Trail of the White Worm was the fifth story in the first series of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Alan Barnes and featured Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela.
It offered an explanation as to why the Master looked different between the version played by Peter Pratt and the one played by Geoffrey Beevers, revealing that the Master managed to partially reverse his deformity after absorbing some energy from the Eye of Harmony, transitioning him from a more skeletal appearance to a slightly rejuvenated appearance in comparison.
The legend dates back to Roman times, at least: a great White Worm, as wide as a man, slithers out of the rocks of the Dark Peak Gap to take animals, sometimes even children, for its food.
When the Doctor and Leela arrive in the wilds of Derbyshire, only to get caught up in the hunt for a missing girl, they soon discover that the legend of the Worm is very much alive — even now, in 1979.
The TARDIS lands in Derbyshire woodland, where the locals are hunting a monstrous worm that has been devouring livestock and tourists. Evading the hunting dogs, the Doctor and Leela find themselves on opposite sides of an electric fence.
While the Doctor ingratiates himself with the locals, including wealthy part-time resident Demesne Furze, Leela is attacked by a tank remotely-controlled by the fascistic Colonel Spindleton.
Spindleton has allied himself with the Master, who has made a lair in the caves under Spindleton's manor house. Leela is left to her fate, as the Master summons the giant worm through a wide crack in the ground...
Leela escapes into the caverns, and is shown the way out by none other than Demesne Furze.
Furze turns out to be the human disguise of the worm itself - a sentient, dimensionally-transcendental, biological device used to burrow through space-time.
Temporarily consumed by the worm, the Doctor and Leela discover the Master wants to harness it to create a powerful wormhole across space. The worm has refused to do the Master's bidding as the exertion would destroy it.
Generating an electrical storm, the Master succeeds in activating the worm, opening a portal through which his mysterious alien allies can advance onto earth...
- The Doctor - Tom Baker
- Leela - Louise Jameson
- The Master - Geoffrey Beevers
- Colonel Spindleton - Michael Cochrane
- Demesne Furze - Rachael Stirling
- Carswell / Mercenary - John Banks
- Julie - Becci Gemmell
- John - Mark Field
- The Doctor was once imprisoned in the Tower of London on the Duke of Exeter's daughter.
- After finding the TARDIS, Carswell claims that he has not seen a police box since going to Derbyshire in 1952.
- According to the Doctor, Time Lords are not descended from primates.
- Leela uses the Doctor's scarf to swing over an electric fence.
- After discovering the corpse of a fellwalker (which only has one shoe, suggesting that the body was moved), the Doctor determines that it was not killed by any Earth creature.
- Although Carswell believed that it was his niece Julie Ledger had been killed by the Great White Worm, she was planning to hitchhike to London as she wanted to hang out with punk rockers such as Sid Vicious and Siouxsie and the Banshee in Carnaby Street. Demesne Furze kidnapped her, put her in the boot of her car and returned her to Dark Peak.
- Colonel Spindleton has the mounted heads of a tiger named Terry and a gorilla named Gerald, both of which he killed personally.
- According to legend, a knight named Sir Edgar killed the Great White Worm by cutting it "in twain" during the Middle Ages. In Old English, "wyrm" does not mean "worm" but "dragon".
- The caves under Lambton Manor were used as a place of worship by Romans during the occupation of Britain.
- Demesne Furze is able to smell the Time Vortex off the Doctor. She transforms herself into the Great White Worm.
- The Doctor gives Leela a message to "UNIT, Doctor, TARDIS, Master, Zygons, Krynoids, Axons too" in the hope of attracting the attention of his good friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
- This is the first Big Finish audio drama to feature the Master since the audio story Master in October 2003.
- This is the first Fourth Doctor story in performed Doctor Who to feature the Master since the television story Logopolis in 1981.
- The Master stays true to form and initially adopts an alias. In this case, it is "Mwalimu," which is Swahili for "teacher" or "master."
- This story leads directly into the audio story The Oseidon Adventure, forming as a single narrative.
- This audio drama was recorded on 18 August 2011 at The Moat Studios.
- This story is set between The Talons of Weng-Chiang and Horror of Fang Rock.
- This story was originally released on CD and download.
- Leela mentions that she has met Romans. (AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni)
- Leela once again refers to the police as "blue guards." (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang; AUDIO: The Renaissance Man)
- The Doctor refers to the Zygons (TV: Terror of the Zygons), the Krynoids (TV: The Seeds of Doom) and the Axons (TV: The Claws of Axos).
- The Doctor notes that the Master has a slightly less "putrescent" appearance than when they last met on Gallifrey. This can most likely attributed to his own theory that the Master was able convert the energy from the Eye of Harmony and effectively heal himself, albeit partially. (TV: The Deadly Assassin)
- Official Trail of the White Worm page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Trail of the White Worm at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide