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Seven vs. The Master – Celebrating 40 Years of ‘Doctor Who’
This is an intriguing and thought-provoking drama with the evil Time Lord!
‘Master’ is the third story of a multi-Doctor ‘villains’ trilogy to celebrate 40 years of ‘Doctor Who’. It stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor with Geoffrey Beevers as the Master. The story also guest stars Philip Madoc and Anne Ridler. It is a four-part adventure by Joseph Lidster and is so dramatic indeed.
I enjoyed listening to this audio adventure and it puts on a whole new twist on the Time Lord arch-nemesis of the Doctor’s. This time, we see the Master being…a good person for a change. Joseph Lidster delves deep into why the Master is so evil and how he got to that stage during his existence.
The Master is a renegade Time Lord who made his first TV appearance during the 1970s with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in ‘Terror of the Autons’. Since then, he has evolved and developed into an intriguing character, played by various actors such as Roger Delgado, Anthony Ainley and John Simm.
This story features Geoffrey Beevers, who played the Master in ‘The Keeper of Traken’. Since then, Geoffrey has played the Master in more stories on audio compared to TV. This version of Geoffrey Beevers’ Master takes place after Anthony Ainley’s Master in ‘Survival’ and sometime after ‘Dust Breeding’.
The story sees the Master living a normal life as a good man in a house and under the name of Dr. John Smith (!). It’s John’s birthday today and he’s invited two of his closest friends to a dinner party to celebrate. But as events unfold, things get darker when the Doctor soon visits John’s Smith house.
Many have said that this story became the inspiration for Derek Jacobi’s portrayal of the human-like Master in Professor Yana in ‘Utopia’. It also has hints of ‘Human Nature’/’The Family of Blood’. If this were the case in that this audio drama became an inspiration for a TV episode, then I can live with it.
Geoffrey Beevers is wonderful as the Master in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. It was nice to hear another side of the Master’s personality in which he is pleasant and good-humoured. Geoffrey plays to that aspect of John Smith very well, before he becomes the Master again in that superb voice of his.
The Master, or rather John Smith, is deformed and ugly-looking when he lives at his house on the colony world of Perfugium. He can’t remember who he is, due to certain memory loss. When the Doctor arrives, both share a lot in common until John Smith demands to know the truth of who he is.
Sylvester McCoy is superb as the Doctor in this audio adventure. This is the older version of the Seventh Doctor before he regenerates in ‘The TV Movie’. The Doctor arrives wounded and in a frenzy when John Smith and his friends find him. He’s soon surprised the Master doesn’t know him.
I enjoyed the intellect shared between the Doctor and the Master in those scenes in ‘Part Two’. In this story, it turns out the Doctor has set up a plan of his own and it’s all because he wants the Master to become good. Shocking revelations get revealed about the Doctor and the Master’s pasts.
Philip Madoc guest stars as Victor Schaeffer. Philip is well-known for playing the U-Boat Captain in the ‘Dad’s Army’ episode ‘The Deadly Attachment’. He has also appeared in many ‘Doctor Who’ adventures such as ‘The Krotons’, ‘The War Games’, ‘The Brain of Morbius’ and ‘The Power of Kroll’.
It was great to hear Philip in this ‘Doctor Who’ story and with the Master in it. Victor Schaeffer is an investigator and an adjudicator on Perfugium. Victor is investigating a series of murders taking place on the colony world. He has fits of rage during this story and also has a dark secret with the murders.
Anne Ridler guest stars as Jacqueline Schaeffer, Victor’s wife in the story. Anne is well-known for playing Dr. Gemma Corwyn in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Wheel in Space’ with Patrick Troughton. It was lovely hearing Anne in this and to play the wife of Philip Madoc. She’s mesmerising throughout.
Both Jacqueline and Victor have been good friends of Dr. John Smith’s for quite some time. Jacqueline seems to have a close connection to John Smith and doesn’t realise his true evil nature. It transpires that Jacqueline also has a dark secret and can be very snobbish and aristocratic in nature.
I must mention that Charlie Hayes, Wendy Padbury’s daughter, guest stars as Jade in this story. Jade is John Smith’s maid at his house and also has a dark secret about her. The story is left open-ended about whether the Master has become good or bad at the end. But we know the truth already, don’t we?
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Zagreus’, the 40th anniversary adventure with Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker and Peter Davison. There are also some nice writer/story notes by Joseph Lidster and photos of the cast in the CD cover.
‘Master’ has been a gripping audio adventure to listen to with Sylvester McCoy and Geoffrey Beevers. It is a pretty thought-provoking tale about what makes the Master who he is and whether he’s evil or not. The drama between the characters was engaging and the performances were great!
‘Master’ rating – 8/10
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