Master!: Dimension Express cover art crop

Master!: Nemesis Express – Doctor Who audio boxset review

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The TV Movie Master is back for another round with Vienna – on a train speeding through the Time Vortex!

Master!: Nemesis Express is the second boxset outing for Eric Robert’s dastardly incarnation of the Master.

Master!: Dimension Express cover art

Who doesn’t love a good space train? In this case, the story takes place onboard the Kairos, a pleasure cruiser which traverses the time vortex.

Nemesis Express

The opening tale, from writer Robert Whitelock, sets up the detailed, well-imagined world onboard the Kairos; we come to understand the class system which dominates the segmented train. It is class in more than one sense, which is very clever.

We begin in third, among the hedonists and religious devotees, as Vienna arrives for her latest mission. After falling foul of the Kairos’ security, she teams up a passionate warrior monk, Brother Urmah (Rodney Gooden), who possesses no sense of subtlety whatsoever. We also meet Passion (Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter) and Scarden (Esmonde Cole), a couple in possession of a sacred artefact which Vienna’s paymaster wants back.

Meanwhile, the Master has found another way to return; beginning as a disembodied voice, he slowly works towards corporeal form – draining the life force from those unfortunate enough to get in his way…

Capture the Chronovore

Now allies and progressing through the ship, Vienna and Passion find themselves guests at a hunting party. The prey are Chronovores, creatures native to time vortex – both a call back and a twist on the Pertwee-era tale ‘The Time Monster’. Despite this reference to the past however, and an appearance on the cover artwork, there is little added to our knowledge of these God-like beings. It feels like an opportunity missed.

Lizbeth Myles’ story provides plenty of fun with some monied characters. However, they are mostly ghastly, so we were not too sad for the Master to see them off. He lurks in plain sight here, stepping into the role of the hunt master – after creating a vacancy, naturally.


Finally, Robert Valentine concludes the trilogy with a story that sees the Master’s survival plans – and his desire for revenge – threaten the lives of all onboard. It picks up on some of the threads laid in earlier, but this is not the plot-heaviest of boxsets.

Amid the action, there is plenty of darkness too; one horrifically delicious revelation centres on Bruce, the ill-fated ambulance paramedic whose body the Master stole back on the TV Movie – it is proper nightmare fuel!

In summary

Desperation is the key to this Master; he’s desperate to restore himself and desperate to enact revenge on Vienna after their last encounter.

Eric Roberts plays the role with so much relish that his smiling villain is impossible not to enjoy. Despite it being his box set, he’s used sparingly as Chase Masterson’s Vienna occupies the position of heroic lead; her brand of glamorous but conflicted bounty hunting always entertains. With two big performances, each with plenty of sardonic humour baked in, Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter’s serious, literal Passion provides a great foil.

In the guest cast, Michelle Asante impresses in two different roles. In the second episode she’s Princess Natalia Zicaria, while throughout the set she voices the Kairos computer.

Nemesis Express is big, action movie style high-concept Doctor Who (or should that be Master Who?) With a differece befitting this unique incarnation of the Master, it is a fun listen. However, after two encounters with Vienna, we are ready to hear this Master pop back into existence and bedevil someone else next time.

Three stars

Master!: Nemesis Express is available now on collector’s edition CD box set (+ download) or as a digital download only, exclusively from Big Finish.