Missy: Volume One Review

Following on from her Big Finish debut in January’s River Song boxset, Missy is back in her very own series: undoubtedly my most anticipated release so far this year! But does it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!

1. “A Spoonful of Mayhem” by Roy Gill

With “A Spoonful of Mayhem”, we are treated to another Master story by Roy Gill, whose brilliant “Animal Instinct” we heard just last month in the fifth series of The Diary of River Song.

This episode sees Missy take on the role of a Mary Poppins-esque governess to two teenage children, taking them on a journey from Crystal Palace to the London Underground, all the while introducing them to weird and wonderful creatures the likes of which we’ve not seen in the Doctor Who universe before.

Michelle Gomez is on top form, giving the character of Missy the usual mix of pleasantry and mania that makes it difficult to discern whether she’s quite on your side or not. Her dastardly plan in this story takes a little while to be revealed, but once all the pieces are put together, it’s clear to see why she’s both the Doctor’s oldest friend and greatest enemy.

Oliver Clements and Bonnie Kingston are brilliant as brother and sister duo Oliver and Lucy, who accompany Missy on this adventure. Both characters are incredibly well acted, bringing this story to life even more.

Full of magic and mayhem, this story is the perfect opening installment to both this set and to Missy’s solo series as a whole.

8/10

2. “Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated” by John Dorney

This is absolutely the kind of story I was hoping we’d hear when Big Finish announced they’d be doing a Missy series. With “Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated”, John Dorney has written a script that’s absolutely fizzing with comedy, so much so that it had me laughing out loud nearly all the way through!

Rufus Hound returns here as the Meddling Monk, and, paired with Missy, he’s even more mischievous than usual. We also get a little more backstory for the character here, which is always welcome, and his masquerading as Henry VIII is utterly hilarious.

The plot itself is rather simple, but that’s nothing bad: this episode is all about Missy and the Monk, and it delivers on that front many times over. “Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated” is worth the price of this boxset alone, and so I award it a very rare:

10/10

3. “The Broken Clock” by Nev Fountain

“The Broken Clock” is another successful part of this boxset, with Nev Fountain continuing the comedic aspects of the previous two episodes, while taking the series into darker territory.

Innovatively, this story is presented to the listener as an episode of the fictional programme “Dick Zodiac’s America’s Most Impossible Killers”, detailling a most beguiling mystery that happens to involve “hell in a purple pea coat”: Missy.

It takes rather a while for the titular Time Lord to pop up- with the first 15 minutes or so serving to set up the “story within a story” aspect of the episode- but once she does, it’s in typical Missy fashion (basically: cracking jokes, being crazy and killing people).

The plot is full of twists and turns, keeping you guessing until things finally start to be revealed towards the end. As previously mentioned, this is a less rompy story than the previous two, playing out almost like a film noir murder mystery, which gives this set some nice tonal variety.

Another successful part of a great set.

8/10

4. “The Belly of the Beast” by Jonathan Morris

The final part of the set is another darker episode, following the lives of a group of slaves on a world Missy has conquered. Played by Abbie Andrew and John Scougall, these characters are our protagonists for much of the piece, with Missy popping in from time to time to be evil.

There’s not much more I can say about the plot without spoiling some of the story’s twists, but I was impressed at how Morris managed to weave together the events of the previous three episodes to explain Missy’s actions here.

The ending of the story is also effective, resolving the arc of this set while setting up the plot for a potential volume two (which I’m hoping for as soon as possible, by the way!).

Overall, a fitting end to a fantastic boxset.

7/10

Side Note

I was amazed to learn in the Behind the Scenes feature that Michelle Gomez was not actually present for the recording of any of these stories. That this was completely undetectable in the final product is a testament to both Ken Bentley‘s fabulous directing skills and Michelle Gomez‘s ability to act so effectively on her own.

Praise should also go to Beth Chalmers, who read in for both Michelle Gomez (when the rest of the cast recorded) and for the rest of the cast (when Michelle Gomez recorded).

What a great team effort this boxset is!

(Also, I absolutely love Joe Kraemer‘s theme for this series)

Final Thoughts

After the unrelenting darkness of The War Master series (which I absolutely love, by the way), it’s so great to hear a more lighthearted take on the character of the Master. This is such a great boxset, mixing comedy and adventure to form a magnificent release I feel like I could listen to again and again. Here’s hoping we hear more of Missy from Big Finish soon!

After the unrelenting darkness of The War Master series (which I absolutely love, by the way), it’s so great to hear a more lighthearted take on the character of the Master. This is such a great boxset, mixing comedy and adventure to form a magnificent release I feel like I could listen to again and again. Here’s hoping we hear more of Missy from Big Finish soon!

Missy: Volume One can be purchased on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com

If you enjoy these reviews, follow us on Twitter @who__review

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