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Davros and the Daleks with the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C’rizz
The Eighth Doctor meets Davros at last!
‘Terror Firma’ is a chilling and thrilling ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure with Paul McGann as the Doctor. Not only does it have him face the Daleks, but it also has him face Davros with his companions Charley and C’rizz joining him. This has to be a very exciting Dalek adventure to listen to.
This is a four-part adventure by Joseph Lidster, who writes well for the Eighth Doctor and writes a thought-provoking and dramatic tale; shining light on an unexplored part of the Eighth Doctor’s life. I was pretty surprised by the twists, turns and revelations featured throughout this audio adventure.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Terror Firma’ signed by the amazing Terry Molloy, who played Davros on TV and in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’ at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015. I have had some nice chats with Terry about his role of Davros and how he plays the character.
This story takes place after ‘The Next Life’. The Doctor and Charley have recently had adventures in the Divergent Universe from ‘Scherzo’ to ‘The Next Life’ where they met and picked up C’rizz. Now they’ve returned home to find the Daleks and Davros, who now rule planet Earth, waiting for them!
This is a story about revenge as Davros brutally humiliates the Doctor for all the defeats caused by him in his plans for universal domination with the Daleks. This includes the recent incident where the Doctor destroyed Skaro in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ and this revenge is on a ‘personal’ level.
Most of the adventure is pretty bleak as it explores Davros and the Daleks’ effect on the Doctor when they take control of Earth and subjugate the humans. Davros also tampers with the Doctor’s memories in order to humiliate him. This would affect the Doctor with making decisions in later life.
It transpires that the Doctor had been travelling with friends named Gemma and Samson before he travelled with Charley and C’rizz. Gemma and Samson are brother and sister and the Doctor had many great adventures with them. But Davros did something to them once they’d encountered him.
The Doctor loses his memory of Gemma and Samson because of Davros, affecting events in ‘Terror Firma’. There are flashback scenes with the Doctor, Gemma and Samson meeting Davros that occur before ‘Storm Warning’, that made me think more about how extended the Eighth Doctor’s life was.
Terry Molloy delivers a chilling and sensational performance as Davros in this audio drama. Davros has come to a turning point in his journey, since his madness takes him over. There are two personas of Davros fighting each other, reminding me of Smeagol/Gollum from ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
Davros shifts from sounding Dalek-like to sounding quivering and pathetic in some scenes when interacting with the Doctor. I found that monologue scene at the start of ‘Part Four’ with Davros chilling, putting me in mind of that opening monologue Davros had in the Sixth Doctor story ‘Davros’.
Remember the Fourth Doctor asking Davros in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ if he could create a virus that would destroy all life in the universe to ‘set him up the gods’? Well, Davros has created this deadly virus. The Doctor is horrified, especially when Davros gives him a capsule of this virus to murder him.
Paul McGann excels as the Doctor in this adventure. There’s a new side to the Doctor in this story, especially as he confronts Davros. There’s the lighter side of the Eighth Doctor, but there are moments of darkness when he realises what’s Davros has done to Earth and how he humiliated him.
I’m sure Paul enjoyed exploring this new side to the Doctor when he’s remembering his former companions Gemma and Samson and how horrified and guilty he feels about forgetting them. He blames Davros for destroying everything in his life, but keeps going as he holds on to life despite this.
Those moments of anger that Paul’s Doctor had disturbed me when hearing them. Davros keeps insisting he isn’t a Dalek, but the Doctor keeps on insisting that he is. It was disturbing when the Doctor revealed he was going to ‘kill’ Davros. It was something I never expected Paul’s Doctor to say.
India Fisher is fabulous as Charley Pollard in this adventure. Charley is horrified by what happens when she realises she’s on Earth and what the Daleks have done to it. She shares an interesting relationship with C’rizz and feels guilty when realising that he wants to be her friend in this universe.
Charley gets to meet Samson on Earth, who believes that her sister is dead and she encourages him not to give up so that they can overthrow the Daleks. I liked that scene between Charley and the Doctor in ‘Part Four’ as she has faith in him despite those horrible things that have happened to him.
Conrad Westmass is great as C’rizz, the Eutermesan companion of the Doctor. C’rizz has just arrived in the Doctor’s universe, joining him and Charley. He finds it strange and is unhappy when they face the Daleks and Davros on first arrival. He wants to be Charley’s friend and for her to trust him a little.
C’rizz gets to meet Gemma who rescues her and Charley from their Dalek prison. C’rizz struggles to control his inner demons as he’s faced with killing people, something that he doesn’t want to do. His relationship with Gemma is interesting and he is chosen to be the new Dalek Emperor by the Daleks.
The Doctor’s former companions Gemma and Samson Griffin are played by Lizzie Hopley and Lee Ingleby. It was interesting listening to the flashback scenes with the Doctor first meeting Gemma and Samson and travelling in the TARDIS. It was gut-wrenching when Davros hurts them and the Doctor.
Samson ends up on Earth after losing his sister who he believes is dead, killed by Davros. He struggles to break out of his grief until Charley helps him see sense. He becomes a willing ally when helping the Doctor and Charley overthrow the Daleks and to stop Davros with ruling the human race.
Gemma suffers the most when she’s electrocuted by Davros once she and Samson find him. She seems to be helping C’rizz escape the Daleks, despite leaving Charley behind. Hints slowly unravel about why Gemma is still alive since she turns out to be a Dalek agent which was a shock to listen to.
Julia Deakin (who I’ve seen in the BBC sitcom ‘Oh Doctor Beeching!’) guest stars as Harriet Griffin, Gemma and Samson’s mother. Harriet loves parties and doesn’t seem so fussed on grieving for Gemma’s death like Samson is. It soon transpires that Harriet’s against the Daleks like everyone else.
The Daleks are brilliantly voiced by Nicholas Briggs, who delivers many layers to the Dalek voice and making them sound more than robotic slaves to Davros. In this story, they seem to be letting Davros command them. But they inwardly oppose their Dalek Emperor and form this resistance against him.
There are no CD extras for ‘Terror Firma’, as there aren’t any trailers found at the end of Disc 2.
‘Terror Firma’ has been a fantastic audio drama to listen to. It’s a well-written story that focuses on strong characterisation; emotional depth and some chilling revelations about the Doctor and Davros. Is this the end of Davros? No it isn’t! Davros returns in ‘The Stolen Earth’/’Journey’s End’, doesn’t he?
‘Terror Firma’ rating – 9/10
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