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40th Anniversary
 2003 is the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who and it wouldn't be an anniversary year without a handful of The Doctor's oldest enemies trying to bring his travels to a final end.

 As a precursor to the November 2003 anniversary adventure, "Zagreus", Big Finish Productions have released three stories where three Doctor's face three old foes, but in unusual circumstances.

 First it was the turn for the Fifth Doctor as he meets a mythical hero from Gallifrey's past in "Omega".

 Next the Sixth Doctor has to endure yet again the evil scientist who created the Daleks in "Davros".

 And finally the Seventh Doctor comes face-to-face with his greatest archenemy again in "Master".

 Rather than full-on fights against evil, a new loose trilogy of plays sees one Doctor involved in a more character-based drama as they, and we, get to learn a little more about these particular recurring nemeses.

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Audio - Master
(Joseph Lidster)

 "Master" is a four-part story and is the third in the loose trilogy featuring The Doctor's old foes. Written by Joseph Lidster, author of "The Rapture" that was released in September, this story stars Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and has been directed by Gary Russell. It was recorded 30th and 31st July 2003.

 This story will see the welcome return of Geoffrey Beevers playing the part of The Master, who was last heard of in Mike Tucker's "Dust Breeding" which was released in June 2001. Also staring is Philip Madoc who has appeared previously several times in the television series, most notably in the 1969 Second Doctor story "The War Games". Other cast members are: Daniel Barzotti, Joe Bassett, Charlie Hayes and Anne Ridler.

 On the colony world of Perfugium stands a very old house. The current owner is the disfigured and enigmatic Doctor John Smith who has been living on Perfugium for the past ten years with no memory of his life before his time as the local doctor.

 Then on a dark and stormy night, Doctor John Smith invites his closest friends, Inspector Victor Shaefer and his wife, Jacqueline, to dine with him to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his arrival on Perfugium. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger turns their world upside down, and for all the occupants of the house life will never be the same again. Some die while others become mentally scarred forever by the events of the night.

Geoffrey Beevers
Geoffrey Beevers
 After inheriting the house from its previous owners he lives alone except for a housemaid, who is more than she seems, and a spiteful cat that is more interested in its master than the rats. But Doctor John Smith is more interested in seeking out clues to help him solve his the reasons behind his mysterious background and so discover who he really is.

 Which is why he agrees to communicate with the spirits so as to find the past that has been locked away. However, at the window just as lightening strikes disturbs the evenings proceedings. Burnt by the lightening Doctor John Smith's new patient becomes the centre of attention - especially as this stranger is in fact The Doctor.

 The Doctor is on Perfugium and he suspects the worst because he alone recognises the man as his arch-foe, The Master. But what is The Master doing? Has he reformed? Is he making up for past errors? Or is it The Doctor who has finally misjudged his former school peer?

 But strange deaths connected with the house are too much of a coincidence especially with The Master - albeit a seemingly changed Master - around. It appears that Inspector Victor Shaefer is no longer nearer to solving the crimes as Doctor John Smith is to finding out who he really is.

 The crucial question though is why has this evil renegade become the good Doctor John Smith? For Doctor John Smith is a placid and refined individual. He is honest and kind and is well respected amongst the community for his work as a physician. He also deeply values the friendship he shares with the Schaeffers.

Seventh Doctor
Seventh Doctor
 Not like The Master at all.

 Another question is what made The Master the villain we know? Could it go back to a single incident in his childhood with a bully or maybe it stems from something external which influenced him into turning to the dark side. Maybe The Master' childhood friend, The Doctor?

 Surely The Doctor could not be involved in the incident that changed his friend, which resulted in the murder of the bully, and then gave The Master to Death in order to save himself from the guilt of the act? But if the good Doctor John Smith is the evil Master why is he seen as a romanticised ideal of perfect good? As described Jacqueline Doctor John Smith is "the closest thing to perfection in this room".

 It transpires that Smith is not The Master and that his whole life in Perfugium is a fiction, created by The Doctor and Death at the bequest of the former, to see who The Master could have been had his life not been the victim of The Doctor's manipulation.

