‘THE APOCALYPSE ELEMENT’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Daleks and Time Lords with the Doctor; Evelyn and Romana
Get ready and brace yourself for a non-stop Dalek action-adventure!
The Daleks invade Gallifrey! What?! Does that mean the Time War starts here?!
This is ‘The Apocalypse Element’, a four-part adventure by Stephen Cole with Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor with his companion Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe. It also features the return of Lalla Ward as Romana, who is now President of the Time Lords, and the Daleks come to attack Gallifrey.
The Doctor and Evelyn arrive on the planet Archetryx where a temporal peace conference takes place. The Doctor learns that his friend Romana is missing and is a prisoner of the Daleks. The Daleks soon invade Gallifrey and they are about to use their deadliest weapon to destroy the entire galaxy.
I found this a pretty fast-paced and action-packed adventure to listen to by Stephen Cole. It feels like an action-packed Dalek movie. There is a lot going on in it and it’s a job to keep up with the plot and the characters. You may want to listen to this adventure a number of times, but it is pretty exciting!
What struck me about this audio adventure is that it depicts the conflict between the Daleks and the Time Lords in it. This could have been the inspiration for Russell T. Davies when he resurrected ‘Doctor Who’ in 2005 and as a precursor for the Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords.
This is the first audio produced by Big Finish with Colin Baker’s Doctor where he faces the Daleks. The only Dalek story that Colin’s Doctor had on TV was ‘Revelation of the Daleks’. So it’s great that he has had more Dalek stories on audio compared to the TV series. This is one of many encounters.
Colin Baker delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. I liked how Colin’s Doctor interacts with the Time Lords and how he copes with the increasing chain of events with the Daleks that invade Gallifrey. He also shows his concern for Romana when he finds out that she is a prisoner.
Maggie Stables is equally good as Evelyn Smythe, the Doctor’s elderly companion. For Evelyn, this is the first time she encounters the Daleks and gets to go to Gallifrey with the Time Lords. Evelyn has her own adventure and is the calming presence for the Doctor when he gets abrasive and agitated.
It was good to hear Lalla Ward as Romana. Romana has come a long way since she escaped E-Space and become the President of the Time Lords. She’s had her own fair share of meeting Daleks and has a hard time being their prisoner. She gets surprised when she meets Colin’s Doctor for the first time.
The rest of the cast include Time Lords and Time Ladies like Michael Wade as the President; Andrea Newland as Commander Vorna; Karen Henson as Monitor Trinkett and James Campbell as Monitor Ensac. There’s also Anthony Keetch as Coordinator Vansell, who the Doctor’s met before apparently.
The Daleks are menacing as ever, voiced by Nicholas Briggs and Alistair Lock. The Daleks use their new weapon called ‘the apocalypse element’. This is a temporal crystal that could destroy both the Time Lords and an entire galaxy. Things get tense for the Doctor when he has to stop their evil plans.
There’s a moment at the end of ‘Part One’ when the Doctor and Monitor Trinkett go into a ‘gravity well’ and they get attacked by a live Dalek mutant. It was quite frightening to listen to and imagine.
There are plenty of references to the Time Lords and Gallifrey that I found quite a job to fully absorb in my mind. Some were familiar such as the Seal and the Rod of Rassilon and the Matrix. But there were other references that I never heard before and would feature later in future ‘Gallifrey’ stories.
A lot of things happen in this story that become links to the spin-off shows of ‘Doctor Who’ within the Big Finish audio realm. These include Romana’s presidency that links to the spin-off series called ‘Gallifrey’. The Daleks’ schemes in this story shortly occur later in the ‘Dalek Empire’ spin-off series.
The CD extras are as follows. At the start of Disc 1, there’s a special trailer for the first season of audio adventures with the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard by Big Finish. At the end of Disc 2, there is a trailer for the ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure called ‘The Fires of Vulcan’ with Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford.
I enjoyed listening to ‘The Apocalypse Element’ with Colin Baker’s Doctor; Evelyn; Romana and the Daleks. I don’t think I’ve grasped everything that happens in the story, but its a good non-stop action adventure. You’ll have to listen to it a number of times in order to get a clear grasp of the adventure.
‘The Apocalypse Element’ rating – 7/10
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