Doctor Who Audio Review: Master Of The Vault

Doctor Who - The Companion Chronicles: Mastermind

Mastermind is a Doctor Who audio play from Big Finish Productions and is an episode from the range known as The Companion Chronicles. Jonathan Morris is the scriptwriter with Ken Bentley and Jason Haigh-Ellery sharing the director duties. There are actualy no real companions of the Doctor’s here, but there is one persistent enemy known as the Master, played this time by Geoffrey Beevers. Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso return to roles as Ruth Matheson and Charlie Sato, respectively. Matheson and Sato are two UNIT soldiers introduced in a previous episode entitled Tales from the Vault.

For a number of years, the Vault has had one living occupant who would awaken from a coma every five years. This would be other renegade Time Lord known as the Master. This would be decayed husk version of the Master, played chillingly by Beevers. Sato and Matheson try to learn of the reason for the Master’s latest visit on Earth and the events which led to his discovery in a locked penthouse. The Master, in spite of his hideous appearance, still has the power of persuasion, which still could be underestimated in spite of the precautions taken by the UNIT guards.

This ended up being an intriguing departure for this series. Beever has such a compelling, malevolent silkiness in his voice that firmly keeps one’s attention. It’s amusing to hear Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso since they were both in the 1996 television movie which introduced Paul McGann’s version of the Doctor. Of course, they are playing two original Big Finish characters this time, and their performances hold up as well. Anyway, everyone does well, and the script is pretty well done. I am not exactly sure why there are two directors, but the episode still works. There is some exploration into the pasts of Sato and Matheson and an effort to present a piece of the Master’s long and complicated history. He certainly was not any less malevolent. I enjoyed this one even with the Doctor being absent here.

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