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I, Claudius reunion for Sir Derek Jacobi in Doctor Who War Master audios

The War Master: Solitary Confinement

Sir Derek Jacobi leads an all-star cast in four brand-new full-cast audio adventures, released today by Big Finish Productions.

Multi-award-winning actor Sir Derek Jacobi CBE returns as the sinister Time War incarnation of the Master (first glimpsed in the 2007 Doctor Who TV episode, Utopia) in a brand-new collection of four audio adventures entitled Solitary Confinement.

The Master’s deeds have caught up with him and he finds himself imprisoned in this latest audio drama box set, the ninth of The War Master range.

The opening tale reunites Derek Jacobi with Dame Siân Phillips, his former I, Claudius co-star – the series which won them both a BAFTA in 1977 – who makes a special appearance as a wise galaxy coder called Mendrix.

Also guest starring in the box set are Jason Flemyng (Boiling Point, Save Me, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Jacob Dudman (The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die, The Stranger), and Silas Carson (Doctor Who, The Gold).

Producer Scott Handcock said: “Ever since I started working with Sir Derek, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to reunite him with his I, Claudius co-star Dame Siân Phillips. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them both separately before, but I knew it would be a treat to get them together again. I just had to wait for the right script… and The Walls of Absence is a stunning piece for them both.

Dame Sian Philips by Paul Midcalf
Dame Sian Philips by Paul Midcalf

“And it’s not the only reunion. Jason Flemyng, who’ll be no stranger to sci-fi and fantasy fans, also gets to play off against Sir Derek again in The Long Despair. Then Jacob Dudman and Silas Carson, who have both appeared alongside the War Master in previous box sets, return to play two very different parts. It’s a performance tour de force from everyone!”
The War Master: Solitary Confinement is now available for £24.99 (collector’s edition 4-disc CD box set + download) or £19.99 (download only), exclusively from

The Drane Institute is home to the galaxy’s most criminally deranged. Patients are kept locked away for the protection of themselves and the rest of the universe… with their most dangerous kept in active isolation.

The Master is one such convalescent. He has no memory of how he came to be there. All he knows for certain is he should be: his presence is part of a greater design.

Confiding in the institute’s staff, the Master shares stories of love and loss, madness and glory… but there’s still a final twist in the tale: one the Master’s waiting to share with his enemies.

“The Walls of Absence” by James Goss

The Code Purgers of Chift have made a fortune cleaning up the galaxy’s code: subroutines assessed, and errors repaired. So when the Master loses his mind, quite literally, there is only one place he can turn.

Writer Goss said: “This is an attempt to do a love story – a romance for the War Master. So, I’ve created a character who we believe could fall in love with him. We know it’ll end badly, but it’s a small story about love in the middle of a Time War.

“It’s a delight that [producer] Scott Handcock pulled off such a coup and reunited Sir Derek with Dame Siân from I, Claudius. And they’re just magnificent together. There comes a point where you’re not sure who is playing against who!”

“The Long Despair” by Tim Foley

On the ocean world of Mehr Kee, the Master enlists the help of a captain to voyage across its seas. Their target: a beacon on a distant isle, shining across the waves. But what deadly trials await?

Writer Foley said: “Writing for Sir Derek Jacobi is a treat and it’s a privilege to put words in his mouth. To take advantage of his silky voice, I thought I’d put him in a nautical tale that’s semi-narrated by the War Master. It’s an evocative performance.”

“The Life and Loves of Mr Alexander Bennett” by Alfie Shaw

Alexander Bennett lives a normal life. He has a job, a girlfriend, a plan for the future… and a new home assistant — Maisu — that offers all the advice he could ever need… whether he wants it or not.

Writer Shaw said: “The War Master is such a joy to write for as he’s so thoroughly evil and ruthless while also being capable of great charm. You can go a lot darker with the stories than in the ranges that are led by heroes. I like taking things as close to the line as we can in terms of darkness.”

“The Kicker” by Trevor Baxendale

When a member of the Temporal Inquisition arrives at the Crane Institute, they discover more to the Master’s madness than meets the eye — and his secrets now threaten them all.

Writer Baxendale said: “This was a chance to dig into a story that was more of a character piece, something I probably haven’t done much of before, and come up with interrogation scenes that were basically two-handers to allow Sir Derek full reign with his Master to be as charming, cunning, clever and wicked as possible.”

The stellar cast also includes Eva Pope (Bad Girls, Coronation Street), Lois Chimimba (The Outlaws), Kae Alexander (Bad Education), and Neve McIntosh (known to Doctor Who fans as Madame Vastra).

Sir Derek Jacobi said: “The Master is such a wonderful character. His view on life and death is so unique and so funny. That’s what’s so attractive about him, because he loves his work. He enjoys the mayhem and the murder and the power. The more he’s around, the better.”

All of time and space …

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