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You may be looking for BBV as it exists within the DWU.

BBV Productions (also known as Bill & Ben Video) is a British video production company founded by Bill Baggs in 1991. The company was named for Baggs himself and his then-wife Helen, whose nickname is "Ben."[1] It was a commercial enterprise that served Doctor Who fans who were starved of content between the broadcasts of Survival and Rose. Towards this end it heavily used Doctor Who actors and, when possible, characters. BBV therefore quickly gained the reputation for putting out content that was "almost official" or "nearly Doctor Who". In truth, though, its output was a bit more varied than that. Most of it could safely be put into one of five categories:

  • documentaries
  • fiction using characters owned by individual Doctor Who writers
  • fiction using characters owned by the BBC whom the BBC gave BBV permission to use
  • what Nicholas Briggs has called "Who clones", or things that were very close to Doctor Who, but the names were changed to keep the BBC at bay
  • some wholly original material using nothing that connected to the DWU, aside possibly from Doctor Who actors

Of these five types, this wiki is only interested in the first three. Because it's a little confusing, a list of BBV releases appears below to demonstrate which are DWU stories and which are not.

Personnel[]

BBV developed a repertory company of actors that appeared in many of their productions, often playing different roles. Many of these actors were previously known from their work in Doctor Who, and included former Doctor actors Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy and companion actors Caroline John, Louise Jameson, Nicola Bryant, and Sophie Aldred.

Several actors appearing in these productions early in their careers went on to achieve further notability, including Nicholas Briggs, Mark Gatiss, and Alan Cumming. A number of personnel behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera, including Briggs, Gatiss and Cumming, would go on to work on licenced Doctor Who spinoffs at Virgin Books, BBC Books, and Big Finish Productions, as well as the 2005 television revival of Doctor Who.

Productions[]

Work in Video[]

BBV's first production was the 1992 video release Summoned by Shadows, which was co-produced by the BBC Film Club and starred Colin Baker playing an unnamed character only known as the Stranger and Nicola Bryant as Miss Brown. Although these characters were evidently reminiscent of the pair of the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown, Bryant did not use her American accent for the Stranger Miss Brown, setting her performance apart from Peri, and later installments of the series gave the Strange and Miss Brown a notably different backstory from "a Time Lord and his companion". Overall, the Stranger's adventures were chronicled on six videos and an audio adventure, many of which featured former Who cast members. The sixth video, Eye of the Beholder, was later re-released as the audio story Eye of the Storm.

BBV's next release was the ecologically-themed thriller The Airzone Solution, which was about a near-future conspiracy. The video was released in 1993, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Doctor Who and featured four actors previously cast as the Doctor.

In 1994, BBV released the first video in the P.R.O.B.E. series, The Zero Imperative, which saw a departure for BBV as Liz Shaw was the only character from the Who universe to appear (although numerous Who actors made appearances as different characters). This proved problematic for the series, as Liz Shaw seemed very much changed following her leaving from UNIT; this was due to BBV only acquiring the rights to use the character and had no rights to the Doctor, meaning that the series could make no explicit reference to any other aspect of Who – including the stories where Liz was present.

BBV's next series of spin-off videos focused on UNIT and their battles with the Autons. The first video of the series, Auton, was originally to feature Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, however he had to withdraw due to ill health. The Brigadier was replaced by the original character of Lockwood, an enigmatic UNIT agent played by Michael Wade.

After the success of the Auton Trilogy, BBV attempted to secure the rights to the Cybermen and began production on a film featuring Cybermen hunting characters on a remote island. Negotiations fell through and elements of the script were turned into an audio story, Cyber-Hunt, which introduced a new alien race reminiscent of (but distinct from) the Cybermen: the Cyberons. A few years later, the Cyberons appeared in Cyberon, a home video feature film, which reintroduced Jo Castleton (who had played Natasha Alexander in the Auton Trilogy) in a new part, psychiatrist Lauren Anderson. Although Cyberon had no official ties to the DWU upon release, it was intended to take place in the DWU's continuity, as evidenced by the Cyberons and Lauren Anderson's subsequent appearances in other BBV productions alongside "real" DWU characters.

In 2001, BBV released the comedy featurette Do You Have a Licence to Save this Planet?. It was a Doctor Who parody primarily poking fun at BBV's own practices, with a turning point of the plot involving Cyberons who wish to regain "handlebars" and thereby become true Cybermen so that the can sell merchandise of themselves. The story prominently featured licensed appearances by Autons and Cybermen as well as a cartoon prologue featuring Rassilon. Sylvester McCoy starred as a parody of the Seventh Doctor named "the Chiropodist", who was a Chrono-Duke instead of a Time Lord and travelled in a flying washing machine.

