The Doctor stumbles upon a plot to revive Davros, thought to be long dead, but this time the Daleks aren’t behind it. This attempt to tap into Davros’ evil genius is a purely commercial concern, funded by a shady Earth corporation whose CEO wants Davros to work for him. Horrified by the implications of this, the Doctor counters with an offer to provide his own services in exchange for keeping Davros under lock and key. The company’s chief executive, realizing that he has two geniuses on his hands, instead strikes a bargain that both parties find even more terrifying – he will hire the Doctor and Davros, and they will share lab and office space. But what the corporation wants is someone who’s not afraid to set ethics aside for the sake of profit – and the Doctor soon becomes ripe for termination. Or, if Davros has his way, extermination.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Terry Molloy (Davros), Bernard Horsfall (Arnold Baynes), Wendy Padbury (Lorraine Baynes), David Bickerstaff (Scientist Ral), Eddie De Oliviera (Willis), Louise Falkner (Kaled Medic), Karl Hansen (Kaled Medic), Katarina Olsson (Shan), Ruth Sillers (Kimberly Todd), Andrew Westfield (Pilot)
Timeline: between The Two Doctors and Timelash
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: When Big Finish got the rights to use the Daleks in several Doctor Who Audio Adventures, and later launched the metal monsters in their own range of audios, it was decided early on that Davros, their twisted Kaled creator, wouldn’t be coming along for the ride. Without Davros pulling the strings, the Big Finish vision of the Daleks went back to the 60s: cunning, deadly, ruthless, remorseless, and completely apolitical, a return to the Daleks without Davros.
But what about Davros without the Daleks? That combination hadn’t been tried on TV either (though it could be argued that when the character began to appear, he reduced the Daleks’ screen time along with their independence). Lance Parkin answers that here, along with a few tantalizing glimpses of Davros before his Dalek wheelchair, in a story focused entirely on Davros. The flashback device used to accomplish this can sometimes get a little bit confusing, but it’s still interesting, and Terry Molloy – who played Davros in his last three TV outings – gives the character a kind of strange empathy, both in the present and the past.
Also along for the ride is another Who veteran or two: Wendy Padbury, who played the Doctor’s companion Zoe in the last season of Patrick Troughton’s era, plays an entirely new role here, and frequent-flyer guest star Bernard Horsfall gives a key guest role its own mixture of gravitas and amorality. There are two Doctors ideally suited to take on a near-faceless corporate giant as a foe, and Pertwee’s no longer here, so Colin Baker gets to shine in this story. Curiously, it’s set during season 22, and there’s a brief mention made of Peri being away to attend a botanical conference; this setting also has the unusual side effect of dividing the story into two hour-long episodes (season 22’s episodes were 50 minutes long). As previous stories set during that era hadn’t done this, the two-episode format surprised me; as was the case with Neverland, I’m not sure it really works for audio. One can take authenticity to the TV series too far.