Review: ‘Master!’

Review by Jacob Licklider


With the acquisition of Eric Roberts returning to the role of the Master in The Diary of River Song, Ravenous 4, and Masterful, it became a matter of time before Big Finish Productions gave him his own spin-off box set.  Announced in 2020, Master! is essentially a precursor to Big Finish’s new three disc box set model for releases going forward.  Eric Roberts’ Master is also a character who does not actually have a fully fleshed out character.  He is a character who was over the top and camp in his one television appearance, under the guidance of a director who simply did not understand who the Master was and didn’t allow Roberts to actually give any menace in his performance.  Big Finish obviously worked to correct this in his first three appearances, but giving him a full length box set audiences finally get the chance to explore just what this version of the Master is and what he actually stands for.  Master! contains three stories from three writers, all telling an overarching story of how Eric Roberts’ Master escaped the time vortex and was eventually tracked down by an assassin and the Daleks, and of course escaped.  Interestingly unlike The War Master and Missy where the Master is a protagonist, Master! actually plays it with the Master directly the role of the antagonist, with each story essentially following other characters interacting with the Master and essentially trying to stop him from succeeding in each episode’s plan as things escalate towards the eventual conclusion.

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Doctor Who ‘Missy’ comic series announced

Titan Comics are announcing the launch of a brand-new Doctor Who Comics series and the comic debut of one of the Doctor’s darkest nemeses this April with Missy #1.

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Review: Terror of the Master (from Masterful limited edition)

Review by Jacob Licklider


Terror of the Master is a bonus audiobook included in the limited edition of Masterful written by Trevor Baxendale and narrated by Jon Culshaw. Unlike other releases from Big Finish Productions, this is not an audio drama, but an audiobook with the occasional sound effects and as such it can only rely on the actual prose of the storytelling and the narration. Culshaw is an excellent narrator, using his impressive vocal range and variety of impressions to bring to life the Jon Pertwee era. While Masterful was a celebration of the Master, the incarnation played by Roger Delgado was not included due to Delgado’s tragic passing in 1973, so for the limited edition only Trevor Baxendale was commissioned to write a three and a half hour story featuring the Third Doctor, UNIT, and the Master; set right after The Green Death. Like many of the Pertwee serials, ‘Terror of the Master’ has a political bent, once again tackling pollution and the increasing global temperatures with a kindly scientist promising to fix Earth’s problems with a revolutionary new process that only he can know the exact details of and behind him is the Master. The Master has plans to take over the world using an alien creature in a story that most closely resembles that of The Claws of Axos with Dr. Drake in place of Axos and the Axons, without the Tory MP. On that front Terror of the Master is a fairly standard affair from Baxendale, with a prose style (and runtime) that intentionally feels like that of a Target Novel of a standard serial that would have been released during that time period.

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Review: Masterful (Celebrating 50 years of ‘The Master’)

Review by Jacob Licklider


“I am usually referred to as the Master…universally.”

This immortal line, first aired 50 years ago, introduced Doctor Who fans to Roger Delgado and the Doctor’s arch enemy the Master. And now, to celebrate this momentous occasion, Big Finish Productions has brought together all surviving TV incarnations of the Master and a host of others for a three hour audio drama, ‘Masterful’. Released 50 years to the day of Episode One of ‘Terror of the Autons‘, there are two editions of this release; the standard three disc edition and the limited eight disc edition which contains a disc of bonus features, an original audiobook by Trevor Baxendale, and two previously released Short Trips. This review is only looking at Masterful the story (see our Terror of the Master review here) So, should you buy Masterful? Short answer, yes, of course you should, James Goss provides three hours with a brilliant cast pitting Master against Master, playing to each incarnation’s strengths and giving listeners a real treat to see how dysfunctional each incarnation can be when forced to cooperate. Continue reading

Eric Roberts’ Master will face the Daleks in his own audio spin-off next year!

More than two decades on from his clash with Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, Eric Roberts’ malevolent incarnation of the Master gets his own full-cast audio series in March 2021.

Today the cover art for this upcoming release was unveiled.


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Review: The War Master – Hearts of Darkness

Review by Jacob Licklider


The War Master since its inception in 2017, has become one of Big Finish Productions’ most consistent ranges, with three of the four previous sets being released to critical acclaim with only one falling short. The range has been characterised by an exploration of darker themes throughout the Time War, giving Derek Jacobi one of the darkest incarnations of the Master to portray and explore. War is the prominent theme and how war changes people and planets, the hopelessness associated with a war to end all wars such as the Time War, and the atrocities which arise from two societies being pushed to their limit. The audio format is perfect for this type of story as it allows the cast and crew to go as dark as possible, using the power of suggestion to depict such atrocities and the listener’s mind is responsible for the gruesome images, all the while never having to restrict themselves to an adult only audience. These types of stories were best explored by the first, third, and fourth sets, while the fifth sets, Hearts of Darkness, instead decides to focus in on how the war is most effecting the two Time Lords set to survive the Time War, the Doctor, here played by Paul McGann, and, of course, the Master. Keeping the established format of four stories written by two authors, in this case David Llewellyn and Lisa McMullin, telling a linked tale over the four-hour period. Unlike previous sets, Hearts of Darkness employs several plot twists which recontextualises what has come before in the set, making it near impossible to separate each episode from one another. Things change, and like any good story, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Continue reading

Review: Missy – Series 2

Review by Jacob Licklider


One of Big Finish Productions’ sleeper hits of 2019 was February’s Missy box set starring Michelle Gomez as Missy on her own causing mayhem and murder throughout the universe. Gomez made for an excellent lead and the stories brought in several different types of stories from a Mary Poppins style satire, to a film noir by Nev Fountain, and an encounter with Rufus Hound’s Meddling Monk. The premises and possibilities for storytelling warranted the set to become a range as Missy: Series 2 becomes Big Finish Productions most recent release; this time mixing in two sequels to the first set and two original stories, from a set of four authors. Each story has a different flair and remains self-contained from the others; allowing new viewers to pick this set up as their introduction to the range.

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The Master will return in a new collection of stories!

BBC Books will publish Doctor Who: I Am the Master – Tales of the Renegade Time Lord, a collection of stories featuring the Doctor’s best enemy.

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Sacha Dhawan talks about becoming ‘The Master’ on Doctor Who

Doctor Who made its triumphant return to our screens on New Years Day with Series 12, Episode 1 ‘Spyfall‘ guest starring Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry.

However, there was one big reveal on the episode that has fans talking; when the character of ‘O’ played by Sacha Dhawan was revealed to be classic Doctor Who villian ‘The Master’. The Master had not been seen since the face-off between his female incarnation ‘Missy’ and a previous incarnation (played by John Simm) during the Series 10 Finale.

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Big Finish brings us War Master versus the Master

It takes a Master to defeat a Master…. Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Gatiss battle it out this December in a new four-part adventure from Big Finish Productions.


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