Doctor: Colin Baker
Companion: Evelyn (Maggie Stables)
Writer: Robert Shearman
Released: January 2003
Need to Know:
This audio was semi-adapted into the 2005 story Dalek, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. There’s a reference hidden in the set dressing with a box for Jubilee Pizza. A Jubilee Pizza box would later appear in a few episodes of Torchwood. I am not a fan of Torchwood, so it’s really hard for me not to make a joke at its expense here.
This story begins with a pretty hilarious parody of the Peter Cushing Dalek films. Whether that was intentional or not, it’s really funny and sets an interesting tone for a simultaneously funny and dark story of an alternate Earth where the Daleks attacked, were beaten by the Doctor, and it led to a dark future for humanity. The story proper begins in 2003 with the TARDIS landing, then disappearing, torn between two times. This is a great way to immediately build tension, as the Doctor and Evelyn are properly trapped in the dystopian nightmare of an alternative English Empire that’s apparently learned morality from the Daleks.
Colin Baker is terrific as the Doctor and puts a really interesting spin on the confrontation scene he has with the captured Dalek. It’s not the two survivors confrontation of the 2005 story, rather a more one-sided discussion between an in-over-his-head Doctor and an utterly defeated Dalek. Baker also gets to play a second role I want to keep for those who watch it. It’s that good.
Maggie Stables brings something a bit new to her performance as Evelyn this time around. She’s gets to go through a whole range of emotions in this serial and Stables pulls them off perfectly throughout. She’s always been a terrific companion and this story just adds to the pile of good things (to borrow a phrase from another Doctor’s tenure).
The main Dalek of the story, funnily-enough voiced by Nicholas Briggs (the same guy who voices all of the modern series Daleks), is terrific too. Briggs also gets to play some comical Daleks in the opening parody section of the story, as well as a few more proper Daleks throughout. They’re Daleks. Not much more to say about their pepperpotted majesties.
I honestly think this is one of the strongest Big Finish releases I’ve heard. It’s filled with big ideas, moves quickly, and will let you crack a smile in between being terrified by the various evils mankind can do.
Should You Buy it?
I’m keeping some spoilers to myself on this one too, because I think it’s that terrific. It’s a definite must and holds up as easily one of the best Big Finish audios.
I give it five Dalek-Squashes out of five.