Sympathy for the Devil was the second Doctor Who Unbound audio story produced by Big Finish Productions. It featured David Warner as the Unbound Doctor with Nicholas Courtney as the retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

This story was set post-The War Games, though in an alternate universe where the Doctor was exiled to Earth in 1997 instead of the 1970s. The universe of this story and its sequel, Masters of War, crossed over with the "mainstream" Doctor Who universe in the later release The Unbound Universe.

Publisher's summary[]

What if...the Doctor had not been UNIT's scientific advisor?

1997... and a lone exile arrives on Earth, years later than planned.

On the eve of the Handover, an advanced Chinese stealth bomber crashes in the hills above Hong Kong. The discredited United Nations Intelligence Taskforce has just 24 hours to steal the technology, rescue the passenger and flee to international waters.

Down by the harbour, there's big trouble in Little England — a bar owned by an old soldier who simply wants to forget the past. But an ancient evil is stirring in a place of peace.

The Doctor finds a world on the brink of terror. A world that has lived without him for years. A world that is frighteningly like our own...


After being put on trial by the Time Lords, the Unbound Doctor was intended to be exiled to 1970s England, but instead, he landed in 1990s Hong Kong, on the night of the handover to communist control.

Finding his old friend, the Brigadier, he found out the world had changed due to him never coming to earth since the 1970s. Subsequently, the U.N.I.T. project had failed, and the Brigadier had been kicked out of U.N.I.T., due to failing to stop various disasters. As the two talk, an invisible plane crashes into the nearby mountain.

The Doctor and the Brigadier approach the mountain, looking for Ling, one of Alistair's employees. Ling and Adam discover that the crashed plane belongs to the communists. They rescue the pilot, but he is heavily wounded. The Brigadier and the Doctor then arrive, and the Doctor attends to the pilot's wounds.

U.N.I.T. then arrive, much to the Brigadier's chagrin, led by Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood. Brimmicombe-Wood seals off the area and takes the pilot in for questioning. A local Buddhist monastery is used as U.N.I.T. field headquarters. Adam is still trying to the find the other passenger but is killed by the mysterious Ke Le...

Brimmicombe-Wood interrogates the Doctor and the Brigadier, and chastises the Brigadier for his failures, criticising him for failing to stop the Probe 7 disaster, and the plastic purges, amongst other invasions.

In the monastery, the Brigadier visits the abbot, who tells him about the "soul jar" of which the monks have chanted, non-stop for 150 years. Meanwhile, the Doctor translates the pilot's speech, saying that Ke Le told him to crash the plane, and threatened to kill him. Ke Le was the head of the Ke Le division, a Chinese group of ex-convicts who go on government suicide missions, and are presumably mind-controlled. The pilot mentions something that could "steal souls". The Brigadier tells the Doctor about the soul jar. Ling recalls the passenger "changing". The Doctor works out who the passenger really was.

Adam's body is taken back to the monastery, as the soldiers assume he is Ke Le. The Master hands himself in. Upon entering the monastery, the Master threatens the abbot and makes him give the Master the soul jar. The Master reveals the soul jar actually contains a mind-control parasite. The abbot is killed by the Master, and the Doctor, the Brigadier and Brimmicombe Wood are captured by mind-controlled U.N.I.T. guards.

The Doctor is released by the Master, who tells him that his new plan has "noble intentions". He intends to rule the world to cause world peace. The Master reveals that he has been trapped on earth for decades, and chastises the Doctor for never returning to earth. The Master rants about how he has had to live through the wars, and the panics, and the shortages, while causing "minor diversions" to hopefully attract the Doctor's attention. He plans to use a Chinese military bomb testing to release the parasites to control the world. The Doctor agrees to make a deal with the Master, and Brimmicombe-Wood and the Brigadier are released.

They lead the mind-controlled monks and soldiers down to the waterside, and the Master agrees to stop the parasites in exchange for the TARDIS. He gives the Doctor the soul jar in exchange for the keys to the TARDIS. The Doctor and The Brigadier take the TARDIS to Mongolia and throw the soul jar into the bomb testing site destroying it. Meanwhile, back in Hong Kong, the Master was tricked into thinking the TARDIS was disguised as the Little England pub. The Ke Le divisions approach above in helicopters after the handover is complete. Brimmicombe-Wood prepares to leave, and the Master begs him to take him with him, but Wood refuses. The Master reveals that the Ke Le divisions will go mad, now that the parasites are dead. Thousands are killed by the helicopter gunfire.

Later, the Doctor manages to free the TARDIS, and the Brigadier accepts. They leave together to continue their travels. The Doctor quickly realises he needs to find new footwear, his current shoes don't fit him at all.


Uncredited cast[]


The Doctor[]


Alternate timeline[]

  • The Brigadier ordered the saturation bombing of Surrey.
  • The Mars Probe 7 affair ended with a "line of mile-wide craters across America".
  • Stahlman Gas is a hot stock market option.
  • The battle against the Silurians has resulted in a hole in the middle of London, which has turned into a lake because UNIT sent a suicide mission back into the past with nuclear warheads to end the threat.

The Master[]

  • The Master briefly worked as a United Nations advisor before defecting to China.
  • Separated from his own TARDIS for twenty years, the Master has been trying to attract the Doctor's attention.
  • The Master, badly injured after the plane crash, regenerates. He steals clothes from Adam after killing him.


  • Clements has stated TV: The Mind of Evil is "the critical moment" in the alternate timeline[1] The Master defected to China after the (alternate) events of that story, the Mind parasites are the same creatures used in the Keller Machine, and the Master's alias of "Ke Le" is a Chinese version of his "Emil Keller" one.
  • The dying Master regenerating into the "Kisgart incarnation" was intended to be the one protrayed by Roger Delgado.[1]
  • This story has the first regeneration in audio.
  • This story marks the first appearance of the mind parasites from the television story The Mind of Evil in an audio drama.
  • The original idea was drastically different: "My first idea was to do something that capitalised on the world over-run with Silurians and dinosaurs, with no plastics available; a kind of post-holocaust situation. I had this idea for an opening sequence inspired by Aliens, with a UNIT squad decimated by shrieking raptors, and a group of medics dragging a mortally wounded Brigadier to safety while an officer screams: "Somebody get me a doctor!" And then you hear the TARDIS materialising, and the theme music kicks in." [1]
  • Ling being mistaken for a Hong Kong local, despite being from Slough, is loosely based on a real incident Clements saw. The real girls were from Colchester, but Clements thought Slough sounded funnier.[1]
  • This audio drama was recorded on 24 March 2003.
  • Allusions are made to an alternate Invasion of the Dinosaurs, this time run by the Silurians. UNIT prevented it from ever happening by sending Mike Yates on a suicide mission with nuclear warheads to kill the Silurians before they ever woke up, but there's now a crater in the middle of London, where a lake has formed.
  • The Auton invasion in Terror of the Autons was stopped, but with UNIT disgraced. The Daily Mail ran a headline of "Barmy Brig in Fake Flower Fiasco."


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