BBV is a video and audio production company specialising in
science fictiondrama, known for its links with the British science fiction televisionseries " 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.
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 Colin Bakeras the nameless protagonist (listed in the credits as "The Stranger"). Nicola Bryantco-starred as "Miss Brown". The adventures of The Stranger ran to six videos (and two audio dramas, the second, confusingly, remade as the sixth video). (For more information, see The Stranger (video series).)
BBV's next effort was "The AirZone Solution?", an ecologically-themed thriller about a near future conspiracy. Released in
1993, "Doctor Who" 's thirtieth anniversary year, it featured "four" ex-Doctors. Baker and Bryant starred. Successor Sylvester McCoyand predecessors Peter Davisonand Jon Pertweealso appeared as members of a small group joined 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, only 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 Liz had 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, robotic invaders 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 the original character of Lockwood, an enigmatic UNIT agent played by Michael Wade.
After the success of the
Auton trilogy, BBV produced "Cyberon" (featuring a race of alien cyborgs reminiscent of the Cybermen). 2001's "Do you Have a Licence to Save this Planet?" was a comedy featuring Sylvester McCoyas the Chiropodist, meaning Foot Doctor. This spoof not only referenced previous BBV productions- but also "Doctor Who" itself.
BBV's latest production is "Zygon: When being you just isn't enough" (prevously titled "Zygon: When Being Me Is Not Enough"). In which Mike Kirkwood dreams of being a monster, he is in fact a
Zygon, believeing himself to be human. This story also features Jo Castletons character of Doctor Lauren Anderson from "Cyberon".
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 McCoyand Sophie Aldred(the Doctor/companion team from the 1987, 1988 and 1989 seasons of "Doctor Who") as a pair of wanderers in time and space named "The Professor" (McCoy) and "Ace" (Aldred) 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, the main one being that the adventures now featured "The Dominie" (McCoy) and "Alice" (Aldred).
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 Visualsseries of unlicensed fan audios.
BBV 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 Productionsbegan producing officially licensed "Doctor Who" audio dramas featuring the original actors reprising their incarnation of the character) 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 were also created by the writing pair), and a series of stories by Lawrence Milesabout his history-spanning terrorist organisation Faction Paradox.
In 2002 BBV announced that they would not produce any more audio CDs, instead they would concentrate on their new DVD releases.
Summoned by Shadows" by Christian Darkin
More Than A Messiah" by Nigel Fairs
In Memory Alone" by Nicholas Briggs
The Terror Game" by Nicholas Briggs
Breach of the Peace (BBV)" by Nicholas Briggs
Eye of the Beholder (BBV)" by Nicholas Briggs
*#"The Zero Imperative" by Mark Gatiss
*#"The Devil of Winterborne" by Mark Gatiss
*#"Unnatural Selection" by Mark Gatiss
*#"Ghosts of Winterborne" by Mark Gatiss
*#"Auton" by Nicholas Briggs
*#"Auton 2: Sentinel" by Nicholas Briggs
*#"Auton 3" by Arthur Wallis (Nicholas Briggs) and Paul Ebbs
**"The AirZone Solution?" by Nicholas Briggs
**"Cyberon" by Lance Parkin
**"Do you have a Licence to Save this Planet?" by Paul Ebbs and Gareth Preston
**"Stranger Than Fiction"
**"Stranger Than Fiction 2: From script to screen"
**"Bidding Adieu" video diary of
Sylvester McCoy's experience in the 1996 Doctor Who movie
Licensed "Doctor Who" spin-offs
*K-9 and his Mistress
*#"The Choice" by Nigel Fairs
*#"The Search" by Mark Duncan
**"Homeland" by Paul Dearing
**"Absolution" by Paul Ebbs
**"The Barnacled Baby" by Anthony Keetch
**"The Root of All Evil" by Lance Parkin
**"The Green Man" by Zoltán Déry
**"Silent Warrior" by Peter Grehan
**"Old Soldiers" by Simon J Gerard and Colin Hill
**"Conduct Unbecoming" by Gareth Preston
**"In 2 Minds" by Iain Hepburn
**"I Scream" by Lance Parkin
*Guy de Carnac
**"A Quality of Mercy" by Dave McIntee
**"The Rani Reaps The Whirlwind" by Pip & Jane Baker
**"Race Memory" by Paul Ebbs
*#"The Eleven Day Empire" by Lawrence Miles
*#"The Shadow Play" by Lawrence Miles
*#"Sabbath Dei" by Lawrence Miles
*#"The Year of the Cat" by Lawrence Miles
*#"Movers" by Lawrence Miles
*#"A Labyrinth of Histories" by Lawrence Miles
Unofficial/Apocryphal "Doctor Who" spin-offs
*The Dominie and Alice
*#"Republica" by Mark Gatiss
*#"Island of Lost Souls" by Mark Gatiss
*#"Prosperity Island" by
*#"The Left Hand of Darkness" by Mark Duncan
*#"The Other Side" by Mark Duncan
*#"Guests for the Night" by Nigel Fairs
*#"Ghosts" by Nigel Fairs
*#"Only Human" by Mark J. Thompson
*#"Blood Sports" by Nigel Fairs
*#"Punchline" by Jeremy Leadbetter (Robert Shearman)
*#"Cyber-Hunt" by Martin Peterson - featuring the Cyberons
*#"Vital Signs" by
**"Cyber-Hunt" by Martin Peterson - featuring Fred
**"Cybergeddon" by Paul Ebbs
*The Stranger audios
**"The Last Mission" by Nicholas Briggs
**"Eye of the Storm" by Arthur Wallis (Nicholas Briggs)
*"Infidel's Comet" by Colin Hill and Simon J Gerard
*"The Pattern" by Mark Duncan
Big Finish Productions
* [http://www.bbvonline.co.uk/ BBV official site]
* [http://www.timelash.com/tardis/ The TARDIS Library] — Full guide to Doctor Who books, videos and audios. Includes an expanded listing of BBV's "Doctor Who" releases, with cover images & user ratings/reviews.
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