‘RAGE OF THE TIME LORDS’ (WM)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Unleash the Rage with the War Master and the Eighth Doctor
Could we be having the dream meeting we’ve all been waiting for?
At this point, I’m really getting into ‘The War Master’ series of Big Finish audios, starring Sir Derek Jacobi as the Master. From enjoying ‘Only the Good’ and ‘The Master of Callous’, I was looking forward to getting into ‘Rage of the Time Lords’, the third box set of ‘The War Master’ audio series. 🙂
Derek Jacobi shines throughout these ‘War Master’ box sets so far. I feel he’s given a chance to prove his mettle as the Master in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe compared to seeing him in ‘Utopia’ and hearing him in ‘Masterful’, though his performance in ‘Utopia’ stands out better than ‘Masterful’! 😀
I admit; I haven’t seen Derek Jacobi in many film, TV and stage productions. I’ve seen him in the 2015 remake of ‘Cinderella’, 2017’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and the 2019 biographical film ‘Tolkien’. But I’ve not seen Derek Jacobi in many productions like many others would have seen him.
But that doesn’t mean to say I don’t doubt his acting abilities. It’s clearly demonstrated in the performances he gives whether he’s playing the Master on TV or audio or not. And I’ve heard many great things said about him in that he’s a lovely person to work with. I’m sure that’s very true here. 🙂
‘Rage of the Time Lords’ is an intriguing box set to look into as it’s the first of the ‘War Master’ series where the Doctor makes an appearance. Yes, that’s right! The Doctor guest stars in a ‘War Master’ story! This happens to be Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, which is pretty exciting to reflect on. 🙂
I’m curious though as to how the Eighth Doctor can be meeting the War Doctor in the Time War. Certainly it would make sense as both the Eighth Doctor and the War Doctor fought in the Time War, but did the chameleon arch really prevent the Tenth Doctor noticing Professor Yana was the Master?
I was looking forward to finding out. ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ was released in July 2019. Unusually, there were two ‘War Master’ box sets released in 2019. ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ was released in July whilst ‘Anti-Genesis’ was released in December of that year. So far, this hasn’t occurred like it again.
Like with ‘Only the Good’ and ‘The Master of Callous’, I purchased ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ as a download from Big Finish as part of my bundle for the first four ‘War Master’ box sets. Even though downloading a Big Finish audio production can be tricky on an android tablet, they’re fun to listen to.
The four episodes of ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ include ‘The Survivor’, ‘The Coney Island Chameleon’ and ‘The Missing Link’/’Darkness and Light’. Strangely enough, according to TARDIS.WIKI, the last two episodes are listed as a two-parter in a four-part epic story. Hopefully it will all be made clear later on.
Like the previous ‘War Master’ CD releases, ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ was presented as a 5-disc CD set. The four episodes of the story were on the first four discs whilst Disc 5 contained behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew about the making of the four episodes. Let’s brave onward!
1. ‘THE SURVIVOR’
The first episode of ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ is ‘The Survivor’ by Tim Foley. I haven’t come across Tim Foley as a writer in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe a lot, though I did hear one ‘Doctor Who’ tale by him.
That ‘Doctor Who’ tale was ‘The Dread of Night’ in ‘The Seventh Doctor: The New Adventures’ – Volume 1. I enjoyed that episode from that set and I definitely enjoyed his first episode of this set. 🙂
Tim Foley contributed two episodes for ‘Rage of the Time Lords’. The same for the other writer – David Llewellyn! I found Tim’s first episode for this set compelling, especially with it being set on Earth.
It also helps that the episode takes place during the Second World War in the 1940s. I like how the Master’s exploits in the Time War contrast to what’s happening in the Second World War on Earth. 🙂
The episode focuses on the main character of Alice Pritchard who lives in an English village. Alice works for Lady Raleigh. She wants the endless fighting to stop and to do her bit for King and Country.
Alice soon befriends the village priest who happens to be the Master as Mr. Magister. Yes, they’re doing ‘The Dæmons’ again! 😀 The Master as Mr. Magister offers Alice guidance towards the future.
But what Mr. Magister gives Alice will change her life in more ways than one than she could ever possibly have imagined. It would mean the breakdown of relationships with her family and friends! 😦
Apparently, this story was originally conceived to be set in the 1660s. It would have featured the Master as a manipulative Witchfinder General instead of a priest. But BBC Wales put a stop to this. 😐
At the same time, the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series was about to do ‘The Witchfinders’ with Jodie Whittaker. So understandably, Big Finish couldn’t replicate the same thing they did with the Master.