BBV also ventured into non-fiction, producing documentaries such as The Doctors: 30 Years of Time Travel and Beyond and Bidding Adieu: A Video Diary.

BBV's only release in 2008 was the drama Zygon: When Being You Just Isn't Enough, which featured Zygons as both protagonists and antagonists. The main character Lauren Anderson had previously appeared in Cyberon. The film had actually been mostly shot by 2003, but initially scrapped; only after additional shooting years later was the film completed and released.[2]

In 2015, BBV released, When to Die, the long-awaited return of the P.R.O.B.E. series.

Work in Audio[]

After experimenting with audio for a few years, BBV began regularly releasing audio dramas in 1998 under the umbrella title "Audio Adventures in Time and Space". One line of adventures was The Time Travellers, starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as "the Professor" and "Ace;" the two so closely resembled their Doctor Who characters that, by the seventh story, the BBC had stepped in and demanded changes to not infringe copyrights – the main change was that the main characters were now called "the Dominie" and "Alice."

The first of the Audio Adventures that didn't feature McCoy and Aldred was a two-story series called The Wanderer, which featured Nicholas Briggs as an amnesiac space-traveller whom one of the other characters dubs "Fred". Briggs had previously played the Doctor for unlicenced fan audios made by Audio Visuals; the Wanderer stories were a deliberate continuation of that series in all but name.[3]

Bill was worried about getting sued by the BBC, so he wanted to further distance his 'Who Clone' products by casting someone who hadn't been the Doctor (officially)... Me! I was very reluctant, but Bill was relentless and persuasive. [...] He told me to write Doctor Who, but find some clever way of making it lawyer-proof!Nicholas Briggs[3]

BBV moved away from audio stories about characters that could be the Doctor after the establishment of Big Finish Productions' officially-licenced line of Doctor Who audio dramas, instead moving on to audios featuring other characters from the Who universe such as the First Rani (licenced from her creators Pip and Jane Baker) as well as a thinly-veiled post-Warriors' Gate Romana II (referred to only as "the Mistress" to avoid infringement) and K9 (fully licenced from his creators Bob Baker and Dave Martin.)

As with their videos, BBV also produced audios featuring original characters battling invasions by licenced aliens (such as Autons and Zygons) or close matches to Doctor Who monsters which were altered to avoid infringement (such as the Cyberman-like "Cyberons.") BBV also released a series of stories by Lawrence Miles about his history-spanning cult organisation, Faction Paradox.

In September 2003 BBV announced that it would be no longer producing audio stories, with the exception of Faction Paradox, and instead would focus on video releases. By December 2005, past audio releases were being deleted from their catalogue. [4] However, the full Audio Adventures in Time & Space library became available once more in 2021 as paid downloads from a revamped BBV Productions website, and a first new BBV audio release ultimately saw the light of day in the form of a reading of The Door We Forgot by Bill Baggs himself.

Work in Webcasts[]

In 2021 BBV released a series of short P.R.O.B.E. webcasts on their YouTube channel under the title of P.R.O.B.E. Online. After being released weekly, they were taken off the Internet (but for two) and collected as a paying release available through the BBV Website as P.R.O.B.E. Case Files.

Hiatus and revival[]

The original BBV Productions website, BBVOnline.co.uk, became inaccessible in late 2009. In January 2011, BBV's registration of the domain had expired leaving it to be taken up by a new registrant for an unrelated site. Though this left BBV with no official online presence, in 2012 a number of BBV releases were reissued on DVD through retail channels; the P.R.O.B.E. series was rereleased in March 2012, followed by Do You Have a License to Save This Planet?, Cyberon and Bidding Adieu in August of that year.

Bill Baggs ultimately returned to DWU work with a new P.R.O.B.E. film, When to Die, in memory of Caroline John, featuring Hazel Burrows taking over the role of Liz Shaw. It was released on 15 April 2015. [5] In 2018, BBV released Sunrise: Love Again, an independent feature film written and directed by Bill Baggs.

In late 2020 and continuing into 2021, BBV Productions started uploading interviews of various vintages with Doctor Who cast and crew to their YouTube channel, as well as making Sunrise: Love Again available for free as a form of promotion on the same channel. They also revived the P.R.O.B.E. series with a series of webcasts, "Case Files" starring a returning Bill Baggs as Giles. These webcasts occasionally featured licensed appearances by, or references to, other DWU elements than P.R.O.B.E., including the Shed Scales from Faction Paradox.

