Dalek Empire III
Chapter Two - The Healers

Starring: David Tennant, William Gaunt, Ishia Bennison and Laura Rees
Big Finish Productions
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84435 083 5
Available 29 June 2004

The Border Worlds are in the grip of a terrible plague - which the Daleks are offering to cure. Agent Galanar's mission takes him right into the heart of the tragedy. Meanwhile, the Graxis Wardens' ecological paradise is about to be torn apart...

It's strange, isn't it, how the estate of the Daleks' creator, Terry Nation, is quite happy to allow smaller companies such as Big Finish and Telos - which took tremendous liberties with its Dalek Factor novella - to do pretty much whatever they like with the metal meanies, but kicked up such a fuss when it came to granting BBC TV the same privilege. This was supposedly due to "creative" differences, but you don't suppose it could have had anything to do with the amount of money a lucrative television deal might bring in, could it?

Writer/director/sound designer/musician/Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs continues to put his favourite Doctor Who monsters to good use. They may have offered to help cure a plague, but their "partnership" with the Border Worlds is a very one-sided affair, and their ways of dealing with the resistance put up by the Graxis Wardens is distinctly aggressive. Their supposedly equal human partner, Carniell (well played by Oliver Hume) struggles - and ultimately fails - to stand up to them, stating his agreement to Dalek suggestions as if his disagreement would have any effect at all upon their actions.

As Galanar (David Tennant) embarks upon his undercover mission to find proof of the Daleks' menace, there is some resort to descriptive narration in order to keep the story moving forward. Fortunately this never lasts for long, and we are soon back with Galanar as he adopts an amusing, bumbling, Hugh Grant-like persona as part of his cover story.

An unusual Dalek voice that is heard at the very end of this chapter might have caused Terry Nation to raise an eyebrow or two, but otherwise it's easy to see why his estate would consider their property to be in good hands so far as audio productions go.

Richard McGinlay

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