Quick Vinyl Review – ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ (Doctor Who)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Christmas 2020 was certainly a Peter Davison-filled Christmas for me! 😀 As well as watching the 2020 Christmas Special of ‘Call the Midwife’ on Christmas Day, I enjoyed listening to the ASDA-exclusive vinyl of ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’, one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ audios. 🙂

‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ was originally released on a 2-disc CD set by Big Finish in 2013. It stars Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. The vinyl solved my Fifth Doctor/Nyssa fix for Christmas 2020 after what has been a nightmare of a year – please keep safe. 🙂

Since I couldn’t see Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton at a convention this year due to Covid-19, I was lucky to have a vinyl edition of one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ audios to listen to over Christmas 2020. That and seeing Sarah Sutton via a Zoom chat session on the 22nd of November! So fantastic! 😀

The four-part story of ‘Fanfare For The Common Men’ by Eddie Robson is about the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa discovering the pop group called the Common Men taking the Beatles out of their place in history. You see! The 2019 film ‘Yesterday’ didn’t do that idea first! ‘Fanfare For The Common Men’ did it first. 😀

It was amazing to have ‘Fanfare’ re-released as a vinyl. I’m so glad it has been re-released as a vinyl at last since it does feel rather fitting. The CD discs looked like vinyl discs, so it’s great that a ‘Doctor Who’ story about the 1960s and having Beatles-like music in it could have its own vinyl edition here.

I have had a vinyl experience of a Fifth Doctor/Nyssa audio before in ‘Spare Parts’. Big Finish also re-released ‘The Chimes of Midnight’ starring Paul McGann and India Fisher on vinyl. Those vinyl editions of the two ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories were released as four-disc sets and not as two disc sets!

The stories themselves were also divided into six episodes as opposed to four. Here, ‘Fanfare’ is spread across two discs with ‘Part One’ on Disc 1, Side A; ‘Part Two’ on Disc 1, Side B; ‘Part Three’ on Disc 2, Side A and ‘Part Four’ on Disc 2, Side B. A very different but satisfying listening experience! 😀

The vinyl discs themselves are 140g red and purple as it’s a gatefold double LP. Each of the four episodes are on each side of the two discs, so there aren’t any CD extras such as the incidental music I’ve grown to love as well as the behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew on the making of the story.

It was lovely to hear Peter and Sarah as the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa again on vinyl and re-experience one of my favourite Big Finish audios featuring them. Spending time on Christmas Day and Boxing Day 2020 listening to ‘Fanfare’ on vinyl was a delight, since I’ve missed seeing Sarah and Peter at conventions. 🙂

As well as Peter and Sarah, the story also features Mitch Benn as Mark Carville, Andrew Knott as James O’Meara and David Dobson as Korky Goldsmith, the three Common Men. There’s also Ryan Sampson as the villainous Lenny Kruger, Alison Thea-Skot as Rita and Sadie, and Jonty Stephens as Paravatar. The four-part adventure is directed by Barnaby Edwards, who’s a great Big Finish director.

The cast of ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’. From left to right: Ryan Sampson, Sarah Sutton, David Dobson, Andrew Knott, Peter Davison, Mitch Benn, Alison Thea-Skot and Jonty Stephens.

I like how the vinyl is presented, especially with the front cover featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. That is a big selling point for me to see Peter and Sarah on the front cover! 😀 It was also lovely to see an extra behind-the-scenes photo of Peter and Sarah with the cast of ‘Fanfare’ that I hadn’t seen before in the vinyl set (albeit in black-and-white). It was lovely to see lyrics for ‘Oh Won’t You Please Love Me?’ – one of the Common Men’s songs in the story, as well as Eddie Robson’s writer notes inside the vinyl set. 🙂

Listening to the story again on vinyl has been compelling and it’s still easy to get into despite the jumping back-and-forth in time to 1960, 1963, 1967 and 1970. I will admit, the ending is quite complex and it needs to be heard more than once, but it’s still a pretty engaging, gripping story to hear.

I’m glad my Christmas was a happy one with hearing Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton in the vinyl edition of ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ as well as seeing Peter in ‘Call the Midwife’ recently. It’s certainly something that’s cheered me up in a tough year. The 1960s music helps too. 🙂

‘Fanfare’ still remains one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories by Big Finish and it’s incredible that back in 2013, it was to celebrate 50 years of a TV show I grew to love and I’m still loving it to this day. I do wish everyone could have this vinyl edition of ‘Fanfare’ since it’s an ASDA-exclusive release.

I look forward to revisiting ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ soon in both the CD and the vinyl versions for my 2021-22 mini-review season of ‘The Nyssa Challenge’. In the meantime, check out my original review on ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ on my blog by clicking on the link for it. 🙂


Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Quick Vinyl Review – ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Timelord 007

    I’d purchased a couple these & kept one sealed be worth a few quid later on.

    Great product review brilliant story this, see I’m not that grumpy to like a bit singing in Doctor Who when there’s a reason for it to be included.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on the vinyl of ‘Fanfare For The Common Men’. I’m looking forward to hearing this again soon. I enjoyed uploading my review to my blog whilst listening to the ‘Fanfare’ music in the background via the CD copy I’ve got. ‘Fanfare’ truly was worth listening to over Christmas via vinyl.

      Tim. 🙂



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