‘Doctor Who’: ‘The Evil One’ (Big Finish 4th Doctor Adventures 3.04) audio story review

With Leela plagued by bad dreams surrounding her father’s death, as heard just off screen in the opening moments of her introductory story, the TARDIS arrives in the hold of a luxury space cruiser named The Moray Rose.

While the ship appears devoid of both its mega-rich passengers and their cargo, the time travellers are far from alone. The Marie Celeste air is soon blown away when they meet Calvert, an insurance investigator on the trail of missing gold bullion.

Persuading him that they are not responsible for the missing crew, whose gruesome fate is soon surmised by the Doctor from the dusty surroundings, the trio soon face danger when the ship is invaded by giant metallic insects. However, the Salonu are the least of their worries as a far more dangerous adversary, one who knows the Doctor of old, has set his sights on Leela.

Geoffrey Beevers once again reprises his role as the Master, utilising his smoothly persuasive tones to great effect. Despite another great pseudonym, there is no attempt to hide the character and instead we get to revel in his machinations as the noose tightens.

Doctor Who The Evil One

Guest star Michael Keating, (better known as Vila from Blake’s Seven), takes on the role Calvert who becomes a pseudo-companion in Leela’s absence. Keating makes an entertaining sparring partner for Tom Baker as the Doctor first outwits, then enlists the help of the investigator.

For their part, and despite their unusual description, the insectoid Salonu remain little more than telepathic heavies acting as the Master’s henchmen. Their motivation, a centring on their abduction of gold bullion to destabilise the human race’s financial markets, is rather abstract and plays second fiddle to the far more dramatic and emotional content of Leela’s story.

Falling into the Master’s trap, Louise Jameson’s Leela is manipulated by false memories and set upon the Doctor with murderous intent. We enjoyed plenty of call backs to ‘The Face of Evil’, not least her deadly weapon of choice, the Janis thorn.

Continuing the series’ trend for developing Leela, ‘The Evil One’ cleverly takes an element of her backstory, in this case the guilt surrounding her Father’s death, and touchingly fashions a story from it. As the Savage sees off the evil Time Lord at the end, we cannot help but look forward to a further encounter very soon.

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Extras: 15 mins of interviews with cast and writer/director Nicholas Briggs, who discusses the origins of the story.

Released in April 2014 by Big Finish Productions Ltd.

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