Big Finish: Doctor Who - TERROR OF THE MASTER Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Big Finish: Doctor Who - TERROR OF THE MASTER Review

Matthew Kresal obeys.
The Master has been a hallmark of Doctor Who for fifty years now, first played by Roger Delgado before his life was cut untimely short in 1973. Gone, but not forgotten. With the release of Masterful, Big Finish paid homage to the character and Delgado's legacy, even if his incarnation didn't quite feature. Remedying that, perhaps, is Trevor Baxendale's audiobook Terror of the Master released as part of the limited edition release of Masterful.

Baxendale, who has a long history of writing for Doctor Who's spin-off fiction dating back to the wilderness era, pens a quintessential Third Doctor tale. The Master is in it, of course, as is the Third Doctor and much of the UNIT family. There are alliances, an environmental theme, and plenty of action set-pieces. In short, it's everything that a Third Doctor fan could ask for from a story set in-between The Green Death and The Time Warrior, right down to a temporary companion for the Doctor.

Though it features many of the era's tropes, Baxendale doesn't paint a by the numbers piece. There are some twists and turns along the way, including a neat inversion of the environmental themes to someone's advantage. Baxendale also works in some elements, though not the full story, from the unmade Third Doctor-Master finale The Final Game, which adds a nice air to the story. Add on prose echoing the best of the Target novelizations and descriptions of action sequences seemingly improved upon the page, Baxendale also adds a sense of this being a lost adventure from late 1973.

Terror of the Master also benefits from its reader. The actor and impressionist Jon Culshaw will be familiar to many a fan from his Fourth Doctor on BBC Radio's Dead Ringers to his Target readings and bringing characters like the Brigadier back to life at Big Finish. With Terror of the Master, the full range of his talents are on display. Be it recreating all the familiar TV characters, including his uncanny takes on the Third Doctor and the Brigadier, to voicing new characters from pseudo-companion Corporal Daisy Hanson or the story's alien, Culshaw proves himself a first-class voice actor. More than that, reading Baxendale's prose, from action-sequences such as a car chase through central London, Terror of the Master also offers a showcase for Culshaw as a reader. Add on Steve Foxon providing a soundscape of effects and an evocative score in the Dudley Simpson style, and it adds to the delicious richness that is Terror of the Master.

Along with Masterful itself, of course, Terror of the Master makes the limited edition release of Masterful well-worth purchasing. Baxendale's writing, combined with Culshaw's superb reading of both dialogue and prose, and Foxon's evocative soundscape, all come together to create a quintessential Third Doctor era story. And also, fittingly in this celebration of fifty years of the Master, Terror of the Master offers a fine tribute to the actor who first told viewers we would obey him.

And five decades on, audiences still want to.

Doctor Who - Terror of the Master is available tp purchase from the Big Finish website as part of a limited edition version of Masterful.

Matthew lives in North Alabama where he's a nerd, doesn't have a southern accent and isn't a Republican. He's a host of both the Big Finish centric Stories From The Vortex podcast and the 20mb Doctor Who Podcast. You can read more of his writing at his blog and at The Terrible Zodin fanzine, amongst other places.

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