Doctor Who: Bernice Summerfield’s earliest audios are finally available on download

Bernice Summerfield’s earliest audio adventures are finally available on download – which is hugely exciting news for Doctor Who and Big Finish fans old and new.

This is something that I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Back in 1998 – a year before they started making Doctor Who audios – Big Finish Productions released their first-ever full-cast audio production: Oh No It Isn’t!, an adaptation of the novel written by Paul Cornell. It was also the first release of a series of audios featuring Professor Bernice Summerfield (also known as “Benny” to her friends).

When she had originally been introduced as a companion to the Seventh Doctor, Bernice had proven to be so popular that Virgin decided to continue the New Adventures novels with her, even after they had lost the license for Doctor Who itself. So it’s unsurprising that, one year before Big Finish obtained the license for making Doctor Who on audio, they decided to dip into Benny’s world first.

The first series of Bernice Summerfield proved successful enough to lead to another…and another…and another. Over two decades later, and Bernice Summerfield’s audios still continue to be popular for Big Finish to this day. And it all began with that first series. A series that, for the longest time, hadn’t been available on download before…until now.

Doctor Who

Bernice Summerfield: Oh No It Isn’t team Jonathan Brüün, Jo Castleton, Alistair Lock, Nicholas Courtney, Mark Gatiss, Nicholas Briggs, Gary Russell, Lisa Bowerman. Image Courtesy Big Finish Productions

Old stories, new audience

As of today, for the first time ever, the first four series of Bernice Summerfield are now available to purchase on download. This is a huge step. While many of Benny’s later series have been available on download (starting with Epoch in 2011), any of her audio stories before that have been exclusively available on CD.

Personally speaking, while I’ve enjoyed owning many stories on CD from Big Finish – particularly the limited editions – honestly, the medium of download has become considerably more convenient for me, especially as a user of the Big Finish app. Being able to just download any audio I have the moment it’s been purchased or released is extremely satisfying, especially when listening to stories while I’m on the move.

Discovering Benny’s history

On top of that, as well as being a fan of the audio medium, I’m also a fan of Benny. I’ve only heard her audios from 2011 onwards, but there is no question in my mind that she’s a brilliant character. Whether it’s hearing her solo adventures, her travels with Seven and Ace, or, more recently, her continuing banter with David Warner’s Unbound Doctor as he explores our universe, Bernice is always a fantastic character to listen to.

So finally making her earliest audio adventures considerably more accessible – especially for listeners outside of the UK – is a huge relief. While there are still many more audios that need to be released on download – specifically, from Series 5 to 11 – it’s definitely a big first step. Expect reviews from us on each story from her first four series over the coming months.

Right now, new listeners can enjoy any story from the first four series of Bernice Summerfield on sale on CD or download directly from Big Finish’s website. Stories can be purchased individually or as part of series bundles right now. And if you want to dip your toe into Bernice Summerfield – or even Big Finish in general – be sure to download Oh No It Isn’t! right now while it’s free. All offers end at 23:59 on Sep 6 UK time.

Are you a fan of Bernice Summerfield? Have you listened to any of her audio adventures before, or even read some of the many books that she’s featured in? Are you glad that her earliest adventures are finally available on download? Let us know in the comments below.