I, Davros
1 - Innocence

Starring: Terry Molloy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 10.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84435 231 9
ISBN-10: 1 84435 231 5
Available 25 September 2006

The Kaled and Thal races are at war. No one really remembers why, but generations of people on both sides have lost so very much. Born into an influential family is Davros. Now aged 16, he is being pulled in various directions. His father wants him to follow tradition and go into the military - his sister has joined the Military Youth - but his scheming mother wants him to pursue a life of science. No one seems terribly interested in what Davros himself wants. So he must begin to assert himself, take control of his own life, and work towards his destiny...

This new four-part miniseries tells the story of Davros's early life and the events that shaped the man who would become the creator of the Daleks.

The first play might be summed up as "Davros as Harry Potter", if you can imagine such a combination, dealing as it does with the formative events that shape the 16-year-old Kaled (played by Rory Jennings from the recent Doctor Who episode The Idiot's Lantern). Jennings doesn't sound much like Terry Molloy, the actor who once again portrays the adult Davros, but he succeeds in combining a Daniel Radcliffe style aura of gifted youth with some unsettling moments of emotional detachment and cruelty.

Molloy (who previously played the crippled scientist on television in Resurrection, Revelation and Remembrance of the Daleks and in the Big Finish audio dramas Davros, The Juggernauts and Terror Firma only stars as Davros for the first few minutes of the play. The opening scene has Davros preparing for his trial by the Daleks (Nicholas Briggs) following the events of Revelation and The Juggernauts, prompting him to recollect his past.

Despite the relative lack of Molloy and the Daleks, writer Gary Hopkins throws in plenty of Genesis and Revelation-style intrigue, duplicity and backstabbing, particularly when it comes to the scheming of Davros's mother, the cold and calculating Lady Calcula (Carolyn Jones). He also includes subtle allusions to earlier Dalek stories. Davros's sister Yarvell (Lizzie Hopley) is described as being "no longer a child, not yet a woman", which was Alydon's description of Susan in The Daleks. Her very name is reminiscent of Yarvelling, the humanoid Dalek scientist in the 1960s TV21 comic strips.

Meanwhile, Steve Foxon's sound design and music evoke the ambiance of Skaro around the time of Genesis of the Daleks. The wind and door sound effects, the Dudley Simpson style instrumentation of the incidental music, even the acoustic treatment of the voices to emphasise the sibilants, all bring to mind that classic 1975 serial. Which is appropriate enough when you consider that the story was, back in 1979, the first commercially released Doctor Who audio adventure of them all.

Great stuff - and this is only the beginning.

Richard McGinlay

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