Doctor Who: Trail of the White Worm
Written by Alan Barnes
Published by Big Finish
In this penultimate adventure in the Fourth Doctor and Leela audio drama series, our erstwhile travellers arrive in Derbyshire circa 1979. Amid the rise of Punk, Thatcherism and not a few cow pats, they become involved in the hunt for a missing girl and the strange inhabitants of a village living in fear of the great ?you know what?.
Mad as a bag of frogs ? or perhaps mad as a man with a big blue box ? would be one way to describe this audio. The spirits of The Wicker Man, An American Werewolf in London and the later films of Ken Russell all imbue the story and atmosphere, and seem to infect every character, from Rachael Stirling?s Mrs Demesne Furze and the mystery of what she keeps in the trunk of her car, to Michael Cochrane?s Colonel Hugh Spindleton, with his Chieftain tank and team of mercenaries. That this concoction not only makes sense, but is thoroughly entertaining with it, is a credit to writer Barnes and director Ken Bentley.
It?s no spoiler to say that this story sees the return of Geoffrey Beevers as the Master, but the nature of his return, and his relationship with the above guest characters, certainly kept this listener glued until the end, or rather, until the cliff-hanger, as this tale leads directly into next month?s final release The Oseidon Adventure.
As ever, Tom Baker makes the most of the humour in his part, though Louise Jameson is given her own lighter moments this time around, not least in Leela?s Mexican standoff with the aforementioned Chieftain.? Meanwhile Beevers gives the Master plenty of underlying menace, even if his voice does sound strangely similar to Derek Jacobi?s Professor Yana. The lack of a satisfying conclusion may frustrate some, but with that cliff-hanger due to be resolved in a month?s time, it won?t present as painful a wait as Let?s Kill Hitler did.