Doctor Who spin-off review: The War Master unleashes a grand scheme in The Master of Callous

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The War Master returns in The Master of Callous, the second volume of his own Doctor Who spin-off series. But why is he so interested in a small mining world?

Last year, Big Finish released The War Master: Only the Good. To say that it was one of my favorite Doctor Who related audios of last year is an understatement. To be honest, it’s probably one of my favorite releases of the past five years, and that’s saying something.

I’ve actually lost track of how many times I’ve listened to it since its release. Not only did it have four great stories with a deliciously dark tone, but Derek Jacobi’s long overdue performance as the Master was wonderful to listen to.

So when Big Finish announced a few months ago that the War Master was not only getting one more series, but three, you can imagine how excited I was about it. In some ways it was kind of surprising, (due to how the last episode ended,) but at the same time, not too surprising. Especially since the box set was a hugely successful release for Big Finish.

But how is the second box set in the series, The Master of Callous? Does it aim to do more of what Only the Good did? Or does it offer up something very different, instead?

The Master of Callous is in some ways a very ambitious story. For starters, despite having the same length as Only the Good, it is only one story this time instead of four. This means that writers James Goss and Guy Adams had to take a very different approach to the box set compared to the first.

Whereas Only the Good had the Master causing mayhem and destruction across the whole of time and space, The Master of Callous focuses on one small world. A mining colony where people struggle to make a living, the planet Callous isn’t even involved in the Time War. So why is the Master so interested in it?

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