‘Terror of the Master’ (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Master and Dr. Derek Drake with the Third Doctor, the Brigadier and U.N.I.T.

As part of the ‘Masterful’ limited edition CD box set to celebrate 50 years of the Master in ‘Doctor Who’, Big Finish included a three-episode audiobook called ‘Terror of the Master’ to add to the celebrations. I say ‘a three-episode audiobook’ since the story isn’t divided into chapters like a novel.

The story is spread across from Discs 5 to 7 in the ‘Masterful’ limited edition box set. The three discs are identified as episodes – ‘Parts One, Two and Three’. I was expecting this story to be like a novel. Not that I’m complaining, considering the story is pretty engaging as three narrated episodes here. 🙂

Also, ‘Terror of the Master’ isn’t presented an audiobook with no sound effects and music. It does have sound effects and music for a change! This is a contrast to when I heard the ‘Star Cops’ audiobook ‘The Stuff of Life’ produced by Big Finish and it isn’t like ‘The Moon Stallion’ audiobook. 😀

I suppose it makes sense to include ‘Terror of the Master’ in the ‘Masterful’ limited edition box set considering the Roger Delgado Master didn’t appear in ‘Masterful’ at all. I wonder why ‘Masterful’ didn’t have Roger Delgado’s Master since he was the first Master to start off with in the TV series! 😐

‘Terror of the Master’ also echoes the Master’s debut appearance in ‘Terror of the Autons’ in 1971. That’s not just with the word play in the story’s title. It also echoes the Master’s fights with the Third Doctor and U.N.I.T. on the planet Earth during the 1970s. Or was it the 1980s? I’m not sure about that.

The story is by Trevor Baxendale. I’ve read quite a few ‘Doctor Who’ books by Trevor Baxendale over the years, including ‘Fear of the Dark’ with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan and ‘Prisoner of the Daleks’ with the Tenth Doctor. It was intriguing to hear Trevor’s take on Roger Delgado’s Master.

That and his take on the Third Doctor, the Brigadier, Mike Yates, Sgt. Benton and U.N.I.T. Listening to ‘Terror of the Master’ did feel like an authentic U.N.I.T. adventure from the 1970s era of TV ‘Doctor Who’. A shame Jo Grant wasn’t in the adventure, but we’ll get to that aspect of the tale pretty soon.

‘Terror of the Master’ is read by Jon Culshaw, who’s done a number of Big Finish audio productions over the years and is a very good voice artist, doing interpretations of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s Doctors. I have had the pleasure of meeting Jon Culshaw at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in May 2017.

It was great to hear Jon doing the voices of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, the Brigadier, Mike Yates, Sgt. Benton and Roger Delgado’s Master. Very often, I could picture the characters with Jon voicing them. Jon makes the story come to life when he’s reading it as well as performing the characters in it.

The story of ‘Terror of the Master’ has the Doctor and U.N.I.T. investigating Dr. Derek Drake and his solving of the energy crisis in the world. Governments and businesses are signing up to Dr. Drake’s environmentally friendly campaign. It all seems ‘too good to be true’ with Dr. Drake’s new campaign.

The Doctor however becomes suspicious since he senses that Dr. Drake is the Master in disguise. When things become not quite as they seem for the Doctor concerning Dr. Drake, he and U.N.I.T. find out more about the new ally the Master’s made. The Doctor must convince the Master he’s in danger. 😐

This does seem to be a story that would get producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks’ approval had it been made for the TV series. It would certainly make for a good three-part Christmas Special, especially since this story takes place between ‘The Green Death’ and ‘The Time Warrior’. 😐

Yes, it’s at this point in the series that the Doctor and U.N.I.T. have said goodbye to Jo Grant who’s gone off to marry Professor Clifford Jones. There are indications of the Doctor greatly missing Jo as well as everyone else such as the Brigadier, Mike Yates and Benton that have enjoyed Jo’s company.

The Brigadier becomes concerned for the Doctor’s well-being and is afraid that the Doctor may well soon leave Earth and never work with U.N.I.T. again. This eventually does happen of course, but it’s interesting how the tale touches upon the Brigadier being anxious about the Doctor leaving forever.

The story does set things up for what will happen in future ‘Doctor Who’ stories. For example, the Doctor is constructing his new car called the Whomobile, which will soon appear in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ and ‘Planet of the Spiders’. The Doctor has Corporal Daisy Hanson’s help to build the car.

