‘THE EVIL ONE’
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Leela is the Evil One and the Master Returns
“The Evil One!” said Leela. “Well nobody’s perfect…” the Doctor replied. – ‘The Face of Evil’.
‘The Evil One’ is the fourth adventure in this second season of ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures by Big Finish with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela. It is a brilliant story that I have enjoyed. This delves more into Leela and it features the return of Geoffrey Beevers as the Master.
This is a two-part adventure written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. It deals with something that happened in Leela’s first story, ‘The Face of Evil’. The producer David Richardson wanted to explore more of Leela’s backstory, concerning her father who died horrifically and was never mentioned again.
From the story’s title, the ‘evil one’ was Xoanon, the false god of Leela’s tribe, the Sevateem, in the image of Tom Baker’s Doctor. Xoanon haunts Leela again in her nightmares, as she becomes the ‘evil one’! This was quite a different change in terms of making ‘the evil one’ as Leela instead of the Doctor.
The Doctor and Leela visit a space luxury cruiser called the Moray Rose. All the crew and passengers are missing and the Doctor and Leela discover atrocious murders taking place caused by the robot-like mantis Salonu. But a deadly plan for revenge takes place since the Master has lured Leela into his trap.
It was great to hear another Master story with the Fourth Doctor and Leela. The last time the Doctor and Leela encountered the Master was in ‘Trail of the White Worm’/’The Oseidon Adventure’. This is a classic Master story, as he wants to see the Doctor suffer when turning his savage friend against him.
I really enjoyed how this adventure explores more of Leela’s background since her father Sole died in her place in the Test of the Horda. Leela has horrible nightmares where she lets her father get killed in her place maliciously. It was so intriguing how Leela copes with the aftereffects of her father’s death.
Louise Jameson is superb as Leela in this audio adventure. I’ve said this before in another review, but I really like Leela in these audio dramas. They make her more interesting compared to the TV stories that she’s done as I know how much Louise enjoys the challenges of playing Leela differently on audio.
Leela mentioned how she mourned for her father previously in ‘The Crooked Man’. It was interesting how this story drives forward that aspect of Leela as well as what she goes through when dealing with the aftermath of her father’s death. Leela’s relationship with the Doctor is also explored in this drama.
I found Louise Jameson’s performance as ‘evil’ Leela pretty gripping and disturbing to listen to, when she’s being manipulated and changed by the Master and doesn’t consider the Doctor as her friend. It was horrible to listen to when Leela was trying to kill the Doctor and being very nasty and threatening.
Tom Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor. Tom and Louise are the best of friends nowadays and it’s surprising to think that there was friction between them in the TV series. Tom enjoyed working on this story and he liked what was given to Louise as Leela in terms of her character.
I liked it when Tom’s Doctor gradually works out what’s going on aboard the Moray Rose and is clearly worried for Leela when she gets kidnapped by the robot Salonu. The Doctor gets to face the Master again and it was pretty intense when he’s hunted by Leela who manages to stab him with a Janis thorn.
Geoffrey Beevers returns as the Master in this audio adventure. I like Geoffrey’s Master in these Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’. I’m pleased there are more stories compared to ‘The Keeper of Traken’. Geoffrey has this pretty chilling voice and he clearly relishes playing the Master in the Big Finish stories.
The Master is hell-bent on revenge upon the Doctor. He clearly wants to him suffer and die at the hands of his companion Leela. The Master gets to dupe Leela under his influence by disguising himself as Xoanon. He considers Leela inferior and thinks he can control Leela’s mind, believing she is a savage.
An interesting point about the Master is that he goes under this alias as an Interplanetary Police Inspector called Efendi. The Doctor reveals that ‘Efendi’ is actually another word for ‘Master’ – Turkish actually. I did like that moment since I didn’t realise that before. The Master is clearly one for disguises.
Michael Keating guest stars as insurance agent Calvert. Michael is well-known for appearing in ‘Blake’s 7’ and has appeared in a ‘Doctor Who’ story before with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson called ‘The Sun Makers’. I’m pretty sure Tom, Louise and Michael had a great time reuniting with each other here.
Calvert is an insurance agent that the Doctor and Leela meet when they’re on the Moray Rose. I liked the scenes where Calvert kept on threatening the Doctor and Leela with guns. I liked Calvert’s scenes with Tom’s Doctor as they look for Leela. Sadly Calvert gets killed when he gets coerced by the Master.
Gareth Armstrong, who was in ‘The Masque of Mandragora’, guest stars as Arthley. Arthley is part of the secret service and was under the employ of the Master as Police Inspector Efendi. I liked Gareth’s performance in this audio adventure as he has this rich voice and he adds elements of edge in Arthley.
The monsters are the mantis/robot-like Salonu. They were employed by the Master to steal gold and to kidnap Leela from the Doctor. The Salonu are telepathic and are very well-voiced by Nicholas Briggs. They’re led by the Salonu Prime, voiced by Gareth Armstrong, who also works with the Master in this.
I liked that defining scene where Leela is about to give the Doctor the antidote to the poison from the Janis thorn she stabbed him with. The Master tries to take control of her, calling her a ‘simple savage’. But Leela manages to overcome the Master’s influence and she rescues the Doctor with that antidote.
The last scene in the TARDIS between the Doctor and Leela was very touching and moving. Leela wallows in self-pity but the Doctor reassures her that she’s a better person when they talk about her father. It’s one of my favourite scenes as it is rare to happen between Tom’s Doctor and Louise’s Leela.
‘The Evil One’ has been a great ‘Doctor Who’ adventure to listen to. I immensely enjoyed it and think it’s one of the best ones for Louise Jameson who delivers her best performance as Leela. I also liked Geoffrey Beever’s return as the Master. I wonder when he will return since he managed to escape. 😀
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Tom Baker; Louise Jameson; Geoffrey Beevers; Michael Keating; Gareth Armstorng; writer/director Nicholas Briggs and producer David Richardson. There is a trailer for the next story with the Fourth Doctor and Leela called ‘Last of the Colophon’.
‘The Evil One’ rating – 10/10
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