Recorded on: 17 and 27 June 2019, 23-24 January and 13 January 2020
Recorded at: Moat Studios, Wisebuddah
2.1 The Lumiat by Lisa McMullin
I bloomin’ LOVE Michelle Gomez’ version of the Master. LOVE it. The wicked anarchy – the scrumptious delight she takes in devilment. She has the audience on her side – willing her on – she’s the bad guy – we shouldn’t be rooting for her, but we are. Glorious. And mad as a box of flesh-eating rats.
I was devastated when Missy left our screens. And then, of course, Sacha turned up and was absolutely marvellous. But I haven’t had my fill of Missy yet. I wanted to create a story that could – possibly – fill in the gap between Missy’s last telly appearance and the Master’s spectacular TV return. The Lumiat is canon. I say so. The Lumiat is the tale of what happens to the Time Lord known as Missy/the Master between Gomez and Dhawan (caveat – I wrote this before I knew there WAS a Master in Dhawan form).
I love the possibility that there is some goodness in Missy. That her obsession with the Doctor is born out of a quite exceptional inability to process love (in whatever form). Twisted love – sure. Sick love – oh yes. But love nonetheless. And where there is love there must be a molecule of goodness.
But it makes her itch. In The Lumiat, Missy meets her opposite – a person with so MUCH goodness it makes Missy heave. The Lumiat is more than a spoonful of sugar; she’s the whole Wonka factory. Missy can’t bear her. Everywhere she goes the Lumiat follows – foiling Missy’s wicked deeds. Just like the Doctor...
This was so much fun – Michelle was so much fun. During the recording she asked if she could add a line – see if you can spot it. It’s my favourite line. I wish I’d written it. Damn her.
2.2 Brimstone and Terror by Roy Gill
The first stirrings of Brimstone and Terror came from producer David Richardson’s wish to bring back Oliver and Lucy Davis – the youthful co-stars of A Spoonful of Mayhem (ably portrayed by Oliver Clement and Bonnie Kingston). I was more than up for that – I enjoy revisiting characters and feeling like I’m part of building up a bigger, interconnected world of Big Finish Doctor Who lore. The only problem was I’d closed off their story rather comprehensively at the end of Spoonful. There was no way Missy would make it back into that house in the guise of governess... but that didn’t mean she couldn’t find another way to let loose her anarchic brand of dark magic and mayhem in Victorian Great Britain...
Musing about the setup, I thought about how Oliver had been expelled previously – perhaps there might be a sterner military school in the North of Scotland that his weary father might send him to? And once he was there, what if he discovered a certain charismatic Head Missy had devious plans for that establishment? (I could already hear Michelle Gomez leaning deliciously into the more Scottish cadences of Missy’s multiple voices…) Would Oliver’s ever-resourceful sister Lucy find a way to rescue him? And who might she run into on the train heading North?
Strax is always a gift of a character to write for, and it was interesting to team him up with a new human. Perhaps, one of these days, the Paternoster Gang might end up with their very own gang of Irregulars to call on, back in Bloomsbury?
2.3 Treason and Plot by Gemma Arrowsmith
Hm, let’s see, do I want to write a script for Michelle Gomez to read? Yes. Yes I do. When a call like that comes in you just grab it with both hands, don’t you?
I come from a comedy writing background. Missy is a funny villain so I couldn’t wait to get going on this script. And Michelle Gomez is funny (have you seen Green Wing? If not, go and treat yourself). She’s one of those actors who will add loads of value to every line you write. So, I knew that however funny the lines I wrote for her were, she would make them funnier.
The Gunpowder Plot was an attempt to seize power. Missy loves power so it seemed an appropriate moment in history to send her. I knew that lots of sparky dialogue would emerge if I pit Missy against the plotters and these scenes were lots of fun to write. When you know and love your characters, it really is like eavesdropping on them and transcribing their conversations rather than writing. That’s when the writing’s going well, obviously. When you hit the stumbling block of a tricky plot point or a bit of fiddly logic, all of that eavesdropping business falls by the wayside and it’s just you staring at your laptop and the blinking cursor taunting you from the screen.
I’m happy to report it was mostly the eavesdropping bit.
I hope you enjoy listening to Treason and Plot as much as I enjoyed writing it.
2.4 Too Many Masters by John Dorney
“‘Doctor, Doctor, that monster doesn’t look the same as it did in episode 5.’ ‘Well, P’tings aren’t what they used to be.’”
Yes, I know.
Every now and then over the last fifteen years I’ve worked with the comedian Mark Watson on his epic ‘long shows’, that last at least twenty-four hours. It’s a slightly mad environment which is more of a ‘happening’ than a coherent show but is a jaw-dropping event that inspires great loyalty from a wide-range of regular contributors and audience members.
One of the other regular attendees is the show’s minister without portfolio, Rufus Hound. And oddly enough, at the time of the last show we were both nominally booked on other projects - he at the RSC and me at the recording of Day of the Master. But we both skipped off to attend regardless.
At one point a joke book was being written. And its author wanted some Doctor Who based Doctor Doctor jokes, but wasn’t familiar enough with the show. So Mark asked for volunteers to write some. And my erstwhile colleague and I - a Who writer and a renowned Monk - were the natural candidates.
We had a great half-an-hour working out some very, very silly jokes. I couldn’t manage to squeeze any of them into our third collaboration - the audio what these notes are attached to - but I did feel it might be good to include some of our favourites here. To what end, let’s finish with:
“‘Doctor, Doctor. Do you think Graham looks a bit graceless?’ ‘Well of course he does, Yaz, she died in episode one.’”
I thank yew.
Ajjaz Awad, Dan Starkey, Glen McCready, John Dorney, Helen Goldwyn, Robert Whitelock
Beth Chalmers, Eve Webster, Matthew Jacobs-Morgan, Gina McKee, John Banks