Halloween may be over, but Big Finish takes their listener inside the mind of a villain worthy of any horror film. Geoffrey Beevers creates a surreal trip, providing an insight into the motivations behind The Master.
The Doctor Who: Short Trips range provides bitesize storytelling. So far it has been the realm of The Doctor and his companions. Typically they are tales told by the companion. For the first time in the range, however, it is the villain who takes centre-stage. Since The Master is firmly cemented into the position of arch-nemesis for The Doctor, he is an obvious choice. A selection made even easier by the fabulous voice skills of Geoffrey Beevers.
Beevers himself has also authored the short trip. He originally played the role of The Master onscreen way back in 1981’s ‘The Keeper of Traken’. He has since reprised the part several times for Big Finish. Beevers’ insight into the role is put to great use. Like The Doctor, the renegade Time Lord also possesses a great intellect. Keeping a mind with such mental agility entertained must be a challenge. Unfortunately for his victims, The Master delights at frightening them or even worse. Concealed within the dressing gown hanging on the back of the bedroom door, for example. There is also a thought-provoking consideration of perspective. The ‘goodies’ are simply the victors with both sides considering themselves ‘good’.
“Evil always originates in the attempt to eliminate evil in others.”
A longer story is also told by The Master. Describing events on the planet Glox, The Master delights in explaining his strategy for destroying that world. His method of utilising the destructive power of ideas is an intriguing concept. Simplify and distort. Add to that the consumption of creatures for sustenance which could ultimately lead to the downfall of civilisation. These are some of several intriguing elements, touched upon delicately. Politicians in positions of power trying to appease the people. Ear-worms. Other aspects of the audio, however, are a tad more peculiar. The Master states that he is in a sound studio as if he has merely popped into the Big Finish studios. He even mentions the excellent lunches! Similarly, there is something very peculiar about The Master referencing David Attenborough. It plants his own brand of evil firmly in our reality, making the experience all the more unnerving and surreal.
I Am The Master is an enjoyable short trip, exposing the thought process of The Doctor’s arch-nemesis. As a first venture into utilising the more concise format to explore a villain, rather than the so-called heroes, it must be declared a success. Geoffrey Beevers has the ideal voice for audio and a talent for storytelling. Perhaps the most unnerving aspect is the possibility that The Master might be real, capable of visiting a sound studio or green room near you. Worse still is the chance that an ear-worm, planted by The Master, has found its way into your own ear. The power of ideas?
Doctor Who: Short Trips Monthly is a series of new short stories read by an original cast member.
Release #46 is a post-Traken Master story
There is a message for you. It comes from a long way, from a dying world. No, not a dying world. A killed world. And the message is from the killer.
Please attend carefully. The message that follows is vital to your future…
However, much longer that may be.
Producer: Ian Atkins.
Script Editor: Ian Atkins.
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs.
Written By: Geoffrey Beevers.
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman.
Geoffrey Beevers (The Master).