When Michelle Gomez first appeared in 2014, she very quickly became a fan-favourite. Throughout her tenure on the show, she garnered a very loyal fan base and had one of the best character arcs of the entire Steven Moffat era.
You can’t let a great character go, especially when Big Finish is concerned. When they revealed they had the rights to use characters up to the end of Peter Capaldi’s era, a new lease of life for Missy was suddenly on the cards!
In last month’s ‘The Diary of River Song: Series 5’, which featured the return of different incarnations of the Master, Michelle Gomez proved herself to be a dab hand at the audio format and left us dying to see where Big Finish would take her character next…
A Spoonful of Mayhem
The opening story for this set, ‘A Spoonful of Mayhem’, sees Missy falling into a spot of bother concerning a crime she is yet to commit and is forced into an exile in Victorian London. Of course, she has a plan of escape by befriending the two children she has decided to nanny. Writer Roy Gill has a fantastic handle on the character, letting her go completely insane, something that Michelle Gomez seems to relish. In a plan that sees Missy travelling across London to find a number of magical and alien creatures, the script gives Gomez time to settle into the audio format once again and find her feet as Missy.
Gill seems to really understand that Missy was a conflicted character. Although she had her nasty side, she also demonstrated a conscience towards the end, something which comes out to play towards the end of this particular story. You really feel that the only reason she does what she does at the end is because she fears the repercussions if she doesn’t. It’s a glorious conundrum to hear Missy having to wrestle with and Gomez rises to the challenge brilliantly.
The two main guest stars, Oliver Clement and Bonnie Kingston, do a great job in their roles as Oliver and Lucy Davis, the two children that Missy has to look after. With the occasional misstep in their line delivery they do a great job for most of the story, particularly in the scenes which require them to act scared, surprised or get stuck into the action.
‘A Spoonful of Mayhem’ is a great way to kick things off, with a strong cast and a great script, Michelle Gomez really gets to shine. There are plenty of funny moments balanced with darker moments for her character and a rather nice conundrum for her to face.
Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated
For many listeners this is the story they were most excited to listen too. Not only does it feature another fabulous performance from Gomez but it also sees the return of the Meddling Monk. Listening to Missy and the Monk constantly trying to get the upper-hand over one-another is hilarious. The Monk is up to his usual tricks and Missy doing anything to become Queen.
Author John Dorney does another terrific job delivering yet another hilarious script, made even funnier by the glorious chemistry between the two leads, Michelle Gomez and Rufus Hound. Hound gives a glorious portrayal of the Meddling Monk character. Dorney also provides some emotional background and information about what he did during the Time War. For many, it will be a moment that wasn’t to be expected but it allows us to understand why this Monk has acted this way since his debut back in ‘The Black Hole’.
‘Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated’ is another chance to hear Missy having an absolute blast on her adventures without the Doctor being around to stop her. The plot is well thought out and it is clear that John Dorney had an absolute ball writing for these characters. It ends on the promise of another confrontation between Missy and the Monk. Following this story, one can hope that it happens soon!
The Broken Clock
From author Nev Fountain, you’d be forgiven for expecting that ‘The Broken Clock’ is going to be a high comedy, low stakes kind of story. But ‘The Broken Clock’ is anything but that description. It has some very amusing moments and the whole premise is a hoot but the story has some incredibly dark moments.
In fact, ‘The Broken Clock’ is the moment this set switches tracks. While ‘A Spoonful of Mayhem’ and ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated’ focused on the funnier aspects of Missy’s character, ‘The Broken Clock’ and the concluding instalment, ‘The Belly of the Beast’ explore her darker side. And what a dark side it is!
On what seems to be an American crime series called ‘Dick Zodiac’s Americas Most Impossible Killers’, we follow Detective Joe Lynwood as he investigates a rather bizarre case. People are finding a series of dead-bodies and Lynwood has one very long night to solve them. But then the mysterious DI Missy Masters arrives, on loan from Scotland Yard.
What follows is quite possibly the best story of this set. Fountain delivers a terrific script that links nicely with the horrors of the Time War, particularly in the form of the ‘villain’ something that will probably catch a lot of listeners by surprise. Missy goes from someone who wants to help everyone to someone who only wants to help herself at the drop of a hat. To say anything more would spoil the story but the script rattles along at a real pace and is filled with plenty of twists and turns to wrong foot the listener.
‘The Broken Clock’ also deserves a special shout out to the fabulous cast. Michelle Gomez is arguably at her best here, devouring the strong script. Kenneth Jay does a great job as Dick Zodiac, a man who knows a lot more than he initially lets on. Guy Paul is also terrific as Joe Lynwood, a man who unfortunately finds himself caught up in the events unfolding around him.