A shame really, but hopefully the ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ box set is better for it with the first episode taking place in World War II. It makes the emotional connections relatable than ever before.
Derek Jacobi continues to be excellent as the Master in this episode. I like how he plays the friendly priest role in Alice’s village. Derek Jacobi gets more time to be a priest than Roger Delgado’s Master.
I also like how Derek’s Master gets to be manipulative in veering Alice to hear his words and to persuade her to accompany him in his TARDIS. Quite often, the Master can be rather cruel to Alice. 😦
Katherine Pearce drives the story forward as Alice Pritchard as she plays her really well. Most people will know Katherine Pearce for playing Lolly in ‘Coronation Street’. I didn’t see much ‘Corrie’ in 2019.
Mina Anwar, who’s well-known for playing Gita, Rani’s mum in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, plays Valerie Pritchard, Alice’s aunt. I’m hearing Mina Anwar in more Big Finish audio productions lately. 🙂
It was interesting to hear the revelation that somebody from a spaceship who came to Earth gave Alice as a baby to Valerie. Alice is shocked to hear this huge revelation when she’s at her village trial.
Su Douglas guest stars as Lady Raleigh in the episode. At first, Lady Raleigh likes Alice a lot. But when Alice injures her daughter Hannah severely with her psychic powers, Lady Raleigh isn’t so nice to her.
Laura Riseborough guest stars as Hannah Raleigh, Lady Raleigh’s daughter. Hannah is a real ‘snooty-nose’ when Alice meets her. It doesn’t end well as Alice severely injures her, crushing her windpipe.
Paul Clayton guest stars as Judge Hale, who eventually presides over Alice’s trial when she’s suspected for being a German spy. The Master manages to hypnotise Judge Hale to his will very well.
The episode does end tragically when Alice unleashes her rage upon everyone during her village trial. I don’t blame her since things get too much for her and everybody has turned against her here.
Fortunately, the Master is able to prevent himself and Alice getting burnt by freezing time in the village. The Master soon takes Alice with him back to his TARDIS as he invites her along in his travels.
I’m wondering what plans the Master has in mind for Alice the next time we hear her. ‘The Survivor’ is a great opening episode to ‘Rage of the Time Lords’, getting me geared to hear more in the tale. 🙂
‘The Survivor’ rating – 9/10
2. ‘THE CONEY ISLAND CHAMELEON’
The second episode of ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ is ‘The Coney Island Chameleon’ by David Llewellyn. Over the years, I have heard a number of ‘Doctor Who’ Big Finish audio stories by David Llewellyn. 🙂
They include ‘Serpent In The Silver Mask’ and ‘Tartarus’. I was looking forward to hearing David Llewellyn’s take on the War Master and how he would continue this epic story begun by Tim Foley. 🙂
Surprisingly, we don’t continue where we left off with the Master having acquired Alice Pritchard from the previous episode. Here, we have a new story occurring in New York City around the 1800s.
Apparently, this story was intended to be set in the 1890s. I’m not sure if that’s still the case here or whether it was changed at the insistence of BBC Wales like with the previous episode ‘The Survivor’.
In the episode, a carnival arrives on Coney Island, which is in or near New York and visible from New Jersey. Incredible specimens are displayed and performed, reminding me of ‘Other Lives’ somehow.
The main characters of this episode are Youssef Kerkour as Guiseppe Sabatini and Taj Atwal as Esther. Sabatini is a showman-like character who puts Esther on for show as she has great powers. 😮
Apparently, Esther can change her body into anything whether it’d be velvet or brick. It’s later revealed that Esther is an alien from another world and Sabatini acquired her once she came to him.
I’m sensing a pattern here in ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ where Alice Pritchard and Esther are young women who happen to be aliens. I wonder how all this gets resolved in the climax of this epic tale. 😐
Incidentally, Sabatini isn’t a cruel man. He seems to care about Esther greatly, especially when she’s in trouble and when the Master seems to want her. Yes, the Master is in New York City apparently! 🙂
I found it amusing when Derek Jacobi’s Master passed himself off as an enigmatic businessman with an American accent. I wonder how many lessons Derek Jacobi had in putting on an American accent.