This preceded the revival of the BBV website at new domain BBVProductions.co.uk in the first half of 2021, which made all of the company's back catalogue (both DWU and otherwise) available as paid downloads as well as permitting the order or preorder of home media releases. A new season of Audio Adventures in Time & Space was begun, including original P.R.O.B.E. stories featuring the "new team", as well as the reissuing of the hitherto-unrelated-to-BBV audio series The Minister of Chance as part of the label. Through partnerships with Thebes Publishing and Arcbeatle Press, Erimem, Cyberon and Cwej: The Series ebooks were also sold through the BBV website, even as they remained available through their primary publishers.

Releases[]

Video[]

Title Year of release Series Licensed DWU elements Covered here?
Summoned by Shadows 1991 The Stranger N/A No[vid 1]
More than a Messiah 1992
In Memory Alone 1993
The Airzone Solution N/A
The Terror Game 1994 The Stranger
The Zero Imperative P.R.O.B.E. Liz Yes
Stranger than Fiction Documentary N/A
Breach of the Peace The Stranger No
The Devil of Winterborne 1995 P.R.O.B.E. Liz, P.R.O.B.E. Yes
Stanger than Fiction 2: From Script to Screen Documentary N/A
Eye of the Beholder The Stranger No
Unnatural Selection 1996 P.R.O.B.E. Liz, P.R.O.B.E. Yes
Bidding Adieu: A Video Diary Documentary N/A
Ghosts of Winterborne P.R.O.B.E. Liz, P.R.O.B.E., Winterborne School
Auton 1997 Auton Trilogy Autons, UNIT Yes
Stranger Than Fiction 3: Acting Up 1998 Documentary N/A
Auton 2: Sentinel Auton Trilogy Autons, UNIT, Lockwood, Sally & Winslet
Auton 3: Awakening 1999
Soul's Ark[vid 2] N/A No
Cyberon 2000 Cyberon N/A
Do You Have a Licence to Save this Planet? 2001 N/A Sontarans, Autons, Krynoids, Rassilon See footnote[vid 3]
The Doctors: 30 Years of Time Travel and Beyond 2002 Documentary N/A Yes
Zygon: When Being You Just Isn't Enough 2008 Zygon Zygons
When to Die 2015 P.R.O.B.E. Liz, P.R.O.B.E., Patsy,
Sunrise: Love Again 2018 N/A No
JNT: Uncut! 2021 Documentary N/A Yes
Jon Pertwee: Uncut!
P.R.O.B.E. Case Files - Volume 1 P.R.O.B.E. P.R.O.B.E., Liz, Giles, Doctor X, Elizabeth Holub
Philip Hinchcliffe: Uncut! Documentary N/A
  1. Because of the fact that BBV released both unlicensed and semi-licensed works, our community had to examine each release on a case-by-case basis. Basically the rule of thumb for fictional video releases is this: did BBV obtain a license from either the BBC or a writer who owned rights to a preexisting DWU element in order to make the video? If they did, then we assert that the video is a valid DWU narrative, and we therefore cover it. On the other hand, if BBV simply made up new characters and cast them with Doctor Who actors, then the video is not legally a part of the DWU, whatever the intent behind it, and we don't cover it.
  2. Co-Produced Between BBV & Western Union.
  3. As this story is a lawful parody of Doctor Who, featuring licensed use of the Sontarans, Autons and Krynoids, it warrants some coverage on this Wiki. However, due to its parodical nature, it is not considered part of the DWU as we define it. Thus, it, and all related pages, must be marked invalid.

Webcasts[]

Title Series Covered here?
Overture to 'Sabbath and the King' Faction Paradox Yes
My mate, Erimem Erimem

Audio[]

Main article: Audio Adventures in Time and Space

Books and Ebooks[]

Title Format Series Covered here?
Faction Paradox Protocols: The Scripts: Vol. 1 Physical and digital Faction Paradox Yes
Faction Paradox Protocols: The Scripts: Vol. 2
Faction Paradox Protocols: The Scripts: Vol. 3
Mr Saldaamir Digital
The Beast of Stalingrad: The Script Erimem
Republica Physical Novelisations in Time & Space
Cyber-Hunt
Cybergeddon

Unproduced stories[]

Title Author Series Format
Ishmael's Star Mark Gatiss P.R.O.B.E. Home video
Drome Dave Stone Audio
Kill or Cure Iain McLaughlin Zygon
Precis
Untitled Zygon film David A. McIntee Home video

External links[]

Footnotes[]

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