Still concerned about the migration of the Laan, the Doctor tries to follow their trail, and finds himself in the Proxima system; too late, he learns that the TARDIS has not followed the Laan, but has instead tracked down Cuthbert’s Conglomerate headquarters, where Cuthbert is pressing forward with the same illegal experiments that ensnared the Laan before. But this time, Cuthbert is meeting with local resistance on Proxima Major, and he has done a deal with his business associates, the Daleks, to quell that uprising. Romana and K-9 are captured with some of the resistenace fighters, and once the Daleks realize they have companions of the Doctor in their custody, they’re less concerned with being Cuthbert’s subcontractors than with capturing their deadliest foe.
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9 / Tollivun), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr. Dorrick), Dominic Mafham (Chidak), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks), Jane Slavin (Halka), John Dorney (Sterris)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: The first two parts of what’s effectively a traditional four-parter – and a climactic season-ending one at that – The Dalek Contract once again authentically smacks mightily of 1970s Doctor Who. It’s also right up there with Doomsday in giving us a face-off some of us have been waiting to see since we were eight: K-9 vs. the Daleks! As expected, the Daleks come out on top in this match, though K-9 does score a crowd-pleasing victory against a weakened Dalek early on – fans of both get to have their cake.
The Daleks are thoroughly nasty here, but so is their “employer”, played with maximum cynicism by David Warner. Still a stark contrast to his usual “upper crust” portrayals of villainy, Cuthbert is more lowbrow, and Warner seems to delight in playing him that way. Of course, there’s virtually no question that Cuthbert’s going to live just long enough to see his contract with his new “underlings” dissolved, and he’ll almost certainly get his comeuppance, so The Dalek Contract gives us a chance to enjoy Warner as Cuthbert while the character is still in one piece.
Special mention must go to the jaw-droppingly authentic, Dudley-Simpson-style music score by Alistair Lock, one of Big Finish’s original music/sound design wizards who went his own way in 2002, and only recently returned to Big Finish as the sound designer and composer of its Blake’s 7 audio dramas (as well as the voice of Zen and Orac in those productions, taking over from the late Peter Tuddenham). With its faithful recreation of Simpson’s small-ensemble sound plus wobbly arpeggiated synths, the music from The Dalek Contract is its own time machine of sorts, doing a lot to transport me back to the late ’70s. Lock’s sound-and-music multitasking has been much missed.