‘Missy Series 2’ continues the adventures of the Doctor’s best enemy, in her unforgettable “Scary Poppins” incarnation, as played by Michelle Gomez. Her first audio series brought adventures in Earth’s history and a brush with the Meddling Monk. This second outing builds on that, with two earthbound tales and two at large in the universe.
Writer Lisa McMullin begins the set with a very surprising story. After achieving her aim of capturing a “Master TARDIS”, Missy is bored. Out to cause trouble, recruiting a companion and instigating war at a picnic, her antics are spoiled by someone she presumes is the Doctor.
‘The Lumiat’ is built on a terrific premise, which we dare not spoil, sat at the heart of a very funny script. Guest star Gina McKee is perfectly cast as the foil to Gomez. It is so much fun that we would have liked this storyline to have been given time to develop over more than just a single episode.
Brimstone and Terror
In a sequel to ‘A Spoonful Of Mayhem’, the first box set’s opener, we return to Missy’s former charges: the Davis children. With Oliver away at boarding school, he is shocked to find their former governess now posing as a headmistress. One with devious plans for the young men in her charge.
Writer Roy Gill plays with the conventions of boarding school and the idea of shaping young minds for leadership. He also weaves in Strax, of Paternoster Row, recruited by Oliver’s indomitable sister Lucy to assist. We loved Strax’s undercover persona, with Dan Starkey giving us a Scotch Sontaran. There were some terrific gags about the offensive capabilities of the Swiss, and the potential for weaponizing cuckoo clocks too!
In the guest cast, as well as Dan Starkey, Oliver Clement and Bonnie Kingston again shone as the Davis children. Both a shade more mature than before, it would be great to visit them again should the occasion arise. We hoped for a cameo from either Vastra or Jenny, but had to be satisfied with a burst of their now familiar theme.
Treason and Plot
Writer Gemma Arrowsmith provides the comic highlight of the set, as Missy finds herself stranded in 1605. Naturally, she decides that to attract attention, she need to make some historical waves; in this case by interfering with the Gunpowder Plot. Enter junior Time Agent Rita Cooper, sent to guard that pivotal event from temporal interference and keen to prove herself. Primarily so she can be trusted with more important (and preferably warmer) assignments.
A game of cat and mouse ensues, with Cooper desperate to keep time on track while Missy involves Robert Catseby, Guy Fawkes et al. in a conspirator’s boot camp! Guest star Ony Uhiara impresses as the inexperienced Rita, while Ben Fox and Christopher Hatherall entertain as the bumbling conspirators.
We were a touch confused at the workings of the Time Agency, with the suggestion that guarding the Gunpower Plot was a regular job. Surely agents would be bumping into each other? To be honest, the story was so much fun it is not worth thinking too hard about it!
Too Many Masters
This series concludes with another sequel, or perhaps the term rematch is more appropriate; the Monk’s desire for revenge sees them both captured by Ogrons – dim-witted simian guns for hire. Occasionally used by the Daleks, they were also once employed by the Master too.
Writer John Dorney runs with such a delightfully farcical premise that you just have to go with it. In a call-back to the events of ‘Frontier in Space’, he grants the Ogrons a longstanding financial grudge against the Master which has been racking up compound interest. He also plays with the idea of the Ogrons failing to accept the Master’s gender change, a well-aimed swipe at the more close-minded corners of Doctor Who fandom.
Once again, both Rufus Hound and Michelle Gomez have great fun with the script; they could banter for Britain! Unfortunately, we found the reams of dialogue afforded to toe Ogron Empress a tough listen. Aiming no criticism at Helen Goldwyn’s performance, the joke wore thin very quickly; for us, Ogrons work well in short bursts! Thankfully, we loved Ajjaz Awad as the spirited Lydia, one of Missy’s fellow prisoners who becomes an ally.
Utterly bonkers and a little exhausting in places, Michelle Gomez’s performance as the capricious Missy is never less than supremely entertaining. Across four relatively self-contained stories, it seems that you can drop Missy anywhere and rely on her to cause mayhem. Her stories are able to contain a level of absurdity that other corners of the Whoniverse cannot get away with!
With sound design from Iain Meadows and a terrific score from Joe Kramer, this is another audible delight from Big Finish. Though it has yet to be announced, we have fingers crossed for a third series.
The final tale certainly seemed to put the pieces in place. In the meantime, Michelle Gomez is due to take her place alongside most of the other incarnations of the Master, including John Simm, for January 2021’s celebratory story ‘Masterful’.