 Fiction or not this night is the end to one thousand years of darkness and ten years of life for The Master - but could it mean the end for The Doctor especially as it is up to The Master to decide his and The Doctor's destiny? Is there no ending of this one night of Hell?

 At least The Doctor's tale, to a mysterious man who it seems is a professional assassin preparing for a kill, may prevent someone else from following the same path - the path that leads to perpetual evil…

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  • Featuring the Seventh Doctor.
  • Serial Number: 7Y
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 135 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 31'09", 2 = 26'03", 3 = 31'39", 4 = 43'43"
  • Total Story Length: 132'34"
  • This story takes place after "Survival".
  • Cover Illustration: Clayton Hickman
  • Recorded: 30th and 31st July 2003
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: October 2003
  • ISBN: 1-84435-031-2

On the Back Cover:

 Many years ago, on a dark and stormy night, the disfigured and enigmatic Doctor John Smith invited his closest friends, Inspector Victor Schaeffer and his wife, Jacqueline, to a dinner to celebrate his birthday. A few hours later all the occupants in that house had been changed ­ some were dead, others mentally scared forever by the events of that night.

 So, what happened to the distinguished dinner guests on that evening? Perhaps, we'll never know. But two clues have led to much speculation ­ found outside the study window, a charred umbrella with a curved red handle and found inside the house, a blood-stained of Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

 For one person, this night represented an ending: an ending to one thousand years of darkness and an ending to ten years of light.

 But, for everyone else, is there no ending of this one night of Hell?

On the Inside Cover:

 THE MASTER TERRIFIED ME as a child He was Evil. So, when Gary Russell asked me to pitch an idea featuring him, I was well chuffed. Except that Big Finish wanted a character-based story and when you think about it, The Master doesn't really have that much of a character. He's just Evil.

 With a capital 'E'. No matter what theories I came up with to explain his character or behaviour none of them seemed to fit. Yes, sometimes he's fighting for survival and yes, sometimes, he believes that the universe would he a better place if he ran it hut at other times he's dressing up as an Oriental or trying to stop the Magna Carta being signed. And he never wins. Ever.

 This set lie thinking, what must it he like to he The Master? Always alone, laughing at your own jokes, failing in everything you do... wouldn't you just give up? Wouldn't you just retire to some backwater planet and live a normal life?

 But what if you can't? What if something inside of you compels you to act the way you do? In the same way that The Doctor can't help interfering and trying to help those less fortunate, what if The Master cannot help but kill?

 What would you be more afraid of? The Master? Or that no matter what you did, no matter how hard you tried to escape, you were The Master?

Joseph Lidster,
May 2003

 Joseph Lidster submitted his first Doctor Who audio, The Rapture, on spec and producer Gary Russell liked it so much, he commissioned Master from him as well. Joseph has also written two short stories for Big finish’s Short Trips range of books, one in Zodiac and the other in Past Tense.

Production Notes:

 Project: Lazarus co-author Cavan Scott first proposed the idea of a story that focussed on The Doctor meeting an amnesiac Master, unaware of his past and being treated as a hero. This caused The Doctor to question whether to help The Master fill in the gaps or leave things well alone...

 We then passed this idea on to one or two other writers to develop further and amongst those was Joseph Lidster. Joe wanted to focus very much on the darker side of The Master's nature rather than doing a generic story, featuring The Master being evil. This suited Big Finish's theme of three character-based "villain" stories, the previous two be
ing Omega and Davros. By thinking along the confines of a stage-play (is limited sets and characters) it enabled him to cut away the extraneous, and more traditional, Doctor Who scenarios and just focus on The Master, his friends and his old enemy. Whilst not wanting to do an origin story per se, we wanted to ensure that, as with the Omega and Davros adventures, we added something new to our knowledge of what makes this so-masterful villain tick...

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Sylvester McCoy
The Master Geoffrey Beevers
Man Daniel Barzotti
Child Joe Bassett
Jade Charlie Hayes
Victor Schaeffer Philip Madoc
Jacqueline Schaeffer Anne Ridler

The Production Team:

Writer Joseph Lidster
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music David Darlington
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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