‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’ (Audio)

 

‘THE DALEK CONTRACT’/’THE FINAL PHASE’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Daleks, Cuthbert and Mr. Dorrick with the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9

‘THE DALEK CONTRACT’ (Part 1)

Wow! This is a ‘Doctor Who’ fan’s dream come true! 😀

This is a fantastic finale to a season of ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures with the Fourth Doctor and Romana with K-9. They face not only the return of David Warner as Cuthbert, but also the return of the dreaded Daleks. This is also the first time that Mary Tamm’s Romana and K-9 encounter the Daleks.

‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’ is a four-part story with the Fourth Doctor, Romana, K-9 and the Daleks. ‘The Dalek Contract’ is the first half of the story containing the first two episodes whilst ‘The Final Phase’ is the second half containing the last two episodes. This is very annoying for me here.

Having this four-part story on two separate CDs makes them very easy to lose in your collection of ‘Doctor Who’ audios. It would’ve been nice if Big Finish had released the four-part story as a 2-disc set, not two separate CDs. Otherwise, I’ve kept this four-part adventure intact and have enjoyed it a lot.

I’ve had my CD cover for both ‘The Dalek Contract’ and ‘The Final Phase’ signed by Nicholas Briggs, who is the writer, the director and the Dalek voice artist for this four-part adventure. Nick signed the CD covers for me at the ‘Big Finish Day 6’ convention in Slough, January 2015. I’m pleased he did that!

Tom Baker and John Leeson in ‘The Dalek Contract’

In the story, the TARDIS arrives in the Proxima system where the Doctor, Romana and K-9 are on a bitterly frozen world. Its people are under attack by the Daleks. It also turns out the Daleks are working with the villainous David Warner as Cuthbert who starred in ‘The Sands of Life’/’War Against the Laan’.

As the story progresses, we find out what Cuthbert has been up to with his deadly time-experiments and how the Daleks are involved. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 get caught up with the Daleks’ activities and they have to solve the odd mystery as to why they have formed a business contract with Cuthbert.

Nick Briggs has done a fantastic job in bringing everything together about this season of ‘Doctor Who’ audios with the Fourth Doctor and Romana. It feels right to have the Doctor and Romana with K-9 face Daleks in this final audio tale of this season and to have another face-off with recurring villain Cuthbert.

Tom Baker is wonderful as the Doctor in this four-part adventure. His enthusiasm shines throughout and he seems to be really enjoying doing these ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures since he was reluctant to do them beforehand. I like Tom’s contribution to these ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures by Big Finish.

I love how Tom’s Doctor tackles the Daleks in this adventure and knows what they’re capable of from his latest experiences in stories like ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and ‘Energy of the Daleks’. When Tom’s Doctor talks about Daleks, you do home in on his every word that makes you terrified about them. 😀

Mary Tamm’s Romana gets to face the Daleks at last! I’m glad about this! It’s fitting that her Romana met them before Mary sadly passed away in 2012. But why have Big Finish done a Dalek story with the first Romana? In the TV series, Romana had ‘first’ met them as Lalla Ward in ‘Destiny of the Daleks’.

There is an answer to this though according to ‘The Lying Old Witch In The Wardrobe’ from the ‘Short Trips: Companions’ book. I liked that interrogation scene with Romana by the Daleks. Every time Romana gives an answer, it registers as an ‘untruthful response’ echoing the similar scene in ‘Destiny’.

K-9 voiced by John Leeson also gets to meet the Daleks in this adventure. To hear K-9 interact with the Daleks for the first time was sheer bliss and it’s a confrontation that’s been worth waiting for. You think that K-9 and the Dalek he faces are going to battle against each other until K-9 steps down. Aww!

K-9 does get to rescue the Doctor though by blowing up some Daleks at one point. However K-9 does get terribly tortured by the Daleks in ‘Part Two’ and he’s revealing answers to the Daleks’ questions against his will. I really like K-9’s appearance here as he gets more scenes with the Doctor and Romana.