I like Daisy Hanson’s character since she comes across as friendly and helpful. The Doctor takes a shine to her as well as other U.N.I.T. personnel like Mike Yates and Sgt. Benton. Daisy could have made a good companion figure for the Doctor had she not been killed tragically by the Master’s weapon. 😦

And yes, she does get killed by the Master’s tissue compression eliminator, being shrunk down to size. I hung on every word that Jon Culshaw read when he described Daisy Hanson’s terrible demise. I knew what was coming, but it was still sad when the Roger Delgado Master brutally murdered her.

I am curious about how Mike Yates is there in the story since shouldn’t he be on medical leave following the events of ‘The Green Death’? It would explain how he turned traitor later on in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ when he was working with the people conducting Operation: Golden Age.

Mind you there is a comment made by Mike Yates in the story on how he thinks there should be someone to solve the energy crisis. That might be a piece of foreshadowing of what will happen in ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ where Mike Yates betrays everyone in U.N.I.T. during that TV adventure. 😐

There are some nice continuity references to previous and future stories in the series in ‘Terror of the Master’. This includes the Doctor and the Master having crossed swords in a literal sense in ‘The Sea Devils’ and the Brigadier receiving reports of the Loch Ness Monster for ‘Terror of the Zygons’. 😐

The Doctor also puts off the idea of revisiting Metebelis III in the story considering his experience of the planet in ‘The Green Death’ and it nicely foreshadows what’s about to happen in ‘Planet of the Spiders’. The Master also reminds the Doctor of the time they visited Uxarieus in ‘Colony In Space’. 🙂

It was intriguing to hear the alien that the Master had formed allies with. The alien happens to be a gelatinous life-form that can take on the form of any person and fool the perceptions of any person seeing it. The alien also happens to have this quite deep voice whenever it is speaking to the Master.

Apparently, the Master can wear the alien life-form upon himself and he can become anybody like Jon Pertwee’s Doctor escaping in Bessie. I wonder if that’s why Jon Pertwee’s Doctor was able to see the Master as Dr. Derek Drake on TV since the Master can take on a disguise using the gelatinous alien.

Incidentally, the real Dr. Derek Drake doesn’t appear in this if there ever was a real Dr. Derek Drake to begin with. He comes across as a mild-mannered person wanting to save the world by solving the energy crisis and stopping pollution. He isn’t polite and friendly when talking to a BBC chauffeur though. 😐

The BBC chauffeur mentioned about driving Peter Cushing in his car once. I wonder if that was when Peter Cushing was playing Dr. Who in ‘Dr. Who and the Daleks’ and ‘Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.’. I still want to know how the filmmakers were able to get adaptations of the first two Dalek TV stories.

Check out my review on ‘The Day of the Doctor’ Target novelization/audiobook to understand what I’m talking about. Speaking of celebrities, Magnus Pike and Bruce Forsyth get mentioned, especially when the Doctor and the Brigadier visited the BBC Television Centre in London. That was surreal! 😀

Going back to Derek Drake, it was intriguing how he visited the Doctor and everyone else at U.N.I.T. in ‘Part Three’ before he revealed himself to be the Master and that gelatinous alien. I did forget that Derek Drake wasn’t a real person in the story and that the Master had taken on a disguise here.

The cliffhanger moments at the ends of ‘Part One and Two’ are engaging to listen to when coming to the end of those episodes. In ‘Part One’s cliffhanger, the Doctor and the Brigadier are being attacked by hit-men on bikes whilst they’re in Bessie. The action is nicely followed up with hearing ‘Part Two’.

You’d probably need to hear the story again to get over some of the complexities of the action sequences when it’s being narrated by Jon Culshaw. I enjoy it when the story goes into interactions between some characters such as the Doctor and the Brigadier as well as the Doctor and the Master.

The ‘Part Two’ cliffhanger has the Master being telepathically attacked by the gelatinous alien. This is when the Master is trying to gain control of the gelatinous alien before it overpowers him. It’s fascinating how ‘Part Two’ ends with us as an audience being concerned for the Master’s well-being.

That shouldn’t really be the case since the Master’s a villain. I wonder why Trevor Baxendale decided to end the episode like that considering it’s the Master’s who in trouble and not the Doctor. Maybe we should be worried Roger Delgado’s Master won’t end up like Peter Pratt in ‘The Deadly Assassin’.

