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More Master madness as Derek Jacobi meddles in the ‘Genesis’ of the Daleks for Big Finish audio drama

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A new, full-cast and original Doctor Who spin-off audio drama starring Sir Derek Jacobi is available today.

“The War Master: Anti-Genesis” features the Doctor’s greatest foes versus his best enemy.


Also starring Mark Gatiss reprising his alternate-universe Big Finish Master, the new box set pits Master versus Master as well in a story that journeys back in time to the birth of the Daleks on the planet Skaro:  

In a Time War, there is a crime that not even the Daleks would dare consider. But the Master has more than considered – and he is ready to commit. 

When his TARDIS returns to Gallifrey carrying his corpse, a chain of events ensues that will change established history. Old friendships will be destroyed and dark alliances formed, as the Master exploits a terrifying truth. 

Even for the two most powerful races, time can be rewritten. 

It very much sounds like the Big Finish crew are revisiting 1975’s Tom Baker Fourth Doctor TV serial “Genesis of the Daleks,” or at least the same idea. I’ve always seen that as an opening salvo in the Time War depicted in the modern TV series between the Daleks and Time Lords, and the newer series has found itself revisiting the battle-scared plains of Skaro. Even Big Finish’s First Doctor series starring David Bradley is going there in 2020.

“It’s been two years since we resurrected the Derek Jacobi incarnation of the Master, and since then he’s taken control of a colony of Ood and faced off against the Eighth Doctor,” said director Scott Handcock. “Now, he’s back, and interfering in the genesis of the Daleks themselves – with appearances from Gallifrey fan-favourite Narvin (played by Seán Carlsen), and even the Doctor Who Unbound alternative universe Master, played by the incomparable Mark Gatiss.

“It’s a massive storyline — as you’d come to expect from Nicholas Briggs and Alan Barnes — bursting with ideas, brought to life by a phenomenal cast and crew. Is this the end for the War Master? Think again.”

It must be good to be bad.

Jacobi reprises his terrifying turn as the Doctor’s arch nemesis, the Master, from the television episode Utopia, to show how the character survived in a universe torn apart by war. He’s appeared in three other “War Master” Big Finish series: “Only the Good,” “The Master of Callous” and “Rage of the Time Lords.”

Writer and actor, Nicholas Briggs added: “I find it fascinating to delve into the Master’s motives during the Time War. He always wants to control and be sitting on the throne of whatever he sees. So I devised his ultimate strategy for ultimate victory. The ramifications of that make for a mind-bendingly entertaining yarn, as the Master finds himself in a win-win situation. In Doctor Who, the baddies always get defeated. So what’s it like for a baddy to win? What exactly happens next? 

“It was great to be in the position of devising the box set, script editing it, writing half of it, with my much-loved friend and colleague Alan Barnes handling the other half, and then actually getting to be in the studio, playing the Daleks opposite Sir Derek Jacobi. What’s not to love about a job like that?”

The War Master: Anti-Genesis box set contains four stories:  

  • “From the Flames” by Nicholas Briggs: After the Master’s TARDIS returns his remains to Gallifrey, in accordance with his final wishes, an intricate plot begins to change the nature of the universe forever.  But even in death the Master threatens life. And only CIA Coordinator Narvin can hope to stop him.
  • “The Master’s Dalek Plan” by Alan Barnes: As the Master infiltrates the Kaled scientific elite, the Time Lords seek to counter his interference. But while Narvin and President Livia try to stabilise the past, a new and horrifying future dawns in the wastelands of ancient Skaro. 
  • “Shockwave” by Alan Barnes: With all known history threatened, the Daleks take desperate action to preserve their established legacy. When they cross dimensions to recruit an alternative incarnation of the Master, an uneasy alliance is formed … But can either side truly trust the other? 
  • “He Who Wins” by Nicholas Briggs: The Master has achieved an ultimate victory. But at what cost? 

(“The Master’s Dalek Plan” is an obvious — and delightful — riff on the 12-part epic 1965-66 First Doctor TV serial “The Daleks’ Master Plan,” which has been largely lost to time except for some specific pieces that have been lovingly re-created.)

The War Master: Anti-Genesis” is available now in a collector’s edition CD box set or digital download.

In 2021, Jacobi will join other TV Masters Eric Roberts, Geoffrey Beevers and Michelle Gomez along with Big Finish Masters Gatiss, Alex MacQueen and Milo Parker in a “Masterful” team-up event.

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