‘THE GENOCIDE MACHINE’
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The Doctor and Ace vs. the Daleks again
The Daleks make their Big Finish debut here!
I enjoyed listening to ‘The Genocide Machine’ with the Seventh Doctor and Ace fighting against the Daleks again. This Dalek story is very special as it was the first audio for Big Finish to produce with the Doctor fighting against these metallic pepper-pots. It was the first of many and one of the best!
‘The Genocide Machine’ is a four-part adventure by Mike Tucker, who was the visual effects supervisor during the Sylvester McCoy era and is now on the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. I find it amazing and extraordinary that Mike turned to writing from his special effects work on the TV series.
This is also the second audio adventure for Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred when they reprised their roles as the Doctor and Ace. Mike knows Sylvester and Sophie very well and their characters inside out. So it’s no surprise that he writes a cracking good Dalek adventure with the two leads in it.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The Genocide Machine’ signed by the lovely Sophie Aldred at the ‘Science of the Time Lords’ event in Leicester, January 2016. Sophie asked me which Big Finish audios were my favourites with Ace in them. I told her my favourites were ‘The Genocide Machine’ and ‘Colditz’.
The story has the Doctor and Ace visiting the jungle planet of Kar-Charat. The Doctor decides to return some library books that he took from the hidden library that is on the planet. Upon arrival, the Doctor discovers a mystery concerning the ‘wet-works’ facility and the Daleks come to obtain it.
I liked how Mike’s four-part story echoes the classic feel of the Dalek stories from the early days of ‘Doctor Who’. The Daleks are at their ruthless best when they try to get what they want on Kar-Charat. The seeds are sown as to would become the ‘Dalek Empire’ spin-off series from Big Finish.
The world of Kar-Charat is pretty wet – literally, I mean. This is a planet where it always rains, so it’s good that the Seventh Doctor has an umbrella to keep him and Ace dry when they visit the library. The rain water is also significant concerning the ‘wet-works’ facility within the library on Kar-Charat.
The Doctor and Ace have faced the Daleks before previously in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. I liked it that this story establishes the Doctor and Ace knowing the Daleks already. Although it doesn’t have the zip-bang pacey action of ‘Remembrance’, this story does feel atmospheric in audio terms.
Sylvester McCoy delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this. I liked how the Doctor decides to return some library books to Kar-Chart when he should have returned them long ago. He gets intrigued with the library’s wet-works facility and puts the pieces as to how the Daleks are involved.
I think it’s fair to say that Sylvester’s Doctor isn’t so manipulate and dark as he usually is in many of the stories of his era. But there’s a moment when he discovers the truth about the library’s acquisition of knowledge and Sylvester is brilliant as the Doctor when gets angry with librarian Elgin.
Sophie Aldred is excellent as Ace. I really liked how Ace is capable of looking after herself and when she meets Bev Tarrant, making her friends with her and leads her when they face the Daleks. Ace does get kidnapped by the Daleks aboard their ship, but she’s pretty defiant when confronting them.
Ace however gets duplicated by the Daleks, which gives Sophie an opportunity to deliver a chilling performance as a robot/Dalek-like Ace. I was terrified by this Dalek-Ace duplicate as she sounds so evil and Dalek-like. She’s very cruel when she threatens the real Ace and the Doctor into submission.
The guest cast includes Bruce Montague as Chief Librarian Elgin. Elgin runs the library on Kar-Charat and it seems like the Doctor and Elgin are good old friends when they meet up in this story. But Elgin hides a dark secret about the library’s ‘wet-works’ before the Doctor finds out about it in ‘Part Four’.
There’s also Louise Faulkner as Bev Tarrant. Bev is a mercenary who comes to Kar-Charat with her friend/lover Rappell (Daniel Gabriele) who gets killed earlier on. She’s a tough woman who meets up with Ace on the planet as they attempt to dodge Daleks in the jungle when being hunted by them.
There’s a character in this audio who doesn’t say very much, despite Elgin saying he’s a chatterbox. This is Cataloguer Plink (played by Nick Briggs). I found it funny when he’s there in the story, yet he hardly speaks when Elgin or the Doctor talk to him. He only says something at the end of the story.
The Daleks are voiced by Alistair Lock and Nicholas Briggs. Both provide terrifying voices for the Daleks. It’s no surprise that Nick would go on to be the Dalek voices for the new series. You can feel the madness and intelligence of the Daleks voices in these Big Finish audios as well as the TV series.
The Dalek Emperor makes an appearance in this audio adventure during the visit to Kar-Charat. There’s also a Dalek Supreme from ‘Planet of the Daleks’. There’s also a mad Dalek that absorbs too much information from the Kar-Charat’s library and sounds disorientated and dizzy when he speaks.
I enjoyed ‘The Genocide Machine’ very much. It’s a great Dalek adventure for the Doctor and Ace! I listened to this adventure to celebrate the Seventh Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ for the 50th anniversary. This story is highly recommended for anyone who is a Dalek fan and a Seventh Doctor fan.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there are trailers for two Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’. These include ‘Red Dawn’ with Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant and ‘The Marian Conspiracy’ with Colin Baker and Maggie Stables.
‘The Genocide Machine’ rating – 9/10
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