Time Lord Victorious is a new multi-platform Doctor Who project comprising of several stories told across all different media. With the release of these two new Short Trips, Big Finish begin their contribution to this exciting saga, which will continue over the next few months, culminating in the thrilling multi-Doctor story Echoes of Extinction.
But, for now, let’s take a look at Master Thief and Lesser Evils: the start of Time Lord Victorious at Big Finish!
“Master Thief” by Sophie Iles
The first Short Trip in this set is Master Thief, written by Sophie Iles. A fantastic writer, as demonstrated both here and in her previous story, A Song For Running, Sophie is also a talented artist (check out her own cover artwork for these stories here!) and a huge part of the Doctor Who community on Twitter. Here’s hoping we get more stories from her soon!
The story itself is narrated by Jon Culshaw, and sees the Master (as played by the late Roger Delgado) infiltrate the Repository, one of the most secure vaults in the universe, in search of something very important. Culshaw does a fine job of bringing Iles’ prose to life, not only narrating the story with flair, but also adopting an uncanny impression of Roger Delgado when reading the Master’s lines.
The plot can be a little slow at times, but it’s a nice change of pace from some of Big Finish‘s more frenetic, fast-paced audios, and it’s great that we follow the Master’s quest pretty much in real-time, never cutting away or jumping forwards in time. This means that Master Thief is constantly gripping, and so the 40 minute runtime just flies by.
Overall, this is a great little Short Trip with a compelling plot and an interesting, thought-provoking ending. It’s not yet clear how Master Thief fits into Time Lord Victorious as a whole, but I’m sure all will be revealed in time…
“Lesser Evils” by Simon Guerrier
Lesser Evils is the second Short Trip in this collection, following the Anthony Ainley incarnation of the Master as he arrives on the planet Alexis. There, he encounters the Kotturuh, a central part of the Time Victorious narrative, who are there to distribute the gift of death. The story is brilliantly told, with incredibly evocative prose from Simon Guerrier and more strong narration from Jon Culshaw.
Culshaw’s performance of this incarnation of the Master is even better than in the previous story , really bringing the nuances of the character to life with his uncanny approximation of Anthony Ainley’s voice. This, coupled with Guerrier’s expert characterisation, is Lesser Evils’ greatest success.
Richard Fox‘s sound design is also on top form. The world of Alexis is evoked perfectly through the constant background noise of running water and humming insects, while the voice of the Kotturuh is given a robotic growl that bolsters Culshaw’s strong performance.
All in all, another great story!
Brought to life with strong direction from Lisa Bowerman, these two Short Trips are a brilliant start to Time Lord Victorious at Big Finish. It’s great to hear from two incarnations of the Master who we don’t hear that often at Big Finish (due to their actors no longer being with us), and Jon Culshaw gives strong performances as both. Highly recommended.
Master Thief and Lesser Evils are available now as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
Time Lord Victorious continues next week with the release of He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not, a new audio adventure for the Eighth Doctor.
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