‘TRAIL OF THE WHITE WORM’/’THE OSEIDON ADVENTURE’
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The Doctor and Leela vs. The Master
‘TRAIL OF THE WHITE WORM’ (Part 1)
The Master is back!
‘Trail of the White Worm’/’The Oseidon Adventure’ is the first four-part audio adventure from Big Finish featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela. The story is strangely divided into two separate CDs. The first CD is called ‘Trail of the White Worm’ and the second CD is called ‘The Oseidon Adventure’.
I found it frustrating that you couldn’t get the complete four-part story in one 2-disc set and that you had to get the second CD after purchasing the first one. To me this is a mistake, since you could easily lose one of the two CDs and make a mistake of listening to the second CD before the first one.
Aside from this, ‘Trail of the White Worm’/’The Osedion Adventure’ is a gripping audio adventure to listen to. It’s great to have Tom Baker’s Doctor and Louise Jameson’s Leela in a four-part audio ‘Doctor Who’ adventure and to be pitted against the Master, played brilliantly by Geoffrey Beevers.
This first CD – ‘Trail of the White Worm’ – contains the first two episodes of this four-part Master story. It gradually builds up to what will happen later in the last two episodes of this four-part story.
I’ve met the lovely Louise Jameson at conventions and recently had the CD cover of ‘Trail of the White Worm’ signed by her (as well as ‘The Oseidon Adventure’) at the ‘Valiant 2015’ convention in Sheffield, March 2015. She agrees that it is so strange to have this story divided in two separate CDs.
In the story, the Doctor and Leela arrive on a country estate in Derbyshire in 1979. A legendary giant white worm attracts the interest of the Doctor and Leela. They soon get hunted down by a mad colonel on his estate. They come face-to-face with the Master, who wants the white worm himself.
This four-part story is by Alan Barnes, who writes well for the Fourth Doctor and Leela. Alan also writes a very captivating story about the Master. It’s unclear what the Master is up to on this first CD but he wants the white worm for something dastardly that will occur later in the final two episodes.
The White Worm seems to be of a Roman legend in this first part of this story. I’m not sure that I’m familiar with this legend or whether it exists as Alan Barnes could have made it up. It is a shame that this wasn’t developed further in this story, as it’s only prominent in this first CD of the four-part tale.
This is the Geoffrey Beevers Master who appears in this adventure. For him, it is set between ‘The Deadly Assassin’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’. I enjoyed Geoffrey’s performance as the Master. Geoffrey is cool and calculating as the Master, with the chilling and creepy voice he uses pretty well.
I’ve chatted to Louise Jameon about Geoffrey Beevers as the Master at the ‘Valiant 2015’ convention in Sheffield. She enjoyed working with Geoffrey as the Master and shared that he was doing a fantastic stage production being toured around the US at the time, which I found pretty fascinating.
Tom Baker excels as ever as the Doctor in this adventure. I liked the Doctor’s wry remarks and in-jokes during the story. Alan Barnes certainly enjoyed playing with the eccentric nature of Tom’s Doctor. I also liked the Doctor’s scenes with Leela and him confronting the Master for the first time.
Louise Jameson has fared well as Leela in these audio adventures. I know how very pleased Louise is with Leela being developed as a stronger character. She shows more resourcefulness compared to the TV series. I also like it when she works things out and dodges the mad Colonel Spindleton’s tank.
As well as Geoffrey Beevers, the story also features a superb guest cast. These include the likes of Michael Cochrane (who I’ve met) as Colonel Hugh Spindelton and Rachael Stirling as Demesne Furze.
I met Michael Cochrane at the ‘celebrate 50 – The Peter Davison Years’ convention in Chiswick, London, April 2013. Michael has beem in ‘Black Orchid’ (my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ story) and has worked with Tom Baker before in ‘Monarch of the Glen’. I enjoyed his performance as the bonkers Colonel Spindleton in this.
Rachael Stirling is the daughter of Diana Rigg, and would go on to appear in ‘The Crimson Horror’ with Matt Smith’s Doctor. I enjoyed Rachael playing this seemingly posh lady in Demesne Furze. It took me by surprise when it transpired that Demesne was actually the White Worm all along in this.
I found it amusing and shocking when the Doctor and Leela get swallowed up by the White Worm, as this put me in mind of Jonah the Whale. Tom Baker certainly found it amusing according to the CD extras and it was strange and weird with the Doctor and Leela talking to each other inside the worm.
This first CD ends on a cliff-hanger with the Master killing Demesne as the White Worm and a ‘wormhole’ opens up. The Doctor tells Leela to get down, as the Master’s allies are about to come through the wormhole. The Doctor doesn’t know who these allies are, but we are soon to find out…
I enjoyed the first CD of this four-part Master story with the Fourth Doctor and Leela. It ends on a cliff-hanger which made me anxious and wondering what would happen next. But I was keen and looking forward on finding out how the Doctor and Leela will defeat the Master in the climax of this.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of this disc, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew. These include interviews with Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Cochrane, director Ken Bentley, etc.
