The Sound of Drums

Sound of Drums

The character of the The Master was created in the 1970s, during the Jon Pertwee years of Doctor Who, by producer Barry Letts following a suggestion by the incumbent script editor Terrance Dicks. He suggested that, just as Sherlock Holmes had his Professor Moriarty, the Doctor should also have a nemesis. As a result it seemed to me, as a fan that had watched the series from the beginning, the universe suddenly became a very parochial place where you could bump into the same enemies with a regularity that suggested they lived just around the corner. With the commencement of each new Pertwee adventure the only question I would ask would be, “at what stage will The Master appear this time?” Even when the Doctor finally left the confines of Earth he couldn’t seem to stop stumbling across The Master with such regularity that I would wonder, “just how small is this universe we live in?”

None of these faults suggested themselves in The Sound Drums. The episode became a romp through past memories of TV science fiction that included a homage to Captain Scarlet’s Cloudbase and the Zeroids from TerraHawks as well as an oblique (Time Lord equivalent) reference to Douglas Adams’ Total Perspective Vortex from the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
.

Zeroids

There was also an echoing of Davros’ desire for a ‘Godlike’ power of destruction from Genesis of the Daleks
when we see an almost fetish like pleasure in The Master talking about the destruction of the Time Lord and Dalek civilisations.

The script might have seemed too fantastic had we not lost so much faith in the politicians that rule us. As it was, the facade that The Master projects has an unsettling feel of truth about it.

Again there is Russell T Davies’ precise use of language, with an explanation this time, as The Master orders the decimation
of the human race, a term that has its origins in the punishment codes of the Roman Army.

All good stuff, but I do hope that The Master doesn’t become a regular, or it will mean that the universe is collapsing in on itself once more!



6 comments


    theagingfanboy

    June 24, 2007

    Obviously the Master’s Tardis was responding to his subconcious desire to confront The Doctor, and plonks him into situations which brings them into conflict. Or The Doctor’s Tardis takes him to where he can stop the Master.

    The Obvious Sontaran

    June 24, 2007

    The Doctor could sense where the TARDIS was on the Valiant so they are obviously linked in some way. And wasn??????t it the TARDIS that took them all the way to end of the Universe in the first place, having first collected Captain Jack as a reinforcements? The old TARDIS is definitely running things.

    Andrew

    June 24, 2007

    I loved the “Voodoo Child” bit – with Mrs Master doing a little jig. ROFL

    David

    June 24, 2007

    I also like the Tom Baker reference, the way The Master starts his address to the nation with “Britain, Britain, Britain”, with just the same inflection. I watched it again last night, because I didn’t give it my full attention on Saturday (shame on me), and there’s a bit where The Master says that he had a hand in the design and construction of the Valiant, hmm I wonder where his TARDIS is ? I can’t imagine the Master not having a backup plan for escape……now did I see any Grandfather clocks or Ionic Columns around the place ? Ahhh, last episode for six months ! Seen the cover of the Radio Times – nice.

    The Obvious Sontaran

    June 24, 2007

    I??????m curious to know who these Zeroids?????? Er?????? I mean the Toclafane, really are. Will we have another revelation for the final episode? Will there be some Time Lord connection? Are they monsters from the Classic Series?

    Conrad Slater

    June 24, 2007

    Zeroids! Of course, I’d not thought of that but yes – that’s put a chilling spin on an already strangly eerie Gerry Anderson show.

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