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Trail of the White Worm (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2015
The Master is back!

This is the first four-part adventure from Big Finish featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela. It is strangely divided into two separate CDs rather than a 2-disc set. The first CD is called 'Trial of the White Worm' and the second CD is called 'The Oseidon Adventure'.

I found it frustrating that you couldn't get the complete story in one set and that you had to get the second CD after purchasing the first one. To me this is a mistake, as you could easily lose one of the two CDs and make the mistake of listening to the second CD before the first one.

Aside from this, 'Trail of the White Worm'/'The Osedion Adventure' is a gripping audio adventure to listen to. It's great to hear Tom Baker's Doctor and Louise Jameson's Leela in an adventure pitted against the Master, played magnificently by Geoffrey Beevers.

This first CD - 'Trail of the White Worm' - contains the first two episodes of this four-part Master story. It gradually builds up to what will happen in the last two episodes of this story.

I've met lovely Louise Jameson at conventions and recently had the CD cover of 'Trail of the White Worm' signed by her (as well as 'The Oseidon Adventure') in Sheffield. She agrees with me that it's strange this story is divided into 2 individual CDs and why it can't be put together as one set.

The Doctor and Leela arrive on a country estate in Derbyshire in 1979. A legendary giant white worm attracts the interest of the Doctor and Leela. They are soon hunted down by a mad colonel on his estate and come face-to-face with the the Master, who wants the white worm for himself.

This story is by Alan Barnes, who writes for the Doctor and Leela extremely well. He also writes a captivating story about the Master. It's unclear what the Master is up to on this first CD but he wants the white worm for something that dastardly that will occur in the last two episodes.

The White Worm seems to be a Roman legend in this first part of the story. I'm not sure I'm familiar with this legend or whether it exists and that Alan Barnes made it up. It's a shame this wasn't delved upon as it's only prominent in this first CD of the four-part story.

This is the Geoffrey Beevers Master appearing in this story and is set for him between 'The Deadly Assassin' and 'The Keeper of Traken'. I enjoyed Geoffrey's performance as the Master. Geoffrey is so cool and calculating as the Master, with that chilling and creepy voice he plays with so well.

I chatted to Louise about Geoffrey Beevers as the Master at the recent convention in Sheffield. She enjoyed working with Geoffrey as the Master and shared with me that he's doing a fantastic stage production which is being toured around the US at the moment, which I found fascinating.

Tom Baker excels as ever the Doctor in this adventure. I like the Doctor's wry remarks and in-jokes in the story and Alan Barnes certainly enjoys playing with the eccentric nature of Tom's Doctor. I like Tom's Doctor sharing scenes with Leela and when he confronts the Master for the first time.

Louise Jameson has fared well as Leela in these audio adventures. I know how very pleased Louise is that Leela is developed as a stronger character and shows more resourcefulness compared to the TV series. I like how she works things out and how she doges mad Colonel Spindleton in his tank.

As well as Geoffrey Beevers, the story features a superb guest cast including the likes of Michael Cochrane as Colonel Hugh Spindelton and Rachael Sitrling as Demesne Furze.

I've met Michael Cochrane at a convention in Chiswick, 2013. Michael has appeared in 'Black Orchid' (my favourite DW story) and has worked with Tom Baker before in 'Monarch of the Glen'. I enjoyed Michael's performance as the mad Colonel Spindleton and chasing Leela in his army tank.

Rachael Stirling is the daughter of Diana Rigg, and would go on to appear in 'The Crimson Horror' with Matt Smith. I enjoyed Rachael playing this seemingly posh lady in Demense Furze. It took me by surprise when it turned out that Demense was in actual fact the White Worm all along.

I found it amusing and shocking when the Doctor and Leela got swallowed up by the White Worm, putting me in mind of Jonah the Whale. Tom Baker certainly found it amusing according to the CD extras. It was strange and weird with the Doctor and Leela talking to each other inside the worm.

This first CD ends on a cliff-hanger with the Master killing Demense as the White Worm and a 'wormhole' opens up. The Doctor gets Leela down as the Master allies are about to come through. The Doctor doesn't know who they are, but we're soon about to find out.


I enjoyed this first CD of the four-part Master story with the Doctor and Leela. It ends on a cliff-hanger which made me anxious and wondering what was going to happen next. But I was keen and looking forward on finding out how the Doctor and Leela will defeat the Master in the end.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of this disc, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew. These include Tom Baker; Louise Jameson; Geoffrey Beevers; Michael Cochrane, director Ken Bentley' etc.

There's a trailer as the story continues with the Doctor and Leela in 'The Oseidon Adventure'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2015
As might be surmised by the title, this story is based upon Bram Stoker’s ‘The Lair of the White Worm’, which is turn was loosely based around the legend of the Lambton Worm. Of course, this being Doctor Who, this is a science fiction version of the legend. The adventure is, therefore, somewhat reminiscent of the Phillip Hinchcliffe era in that it is a fusion of Gothic horror and science fiction; as is Bram Stoker’s own ‘The Lady of the Shroud’.

There are several characters loosely based around those to be found in ‘The Lair of the White Worm’. Demesne is clearly supposed to be the Lady Arabella equivalent whereas the role of Oolanga is usurped by the character Mwalimu. Even without any knowledge of Swahili is quite obvious that this means ‘master’, especially if like me you can’t help but spend the first ten minutes of the play waiting for the word ‘master’ to pop up in another language or in an anagram form. The Doctor and Leela don’t seem to correspond particularly to Stoker’s characters. However, they do sort of fulfil the same purpose/role as the two main protagonists in the film version of ‘The Lair of the White Worm’, one of whom, interesting enough, was played by Peter Capaldi.

