Stranded in the jungles of Kembel, the most hostile planet in the Galaxy, Space Security agent Marc Cory has stumbled across the most deadly plot ever hatched - the Daleks are about to invade and destroy the Universe. Cory has to get a warning back to Earth before it's too late - but the Daleks find him first. Months later the Doctor and his companions arrive on Kembel and find Cory's message. But it may be too late for Earth - the Daleks' Master Plan has already begun...
Read by Peter Purves & Jean Marsh, with Nicholas Briggs as the Dalek voices
With another five-disc epic, something had to be digitally exterminated for DOCTOR WHO - DALEKS: THE MUTATION OF TIME to be uploaded onto an already packed-full iPod. The unfortunate sacrifice was Tom Baker's unabridged reading of THE BRIAN OF MORBIUS but six hours of John Peel's novelisation it was certainly worth it. Again.
Following the highly enjoyable DOCTOR WHO - DALEKS: MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN, this sequential volume is if not more enjoyable.
Again, Peter Purves and Jean Marsh, aided & abetted by Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the daleks, are your guides through space/time based upon Terry Nation's original televised 12-part story, and, in this five-disc set, features two of the series' most notorious episodes (THE FEAST OF STEVEN and VOLCANO).
Within the story's own timeframe, DOCTOR WHO - DALEKS: MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN takes place months after the initial meeting between the Doctor & Steven Taylor and SSS Officer, Sara Kingdom, and in the preceding time she has effectively integrated herself into the TARDIS crew. With the guiding hand of the Doctor, Kingdom, still wracked with grief due to the murder (that she committed) of her brother (Bret Vyon), had undergone extensive rehabilitation. Peel's subtle yet powerfully emotional writing draws on the personal loss felt by the Doctor (focussing on a Granddaughter that, whilst it was tormenting to action, he had to let go); the private conversations between the Time Lord and Kingdom are absorbing, and delivered by Marsh with delicacy yet resoluteness.
The first CD, in essence, features the 1965 Christmas Day episode, THE FEAST OF STEVEN (written by Nation as opposed to Dennis Spooner who wrote episode eight to 12 respectively) and the New Year's Day episode, VOLCANO, and, surprisingly, are the highlights of the BBC AUDIO release.
Of course, the NEW SERIES of DOCTOR WHO has carved itself into the festive television schedule (starting with titular titled THE CHRISTMAS INVASION) but this novelisation reading casts back to a time when the highlight of the seasonal viewing (for all the family, gathered around the warming cathode ray tube like ducklings around their mother) was watching Her Majesty's message. It was all so very different, and quite right too.
Listening to both Purves and Marsh's garrulous presentation, THE FEAST OF STEVEN could have been written for David Tennant's Tenth Doctor as it's a wonderfully verbose misadventure comedy that is a wonderful foil to the darkest of the oncoming storm manipulated by the Daleks (and Mavic Chen). Purves' comedic expertise is demonstrated as he skilfully turns his "characterisations" (such as the Liverpudlian "coppers" and, later, the Meddling Monk) on a Sixpence (read: a small, UK pre-decimal coin no larger than a current 5p coin), and Marsh's deftness in confecting a range of non-British accents is, surely, inspiring for any young actors/actresses listening. The episode location transfers to the USA's Hollywoodland's movie industry where Marsh regales listeners with accents that are as diverse as a Scandinavian film director and an "Arabian Sheikh".
So absolutely fabulous.
This ebullience & humour is replaced with a sensitivity by Marsh as she tells of Kingdom's demise as the waves of destructive time wash over her, leaving in its wake only death & dust. Emotionally crafted by the reader.
The additional (very special) sound effects & musical accompaniment is, as we have come to expect from BBC AUDIO's collaboration with MEON PRODUCTIONS), excellent. If grammatically correct I could have said, "very excellent" then I would have, but as it's not I won't. The "silent cinema" "old Joanna" music track is as glorious as the electronic fingers stretching down a chalkboard as the dalek glides menacingly. The custard pie sound effect is as "CARRY ON." comical as you can expect and want. Perfect.
Naturally, Nicholas Briggs' manifestation of the Daleks is extraordinary.
Initially, BBC AUDIO's choice of this epic 12-part story as a two-volume set release may have been strange - if not brave - one but, after being cocooned by Peel's novelisation for 12 hours, it was calculatingly brilliant (including employing two not one reader was, in itself, a master plan).
The next release DOCTOR WHO AND THE TERROR OF THE AUTONS (8 July 2010), ready by Katy Manning, has to live up to MISSION and MUTATION.
And after that?
The epic DOCTOR WHO AND THE EVIL OF THE DALEKS would be a natural release, with Frazer Hines & Deborah Watling (supplemented by Nicholas Briggs) providing the novelisation reading.