The Master goes by the alias of TS Mereath. Get it? That’s an anagram for ‘the Master’! 😀 Mereath takes a shine to Esther, also going by the name of ‘the Coney Island Chameleon’. There’s your title! 🙂
The Master is determined to stop at nothing to acquire her. But Sabatini won’t let the Master have her. It gets chaotic once Sabatini and Esther’s temporary home in New York is burnt to the ground. 😦
Sabatini is shocked to see the Master as Mereath kill Ryan Forde Iosco as Fletcher, who was about to evict Sabatini and Esther from their temporary New York residence. Sabatini soon takes Esther away.
By the way, I forgot to mention Sabatini is Italian. I’m not sure what accent Esther has. I don’t think it’s American, but then again, there aren’t that many American-accented characters to distinguish. 😐
Sabatini and Esther catch a train to New Orleans where they’re being followed by the Master whistling a little tune nearby. They soon end up in the home of Anjela Lauren Smith as Genevieve. 🙂
Genevieve happens to be an old friend of Sabatini’s. Genevieve agrees to help Sabatini with protecting Esther, but she’s so surprised by her unusual powers and having the ability to read minds.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end well as the Master lands his TARDIS inside Esther’s room in Genevieve’s house. The Master takes Esther away as he threatens Genevieve’s life before Sabatini. 😦
Sabatini is determined not to give up on Esther as he pursues after her and the Master where they end up on a sailing ship. As Sabatini finds Esther with the Master, it turns out to be a trap for him. 😮
Apparently the Master wasn’t after Esther at all. He wanted Sabatini instead. I found that a surprise and a welcome twist. I wonder why Sabatini is so special and why the Master would’ve wanted him.
I’m curious about what’s to come next and how Sabatini fits into the main plot of ‘Rage of the Time Lords’. 🙂 As the War Master takes Sabatini away with him in his TARDIS, Esther returns to Genevieve.
‘The Coney Island Chameleon’ is an engaging instalment in this ‘War Master’ story with a surprise twist at the end. I’m wondering what the Master’s up to and how everything fits together in the end.
‘The Coney Island Chameleon’ rating – 8/10
3. ‘THE MISSING LINK’/’DARKNESS AND LIGHT’
We come now to what is arguably the last two episodes of ‘Rage of the Time Lords’. Apparently, TARDIS.WIKI has them linked as a two-part story in an already established four-part epic adventure!
I suppose I can see that point of view considering Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor is in both episodes. There’s also a dramatic cliffhanger at the end of ‘The Missing Link’ leading into ‘Darkness and Light’.
I would’ve preferred it if all the four episodes of a Big Finish box set like this were listed as a four-part story rather than have the last two episode be established as a two-parter. But that’s a minor niggle.
I should also argue that the last two episodes aren’t all written by the same writer. ‘The Missing Link’ is by Tim Foley and ‘Darkness and Light’ is by David Llewellyn. Why couldn’t they be by one writer? 😐
‘The Missing Link’ by Tim Foley takes place on the planet Xenotopia. It’s a small planet at the edge of the universe. The Master uses it as one of his bases of operations in the Time War during the story.
Taking place in the distant future, the Master embarks on his latest scheme involving experimenting on specimens with great powers. Sometimes the specimens themselves can be lethal and so deadly.
The Master is aided and abetted by a team of brilliant scientists. This includes Liz Sutherland-Lim as Professor Silver. There’s also Dominic Thorburn as Mandrake, who works closely with the Master. 😐
There’s also professional rivalry between Mandrake and Professor Silver. Not everyone is happy on Xenotopia and it’s about to get worse when the Master brings his plans forward, causing mayhem. 😐
But who is the Master truly working for? Is it the Time Lords again? Things seem to be desperate especially with a universe at war and there’s little chance of anyone who can stop the Master in this.
We get to find out what happened to Katherine Pearce as Alice Pritchard in the episode. Alice seems very bitter, having being imprisoned at the hospital facility on Xenotopia with the Master popping in.
I’m not sure what became of Giuseppe Sabatini from the previous episode as it’s not established in both ‘The Missing Link’ and ‘Darkness and Light’. I hoped David Llewellyn would be able to explain it.
I was expecting Sabatini to be one of the specimens let loose about the hospital and going wild. Alice Pritchard manages to escape from being neutralised when she breaks out of her hospital bed in this.
As Alice escapes and locks herself in a room, she’s soon rescued by Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. I was thrilled to hear Paul McGann’s Doctor make an appearance in this ‘War Master’ tale. 😀
It was an interesting contrast to hear Paul McGann’s Doctor interacting with Alice. They get on well with each other. Alice could have easily ended up being one of the Eighth Doctor’s companions here.