John Leeson also gets to play a human character in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure called Tollivun. This was a delight for me to hear John playing somebody else as well as K-9 in this adventure. John has played a human character before in ‘Doctor Who’ as he was Dugeen in the TV story ‘The Power of Kroll’.

Toby Hadoke and David Warner in ‘The Dalek Contract’.

David Warner returns as Cuthbert. I was delighted to hear David Warner return as Cuthbert here since he was so brilliant and villainous in the two-part Laan story. Cuthbert is working with the Daleks here and you wonder why. He seems convinced he can control the Daleks whereas in fact they control him.

I did enjoy that moment where he gets impatient about not getting his brown sauce for his chips. He calls Romana ‘Romona’ in this story which reminds me of Clare Keighley in the ‘Shada’ novelization by Gareth Roberts. David delivers a brilliant villainous performance as Cuthbert and is such a delight here.

Toby Hadoke also returns as Mr. Dorrick, Cuthbert’s sidekick in the adventure. I enjoyed the double act shared between Mr. Dorrick and his boss Cuthbert. You can tell how well Toby and David bounced off each other. Mr Dorrick is having doubts about his boss’ project and the partnership with the Daleks.

There’s also Dominic Mafham as Chidak, who is on the planet Proximia Major. Chidak distrusts the Doctor and Romana when they meet him as he believes they’re working for the Daleks. When Chidak and his men are being attacked by the Daleks, he slowly begins to trust the Doctor and Romana in this.

As ever, the Daleks are voiced tremendously by Nicholas Briggs. They’re pretty loud in certain scenes, but they’re still chillingly scary. The Daleks mean business when they attack the Proxima system and when they deal with Romana and K-9. I wondered why those Daleks were working with Cuthbert here.

The Supreme Dalek makes an appearance in this adventure. He’s used to be the main contact with Cuthbert on behalf of the Daleks. Cuthbert is appalled by the Daleks’ murder tactics as the deaths of people are ‘bad for business’. What is the Daleks’ involvement with Cuthbert in the time experiments?

‘The Dalek Contract’ ends with Romana and K-9 getting captured by Cuthbert and the Daleks. They make threats to the Doctor about killing Romana and K-9 as he overhears them on their communications channel. The Doctor responds and immediately surrenders. What will happen next?!

John Leeson, Jane Slavin and Dominic Mafham in ‘The Dalek Contract’.

The first half of this four-part Dalek adventure with the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9 is a spectacular and a brilliant start. I enjoyed listening to the first two episodes of the story and hearing Tom Baker as the Doctor and Mary Tamm as Romana. After I’d finished the first CD, I looked forward to the next CD.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there are interviews with the cast and crew. These include interviews with writer/director/Dalek voice artist Nicholas Briggs; Tom Baker; Mary Tamm; John Leeson; David Warner; Toby Hadoke; etc. There’s also a trailer as the story concludes for the Doctor, Romana and K-9 in ‘The Final Phase’.

‘THE FINAL PHASE’ (Part 2)

Here is the second part of this four-part Dalek season finale with the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9.

The cliff-hanger from ‘The Dalek Contract’ gets resolved. The Doctor offers to give himself up to the Daleks by meeting them at a rendezvous point. But he manages to trick them and both he and Chidak escape. I did like the moment where the Doctor bluffs his way to the Daleks by using a Dalek voice. 😀

The Doctor and Chidak share an interesting comradeship together in the story’s second half. I do like Tom Baker’s enthusiasm as the Doctor in this adventure as he morally scoffs the Daleks and Cuthbert for their time experiments and is cheery in the face of danger when he is with Chidak on an adventure.

Romana and K9 get to have an adventure with Cuthbert and Mr. Dorrick too. I really like Mary Tamm’s Romana as she gets to do more Doctorish things in this audio adventure compared to the TV series. It was the initial intention when Romana’s character was first created by the producer Graham Williams.

