range. Most of these come in boxsets of (usually) 4 related dramas, and each boxset is (usually) standalone. Some of the stuff available in the New Series range includes UNIT, River Song, the Tenth Doctor Adventures, a variety of stories focusing around the Time War, and more.

(I’ve also heard that the Eighth Doctor Adventures were created with New Series fans in mind, so you can probably start there too.)

Pros and Cons



Starting Place C: The Randomoids

Another option is to listen to audio dramas randomly – every week on the Big Finish podcast, they give listeners a 25% discount on a random release from their catalogue. Conveniently, there’s a link to the offer in the description of the podcast, so you don’t even need to listen to the podcast.

Pros and Cons



Other Starting Places

You might like to look at the Big Finish guide for newcomers – they talk about a number of good starting points.

Or you can read on…

What if I want to listen to everything? What order should I do it in?

Unlike the TV show, which is released in a very clear order, the audio dramas jump all over the place – one release might be from the Fifth doctor, the next from the Eighth, then the next from the Sixth. Plus, there are often several series running simultaneously – for example, the stories in Eighth Doctor Adventures were being released alongside stories from Bernice Summerfield.

There is no “official” ordering for these stories, because they’re not inherently ordered – you can listen to the Eighth Doctor Adventures before listening to Bernice Summerfield, or after, or you could intermingle them. If you’re struggling to wrap your head around this, think of it this way: the BBC is a TV channel, and they produce a variety of shows simultaneously. Big Finish is the audio drama equivalent to this: they produce a variety of shows simultaneously (although they’re not called shows, they’re called “ranges”).

We could try and place everything into in-universe chronological order, but that would be incredibly difficult, and would make for a terrible listening experience. Instead, this list is in what I call a Natural Ordering. It is in order of release date, but instead of jumping around between different series, the guide is divided into Segments, so storylines aren’t broken into dozens of different pieces.

Almost all of the audio releases are from Big Finish, but there are a handful from the BBC itself. There are also several from BBV, a fan group that made almost-official productions. These audio dramas are really hard to get, however, so don’t feel bad if you have to skip them.

There are also the BBC audiobooks, which I’ve included in the Misc segments under a collapseable heading, so they’re easy to skip if you’re not interested in them, and easy to listen to if you want. (Note: I haven’t included the audiobooks from Tales from the TARDIS, because I missed them and don’t know how to fit them in without redoing all of the numbers in the guide. They should be between segment 2 and segment 3.)

How the recommendations work

There are 3 ratings:

It’s important to say: “Maybe” does not mean it’s bad, it just means that you’re less likely to like it.

This guide couldn’t have been created without the efforts of MaximumSpidercide. Their Ultimate Doctor Who Universe Listening Order helped me to understand Big Finish better, and inspired me to make my own guide. There are a number of minor changes between their guide and mine: I’m a bit looser with the ordering of things, because my segments are explicitly numbered (rather than implied, as in their guide); I try to avoid segments with only one story in them; I don’t include the audiobooks, even the original-to-audio ones; and I do include the Unbound series, even though it’s set outside of the Doctor Who Universe.

Recent Updates

Listened to Dalek Empire I: Invasion of the Daleks (segment 12).
Removed the “Featuring” section from Dalek Empire tables, to avoid spoilers.
Added all the BBC Audiobooks to the guide, under the Misc segments. We are missing Tales from the Tardis, which I am unsure on how to include.
Added a “New Ranges in year” section under each year heading, and links to navigate between years.
As of yesterday, Big Finish has renamed the Main Range into “The Monthly Adventues”, which is a much more sensible name. This name change has also been reflected across the guide.
Added an audio drama I missed: Real Time to segment 19.
Listened to The Skymines of Karthos, finishing all the audio releases for segment 11.
Updated the segment titles, so that they’re more flexible when they adapt to different screen sizes.
Listened to The Extinction Event (segment 11).
Major Overhaul to the listening order. Visually, it should be almost un-noticeable, but many segments have been changed, many have been added (there are 38 more segments than before). The overall result should be that it’s easier to keep track of where you’re up to – instead of being a continuous stream of segments, segments are now divided into years, and they follow a repeating pattern every 6 months (or every 3 months later on in the guide): A Main Range segment for the period, then segments for all the Big Finish series that were released during that period, then a segment for every BBV release from that period, and then a segment for all the miscellaneous releases that couldn’t be in other segments. (A much-wanted side effect of this is that there are no more “complex” Main Range segments that include a bunch of things that aren’t part of the Main Range).
As a consequence of the Major Overhaul, updates before this one may not make sense anymore.
Listened to The Stone’s Lament (segment 11).
Added Night of the Fendahl and Doctors and Dragons to The Flux.
Moved as much of The Flux into segments as I can.
Listened to The Secret of Cassandra (segment 11).

