Very much the second half of John Dorney’s Requiem for the Rocket Men, Matt Fitton’s tale contains some of the best characterisation for the Fourth Doctor and Leela that we’ve had in some time (albeit as well as adding a couple of retcons to The Invasion of Time which I’m not quite so enchanted with!).
It’s a shame that Tom Baker only shared one story with Geoffrey Beevers’ Master on screen during his tenure as the Doctor – there’s an argument in Death Match between the pair that shows both actors at their finest, with a raw passion from Baker’s Doctor that surfaces when the Time Lord is at his most incensed. It’s also great to hear Beevers be as charming as the Master as some of the less flesh-dripping incarnations…
That’s matched by a strong performance from Louise Jameson at the end of the story, when events don’t go the way that Leela hopes, and she faces a change that she really doesn’t want to deal with. Director Nick Briggs doesn’t allow either scene to be swamped by extraneous music or effects so we concentrate purely on the “human” emotion present in both – although Jamie Robertson does a great job on these where they are required!
Verdict: A powerful story that the actors deliver well. 9/10