In the second half, Romana tells Cuthbert off in a Doctor-like manner. She even sees the good side in Mr. Dorrick. Romana confides in K-9 a lot too and I like how she shares scenes with the metal dog since Mary and John Leeson bounce off each other in the audio. It was great to hear them in this story.

Tom Baker and David Warner in ‘The Final Phase’.

In the last two episodes of this story, we learn more about what Cuthbert’s been up to with his time experiments. We get to discover the Quantum Gateway when Cuthbert introduces it to Romana and K-9. It seems he’s been accessing the past and entering parallel universes which must be so dangerous.

Cuthbert used the Quantum Gateway to achieve his business schemes. But in using the Gateway, it caused damage to the fabric of the universe which angers the Doctor greatly. It connects to his alliance with the Daleks and happened with those whale-like Laan in ‘The Sands of Life’/’War Against the Laan’.

There’s a gripping cliff-hanger at the end of ‘Part Three’. It appears that the Doctor got destroyed as a gradual explosion occurred when he and Chidak collided with the Dalek dimension ship. It’s just pure sound design and with no dialogue at the episode’s end before we get to Romana’s shock horror of it.

I did like that heartfelt moment during the final episode where Romana reflects on her time travelling with the Doctor. She admits how she’ll miss the Doctor and she shares this with K-9 here. But of course, the TARDIS eventually shows up and the Doctor is of course alive to which Romana is so pleased about.

Cuthbert’s alliance with Daleks gets explored and resolved. The thread continues about him under the delusion that he controls the Daleks. But Cuthbert soon realises that the Daleks have known about the Quantum Gateway all the time. They wanted to use it for their own agenda in conquering the universe.

At this, Cuthbert becomes bitter and angry once he realises the Daleks have turned against him. He becomes more bitter when the Doctor and Romana try to stop them. Cuthbert is still unwilling to tell Romana and the Doctor what his plans are – “Mind your own bleedin’ business” – until the last minute.

Toby Hadoke in ‘The Final Phase’.

K-9 also gets to join in the battle against the Daleks by aiding Mr. Dorrick; Cuthbert’s security forces and the Hurtz warriors. I was very impressed by how K-9 came up with a stratagem to defeat the Daleks and Mr. Dorrick goes along with it. K-9 manages to shoot down one of the Daleks in the tale. 🙂

Chidak gets killed during the battle with the Daleks. I did like the emotional farewell shared between him and Jane Slavin as Halka. The two have been grudging against each other for some time in the adventure. The two resolve their differences as Halka continues to fight in honour of Chidak’s memory.

The final confrontation takes place between the Fourth Doctor and the Supreme Dalek and it’s truly inspiring and sensational. I like how the Doctor tries to make the Daleks see beyond hatred and to see reason. But the Daleks refuse to see reason, giving the Doctor and Romana the chance to defeat them.

Eventually, Cuthbert’s destiny comes full circle in the adventure. Earlier on, he believed he was meant to go back into the past and to make his business happen. By the climax, he enters the Quantum Gateway once the Daleks are defeated before the Doctor and Romana try to stop him. Gasp!!! Shock!!!

Tom Baker and Nicholas Briggs in ‘The Final Phase’.

The Doctor and Romana wonder what has become of Cuthbert and where he’s going to end up. I really like Cuthbert as a character since David Warner delivers some chilling menace into his tremendous performance. I’m pretty sure Cuthbert will return to confront the Doctor and Romana once again. 😀

The final scene between the Doctor, Romana and K-9 in the TARDIS is a truly memorable scene. I really enjoyed listening to it since it sums up the Tom Baker/Fourth Doctor and Mary Tamm/Romana ‘Doctor Who’ adventures. The Doctor offers to take Romana back home to Gallifrey. She doesn’t want to go.

