Dalek Empire III
Chapter Three - The Survivors

Starring: David Tennant, William Gaunt and Ishia Bennison
Big Finish
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84435 084 3
Available 02 August 2004

The Galactic Union remains blissfully unaware of the Dalek threat. Only the Graxis Wardens know the truth, but they have been all but wiped out. With no news from Selestru's agent Galanar, Siy Tarkov and Amur head for the Border Worlds on a mission of their own...

The Daleks are used quite sparingly in this instalment, but never mind: there are plenty of other intriguing elements to keep the listener interested. For example, the worm shows signs of turning as Carneill (Oliver Hume) asserts his authority over the Daleks. In an effective exchange, he turns their comment from Chapter Two, "I am informing you now", right back at them.

Meanwhile, there are twists a-plenty as we - and Selestru (William Gaunt) - discover there is more to Siy Tarkov's daughter Amur (Claudia Elmhirst) than meets the eye. As Amur and Tarkov (Steven Elder) prepare for their mission, the man's condition actually helps to move the story forward. Snippets of exposition about the nature of their assignment are cut together in a garbled sequence, suggestive of his mental confusion, then suddenly we are en route.

We also hear more from the mysterious female Dalek Supreme. Since she is voiced by Sarah Mowat, there has to be a connection between Susan Mendes and what I am tempted to call the "Dalek Suzpreme", though exactly what that connection is has yet to be made clear. What is for sure is that her alternately whispering and screeching voice is really quite unsettling, even though the idea of a female Dalek does seem a bit repetitious of the Mentor in Dalek War.

This episode runs a little shorter than usual, so the CD is bulked out by ten minutes of behind-the-scenes material, as Nicholas Briggs discusses the processes of scripting and casting. Regular Big Finish subscribers will already have heard this stuff, however, as it was previously included on disc five of the free Big Finish Magazine.

The story's pace flags a little during this instalment, but I'm sure it will survive.

Richard McGinlay

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