Dalek Empire II: Dalek War
Chapter Two

Starring: Gareth Thomas, Sarah Mowat and Mark McDonnell
Big Finish Productions
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84435 019 3, BFPDECD06
Available now

The Supreme Daleks' forces have located Susan Mendes. Will she, Alby, Mirana and Morli be able to escape? Meanwhile, Kalendorf's forces appear to be winning the war in Earth's solar system. But what has happened to the planet Jupiter...?

Traditionally, it was always the third episode of four-part Doctor Who serials that used to cause scriptwriters the most difficulties. All too often, these instalments would end up running on the spot in terms of plot. Curiously, is it Chapter Two of this four-part miniseries, rather than Chapter Three, that seems to be suffering from this syndrome.

Relatively little happens during this instalment, apart from Susan Mendes (Sarah Mowat) using her importance to the Daleks to her own advantage (so far, so familiar) and the events surrounding the strangely altered Jupiter. As if to demonstrate the fact that writer Nicholas Briggs has had difficulty with this episode, the CD runs twelve minutes shorter than its advertised 70-minute duration.

On the plus side, the introduction of Morli (Dannie Carr), an amnesiac and perpetually hungry Geordie hospital patient, brings some welcome light relief to the grim proceedings, particularly when she asks people if they "Wanna feel me muscles?" I have the feeling that there will be more to this character than initially meets the eye - or rather, the ear.

This is the weakest Dalek Empire instalment to date. But it says a lot for the series as a whole that it is still well worth listening to.

Richard McGinlay