The resolution of that cliff-hanger in ‘Part Three’ isn’t quite the same as the resolution of the ‘Part One’ cliffhanger in ‘Part Two’. ‘Part Three’ begins with the Doctor in the TARDIS before he senses the Master’s in trouble from the gelatinous alien that’s attacking him and he makes telepathic contact. 🙂

Going back to how Jon Culshaw does voices in ‘Doctor Who’, I did find his voices for the Third Doctor and the Brigadier to be good. I don’t think his voice for Roger Delgado’s Master is as good as I would like. He gets the tone of his voice somehow, but it’s not an exact recreation like the Third Doctor’s is.

I think over time as I listened to the story, Jon Culshaw’s voice for Roger Delgado’s Master grew on me. Maybe it’s because I’ve not heard many ‘Doctor Who’ stories where Jon Culshaw voices Roger Delgado’s Master. Maybe if I did hear more stories, I’d appreciate his voice for Roger’s Master more.

I did get a sense of ‘The Mind of Evil’ when hearing this story, especially with its dark, grim tone. This is emphasised when the Doctor’s being attacked by the gelatinous alien in a hotel when he wished to see Dr. Drake. I believe the Master travelled in a limousine too when I heard this audio adventure.

I’m curious about where this story takes place in the Master’s timeline, whether it’s before or after ‘Last of the Gaderene’. It must be after that story and it must before the comic story ‘Doorway to Hell’ (which I’ve yet to read) before Roger Delgado’s Master becomes Peter Pratt/Geoffrey Beevers.

It does get tense in terms of the story’s conclusion and how the Doctor gets to outwit the Master as well as the gelatinous alien. Once the gelatinous alien has been thwarted, the Doctor wakes up to find the Master has escaped. The U.N.I.T. soldiers come in whilst the Doctor chases after the Master.

The Doctor finds the Master back at his TARDIS and they have a verbal confrontation with each other. They’re soon interrupted by the Brigadier and his U.N.I.T. men turning up before the Master escapes in his TARDIS. The Brigadier criticises the Doctor for letting the Master escape again here. 😐

In that moment, the Doctor shares his feelings to the Brigadier about whether he’ll stay on Earth or not. It’s clearly indicated that although the Doctor is fond of the Brigadier and some of the men at U.N.I.T., he isn’t very keen to stick around on Earth in one time and place where he had been exiled.

Jon Culshaw reads ‘Terror of the Master’.

‘Terror of the Master’ is a thoroughly enjoyable three-part audiobook adventure to listen to in the ‘Masterful’ limited edition CD box set. I found it a more worthy celebration of 50 years of the Master in ‘Doctor Who’ compared to ‘Masterful’ itself as the story was engaging and easy to listen to here. 🙂

It also has more focus in celebrating the original Master as played by Roger Delgado when he fought Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and U.N.I.T. in the early 1970s era of TV ‘Doctor Who’. Trevor Baxendale writes a compelling story and writes well for the characters. Jon Culshaw is also a really good narrator here.

On Disc 8 of the ‘Masterful’ limited edition CD box set, there’s a brief section at the end of the behind-the-scenes documentary focusing on the making of the ‘Terror of the Master’ audiobook. This features interviews with Jon Culshaw and writer Trevor Baxendale. It’s a very nice behind-the-scenes section.

‘Terror of the Master’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Third Doctor was

For the Brigadier was

For Mike Yates was

For Benton was

For the Master was

The next story

For the Third Doctor is

  • ‘Council of War’ (Audio)

For the Brigadier is

  • ‘Deep Blue’ (Book)

For Mike Yates is

  • ‘Deep Blue’ (Book)

For Benton is

  • ‘Council of War’ (Audio)

For the Master is

  • ‘Legacy of the Daleks’ (Book)
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Return to The Brigadier’s Timeline
Return to Mike Yates’ Timeline
Return to Benton’s Timeline
Return to The Master’s Timeline
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2 thoughts on “‘Terror of the Master’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Not heard this one but it sounds truly excellent, if BF ever gove this a solo CD release I’ll definitely purchase it.

    Love the Third Doctor era & Jon Culshsw is a great narrator, how i wish this would get a solo release it sounds my type of adventure..

    Excellent review Tim, you always deliver high quality detailed reviews whichcare truly a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Oh this is definitely a better audio story for the Master compared to ‘Masterful’. Ironic that the other stories in the ‘Masterful’ limited edition box set are more fitting tributes to celebrate 50 years of the Master compared to ‘Masterful’ itself.

      I’m sure you’d enjoy this Third Doctor audiobook if it had its own solo release. Hopefully it will soon.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂



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