The moments where Romana was grieving for the Doctor’s ‘death’ in ‘Part Three’ get addressed again here. I like how Romana is slightly denying about being concerned for the Doctor before K-9 repeats what her exact words were in that moment. It was very amusing when Romana told K-9 to shut up. 😀

In the end, it seems like Romana is staying on with the Doctor. It’s a lovely moment between Tom Baker and Mary Tamm as their characters. I wish that Mary was still alive today since we could’ve had more audio adventures by Big Finish with the Fourth Doctor and the first Romana with K-9 together. 🙂

I feel rather sad and emotional regarding Mary Tamm, since ‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’ was her last story as Romana. I feel sad about Mary since I wanted to meet her at a convention. By the time I was going to conventions, she was already ill and I didn’t know she was would pass away. 😦

I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed meeting and chatting to Mary at conventions since she seems to be a lovely lady. I was delighted to hear Mary talking in the CD extras about how she enjoyed doing these audio adventures with Tom Baker. It feels sad as it seemed there was potential to do more adventures.

I find Season 2 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ of ‘Doctor Who’ to be a great tribute to Mary Tamm and they evoke happy memories for me in watching her as Romana in ‘The Key to Time’ season, which is my favourite Fourth Doctor season. I’m pleased we have these audio adventures to remember Mary.

Tom Baker and John Leeson in ‘The Final Phase’.

‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’ has been great adventure with the Daleks. I’m so glad it became the season finale for the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 with the Daleks as well as featuring Cuthbert and Mr. Dorrick. It makes it a fitting finale of audio stories with the noblest Romana of them all! Thanks Mary!

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there’s a trailer for ‘The King of Sontar’ with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew. These include interview with Tom Baker; Mary Tamm; John Leeson; David Warner; Toby Hadoke; Nicholas Briggs; etc.

‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’ rating – 9/10


The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

For Romana was

For K-9 MkII was

For the Daleks was

The next story

For the Fourth Doctor is

  • ‘The Doctor’s First XI’ (ST/Audio)

For Romana is

  • ‘The Doctor’s First XI’ (ST/Audio)

For K-9 MkII was

For the Daleks was

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2 thoughts on “‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Fantastic, Fantastic, Fantastic review Tim, this is one of my favourite Fourth Doctor audio dramas, this is a tense, suspenseful dramatic 4 parter which held my attention from start to finish.

    Tom Baker’s just awesome in this & I’m glad Mary Tamms Romana got to be in a Dalek story while David Warner adds gravitas as Cuthbert.

    Nick Briggs always writes good Dalek stories & this is one of his best, it just flows at a nice pace.

    Tim I just heard Feast of Fear……evil Nyssa.

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one Tim it is a very very dark story & features some terrifying deaths.

    I honestly don’t know what you’ll make of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘The Dalek Contract’/’The Final Phase’. Glad this is one of your favourite Fourth Doctor audio dramas. I loved it too with Tom Baker’s Doctor, Mary Tamm’s Romana, John Leeson’s K-9, David Warner’s Cuthbert, Toby Hadoke’s Dorrick and the Daleks voiced by Nick Briggs. It’s a pretty explosive season finale for a good set of stories with the Fourth Doctor and the first Romana.

      Yeah I like how this story flew at a good pace and Nick Briggs’ writing and direction is superb. It’s fitting to have this story as a tremendous finale with the Fourth Doctor, Romana I and K-9, especially with Mary Tamm passing away shortly after this.

      Glad you enjoyed ‘Feast of Fear’. I’m a little nervous and scared about that story as well as the latest set of stories with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and new companion Marc. I hope you’ll enjoy my thoughts on those stories when I get around to hearing and reviewing them. I’m waiting for ‘Warzone’/’Conversion’ to come out on CD in November before I listen to the complete set of Fifth Doctor audios this year.

      I’m currently getting things ready for some Nyssa things including ‘The Nyssa Challenge’ reviews in December and my latest Fifth Doctor story ‘The Prime Factor’ with Nyssa and Billy. I hope to post that story soon in November. There’s a cameo of James Darby in ‘The Prime Factor’, just to tease you. 😀

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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