‘WE ARE THE DALEKS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Daleks in 1987 with the Seventh Doctor and Mel
Welcome back, Melanie Bush!
This is ‘We Are The Daleks’, the first story in a trilogy featuring the Seventh Doctor and Mel by Big Finish in ‘Doctor Who’! I immensely enjoyed this audio adventure with the Daleks in it! It evokes the atmosphere of Season 24, but in a positive way and thankfully not in a negative way as many expect.
This four-part adventure by Jonathan Morris has been engaging and thrilling from start to finish! I enjoyed all the elements featured in this story, making it so memorable. Jonny Morris has done well with writing for Seven and Mel in this and has delivered a buzzing Dalek story that manages to scare.
The highlight of ‘We Are The Daleks’ for me is Bonnie Langford as Mel. I enjoyed hearing Mel again on audio and Bonnie is so enthusiastic as the character. These Big Finish audios put Mel at her best in ‘Doctor Who’ which is a great relief as the writers don’t make her like she was from the TV series.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bonnie Langford in real-life at the ‘Bournemouth Film & Comic Con’ in August 2015. I know how nervous I was, but I came from the convention with happy memories of meeting Bonnie. She was very nice and I had a great time chatting and sharing with her.
‘We Are The Daleks’ is a story that fits right well into the middle of Season 24, a season of ‘Doctor Who’ that most fans would rather forget. I like Season 24 despite its faults. It had humour and interesting stories in it, and the combination of Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford was fantastic.
It should be noted that ‘We Are The Daleks’ takes place before the classic Seventh Doctor TV story, ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. So that means that ‘We Are The Daleks’ is the Seventh Doctor’s first chronological encounter with the Daleks. Amazing! And he manages to stand up to them pretty well.
In the story, the TARDIS arrives in London 1987 and the Doctor and Mel discover a tower block in the shape of a Dalek. Getting curious, the Doctor and Mel investigate as the Daleks seem to want to invest in Britain’s finances. But what does this have to do with the computer game called ‘Warfleet’?
I like how Jonny Morris evokes the atmosphere of 1987 in this adventure. You have to imagine what was going on at that time, as Britain in 1987 was in financial turmoil. What with the Thatcherite government and everything causing problems, it’s an ideal opportunity for the Daleks to take over.
I liked some of the attitudes of 1987 addressed in this story. Not that I know much about British politics during the 1980s, but I can imagine times were hard compared to today’s standards. I also liked the idea of a 80s computer game as a war plan by the Daleks to use the humans as their slaves.
Sylvester McCoy delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this. This of course is a Seventh Doctor for his early days in his tenure, as he’s comedic and less dark and manipulative compared to later. But he is on his way to becoming a manipulator. He even wears new clothes so he can blend in.
I liked the Doctor’s scenes with the Daleks when he confronts him. I like how Sylvester’s Doctor becomes sarcastic when he’s interrogated or threatened by them. He’s clearly not intimidated by them and he’s clearly worried when his friends become influenced by Daleks and has to save them.
Bonnie Langford, as I said before, is the highlight of the story for me. I love her performance as Mel, who uses her own initiative and becomes resourceful in this adventure. I liked how she started by taking a managerial job at the Zenos Tower and she gets to boss Brinsley around as her employee.
I also like how Mel gets to use her computer skills in this, as she didn’t so that so often in the TV series. This is of course Mel’s second encounter with the Daleks, as she faced them before in ‘The Juggernauts’ with Colin Baker. I like how this story demonstrates Mel’s strengths as the companion.
Nicholas Briggs returns to voice the Daleks in this adventure. Nick Briggs is a talented guy, who can do a variety of Dalek voices. I’m impressed with the range of voices for the Daleks, especially in this adventure, ranging from sounding angry, comedic; confused; panicky; etc. Nick doesn’t disappoint!
I liked some of the references to classic TV stories in this adventure. There’s a reference from ‘The Power of the Daleks’ where Daleks are serving vol au vents and being ‘nice’ to guests at the Zenos Tower. There’s also when the Dalek Factor gets used against the Daleks from ‘The Evil of the Daleks’.
And of course, the Emperor Dalek makes an appearance in this adventure. I can still imagine the Emperor Dalek from ‘The Parting of the Ways’ whenever I hear him on audio. I like how cunning and manipulative the Emperor Dalek sounds whenever he threatens the Doctor within the control room.
The guest cast also includes Angus Wright as Alek Zenos, who runs the Zenos Tower and is an alley of the Daleks. I was pleased to hear Angus Wright in this story since he played Magnus Greel in ‘The Butcher of Brisbane’ and Mr Dread in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ story called ‘The Vault of Secrets’.
There’s also Kirsty Besterman as journalist Serena Paget. I remember Kirsty from her appearances in ‘The Drashani Empire Trilogy’ in ‘Doctor Who’. There’s also Ashley Zhangazha as Brinsley Heaton, who is an obsessive expert on the ‘Warfleet’ computer game and he plays it even during work hours.
There’s Mary Conlon as Celia Dunthorpe, a politician who gets easily taken by the offer for a better future with the Daleks in the UK. She sounds comical at first, but then she’s a nasty piece of work. There’s also Robbie Stevens as Niles Bunbury, who isn’t taken with a hopeful future with the Daleks.
There’s also Lizzie Roper as Shari and Dominic Thornburn as Afrid, two Thals who help Mel and Niles Bunbury escape the Daleks on Skaro. I was surprised and pleased to hear Thals making an appearance in this audio adventure. In fact, not every ally of the Daleks is as he or she seems to be.
I was very anxious when the humans were conditioned with Dalek thoughts by the Zenos Tower in the shape of a Dalek. Mel gets infected too and she talks more like a Dalek, saying ‘Exterminate!’ all the time. I was worried for the Doctor when he friends turned against him at the end of ‘Part Three’.
‘We Are The Daleks’ is a brilliant ‘Doctor Who’ story by Jonathan Morris. I enjoyed the performances of Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford as the Doctor and Mel and Nicholas Briggs is excellent as the Daleks. I felt a sunny atmosphere when I heard this audio and it felt right for the Daleks in London 1987.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew, including Sylvester McCoy; Bonnie Langford; Nicholas Briggs; Mary Conlon; script editor Alan Barnes; director Ken Bentley; etc.
There is also a trailer for the next story with the Doctor and Mel called ‘The Warehouse’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘We Are The Daleks’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘We Are The Daleks’.
‘We Are The Daleks’ rating – 10/10
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