Geologist Susan Mendes is captured by a massive invading force
of Daleks and made one of their slaves. When she stands up
to her oppressors and explains that an efficient workforce
needs food and rest, she is surprised to find her demands
Briggs really likes Daleks! It was his enthusiasm that prompted
Big Finish to produce their Dalek Empire trilogy of
spectacular battles between the Doctor and his mechanised
foes. Now Briggs has written, directed, scored and provided
some of the grating Dalek voices for this four-part series
of CDs, which is also - a little confusingly - called Dalek
Empire. This time, however, the malevolent pepper pots
"solo", I don't mean that the Daleks are the main protagonists,
as they were in the TV21 comic strips of the 1960s
(although Tim Keable's strip art on the inside of the CD sleeve
does capture the flavour of those adventures). More in the
style of the Dalek books of the '60s and annuals of the '70s,
the heroes of this story are the humans who resist them.
Mowat takes the lead as Susan (Suz) Mendes, a sympathetic
and believable main character. Her plea bargaining with her
ruthless masters is reminiscent of an employee trying to obtain
reasonable working conditions from an uncaring boss! Mark
McDonnell plays Alby Brook, an undercover agent for the Space
Security Service (which featured on TV in the epic Daleks'
Master Plan) who escapes the invasion but swears to rescue
his friend Suz. Doctor Who spin-off stalwart John Wadmore
portrays Gordon Pellan, a not particularly brave newsreader.
Gareth Thomas, star of Blake's 7 and, more recently,
MJTV's Soldiers of Love, relishes his shady role as
Kalendorf, a member of the Knights of Velyshaa (the force
that crippled Gallifrey in The Sirens of Time) who
becomes a slave alongside Suz.
clan is not the only reference that is made to The Sirens
of Time, Big Finish's first-ever Who release -
Invasion of the Daleks also features the robotic Drudgers
from that same story. Several more narrative threads are picked
up from previous Dalek tales, especially those produced by
Big Finish. For instance, the Dalek Emperor acts upon intelligence
obtained from the Kar-Charrat library, which was introduced
in The Genocide Machine, and the Daleks' base of operations
is the Seriphia galaxy, which they conquered in The Apocalypse
Element. The invaders robotise certain of their slaves,
as they did on TV in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. This
process of building upon established foundations helps to
accentuate the grand scale of the Daleks' schemes, while also
managing to avoid being too obtrusive or off-putting to new
dramatic device of using transmitted information, such as
public news broadcasts and spaceship distress calls, to convey
story details also adds impact and realism to the Dalek threat.
An impressive first strike.