Unless you’ve really got your ear to the ground, you probably haven’t heard of Doctor Who.
This science-fiction TV show, about an alien who goes around kidnapping people and shoving them into a blue box, has rarely aired outside BBC Cardiff. However, it has given the world one of its most memorable anti-heroes and, thanks to Big Finish, she’s been given her own series of audio adventures.
The character in question, Missy, is the latest incarnation of the Master, Doctor Who’s long time nemesis. She’s infinitely more interesting than her bearded predecessors and, as the TV show went on, she became more morally ambiguous before meeting her demise in the final episode of Season 10.
Or did she?
It’s unclear where Missy: Series 1, available as both a CD and an audio download, fits into the character’s chronology. But as Missy herself notes, it’s easy to escape your own death when you know it’s coming – so it’s entirely possible that this audio drama takes place after her alleged death.
Does it matter? Not really, because whichever way you take it, Missy: Series 1 is an absolute delight. Michelle Gomez, who plays Missy, is having an absolute whale of a time, returning to the role with relish. She’s supported by an equally talented group of voice actors including Rufus Hound as a character who, until I looked him up, I was sure was played by Matt Berry or Tim Curry.
There are a total of four largely independent stories, each an hour or so long, starting with a brilliant Mary Poppins-style outing. Because, let’s face it, Missy is a far more interesting nanny than Julie Andrews could ever be. In fact, she makes everything a ludicrous amount of fun; she’s trying to give up murder but, being far less forgiving than the Doctor, woe betide anyone who gets in her way. Her acerbic manner and willing lack of tact only adds to the magic of this series.
The first three episodes are wonderfully whimsical, poking fun at various literary and televisual genres without ever becoming too smug or wasting a single second of play time. The last episode is the weakest of the bunch and while it’s still worth listening to, it’s clearly there to set up a second series. Still, given how joyous and mayhem filled these episodes are (right from the moment Missy’s theme tune kicks in, you know you’re in for a treat), a second series can’t come soon enough.
You can buy Missy: Series 1 from Big Finish’s website, on CD or MP3 download.