As a part of the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ multimedia arc, this is a ‘Short Trips’ which has two stories about The Master. Performed by John Culshaw, we are treated to the Master as he once was played by Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley. These are standalone stories that only reference the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ in a small way.
Master Thief by Sophie Iles
This is a straightforward heist for the Master, (as originally played by the saturnine Roger Delgado) and he’s determined to leave the vault with what he came for. There’s a catch, though, and this time the Master may be mastered. This is a clever little story as the Master learns that actions have consequences and not always as expected. He has a weapon and may even use it but he should have done a little more research on the planet he’s visiting.
As a short story, it has a lot of heavy lifting to do to ensure the listener is satisfied with the twists and turns. It builds up the atmosphere as the Master negotiates his way to the vault where he can withdraw what he needs. Characters are introduced, used to illuminate his mindset, as we are taken to a conclusion that will surely satisfy a lot of listeners who enjoy more flesh on the story of the Master and his different incarnations.
Lesser Evils by Simon Guerrier
This story finds the Master, the man in the velvet suit (as played by Anthony Ainley) apparently on the side of the angels (no, not those) as the Kotturuh bring their gift of death to the planet Alexis. The planet is beautiful and some of its inhabitants are strange and wonderful. The Master finds his wit and guile matched by the single Kotturuh, who has come to pass the sentence of a limited life-span upon each species there. Her objective is not as pure as we might think.
There is some malice in her choices as she moves to touch an example of every life there. The Master steps forward to make the case for one particular species but just what is in it for him? You can be sure she will find out. There is an exchange of words but, more importantly, she teases out his true intent and into his hearts of darkness.
There is a sort of immortality conveyed on both of these Masters by these ‘appearances’ Close your eyes and hear in the intonations a whisper of the Master’s past. It’s effective and not overblown; it doesn’t get in the way of the story. If you don’t know these Masters then it won’t affect your enjoyment.
It’s such a pleasure to listen to a story that is constructed well with an ending that neatly brings us to the join in the circle and that it’s well told. It’s a great skill to really tell a story rather than just read it, ask any parent who is asked to ‘do the voices’.
(pub: Big Finish, 2020. 82 minute download. Price: £ 4.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-83868-310-8)
narrator: Jon Culshaw.