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Audio Drama Review
The TARDIS lands in the cargo hold of a luxury space cruiser called the Moray Rose. The crew and passengers of the vessel are missing. The agents of Inter-Galaxy Insurance are determined to find out what has happened, and the shadowy Interplanetary Police Inspector Efendi is showing a very particular interest. Caught up in all of this, the Doctor and Leela find themselves facing a horde of metal mantis-like aliens. But throughout it all, Leela is haunted by terrible nightmares and the dawning realisation that everything she thinks she knows about her life has been a lie...
The Evil One is not, as its title might suggest, a direct sequel to The Face of Evil. It does not return us to the planet of the Mordee expedition, or revisit the tribe of the Sevateem. However, it does expand upon a key moment from that serial, the death of Leela’s father Sole, which took place during the companion’s introductory scene... and was never referred to again during the whole of Leela’s time on the television show. Writer / director Nicholas Briggs makes the most of this opportunity to open out the character of Leela, and Louise Jameson performs the role with all the skill we have come to expect from her.
We also have the return of the Master (Geoffrey Beevers). There is no mystery surrounding his presence, though it is somewhat surprising to find that it is not to him that the term “evil one” is applied for the most part. There is a problem with this story in that the villain’s plan does not really seem to need the presence of the giant metal insect Salonu (Gareth Armstrong and Nicholas Briggs). It is true that the Master has often allied himself with alien species, but on such occasions any goal of revenge against the Doctor and his companions has been nought but a fortuitous side-effect of the villain’s scheme. On this occasion, however, it seems that vengeance is his primary motivation, and I feel that he could have set about messing with Leela’s head without any assistance from the insects. Nevertheless, any opportunity to hear Beevers’s delicious voice is worth embracing.
This single-disc audio drama is also noteworthy for a guest appearance by Blake’s 7’s Michael Keating (playing a very different role from the cowardly Vila), an unusual level of jeopardy for the Doctor (Tom Baker), and – for the second month in a row – a decidedly poignant ending.
The Evil One is not bad at all.
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