The plot works effectively well within the context of loosely basing it around ‘The Lair of the White Worm’. The separation of Leela from the Doctor allows for a more amusing side to the adventure. It leaves the Doctor to amusingly verbally spar with the aristocratic Demesne whilst Leela debates with the imperialistic, right wing Colonel Spindleton, and his tank. Unfortunately the plot suffers a little in lacking some originality when it comes to the Master. Like many Third Doctor serials he is doing his usual, assuming a false name and attempting a dubious alliance with some alien faction.

There is plenty of action and humour throughout, some good sound effects and an imaginative science fiction use of the White Worm. The play also ends on what is perhaps the best cliff hanger of this series. This release and the next, ‘The Oseidon Adventure’, are really the same four part story. So this play doesn’t have an ending as such, which de-values it a little. It might have been better to sell/market it as a four episode serial rather than two separate stories that can’t really work independently of each other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2013
Having not greatly enjoyed this first season and skipped to the second, having just finished 2.6 The Dalek Contract, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this story was. The whole first season fits slightly awkwardly into the Doctor Who canon because the levels of humour were really post-Leela, but ignoring that point which one should have become accustomed to after the first three stories, what one is left with is one of the better Fourth Doctor Adventures of the first two seasons.

It succeeds perfectly in the audio medium because it is rich with character voices, has dialogue every bit as good, if not better than the era(s) it is based on, and a great plot. It brings in/"back" the post-"The Deadly Assassin" Master and he is absolutely superb thanks to good writing and a great performance by The Master himself at the time, Geoffrey Beevers. A very comical snooty-major role is played brilliantly by Michael Cochrane almost in John Cleese style.

I was happy to relisten to some segments as they were genuinely funny. Leela too, is well written and performed.

In many respects, the Doctor, Leela and the Master are better than they were at the time, because the writing has a more mature feel about it than the comedic season 15 style we had at the time.

For me a first rate audio, that is simple to listen to, fun, with one or two thought provoking ideas for the sci-fi ethos that I had not previously considered.

It ends on a cliff-hanger, which un-like the later story 2.2 The Sands of Life, is very welcome as I genuinely want this story to continue.

Finally, as intriguing as the story is, I am just happy to listen to the characters. So for me, this is a win-win story and one of the best single-disc releases for a long time. On a relisten I will skip some of the previous and later fourth Doctor Adventures, but this will be one of the key re-listens along with 2.1 The Auntie Matter and 2.4 The Justice of Jalxar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Latest Doctor Who audio story in the current run that feature Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as his companion Leela.

This is the fifth in a series, but it does stand entirely on it's own. Thus casual listeners would be able to get into without having heard the earlier ones.

It's complete on one cd, and runs for two episodes of just over twenty five minutes in length [approx].

This one is the first of a two part story, though, and it ends on a cliffhanger which leads into the next one Oseidon Adventure, The (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures).

The story sees the Doctor and Leela visit Derbyshire in 1979. In an area that has a legend about a great white worm that comes our out of the rocks and eats animals. And occasionally humans.

Quickly caught up in a manhunt, the time travellers soon find bigger things are going on here. For an old enemy of the Doctor's is also in the area. They are hunting the worm as well. And the stakes are suddenly much higher....

As with all the other stories in this run the two leads are great and some of their dialogue is absolutely superb. The recreation of the style of Doctor Who at the time is as well, thanks to good music and sound design. And there are some nice little touches to create the period which should bring a smile to the face of anyone who lived through the 1970's.

This story is a rather odd mix of styles, though, and never the out and out horror one that the cover and the description might imply. The first episode, after a great start, does rather get sidetracked with a long introduction for an eccentric supporting character that does come close to getting a bit silly.

Yet there are twists and turns galore here and the story will constantly surprise you as it goes along.

The old enemy [no spoilers but anyone not wanting to know should avoid looking at the cover of the box and the cast list on the back] is played by the original actor, and they do a superb job of returning to a part they first played decades before.

As mentioned this is the start of a longer story, and that means it ends on a big cliffhanger and you will need to hear the the next release in this run to find what happens next.

So this isn't quite perfect and not the best of this run so far but there's still a lot to like about it and it's well worth a listen.

The trailer for the aforementioned next story can be found on track on the cd right after the end of part two.

And fifteen minutes [approx] of interviews with cast and crew are on the tracks after that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a new audio story featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela. These are a great pairing and I love the back and forth between the Doctor and Leela, who gives as good as she gets and was always a great companion.

In this story they find themselves on Earth, caught up in the doings of a small village where some are looking for a girl who appears to have gone missing. There is great fear of a `you know what' but the Doctor assures them they have more to fear from `something or other' instead. It doesn't take them long to work out what that `something or other' might be.

There is a mad Colonel with a tank, and mysterious goings on in the quiet village, which is great to pit against the Doctor's madcap but deadly serious behaviour and Leela as the woman of action. The only quibble I have with this story is that it is, again a two part story on one cd. And that it finishes on a cliffhanger so you are compelled, if you want to know what happens next to get The Oseidon Adventure which is another two parter on one cd. Would be better if the two cds were marketed as one story of four parts, surely, like almost all the other Big Finish adventures!?
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on 26 January 2013
A great story, which features some many classic moments that featured throughout Tom bakers era as the doctor
A brilliant story, which features the return of the master, as played by Geoffrey beavers. He is great in the story, but he is only used minimal throughout the story, which is how I think the master is best played.
Tom baked and louise Jameson are brilliant in this story, it is really like being back in 1977 all over again.
I would recommended this to all doctor who fans. To fans of the classic series and also fans of the new series. Buy this audio and enjoy a great story
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on 14 December 2014
Good Audio book
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