The Seventh Doctor revisits The Psychic Circus in a brand new sequel/prequel to the classic Doctor Who story The Greatest Show in the Galaxy – out now!
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is a rather distinctive Doctor Who story, in many ways. The first time I watched it, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. In some ways, it’s very much of its time, featuring a lot of colorful and distinctive characters, including crooked captains, rapping ringmasters and creepy clowns. It threw a lot at the viewer, and it was difficult to know what to make of it on first viewing.
On subsequent viewings, however, it became easier to see how much of an absolute gem this story is. It features a great deal of originality; the characters all stand out, but for the best reasons, and it features an intriguing story that ends in a huge explosion. It’s a big highlight of Sylvester McCoy’s era on television, and still holds up today.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that Big Finish Productions have released a direct followup to it. But how do you follow on from a serial like The Greatest Show in the Galaxy? The story was essentially wrapped up at the end, and the major threat had been dealt with. Well, the answer is simple: you only make it a sequel from the Doctor’s perspective, but you also have it set before the original story for everyone else. Far more importantly, you get the original story’s writer to handle the follow-up…
Returning to the Psychic Circus
Stephen Wyatt, who originally wrote The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, reveals what it was like to return to his old creation.
I wasn’t ever expecting to revisit the Psychic Circus. When I wrote The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, I knew I wasn’t writing for the next season. I had already drafted two four-part stories for two seasons in a row on Doctor Who during Andrew Cartmel’s time as script editor, and when the series came to an end, I thought that was it.
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So, it’s been quite a surprise and also rather nice to come back. For quite a few years I thought classic Doctor Who was dead and gone. I’ve only discovered recently that wasn’t actually the case, particularly because of the new series of Doctor Who. People who have watched the new series have gone back and discovered the older ones.
This is Stephen Wyatt’s first story for Big Finish Productions, but not his first story for the audio format, as he has worked considerably for radio. So this experience, combined with the fact that he created so many characters that feature in The Psychic Circus, certainly make him an ideal writer for the sequel/prequel.
On top of that, two of the original actors from Galaxy have returned for this story. This includes Chris Jury as Kingpin and Ian Reddington as the Chief Clown. Considering how creepy the latter character was, it’s nice to see Reddington return to his old role.
The Psychic Circus is available now on both CD and download directly from Big Finish’s website.
Are you a fan of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy? Are you excited about the new prequel/sequel to it? Let us know in the comments below.