As soon as Energy of the Daleks was announced as an adventure in the first series of the new Fourth Doctor Adventures it gathered anticipation above some of the other stories. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen this particular Doctor face off against Skaro’s finest, and we’re all gagging to see how the intervening years have changed their sparring matches.
The answer is actually not that much. The Daleks have a big plan to upend the Earth, the Doctor spends a lot of the time mocking them and generally stopping them at every corner and the humans around them all fear for their lives as they wait to find out their fate.
Okay, it’s not quite as simple as that, there are some truly touching scenes with Mark Benton’s character Jack Coulson and Alex Lowe’s character Damien Stephens as they discuss the former’s mother and her last days on Earth. Leela is suitably brave when it comes to facing off against the Daleks, why the original production team of the 70’s never thought to put her in the same room as a Dalek boggles the mind! You’ll also find some electrifying scenes with Baker as he faces off against the Daleks and tries to uncover their plans. One scene you’ll want to take note of is an encumbered Dalek being questioned by the Doctor – it’s a sizzling scene packed with excitement and tight direction.
But none of that really matters. The plot could involve the Daleks settling down and running a small used casing shop in Bristol and it would still be worth a listen because when it comes to the Fourth Doctor and the Daleks, much like a Roboman, we’re slaves to do anything else but listen and obey. This isn’t to say the Brigg’s script doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it’s a straightforward story that is overshadowed by the performances-notably Briggs himself whose Dalek tones seem even more excitable and energetic, most probably due to the fact that acting alongside Tom Baker as the Doctor must be something of a lifetime achievement for Big Finish’s Executive Producer. You try staying clam when Baker is trying to stop you taking over the Universe!
Energy of the Daleks is a literal and metaphorical title. The energy in the plot itself is literal and something that the Daleks are using to subdue the human race and conquer planet Earth. The metaphorical energy in the title is the feeling that you’re left with once this tale is done. The Fourth Doctor is well and truly back, the Daleks still fear him just as much as they did 30 years ago and there are future encounters between the metal meanies and the Fourth Doctor to look forward to.
The Fourth Doctor adventures started in January but this is where they move up to the next gear!
Energy of the Daleks is available from www.bigfinish.com now on CD for £10.99 or via download for £8.99.