SIr Derek Jacobi
Sir Derek Jacobi
With John Simm set to reprise his role as The Master, and Missy (Michelle Gomez) on our screen, we seem to be surrounded by the Master.  And not to be outdone,  Big Finish has found us another generation of this evil Time Lord.
Sir Derek Jacobi – knight, thespian and living legend – will once more take on the role of the Doctor’s arch-nemesis in a set of four stories showing us The Master during the Time War.
Doctor Who: The War Master Volume One features the return as Sir Derek Jacobi as the Master in this new exciting series that will be released just in time for Christmas – December 2017.

“His incarnation is very much the ‘Hannibal Lecter’ of Time Lords – intelligent, charming, but thoroughly ruthless – we had a lot of fun in the studio bringing the War Master back to life,” explains producer and director Scott Handcock. “It’s been a gift of a project, and we can’t wait for listeners to hear it!”

Sir Master

Jacobi has some serious form when it comes to playing The Master. Fans of the modern series will remember he briefly played the villain in the 2007 episode ‘Utopia’. But he spent most of this story as the Master’s bumbling alter-ego, Professor Yana. He’d previously played The Master in the 2003 animated story ‘Scream of the Shalka’ opposite Richard E. Grant. In that story, the Master was inhabiting a robot body and confined to the TARDIS by the Doctor.

“I didn’t expect to come back to it all these years later,” says Sir Derek, “but I was thrilled to be remembered. The plots in all these episodes have been very good indeed, very interesting, very dramatic, and beautifully written. The whole process has been a delight!”

Sir Derek has worked with Big Finish before in the 2003 story Deadline’, written by Rob Shearman. Jacobi played an embittered screenwriter who becomes delusional after his teatime sci-fi show called ‘Doctor Who’ turns out a flop.

Scott Handcock, Sir Derek Jacobi and Nicholas Briggs - (c) Big Finish
Scott Handcock, Sir Derek Jacobi and Nicholas Briggs – (c) Big Finish

New Voices

Nick Briggs, James Goss and Guy Adams will pen the scripts alongside Big Finish newcomer Janine H Jones.

  1. Beneath the Viscoid by Nicholas Briggs

On the ocean planet Gardezza, deep beneath the Viscoid, a mysterious capsule is recovered from the Time War, and an equally mysterious stranger found within. The Doctor’s reputation precedes him, even here… but can he be trusted?

  1. The Good Master by Janine H Jones

The Time War rages around Arcking – a planet serving as a sanctuary for the sick and injured. But Arcking is protected by a mysterious, powerful force: a force the Master will stop at nothing to harness… even if time itself is against him.

  1. The Sky Man by James Goss

When his new companion decides to save a planet, the Master indulges this most futile of requests. Materialising on a primitive, agrarian world, both the strangers quickly find their place in it… until fallout from the War invades their happy paradise.

  1. The Heavenly Paradigm by Guy Adams

With his plans approaching fruition, the Master travels to Stamford Bridge in the 1970s: a location he believes might hold the key to his success. But what terrible secret lurks under the stairs of No. 24 Marigold Lane? And what sacrifices will the Master make in the name of ultimate victory?

Written By: Nicholas Briggs, Janine H Jones, James Goss, Guy Adams
Directed By: Scott Handcock

Everyone was thrilled to be working with the iconic stage and screen talent.  As writer Guy Adams stated,  “Once I got over the idea that giving my words to Sir Derek was rather like filling the Holy Grail with Special Brew, I allowed myself a brief cry of joy! Writing for villains is always a pleasure because a writer is roughly ninety percent more ‘stares at cat and awaits inspiration’ than ‘boils planet alive for fun’.”

But getting back to the Time War is what excited writer James Goss. “What was exciting about this was that normally the Master loses. He puts in the hours, he works through all these elaborate plans and yet it all goes wrong. It’s not fair! It’s brilliant that Big Finish have finally awarded him for all that hard work. And, even better, it’s the most intriguing, exciting barely-glimpsed actor to have ever played the Master. What did Sir Derek do in the Time War? It’s thrilling to have helped find out.”

Nicholas Briggs, executive producer, writer and actor for the new series had worked with Jacobi before and was glad to get him back in the studio as the Master. “I was lucky enough to have directed Sir Derek fourteen years ago in Deadline (one of our Doctor Who Unbound releases), so I was delighted to be able to work with him once again. The thrill for me has been just how fascinating and exhilarating it is to write a series when the leading character is a bad guy. Writing my own script and working on the others with Scott has been such a rewarding challenge. I’m really keen to do it again, and further, explore exactly what the Master did get up to in the Time War.”

While Jones has never written for Doctor Who before, she served as assistant director during the series six of the TV series. She’s also worked on the production crew for ‘Sherlock’, ‘Survivors’ and the 2010 film ‘Submarine’.

The Cast

The cast stars several fan favourites as well. Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble – Doctor Who), Mark Elstob (Number 6 – The Prisoner), Deirdre Mullins (Naomi – Man Down), Rachel Atkins (Vicky Tucker – The Archers), Jonny Green (Torchwood), Hannah Barker (Harriet Sloane – Holby City), Jake Dudman, Emily Barber (Gwendolen Fairfax – The Importance of Being Earnest), Robert Daws (Dr. Choake – Poldark), Nerys Hughes (Brenda Williams – Torchwood), Jonathan Bailey (Olly Stevens – Broadchurch) and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks all feature in  the drama.

The War Master Volume One is available for pre-order from bigfinish.com on CD (box set) £23 and download £20. It is also available for pre-order in a bundle with upcoming releases Gallifrey: Time War and Tales of New Earth on CDs £63 and download £54.

Winter of our Discontent

Not to be outdone, the following February will see the long-awaited return of the Big Finish ‘Gallifrey’ series. For it’s ninth volume, Romana and Leela (played by Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson respectively) take on the Time War. With a run of Eighth Doctor stories set during the conflict starting this coming November, winter will be a battle.

The War Master Volume one, Gallifrey: Time War and are all available to pre-order now from the Big Finish website.

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