Aiming for London, 2015 to track down a strange energy reading, the Doctor lands the TARDIS in London, 2025, a short walk away from a protest against a corporation called Globesphere. The company promises free solar energy for the entire world, and the strange energy reading persists at Globesphere’s headquarters building. The protest becomes a riot, and Leela is arrested by Globesphere’s private security force and interrogated. The Doctor and the leader of the protest movement sneak into Globesphere and make a horrifying discovery: Globesphere’s CEO is under the control of the Daleks, who intend to use the Globesphere energy collectors, deployed across the entire face of the Earth, to wipe out the human race centuries before they become one of the Daleks’ more resilient enemies.
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Alex Lowe (Damien Stephens / Robomen), Mark Benton (Jack Coulson), Caroline Keiff (Lydia Harding), Dan Starkey (Kevin Winston / Robomen), John Dorney (Robomen), Nicholas Briggs (Daleks)
Notes: This was the first Big Finish audio story recorded with Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor, and was originally intended to be the first story of the first Big Finish “season” with Baker, until it was decided to hold Energy Of The Daleks back until later to prevent the Daleks from overshadowing the first Baker release. Mark Benton was also on hand for another momentous Doctor Who relaunch: in the first episode of the revived TV series, he played internet conspiracy theorist Clive, who had tracked the ninth Doctor through historical documents and tried to warn Rose against any involvement with him. Dan Starkey has played Sontaran characters in the new TV series and for Big Finish.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: In the bonus interviews for Energy Of The Daleks, writer/director/Dalek whispherer Nicholas Briggs admits that this was nearly the debut adventure of Big Finish’s fourth Doctor series; indeed, it was the first story announced and its cover artwork was released long before any of the other titles, so the decision to swap the release order around to push the Daleks back must have come late in the proceedings. The irony is that this would’ve made a much stronger opening story than Destination Nerva.
Energy Of The Daleks is something that the fourth Doctor and Leela never had: Leela never met the Daleks on TV, and the fourth Doctor never encountered the Daleks without Davros on hand to speak for his creations. With no Davros presence – if anything, the inclusion of Robomen makes Energy a throwback to the Hartnell era – this is an old-school Dalek story, with the Doctor’s arch-enemies up to no good in an evil plot of their own design. For Leela, this is a run-in with an enemy whose honor cannot be challenged and who has no readily apparent weaknesses to exploit. All she can do is resist to the last.
The cast is deceptively small, but everyone brings their “A” game to the table. Mark Benton elevates nearly everything he’s in, and as the main ally to the Doctor for this story, he gets a pretty good share of the story and doesn’t disappoint. The story again proceeds at a rapid-fire pace, but it’s not trying to cram four episodes of plot into two episodes of listening time. The only place where the time limit becomes painfully apparent is in the rather silly final scene of part two, which was such a non-resolution resolution that I pictured the Doctor and friends freeze-framed with the credits of them, like an American sitcom from the ’70s. Surely this isn’t the “1970s” feel Big Finish was hoping to invoke with this series.
Additional Notes: The Daleks plan to destroy Earth by removing the moon from its orbit, thus causing the planet’s tides and weather to spiral out of control. Why the Daleks went to the trouble of wiring the entire world for solar power when they could have just detonated gobs of nuclear waste on the moon’s surface is a secret known only to the Daleks… and Gerry Anderson.