This is of course the Eighth Doctor from fighting in the Time War. Alice sensed his presence when she felt a projection of him during telepathic contact with the Master. She instantly recognised him.
There are scenes where Paul McGann’s Doctor and Alice trudge on through some ventilation shafts in order to get away from their captors. They are soon pursued by a mad wild-like were-creature! 😮
At one point, the Doctor makes telepathic contact with Alice in order to locate where the Master is in order to break down the barriers to reach his TARDIS. Unfortunately, this is where the Doctor fails.
As a result of his telepathic contact with Alice, the Doctor becomes weaker in his mind. He starts being forgetful and he does not even recognise the Master when he finally confronts him in this tale.
I like how Sir Derek Jacobi’s Master planned all this out with luring the Eighth Doctor into a trap on Xenotopia. He also used dear Alice Pitchard as a tool to get the Eighth Doctor to come to Xenotopia.
Apparently, the Eighth Doctor is ‘the missing link’ that the War Master has been looking for. Alice soon gets killed in the process when the War Master uses his laser screwdriver on her. That’s sad! 😦
The Eighth Doctor manages to recognise the Master by the end, but it’s all too late. Soon, the Eighth Doctor is on an operating table and the War Master is about to conduct his experiment upon him. 😮
The last episode of ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ by David Llewellyn still takes place on the planet Xenotopia. The Master’s latest scheme comes to fruition, though not necessarily on a positive result.
What I like about this episode is the confrontation between Derek Jacobi’s Master and Paul McGann’s Doctor. They bounce off each other very well in terms of their rivalry which I did enjoy. 😀
There are echoes of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and Roger Delgado’s Master in terms of the rivalry between Paul McGann’s Doctor and Derek Jacobi’s Master. It’s really clear that the actors enjoyed it.
‘Darkness and Light’ could have easily been a ‘Doctor Who’ episode rather than a ‘War Master’ episode. But of course, the Doctor’s a guest star in this particular tale and the Master’s at the centre.
I did wonder if the Master was going to succeed in his plan and whether the Doctor was going to lose. The Master’s scheme does fail but he gets to outwit the Doctor in a certain manner by the end.
In all that’s happened in ‘Rage of the Time Lords’, the Master has created a new weapon called the Rage. This essentially comes from the powers of people like Alice Pritchard who had great powers. 😐
I’m disappointed there wasn’t a reference to Giuseppe Sabatini and what the Master did to him once he had captured him in ‘The Coney Island Chameleon’. Unless I missed the reference in this episode!
The Doctor finds himself being put in prison cells by the Master in order to ensure the effectiveness of his new weapon called the Rage. Unfortunately, the Rage as a weapon acquires a mind of its own.
Once unleashed in the hospital facility on Xenotopia, the Master and the Doctor find themselves going through ventilation shafts in order to prevent the Rage from catching up with them in the tale.
Sometimes the Rage plays tricks on the Master’s mind when he and the Doctor are going through ventilation shafts. The Doctor manages to snap the Master out of it as his mind is being played with.
Dominic Thorburn as Mandrake returns and he happens to be the chief of security at the hospital on Xenotopia. He also happens to be a Time Lord and a member of the Celestial Intervention Agency. 😐
This is established when Mandrake reports to a Celestial Intervention Agency base on Mount Perdition. Unfortunately, Mandrake comes to a sticky end when the Rage comes in contact with him.
The story also features Shvorne Marks as Pryor, a prisoner similar to the Doctor when he meets her in the prison cells. Pryor does accompany the Doctor and the Master as they’re escaping the Rage. 🙂
There’s also James MacCallum as Crantz and Lu Corfield as Stern. Apparently, Crantz and Stern as a pairing seem to be an allusion to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from the Shakespeare play ‘Hamlet’.
Now it’s been a while since I’ve checked out the play and seen the 2009 TV production of ‘Hamlet’ with David Tennant, but it’s interesting how David Llewellyn has gone about referring to that play. 🙂
There’s also Ricky Nixon as Turma, who happens to be a bodyguard for the Master and can be quite a pushover for the Doctor or anyone else. Unfortunately, like Crantz and Stern, Turma dies in this. 😐
It’s nice a reference is made to the Doctor and the Master sharing an adventure together on Machasma in their youth, involving using sonic agitation. This helps the two out of a sticky situation.
