Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



Beneath the Viscoid was the first story in the audio anthology Only the Good, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Nicholas Briggs and featured Derek Jacobi as the War Master.

This was the first audio story to feature Jacobi as the Master, his first time reprising the role in a full cast story since appearing in Utopia in 2007.

Publisher's summary[]

On the ocean planet Gardezza, deep beneath the Viscoid, a mysterious capsule is recovered from the Time War, and an equally mysterious stranger found within. The Doctor's reputation precedes him, even here... but can he be trusted?


In the depths of the Viscoid, the Daleks pursue and attempt to exterminate Gardezzan rebels aboard a ship commanded by Glortz. Nius contacts him, getting confirmation that they have acquired the capsule they were sent for, and later meets with him and Osen to examine it. Detecting a double heartbeat, Nius orders it to be opened and the War Master emerges, calling himself the Doctor and agreeing to help them fight the Daleks. Meanwhile, the Daleks detect the Master's heartsbeat to the seabed base and monitor it.

Using the seabed network, the Master travels with Nius, Osen and Glortz to a shaft directly below the ruins of the Gardezzan capital city, the location of the Dalek command ship. The Gardezzans explain to the Master that they plan to destroy the Dalek ship using an alien artefact which he secretly recognises as his TARDIS, having previously been attacked by the Daleks whilst piloting it. He is disinterested in Osen's talk of her loved ones and asks for somewhere deep in the base to rest, saying that he might recognise the artefact once he awakes.

The Master dreams of how he was transmatted out of his failing TARDIS by the Daleks and agreed to serve them in return for their assistance in locating it. Upon awakening, he hypnotises Glortz into leading him to the shaft. Osen detects a marked increase in the artefact's power output and gets close to it, causing the skin of one of her hands to rapidly age, and asks Nius for help from "the Doctor". However, Nius is unable to contact Glortz and the Master, who are at the top of the shaft contacting the Daleks, informing them that the TARDIS has been located but is leaking temporal energy. Threatened with the planet's destruction should he not bring them the TARDIS, the Master tells them that to do so whilst the TARDIS is damaged would cause devastation.

The Master returns to Nius, claiming that he and Glortz were in the power centre, and goes to Osen's laboratory where he finds the field around the TARDIS increasing in size. Meanwhile, the Daleks try and fail to transmat the TARDIS to them and decide to instead take it by force, leading Nius and Glortz, who remembers being hypnotised, to begin flooding the base. The Master tricks two braves into entering the time field and ageing to death, dissipating the field somewhat and allowing the Master access.

With Daleks attacking the base, Nius hands command over to Glortz and heads to the laboratory to kill the Master, aware that he had contacted the Daleks and was a fraud. The Master unlocks the TARDIS with his key, making Osen suspicious and believing that a barely audible message from Nius some time earlier might have included the word "betrayed". She holds him at gunpoint and has her worries confirmed by Nius when she arrives, but is told by the Master that he was tricking the Daleks and could use the TARDIS to destroy them. Daleks transmat in and exterminate Nius whilst the Master and Osen escape into the TARDIS, after which the base is flooded.

The Master makes some repairs to the TARDIS, which is launched up the shaft. The Daleks detect the attack and prepare to flee. Osen refuses to allow the Master to dematerialise the TARDIS prior to impact until he claims that he reminds her of her son who would otherwise be orphaned. The temporal energy destroys the Dalek command ship before they are able to contact the Dalek Time Strategist of the Master's actions.

Safe from Osen's gun thanks to the restored temporal grace, the Master refutes Osen's belief that he and the Doctor are similar as he had saved Gardezza just as the Doctor would. He receives an emergency recall from Gallifrey and decides to respond, wondering how desperate circumstances must be for the Time Lords to seek out his help. To rid himself of Osen, he tricks her into absorbing the last of the excess temporal energy, killing her.




Textless cover.

  • Beneath the Viscoid can be listened to for free on the Big Finish website by digital download.


External links[]