‘INVASION OF THE DALEKS’ (DE)
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The Daleks Are Coming! – Part 1
“Attention! Attention! Or you will be exterminated!”
This is ‘Dalek Empire’! A spin-off audio adventure series from Big Finish, created from the worlds of ‘Doctor Who’. It features the Doctor’s most feared adversaries – the dreaded Daleks. Back in 2001, the Daleks had their own spin-off series. And the Doctor doesn’t even feature in it! That’s so scary!
Terry Nation once tried to get his Dalek creations to have their own TV series for many years, but sadly he was unsuccessful. Many years later, Nicholas Briggs created his own audio series to feature the Dalek. Here he wrote; produced and directed a four-part Dalek series through Big Finish audio.
‘Dalek Empire’ stars Sarah Mowat as Susan ‘Suz’ Mendez; Mark MacDonnell as Albert ‘Alby’ Brook and Gareth Thomas as Kalendorf. The Daleks are voiced by both Nicholas Briggs and Alistair Lock.
I subscribed to this series through Big Finish when I was getting into the larger foray of ‘Doctor Who’ audios back in 2011. It was a special offer when I purchased these audios and I’m very pleased I did.
This ‘Dalek Empire’ series is divided into four chapters/episodes/audio dramas on single CDs. These include ‘Invasion of the Daleks’; ‘The Human Factor’; ‘”Death to the Daleks!”‘ and ‘Project Infinity’. Why the four CDs aren’t in a complete box set from Big Finish, I’ve no idea. Perhaps they will someday soon!
‘Invasion of the Daleks’ is the first chapter/audio drama in the ‘Dalek Empire’ series and is a 70-minute episode. It’s a pretty exciting, engaging audio adventure that starts off with a direct Dalek invasion of a planet called Vegas VI. This leads to the subjugation of humans as slaves for the Daleks.
I did wonder whether I would like this ‘Dalek Empire’ spin-off series and how I would cope with the Doctor not in it. But Nicholas Briggs delivers some fascinating new facets about the Daleks which I found very intriguing, especially as they became the inspiration for the new series Daleks in ‘Doctor Who’.
This series has a connection to previous ‘Doctor Who’ adventures in audio. These include ‘The Apocalypse Element’ and ‘The Genocide Machine’. Why these stories are connected, you will have to read the CD sleeve notes and listen to the stories first before you listen to this ‘Dalek Empire’ series.
The ‘Dalek Empire’ story focuses on the pivotal character of Susan Mendez. Suz is a geologist on Vegas VII at the start, collecting mineral samples. When the Daleks invade Vegas VI, she and her friend Alby run for their lives before she’s captured; gets taken prisoner and works for the Daleks.
I liked Sarah Mowat’s portrayal of Suz. Suz is initially terrified of the Daleks, as she has never heard of them before. As the story progresses, Suz challenges the Daleks on why they keep barking out orders to slave workers. It gets the Daleks curious and she becomes increasingly important to them.
I found those scenes fascinating when Suz got interrogated by the Dalek Supreme and is challenged on her morals and beliefs. Some of those scenes are pretty intense and make you wonder about the Dalek psychology. It became the inspiration for Rose who talked to a lone Dalek survivor in ‘Dalek’.
Mark McDonnell stars as Alby Brook, a friend of Suz’s at the beginning of the story. They’re both separated as Alby runs away and leaves Suz out of cowardice. Alby is ashamed of his actions, believing himself to be in love with Suz and is determined to go back and rescue her from the Daleks.
Gareth Thomas, well-known in ‘Blake’s 7’, stars as Kalendorf, a fellow slave worker with Suz for the Daleks. Kalendorf happens to be an agent of the Knights of Velyshaa, who were featured in ‘The Sirens of Time’. Kalendorf is pessimistic on escaping the Daleks, whilst Suz is optimistic and hopeful.
There’s also John Wadmore who guest stars Gordon Pellan, a newsreader for the Vega Systems News Media. Pellan rescues and meets Alby after the Dalek invasion of Vegas VI. Pellan is intrigued by Alby’s determination to save Suz and he eventually joins him on his rescue mission to save her.
The Dalek Emperor makes an appearance in the episode. There are also the Robomen from ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ in this. They make it difficult for the human slaves who work for the Daleks.
I really like the comic book art featured in the CD sleeve notes of ‘Invasion of the Daleks’ by Tim Keable. It makes me feel like I’m reading one of the classic comic strips of the ‘TV Century 21’ stories with the Daleks. Also I like ‘The Dalek Wars’ notes at the back of CD cover by Professor E. P. Natalior.
There are no CD extras featured at the end of this disc. So there aren’t any trailers for future ‘Dalek Empire’ episodes; ‘Doctor Who’ stories or anything like that to be found at the end of the disc.
‘Invasion of the Daleks’ is a pretty good start to the ‘Dalek Empire’ spin-off series, and I was looking forward to enjoying the rest of the series. It’s quite different not having the Doctor featured in this series, but the Daleks make up for it with their impressive battles and evil maniacal scheming ways.
The next episode in the first ‘Dalek Empire’ series is ‘The Human Factor’.
‘Invasion of the Daleks’ (DE) rating – 7/10
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