Older Updates

Listened to The Doomsday Manuscript (segment 11).
Added Gallifrey: Time War 2 to The Flux.
Updated some behind-the-scenes stuff, so that tables come pre-loaded with the appropriate row colours, rather than relying on your browser to run a script. If you visit this page semi-regularly, you may have to press Ctrl + r (or Cmd + r on MacOS) to convince your browser to update the colours.
Listened to The One Doctor, finishing segment 10.
Listened to Colditz (segment 10).
Listened to Primeval (segment 10).
Added The Comic Strip Adaptions Volume 01 to The Flux.
Listened to The Eye of the Scorpion (segment 10).
Added The Kamelion Empire to The Flux.
Listened to Project: Twilight (segment 10).
Updated the list to have “previous in range” links.
Listened to Bloodtide (segment 10).
Listened to Dust Breeding (segment 7).
Changed the default background colour of tables to be lighter, to make reading them easier.
Listened to Wirrn: Race Memory (segment 8).
Upgraded my rating for Red Dawn from “yes” to “definitely”.
Added Sword of Orion, The Marian Conspiracy and Red Dawn to my list of favourites.
Listened to Loups-Garoux (segment 7).
Added The Astrea Conspiracy to The Flux.
Added potential segment numbers to The Flux.
Fixed the Last of the Titans rating to be “yes” rather than “maybe”
Listened to Falling (segment 252).
Listened to Last of the Titans (segment 9).
Listened to Minuet in Hell (segment 7).
Listened to The Stones of Venice (segment 7).
Added Torchwood: God Among Us 2 to The Flux.
Listened to Sword of Orion (segment 7).
Listened to Storm Warning (segment 7).
Added the Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 8 Volume 2 to The Flux.
Listened to The Mutant Phase (segment 6).
Added Black Thursday / Power Game to The Flux.
Listened to The Holy Terror (segment 6).
Listened to The Shadow of the Scourge (segment 6).
Downgraded The Sirens of Time (segment 3).
Listened to Dragon’s Wrath (segment 4).
Updated the Bernice Summerfield jumping-on points section.
Added Missy to The Flux.
Listened to Just War (segment 4).
Listened to Birthright (segment 4).
Listened to Walking to Babylon (segment 4).
Listened to Beyond the Sun (segment 4).
Added The Revisionists to The Flux.
Finished segment 5 (by listening to The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind).
Added The First Doctor Adventures Volume 3 to The Flux.
Listened to Oh No It Isn’t! (segment 4).
Listened to Conduct Unbecoming (segment 5).
Listened to Silent Warrior and Old Soldiers (segment 5). total so far: 24
Since some of them are going to be released as audiobooks soon, I added the prose releases to the Bernice Summerfield segments.
Listened to Segment 5 (I scream).
Added The Diary of River Song: Series 5 to The Flux.
Listened to Segment 2.
Split up some tables, so the Main Range tables haven’t got Short Trips mixed in (with a couple of exceptions).
Listened to The Trial of the Valeyard (segment 141).
Listened to Night of the Stormcrow (segment 144).
Finished listening to segment 1.
Added the Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 8 Volume 1 to The Flux.
Numerous typo and stylistic corrections (thanks to Leslie!)
Listened to The Paradise of Death (segment 1).
As part of a site-wide style update, the guide now has a lighter background and a few elements have shadows to help them pop out.
Added more navigation links (previous, next in range).
Created this recent updates section.
Added next segment links.
Changed the rating for The Marian Conspiracy from “Yes” to “Definitely”.
Listened to Pescatons, Exploration Earth, and Slipback (segment 1).
Had to re-add “no” to the rating system, specifically for Pescatons.
Finished listening to segment 3.
Updated the rating system so that its “definitely/yes/maybe” instead of “definitely/yes/no”.
Added The Hollow King to The Flux.

The List

Important Note

The Big Finish audio dramas are often darker than the TV show, and deal with more adult themes. I’ll put a special note on the stories that are especially dark.

If you don’t want to see my opinions, click this button:

If there are any problems with this list, or you have any questions about the audio dramas, please let me know.