Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor and companions Liv (Nicola Walker) and Helen (Hattie Morahan) return in their final battle with the titular Ravenous. Not only joined again by the Eleven (Mark Bonar) but also by the Master (Geoffrey Beevers) and the Master (Derek Jacobi) not to mention the Master (Eric Roberts) and Missy (Michelle Gomez). Things will get complicated before this story is done.
Whisper by Matt Fitton
The Doctor is looking for somewhere safe to take the Eleven, whom he believes is cured of his split personalies and the evil they bring. Liv isn’t so sure. And when they land on a world where a creature hunts by sound they may all not live for it to matter either way.
I really like that in this last set of the series they do not waste time getting down to business. The threat from the Eleven seems very really, but it is also brought into question if he is actually gaining control over his other selves, even if we do know they are still there. The interplay between Bonar and Walker is really electric as Liv doesn’t trust him for a minute, despite Helen and the Doctor (cautiously) wanting to believe the best of him. The main thrust of the story is good but I believe they have made a wise decision to let the characters take centre stage in the ongoing tale.
Planet of Dust by Matt Fitton
The burnt version of the Master holds sway on a world ravaged by drought thanks to his evil machinations. The people have little choice but to do his bidding to get the little water he allows them. When the TARDIS arrives on this world the Eleven has not so coincidently decided to settle down on to repent, the Doctor and companions soon find themselves not knowing who is more of a threat to them or this world, the Eleven, the Master, or the Ravenous.
This is where the acting masterclass begins. Having Beevers, McGann, Bonar, Walker and Morahan all play off each other is delicious. The idea of the Master hording the water supply is a simple, yet very effect plot device of how the Master controls the people (who doesn’t need water?) but once again it allows this story to be character driven. The Ravenous seem more of a threat than ever and the guest cast is lovely too.
The Day of the Master by John Dorney
The threat from the Ravenous comes to a head. There are versions of the Master everywhere you turn and profacy tells of a God who is key to it all and links to events going back to the start of this adventure and beyond.
I mentioned an acting masterclass beginning? Well this two-parter not only concludes it, but also becomes a class in being the Master. The different versions of the Doctors deadliest fellow Timelord each are at the top of their games. I will admit to finding it a little harder to get into the Roberts Master to begin with, but when he was in full flow, especially in a scene where he meets the War Master and Missy then he was fully on fire as where they all. They even do what sounds to me like a take on the three Doctors meeting in Day of the Doctor. With the War Master being the grumpy older one, Missy being a little impish as the parallel to the Eleventh Doctor and the TV movie Master keeping up the Tenth Doctor’s intensity – either that, or I’ve just massively over thought this. Either way, it’s a great listen.
As for the main ongoing and concluding plot, this is all done justice too. The Eleven is a wonderful bit of chaos to throw the way of the Masters. The Doctor and companions go on some separate journeys but end up with some lovely scenes together as well and it’s all wrapped up beautifully.
In conclusion …
I’ve enjoyed this series of four sets and the few things I wasn’t sure about, such as having so many stories unrelated to the main theme, are fully answered by this set that is unrelentingly driving the story home. I have loved the other Master meet ups so far in Big Finish, but this is perhaps the most fun they have had with them together yet.