Share values for the interstellar corporation TAI have
shot up by over 15 per cent following the news that Davros,
controversial creator the Daleks, has been hired to work on
unspecified technological projects. Has the scientist turned
over a new leaf? The Doctor, who joins him on the projects,
certainly doesn't think so...
is the second Colin Baker story this year to treat a Kaled
with a degree of sympathy. The last one was Jubilee,
in which we were made to feel a teensy bit sorry for a Dalek
held captive in the Tower of London. Now Davros turns
the spotlight on - yes, you guessed it - Davros.
remember a Doctor Who Magazine reviewer back in the
mid-1980s, around the time of Resurrection of the Daleks
or Revelation of the Daleks, commenting that a story
featuring Davros without his Dalek creations could prove quite
interesting. I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the reviewer
in question, but it may well have been Gary Russell, now co-producer
of Big Finish Productions. Which may explain why writer Lance
Parkin was asked to provide a Dalek-free Davros story, which
Russell also directs.
what a good idea it was. Freed from the internal politics
that blighted Destiny
of the Daleks and Resurrection of the Daleks, Davros's
guile and amorality really get a chance to make an impact
on the audience. Parkin also gets right into the head of this
popular character. Building upon the flashback sequence in
Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks,
in which the recently crippled Davros is offered the choice
of ending his own life, the writer delves deeper into the
scientist's past to examine what made him the man he is.
Terry Molloy's performance as Davros in Resurrection
was overtly hysterical, but since then the actor, who reprises
the role yet again here, has matured to become the equal of
the late, great Michael Wisher. This is evidenced in a number
of scenes which echo lines or whole sections of dialogue from
Genesis of the Daleks (this is not mere plagiarism
on Parkin's part, but works to dramatic effect).
Baker is a good Doctor to cast alongside the evil genius.
He is capable of equally extreme ranges of performance, from
reasoned debate to irate ranting.
Big Finish's recent trend for casting guest stars who are
already more than familiar to Doctor Who fans, this
story features Bernard Horsfall, who appeared in several of
the David Maloney-directed television serials, including The
Deadly Assassin. Here he plays a far from trustworthy
business leader called Arnold Baynes. Wendy Padbury, alias
'60s companion Zoe, plays his wife Lorraine, a historian who
is fascinated by both Davros and his Dalek creations. Unfortunately,
I cannot hear the name Lorraine Baynes without thinking of
Marty McFly's mother in the Back to the Future films!
tale sits very neatly in between Resurrection and Revelation
of the Daleks (for both the Doctor and Davros), sowing
the seeds of events that will transpire in the latter story.
Things get a little too contrived towards the end, though,
as Parkin makes conspicuous efforts not to contradict a particular
line of dialogue in Revelation.
no mistake, this is not a whiz-bang adventure, but it is an
intensely thoughtful character study.