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Audio Drama Review
The Death Match is under new management. The Hunt Master’s Champion has been installed. All regular players are welcomed back to the Pursuit Lounge to observe the contest in luxurious surroundings. Privacy is assured. For this reason we ask our elite guests to abide by the strict security protocols. In the Gallery, your combatants can be observed on the orbiting Quarry Station – a purpose-built environment filled with deadly traps and hidden dangers. Prizes are offered for every kill, with bonuses for rogue elements. Only an elite hunter can survive the End Game. Do you have a worthy champion? Kill or be killed is the only rule of the Death Match…
Picking up where Requiem for the Rocket Men left off, with Leela (Louise Jameson) having fallen into the clutches of the evil Master (Geoffrey Beevers), the two-episode Death Match might almost be regarded as the second half of a four-part Master story. John Dorney wrote Requiem for the Rocket Men, with Matt Fitton script editing, and this time the roles are reversed. There’s a change of setting, and some little time has elapsed for the Doctor (Tom Baker) and K9 (John Leeson), who are initially unaware of their friend’s peril. However, a message from the former Rocket Man Marshall (Damian Lynch), who Leela had decided to train in the ways of the noble warrior, soon brings the TARDIS crew back on mission.
As in Requiem for the Rocket Men, there is some clever foreshadowing of / compensating for the decidedly abrupt departure of Leela at the end of The Invasion of Time. Though the savage is reunited with the Doctor in Death Match, the Time Lord knows that she will leave him one day, and he asks K9 if he would mind accompanying her with a view to looking after her when that time finally comes. Of course, K9 readily agrees.
On the downside, Damian Lynch sometimes sounds a bit too affected to be a tough ex-Rocket Man, and a lot of the fighting that inevitably goes on during the Death Match is rather dull – full of grunts of exertion and the clash of weaponry that could really have used some visuals.
On the upside, the Master meets a woman, Susan Brown as High Abbess Kastrella, who might just be a ‘companion’ worthy of him. There are hints of regret from him when such an alliance proves to be impossible. From Death Match to match death, you might say...
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