Jubilee is the story that spawned the now classic Lone Dalek TV story “Dalek” and while the two stories do have some similarities Jubilee is quite classic in it’s own right.
The disc starts off with a hilarious fake preview for a movie entitled
“Daleks: The Ultimate Adventure” but it’s not all fun and games as this preview is here to show you that not everything is normal with time. Next the all to familiar theme music starts and the adventure begins.
The Doctor and Evelyn are set to arrive in London 1903, but the TARDIS does not want to land easily, in fact it tries to land in two different years at once. After things settle down The Doctor and Evelyn find themselves in the Tower of London 2003, but things don’t stay calm for long as the TARDIS dematerializes and leaves them stranded. As this happens the Doctor has a fainting spell and sees visions of a war with the Daleks and believes that he and Evelyn have already lived the events he just witnessed.
It soon becomes clear where the TARDIS went when they come across a stain glass window in the Tower that has the likeness of a blue box on a grassy knoll depicting a war.
Elsewhere in London the locals are preparing for Jubilee day, where for the past 100 years they have witnessed a Dalek be tortured and then sentenced to death. This year they will witness the last Dalek and for their president, Nigel Rochester, it will be a defining moment in his reign, if only he could get the Dalek to speak for him. His men are working overtime torturing the Dalek with drills and other devices trying to get it to make a sound.
Soon enough it does make a sound, in fact it screams, the Doctor and Evelyn rush to the aid of the scream they have just heard only to find that it is the Doctor’s mortal enemy. It’s torn and tattered, dented, cut open like a tin can, it’s gun arm has been removed and it is bleeding.
The world that Robert Shearman has created in this version of time is very different from our own. For starters all the world knows of the Daleks, they adore them and sell all sort of Dalek memorabilia from t-shirts to Dalek shaped pepper pots. Ok so that sounds like our own world, perhaps I should have said different from the real world in Doctor Who.
Back to business.
The characters all seem to have secrets too, Nigel Rochester is responsible for some of the most horrible deeds in humanity yet he claims that he does not want to do them, he says the Daleks make him do it.
His wife, Miriam Rochester acts like the average woman of this version of history, by acting as if she is a stupid uneducated woman, who like colored bunting, wearing too much make up, and accepting the beatings from her husband with pleasure. While all the time she is really pulling the strings behind the scenes trying to achieve the most power that she can in a world where women have no say.
One of the presidents guards, Farrow, is not as loyal as he would seem, he and the presidents wife are plotting to take over the throne.
It would also seem that the President and his staff have kept a secret from their people, everyone knows that the Doctor saved them from the Daleks many years ago, but no one knows that he was an alien or that he dressed in such a colorful outfit. Instead they are told that he was a British soldier and wore a military outfit and to drive this point home they even erected a statute with his tailored likeness in Trafalger Square where Nelson and the lions once stood.
With that in mind naturally no one wants to believe the Doctor when he shows up claiming to be himself, not even the president who is shocked that he would know about the colored coat.
When the Doctor has his face off with the Dalek for the first time the Dalek speaks and confirms the identity of the Doctor to the President and his men.
Rochester now has his wish, the Dalek is speaking but this may not be the best thing that could happen. The Dalek now has purpose, to EX-TER-MI-NATE the DOC-TOR!
Just one problem though, it needs orders.
Failing to acquire any new orders it decides to take matters into it’s own hands… er, sucker, and attempts to force Farrow and his men to follow it.
It’s leadership ability is not the best as it still can’t cope with life without orders, but soon finds comfort in Evelyn, who it befriends, and even adopts her as it’s leader/prisoner.
As the story progresses we find out why Rochester was not willing to take the Doctor’s identity at his word when they first met, it would appear that the Doctor that saved the humans from the Daleks in 1903 has been locked up in a dungeon for the last one hundred years. His mind is shattered his legs have been amputated and what remained of his companions body had been removed from his cell leaving him totally alone. He is a broke version of himself, a lost soul.
Having said that I feel it fair to speak about the acting abilities of Colin Baker. Not only is he a fantastic Doctor, as the freedom he is given in the Big Finish plays allows the character to expand while still keeping in style with his TV counterpart, but he gets to test his limits when he portrays the lost soul Doctor. A minimal part at best but nonetheless an impressive characterization.
Going one step further and name dropping two other Big Finish plays entitled “The Maltese Penguin” and “Project: Lazarus”, we get to hear Colin’s ability for voice mimicry, I am very surprised that they did not yet use Colin to play multiple characters as you honestly would believe you are listening to another actor altogether.
Maggie Stables once again delivers a very heart felt performance, as Evelyn allows herself to become to emotionally involved in the affairs of the people around her and in particular, the Dalek. Maybe Evelyn would never have worked on TV, but in audio she is a stunning companion and very deserving of the title as well.
One more actor of mention is the Dalek voice himself, Nick Briggs. Nick has an impressive range of Dalek voices, so much so you that you could call him a one man army, literally, as he is responsible for all of the Dalek voices in the Big Finish plays. One could easily see him as a one-man band back in his high school days. If you were impressed with his performance in the TV story “Dalek” then I would suggest that you pick this story up for even more fun with his portrayal of the emotional Dalek.
Back to the story.
Rochester tries to convince the Doctor to stand by his side on Jubilee day to help execute the last Dalek to end the war forever. Meanwhile lady Rochester is trying to convince Evelyn to join her cause to overthrow her husband. They even go as far as to try and recruit the Dalek to help them over power the President, but the Dalek is not interested in giving any human enough power to rule and declines the offer. In an attempt to get the Dalek to agree with her plans Lady Rochester threatens the life of Evelyn, and in an amazing twist in Dalek behavior, the Dalek agrees in order to protect his new friend.
By this time the Doctor experienced several visions of the Dalek war that happened 100 years ago, but it soon become apparent that the visions are not just in his head, time is trying to merge into one. Past and present are becoming a new reality.
The Dalek is becoming very unstable and unsure of its purpose in life. Once it has been refitted with it’s gun arm it forces the guards to take it to the crippled Doctor’s cell and asks for orders, failing to receive any useful help from the broken man the Dalek does something we thought would never happen, it kills the Doctor.
Not long after the two versions of history start to become one solid single time-lime and all hell breaks loose. Will the people survive? Can the Doctor win? Or will the Daleks finally become “the Masters of Earth”? And what of the real one true version of history?
Before I finish this review I feel another special mention should go out to Nick Briggs and Robert Shearman for their portrayal of and excellent writing for the “Dalek Dwarfs”. To understand what I am on about you really should hear the story for yourselves, it is quite and entertaining and shocking moment.
As we come to the close of this review it is easy to see that this story is more complex then the TV version, but when you hear the story in it’s entirety it is easy to follow and quite enjoyable. For all of you Big Finish fans and for all of those interested in becoming fans, the two stories still work as two separate stories in the history and life of the Doctor and can be enjoyed as such. “Dalek” was not simply a rewrite it was a similarly themed episode and both stories can stand on their own legs as individuals.
As good as “Dalek” was and I wouldn’t dream of belittling it, there is something to be said for the original standard format for Doctor Who.
Classic four part stories allowed the viewer not only more time, but also more story to enjoy and not one second in this play is wasted, thanks to the brilliant writing of Robert Shearman.