There is a moment where I thought the Doctor and the Master were going to die in the episode. This is when they become trapped in cubicles and they have to find a way to thwart the Rage’s power. 😐
Thankfully, the Master and the Doctor do survive. Unfortunately, the Master got out first before the Doctor did. The Master is in his TARDIS and he says a last farewell to the Doctor before he flies off. 😐
The Doctor is determined to stop him but the Master has implanted a device in his head. This will remove any memories of him meeting the Master on Xenotopia. The Doctor soon cries out in anger.
Maybe this explains why the Doctor didn’t recognise the Master as Yana in ‘Utopia’. Overall, ‘The Missing Link’/’Darkness and Light’ are gripping episodes featuring Sir Derek Jacobi and Paul McGann.
After ‘Rage of the Time Lords’, there’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for the fourth ‘War Master’ box set by Big Finish called ‘Anti-Genesis’, starring Sir Derek Jacobi as the War Master, Mark Gatiss as the Unbound Master, Seán Carlsen as Narvin and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks.
‘The Missing Link’/’Darkness and Light’ rating – 8/10
Disc 5 of the ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ CD box set contains behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew looking into the making of the four-part story. Like with ‘The Master of Callous’, the interviews are all conducted by the producer/director Scott Handcock and in a relaxing atmosphere.
We begin with an introduction by producer/director Scott Handock who goes straight into interviewing Sir Derek Jacobi. It’s interesting that ‘Rage of the Time Lords’ was made in-between ‘Only the Good’ and ‘The Master of Callous’, I believe. Intriguing why it wasn’t done chronologically!
Soon, we move into looking into ‘The Survivor’ as we have writer Tim Foley interviewed. There’s then an interview with Katherine Pearce and Laura Riseborough. I enjoyed how they shared their experiences of playing their characters. A shame Mina Anwar and Su Douglas weren’t interviewed. 😦
After that, we go into ‘The Coney Island Chameleon’ territory where writer David Llewellyn is interviewed. There’s also an interview with Youssef Kerkour, Anjela Lauren Smith, Taj Atwal and Ryan Forde Iosco who share their experiences of what it was like to be in their ‘War Master’ episode.
Fun fact: when Scott Handcock interviewed Derek Jacobi about his role in 2017’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, apparently the character he played was called Masterman. That’s so surreal to contemplate. I did enjoy the story Derek shared about Johnny Depp not wanting to shout at him. 😀
We soon get into ‘The Missing Link’/’Darkness and Light’ and we have Paul McGann interviewed. Tim Foley and David Llewellyn are also interviewed as well as Katherine Pearce. There’s an interview with Liz Sutherland-Lim and Dominic Thorburn and an interview with Shvorne Marks, James MacCallum and Lu Corfield. The cast share some intriguing insights about what happened to their characters. 😀
I like how the bonus disc ends with thoughts about what happened when the War Master had the Eighth Doctor’s memory erased, tying in to what happened in ‘Utopia’. There are thoughts from Scott Handcock, David Llewellyn, Derek Jacobi and Paul McGann about the consequences of that. 😀
‘Rage of the Time Lords’ has been another pretty enjoyable four-part epic audio adventure with Sir Derek Jacobi’s War Master meeting Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. I like how the two confronted each other in this epic story and intriguing how things culminated together in the final two episodes.
I’m really getting into these ‘War Master’ stories and I’m looking forward to what happens next when Derek Jacobi’s Master returns to cause trouble. What will happen in the next chapter of ‘The War Master’ saga? Is there anybody who can really defeat the War Master? Perhaps there’s no-one!
‘Rage of the Time Lords’ (WM) box set rating – 8/10
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You just wait till you hear Anti Genesis OMG that’s all I’m saying lol.
Excellent in depth review, Tim you never fail to entertain me with your amazing reviews, the amount of detail and trivia you pack into each review is a credit to you my friend, you truly are one my favourite reviewers & once again you summed up this box set perfectly.
Volume 5 also features the Eighth Doctor & is another good story.
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I have heard ‘Anti-Genesis’! I’m looking forward to sharing my review on that in October as well as my review on ‘Hearts of Darkness’ in November.
Many thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Rage of the Time Lords’. This was a fun ‘War Master’ box set to check out and it was great to hear Derek Jacobi and Paul McGann together for the first time. 🙂 Very pleased you still enjoy my ‘Doctor Who’ reviews.