Flung forward in the time bubble, the Doctor and Nyssa once again find themselves in Stockbridge, though the jumble of artifacts from different points in the village’s history points toward the far future. The village’s residents are recreated as barely-intelligent clones, and guided tours through representations of the village’s four seasons take place at regular intervals. The operators of the Stockbridge attraction mistake the Docotr and Nyssa for members of the trust that determines the funding received by the village. An unexpected rainstorm, not programmed into the climate control system governing Stockbridge’s weather, turns anyone touched by its acidic raindrops into shambling, zombie-like creatures with no trace of human memory. And lurking beneath it all, laying in wait for their old enemy who has returned to Stockbridge time and again, are the Daleks. They have waited for centuries for the Doctor’s next visit to the village, and time has come to spring their trap.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Keith Barron (Isaac Barclay), Liza Tarbuck (Lysette Barclay), Richenda Carey (Alexis Linfoot), Barry McCarthy (Vincent Linfoot), Richard Cordery (Professor Rinxo Jabbery), Susan Brown (Mrs. Withers / Mrs. Sowerby / Computer Voice), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks / Cricketer / Dobson)
Notes: Keith Barron previously guest starred as Captain Striker in the Davison-era television story Enlightenment. Liza Tarbuck voiced a character in the 2007 animated Doctor Who story The Infinite Quest. The reference to “the tides of time” drops the name of the first Doctor Who Weekly comic strip starring the fifth Doctor, and the first to feature events set in Stockbridge. The Daleks again deploy a meants of controlling the minds of humans/humanoids that they’ve captured, though the means of this control appear to be closer to those depicted in The Curse Of Davros and Asylum Of The Daleks than to the use of clunky Robomen in The Dalek Invasion Of Earth.
Timeline: between The Eternal Summer and The Demons Of Red Lodge and Other Stores
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: Daleks vs. Zombies! Who wins? Well, that’s a bit of a trick question, but Plague Of The Daleks is a tricky, twisty tale that confounds expectations by not even giving us any Daleks until the cliffhanger moment at the end of part two. Of course, after that, Plague is crawling with Daleks (a few of them, anyway), but holding them back for the second half of the story shows an unusual take on the typical “[insert word here] Of The Daleks” structure. The real meat of the story owes much to Agatha Christie, with a small number of characters being picked off one by one (I’m fairly certain it’s not exactly a spoiler if I reveal that either zombie-making acid rain or Daleks are the culprits, almost without exception).
With both pleasant and unpleasant characters stacking the decks, the cast does a nice job bringing Plague Of The Daleks to life, and it’s a worthwhile closing chapter for the “Stockbridge trilogy” – arguably a more cohesive cycle of stories built around Stockbridge than was ever managed in the medium that first established the village. There’s subtle, non-mission-critical connecting tissue referencing Castle Of Fear, for those who might be listening to all three stories in rapid succession, giving the impression that a larger story has been told. Plague is an engrossing little tale that doesn’t use the Daleks in a way that we’re accustomed.