The Belly of the Beast
The set concludes with ‘The Belly of the Beast’, written by Jonathan Morris. What follows is a really disturbing listen, with Missy trying to subjugate the inhabitants of a small planet. Morris has an excellent interpretation of her character and the ruthlessness she demonstrates here is something out of the Geoffrey Beever’s Master’s handbook. There are a couple of times where one wonders if the proceedings are a little too near the knuckle! But what a gloriously disturbed and twisted listen this one is!
The whole cast rise to the occasion, especially Abbie Andrew as Aleyna and Jason Nwoga as Doctor Goodnight who convince how bleak the surroundings and setting of this story are.
As with the previous three instalments Michelle Gomez is simply marvellous, relishing the chance to be thoroughly evil thanks to the script from Morris. While one doubts that these stories are in chronological order in terms of her character’s continuity, it isn’t difficult to believe that this story would be set before she meets the Twelfth Doctor. Any fears from fans that Missy isn’t as good a Master as the previous incarnations will be spectacularly quashed here!
This debut series for ‘Missy’ is nothing short of a triumph. Each story is a delight to listen to. All the scripts are tightly written and allow the cast to have an absolute ball. Ken Bentley once again delivers in terms of direction. He effortlessly gets the best out of the cast, understanding the tone of each story and never making one too fast or one two slow. Each story is paced just right and allows for a more consistent feel between stories. The theme tune from Joe Kraemer is excellent. It gives Missy a fresh feel while allowing people to recognise that it is from the Doctor Who universe. His soundscape made for a great listen. Hopefully we’ll hear more from him in the future.
Finally one more congratulation to the glorious Michelle Gomez. She was such inspired casting as Missy and that continues to be proven here. Out from the shadow of the Doctor, this set really lets Missy cut loose and Gomez thoroughly enjoys it!
Well done Big Finish for another outstanding release and a terrific debut series for such a popular character!
This title was released in February 2019. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until April 30th 2019, and on general sale after this date.
Missy… alone, unleashed and unfettered. What does she get up to when the Doctor isn’t around?
Well, Missy has a plan. To carry it out, she’s going to have to break some rules. And people. And planets. Look out universe, Missy is on a mission. And nobody is going to stop her…
1. A Spoonful of Mayhem by Roy Gill
In a spot of bother in Victorian London, Missy is forced to take on governess duties.
But she has another scheme in mind, and her charges are simply in the way. She’s going to have to teach the children some rather harsh lessons about getting what you want.
And there will be tears before bedtime.
2. Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated by John Dorney
Missy arrives in Tudor England, throwing the plans of another renegade Time Lord into chaos.
King Henry VIII is on the throne, and aliens are stomping through the countryside. Missy just wants to be Queen.
And the Monk? Once he knows who else is on the scene, he’ll be glad just to stay alive…
3. The Broken Clock by Nev Fountain
Tonight, on Dick Zodiac’s America’s Most Impossible Killers, Detective Joe Lynwood hunts the most impossible killer of his career.
There’s a trail of bodies. Impossible bodies. And Joe has one long night to solve the case.
Luckily, DI Missy Masters from Scotland Yard in England, London, England is here to help…
4. The Belly of the Beast by Jonathan Morris
Missy’s scheme nears completion. All she must do is subjugate one little planet and bend the inhabitants to her will. Not too much to ask…
But slaves will keep rebelling. It’s almost as if they don’t want to unearth an ancient artefact to fulfil Missy’s plans for universal domination.
She’ll have to do something about that.
Written By: Roy Gill, John Dorney, Nev Fountain and Jonathan Morris.
Directed By: Ken Bentley.
Michelle Gomez (Missy), Rufus Hound (The Monk), Oliver Clement (Oliver Davis), Bonnie Kingston (Lucy Davis), Simon Slater (Montague Davis / Moses Walker / Coachman), Dan Starkey (Mr Cosmo / Park Keeper / Old Man / Sphinx), Beth Chalmers (Djinn / Housemaid), Maggie Service (Catherine Parr), Leighton Pugh (Sir Foxcroft / Gramoryan 1 / Priest), Graham Seed (Gramoryan 2 / Taverner / Squire), Kenneth Jay (Dick Zodiac), Guy Paul (Joe Lynwood), Ryan Forde Iosco (The Actor Playing Joe Lynwood), Daniel Goode (Mark / Roy), Rachel Verkuil (Frankie / The Actress Playing Missy), Abbie Andrew (Aleyna), John Scougall (Cort / Guards), Lucy Goldie (Sath / Mother), Jason Nwoga (Doctor Goodnight), Jamie Laird (Mr Bryce / Father). Other parts played by members of the cast.