Big Finish dips it’s toe into Time Lord Victorious with two short trips. Master Thief and Lesser Evils focus on the Master, rather than our usual hero. But possibly not the incarnations of the Renegade Time Lord you might’ve been expecting.

For those drawn to the Time Lord Victorious storyline, this new release provides an early opportunity to sample the Big Finish product. But not the grand audio plays that they produce. First up is an example of the Short Trips range. These self-contained stories, told eloquently by a narrator, are bitesize chunks of Doctor Who. Freed by the limitations necessitated by full cast audio adventures, these Short Trips can achieve almost anything. For example, Short Trips can bring back older incarnations of characters many thought had no more stories to tell. Villainous incarnations.

Master Thief by Sophie Iles

First of these two Short Trips is Master Thief. Sophie Iles makes her first contribution to Big Finish and it is a solid debut. Iles delivers some strong imagery and some interesting twists. Although reasonably simple in terms of plot, it is the finer details and skilful world building that makes this story so engaging. And that’s even before we get to the intriguing final moments! Most impressive of all is the way that Master Thief feels authentic to an era of nearly 50 years ago. Roger Delgado’s portrayal of the Master was key to the success of Doctor Who during the Third Doctor’s era. Unfortunately Delagado’s time in the role was tragically cut short so any opportunity to tell more stories with his incarnation are to be grabbed with both hands.

The Master is up to his usual tricks. He sets out to steal something from a vault and is armed ready to disintegrate anyone who stands in his way. You can easily see this adventure occurring shortly after the events of Frontier in Space. Jon Culshaw manages to recapture the magic of Delgado however Culshaw‘s talent for impersonation is not the only skill on display. Culshaw is also a wonderful narrator even whilst simultaneously evoking the style of Roger Delgado’s incarnation of the Master. And boy was Delgado stylish! Listening to Culshaw describe the action you can easily visualise the suave Master strutting his stuff in his deliciously evil manner.

What Big Finish and their audio output also offer up is depth. We very rarely get an insight into the minds of our villains but here we do. There are no dramatic departures from what one might expect from this renegade but placing the Master at the centre of the piece opens up a fresh new world of storytelling. One which continues with the second Short Trip…

Lesser Evils by Simon Guerrier

Simon Guerrier opens Lesser Evils with several minutes of beautifully detailed description of the planet Alexis. As well as painting a picture of another alien world, Lesser Evils also provides a vivid illustration of the Kotturuh. For those devouring other elements of the Time Lord Victorious range it is also very useful to hear how Kotturuh should be pronounced! The Kotturuh are clearly an important influence on the wider TLV series and this serves as an impressive introduction for those who have not had one so far. This short trip is softer and far less dramatic than Master Thief. A quality also found in the second incarnation of the Master to be portrayed here.

Whilst Jon Culshaw‘s skilfully accurate replication of Roger Delgado’s performance came as little surprise it was his performance of Anthony Ainley’s incarnation of the Master which caught me out. The softness in Ainley’s portrayal did little to hide the character’s inherent malevolence, if anything it accentuated it. This quality is replicated by Culshaw in spades, another example of his skills on audio. With the Master’s evil already well established, the Kotturuh are positioned opposite him, analysing this new creature in the villainous Time Lord’s reflection.

If the intent was to convey the power of the Kotturuh then it is unquestionably mission accomplished.


For those who have only been drawn to the Big Finish output because of Time Lord Victorious this Short Trip serves as an ideal introduction. A bitesize sample. The kind that used to be handed out in supermarkets before a global pandemic happened. But more than that, Master Thief/Lesser Evils throws up two intriguing tales. Both are very different from each other, showcasing two sides of the same classic character. However, it is the unveiling of the Kotturuh which makes this release must have for those engaging in the TLV series.

How these two stories slot into the wider Time Lord Victorious narrative may only become apparent with more releases. Lesser Evils feels far more a part of the wider narrative with the inclusion of the Kotturuh than Master Thief but I’m sure the latter’s relevance will soon become apparent. These two short trips also stand on their own merits and work very effectively in isolation. So if you are already a fan of the Short Trips range already then these two are a bit of a bargain and a lovely treat. If you are new to the range, I anticipate you might try out some more.

Big Finish – Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious – Short Trips: Lesser Evils/Master Thief (Cover)


Master Thief by Sophie Iles

The Master wants to plunder one of the most secure vaults in the universe, the Repository. He’s got a plan, and a deadly new weapon to assist him. However, as the Master quickly discovers, getting in might be easy, but getting away with it might cost him everything.

Lesser Evils by Simon Guerrier

The Kotturuh have arrived on the planet Alexis to distribute the gift of death to its inhabitants. The only person standing in their way is a renegade Time Lord, who has sworn to protect the locals. A Time Lord called the Master…


Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious – Short Trips: Master Thief / Lesser Evils is now available to download for £4.99 from the Big Finish website. The Big Finish App, available on Apple and Android devices, also makes listening even easier. It is a free app to download, just search in your app store.


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