I, Davros
4 - Guilt

Starring: Terry Molloy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 10.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84435 234 0
ISBN-10: 1 84435 234 X
Available 18 December 2006

The Kaled city is now a ravaged ruin. Life for its people has become one of fear, shielded from the hostile world outside by a vast transparent dome. When the Thals undertake a desperate mission to snatch Davros away from his laboratories, the Kaled Supremo must send a crack squad over enemy lines to retrieve his chief scientist. Led by the enthusiastic but morally bankrupt Lieutenant Nyder, the rescue mission is a complete success. But Davros has been changed by the experience. Where once he stood for knowledge, he now espouses the total extermination of the Thal people. To this end, the scientist will stop at nothing and will sacrifice anybody to ensure that his legacy lives on...


The final disc in the I, Davros series brings us practically bang up to date with the events of Genesis of the Daleks. Interviewed on a bonus behind-the-scenes disc presented free with this release, producer/director Gary Russell confirms that this instalment takes place just a few months before Genesis and, as such, this is the last ever chapter of the miniseries.

It is curious, then, that there is no concluding scene set in the "present" with Davros (Terry Molloy) facing trial by the Daleks. Perhaps Russell and script writer Scott Alan Woodard are being cautious in terms of continuity, not wishing to contradict existing accounts of Davros's rise to power as the Emperor Dalek, such as the comic strip Emperor of the Daleks, or stories yet to come.

There is still a role for Nicholas Briggs, however, and a very significant one at that. He plays a self-assured Thal agent called Baran. In a delicious piece of dramatic and inter-textual irony, Baran becomes the first ever Dalek. His vocaliser, a device used to disguise his voice in order to trick Kaled security systems, also comes in useful to the functionality of Davros's creation - and so Baran ends up providing the Dalek voices just as Briggs does in real life!

Another highlight of this episode is the presence of the wonderful Peter Miles reprising his role as Nyder, my second favourite character from Genesis of the Daleks (after Davros himself). Miles sounds just the same as he did before, almost as though his lines had been lifted from deleted scenes recorded back in 1975. Many of his actions are intercut with those of the enemy agent Baran, providing a neat comparison between two equally ruthless and efficient operatives from opposing sides of the conflict.

Meanwhile, John Stahl has modified his performance as the Supremo. The Kaled leader now sounds markedly less confident and decisive - ready to be usurped by Davros.

One minor criticism of Woodard's script is that Davros's rise to power via the extermination of his doubters is rather repetitive of his subsequent actions in Genesis. Another is that the scientist is able to survive outside of his wheelchair's life-support system for several hours, if not days, whereas in Genesis he stated that he could not survive without it for more than a few seconds. Perhaps Davros's experiences in this story weaken him.

In all other respects, though, to the accusation of bringing this miniseries to an engaging and satisfactory conclusion, I, Davros 4 is guilty as charged.

Richard McGinlay

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