Dust Breeding (2001)

Dust Breeding has the hallmarks of an early classic. It has all the classic elements needed to make a truly great Doctor Who story. Eerie setting, strange goings on and a familiar adversary that it portrayed as one character but turns out to be someone else. It has the feel of Earthshock (1982) when the Cybermen shocked us all when they appeared at the end of Episode 1. The Master makes a shocking return for the first time since Survival (1989). Before this revelation he is Mr. Seta (must have taken the writer ages to this that one up!).

The revelation of the Master is quite a different one. It’s the first adventure he has after Survival and the body that the Anthony Ainley Master has been taken away and he is being controlled by the creature that is hidden away. Geoffrey Beevers who played the Master in The Keeper of Traken (1980) was very good as his voice was very sinister and creepy. Another name from the TV series was Caroline John (Beever’s wife) who played Liz Shaw in 1970. She was good as Madame Salvadori, though I do think she over did the voice a little. This story sees the return of Bev Tarrant who appeared in The Genocide Machine (2000). There is a great deal of suspension of belief to think that Bev Tarrant just happens to be on Duchamp 331. Don’t get me wrong I like the character but I think that she should have been put into the story as a companion. I think the setting on Duchamp 331 was a brilliantly thought out place. A planet where the wind sounds like a bunch of Daleks gave a brilliant red herring before the real revelation. I like the idea that the base is a sort of truckers rest stop that you would see on the Motorway services.

Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred were on good form again. The first episode of this story really shows how their relationship has developed over the years and since the very first Big Finish adventure. The scene in the art gallery part of the TARDIS was a nice touch and added a bit of the early aspect of the Doctor/Ace relationship.

This is a very good story. It was better than The Genocide Machine but that’s because it was structured so well with interesting characters and a wonderful setting.

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