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Michael Keating in 'The Evil One' - a Doctor Who Audio Adventure

Michael Keating in The Evil One,
a Big Finish Fourth Doctor Adventure

review by Jackie Emery

Starring: Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela
Featuring: Michael Keating (Calvert), Geoffrey Beevers (The Master) Gareth Armstrong (Arthley) and Nicholas Briggs (The Salonu)
Music and sound design by Jamie Robertson.
Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs

The TARDIS lands in the cargo hold of luxury space cruiser the Moray Rose. The crew and passengers are missing. The agents of Inter-Galaxy Insurance are determined to find out what’s happened and the shadowy Interplanetary Police Inspector Efendi is showing a very particular interest. Caught up in all this, the Doctor and Leela find themselves facing a horde of metal mantis-like aliens. But throughout it all, Leela is haunted by terrible nightmares and the dawning realisation that everything she knows about her life is a lie...

Big Finish's Fourth Doctor Adventures is a series of full cast audio dramas, starring Tom Baker as the Doctor. In this latest series, he is accompanied by Louise Jameson as Leela. 

With his iconic hat and scarf, mop of brown curly hair, impish grin and rich voice, Tom Baker's Doctor is probably the one best remembered by the general public, and for many fans of the classic series he remains their favourite. Forty years on, the hat and scarf are gone and the curly hair has turned white, but that voice remains and has the power to transport the listener back in time to a brand new episode of Classic Who. The years fall away as the audio opens with the Tom Baker era version of the theme tune, and we hear the Doctor and Leela emerging from the TARDIS.

The script by Nicholas Briggs is witty and engaging, and follows the format of the original series by comprising 25-minute episodes, separated by a cliff-hanger and the theme tune. Tom Baker returns to his role as if he had never left it, his performance displaying all the Doctor's curiousity and kindness, wit and compassion, while Louise Jameson perfectly recreates the speech patterns and nuances of the savage Leela.

Michael Keating features as Calvert, teaming up first with the Doctor and Leela to solve the mystery of the deserted space cruiser, and then defying his boss to help the Doctor search for Leela when she goes missing. I had wondered whether Michael would use a different voice or accent for this part, as he did in Graceless or when he plays secondary characters in Big Finish's B7 range, such as the rebel Krale in The Armageddon Storm. In fact, in The Evil One he uses his normal voice, but such was the quality of the writing and his performance of the character, I never once thought 'Oh, it's Vila'.

This is not the first Doctor Who that Michael has done for Big Finish, having previously appeared with Paul McGann and Colin Baker. It is also not the first time that he has appeared with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, although the previous occasion was on the original TV series Doctor Who and The Sun Makers in 1977. The Sun Makers was directed by Pennant Roberts, who then recommended Michael for the role of Vila in Blake's 7. What goes around...

This audio is a treat for fans of Tom Baker's Doctor, of Leela – and of Michael Keating. Highly recommended!

The Evil One is available on CD and Digital Download from Big Finish Here, and you can listen to a trailer featuring Michael Keating here: Trailer.
Extras:
Cast Interviews, Vortex Magazine issue 62

Photograph of Tom Baker and Michael Keating courtesy of Big Finish

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