There’s also a trailer as the story continues for the Doctor and Leela in ‘The Oseidon Adventure’.
‘THE OSEIDON ADVENTURE’ (Part 2)
The Kraals have returned!
This is the second disc of the four-part story with the Doctor and Leela vs. the Master. Following on from ‘Trail of the White Worm’, the story continues as it turns out that the Master’s allies are the pig-faced, rhino/troll-like Kraals. This makes this adventure a good sequel to ‘The Android Invasion’.
The Kraals were created by Terry Nation when he wrote ‘The Android Invasion’ back in 1975. I found them to be an interesting bunch of monsters that attempted to invade the Earth by using android duplicates and having a testing ground on their alien planet so they can conduct their invasion plans.
Now they’ve returned in ‘Doctor Who’ again by Big Finish in this exciting Master story. I was thrilled that the Kraals turned out to be the Master’s allies. I wondered how they’d work together and why. The action-packed sequences here make up for the gradual building up in ‘Trail of the White Worm’.
The actors playing the Kraals are tremendous. There’s Dan Starkey as Marshal Grimnal and John Banks as Tyngworg (who I’ve both met). Both have played Sontarans in the Big Finish audios. I’m glad they made the Kraals sound as they were in ‘The Android Invasion’ and like Zippy from ‘Rainbow’! 😀
I’m very pleased with Alan Barnes’ writing for this story and I liked the echoes from ‘The Android Invasion’ in this one. The last two episodes of this story did get a little confusing at times, especially when there were too many Master duplicates and trying to work out which Master was the real one.
The androids featured in this story include the ones in space suits wearing crash-helmets and where they shoot bullets out of the tips of their fingers. This was a nice touch, as these androids featured in ‘The Android Invasion’. They also duplicated the Doctor in this adventure, as they did in the TV story.
As the title suggests, we get to go to the Kraals’ radiation-wrecked planet of Oseidon. It was exciting when the Doctor gets captured and taken back to the Kraal base. It was equally exciting when Leela gets to ride on horseback and rescues him from the Kraal scientist called Tyngworg and the Master.
However, I felt that something was lost with the link between ‘Trail of the White Worm’ and ‘The Oseidon Adventure’. The ‘wormhole’ link between the Earth and the Kraal planet is evident, but it tends to get forgotten about when the story develops on with the Kraals’ invasion and the Master.
Leela has been well-treated in these audio adventures and Louise Jameson really enjoys playing her. I’ve had the CD cover for this (and for ‘Trail of the White Worm’) signed by Louise at the ‘Valiant 2015’ convention in Sheffield. Like Sarah Sutton, Louise knows who I am and I enjoy chatting to her.
I found it exciting when Leela gets to ride a horse from Colonel Spindleton to rescue the Doctor on Oseidon. It was good when the Master tries to hypnotise Leela and she smacks him one, resisting the Master’s influence. Leela’s resourcefulness and hunting instincts are portrayed so well in this audio.
Tom Baker equally excels as the Doctor in this audio adventure and is great when he comes up against the Kraals once more. I liked it when the Doctor works out that the Master is an android at times, as he can sense a Time Lord’s brain. Also the Doctor’s wit and bonkers nature is clearly shown.
Geoffrey Beevers delivers a superb performance as the Master. I found it gripping when there was a Master duplicate in one moment and another Master duplicate the next. It turns out the real Master has been fooling the Doctor and Leela with his android duplicates as his real agenda gets in progress.
Michael Cochrane again is superb as Colonel Spindleton. There’s more to learn about him compared to the previous CD and it’s revealed why he’s working with the Master. He also works with the Kraals and admits his old-fashioned ideals into the open. He’s unhappy with the changes on where he lives.
The action of the adventure is supported by the presence of U.N.I.T. This makes the story of being a sequel to ‘The Android Invasion’ complete. We have characters like Captain Clarke helping the Doctor when the Kraals attempt to invade the Earth and there’s also ‘hecilopters’ as Leela calls them.
Another echo from ‘The Android Invasion’ is the Kraals have created a second duplicate of the Devesham village on Oseidon. It was interesting the Kraals have created a second duplicate of the village, pleasing Spindleton, as it reminds him of his home before it was changed by the modern day.
The story ends with the Master and Kraals defeated. Colonel Spindleton is left alive by the end, and the Doctor offers to take him back to U.N.I.T. But Spindleton says “You can stick your offer, sir”, as he remains in the duplicate version of Devesham. With that, the Doctor and Leela leave in the TARDIS.
I’ve enjoyed ‘The Oseidon Adventure’, the second CD of this four-part Master story. For all of the four episodes, it has been gripping from beginning to end with the Doctor and Leela. I enjoyed the Master as the villain and the return of the Kraals, who I hope will return to ‘Doctor Who’ someday!
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of this disc, there’s a trailer for the second season of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm. There are also some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Geoffrey Beevers, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for Season 1 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ starting with ‘Destination: Nerva’, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a two-part making-of documentary called ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures Retrospective’ that goes with ‘The Osedion Adventure’.
‘Trail of the White Worm’/’The Osedion Adventure’ rating – 8/10
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