Tomb of the Daleks

Captain Patch

July 2005

A Recipe For Doctor-Who-Fanboy-Delight...

Start with two alien races returning from the original series (one is obvious from the story title, the other, well, no spoilers here!) Add four-count 'em, four!- guest characters who originated in various episodes from the TV show. For the coup de grace, add strong plotline ties to three prior stories...and viola, an audio feast for the continuity delight of Who fanboys everywhere!

By all rights, this should have been a recipe for disaster. But as it turns out, Tomb of the Daleks is a frantic story that zigs and zags between about 8 different subplots, keeping the audience so busy following the storyline that there's no time to not enjoy the show. (This is yet another ingredient borrowed from the classic TV series.) Tomb lacks some of the gravitas that is usually found in a Doctor Who Audio Drama, but it's full of the same whimsical spirit that characterizes the best of all of Doctor Who.

My one complaint about this story involves the title villains. Too often in the BBC series, the Daleks were drained of their power to scare. Consider Destiny of the Daleks, where the "scourge of the universe" are mocked for being unable to climb stairs, and disable by the casual, and literal, drop of a hat. In this serial, the Daleks are likewise treated in a cavalier manner. While we expect the gallant and heroic Segal Doctor to remain in control of the situation at all times, here he seems barely inconvenienced by his capture and interrogation by the Dalek leader. I like Dalek's with teeth, but this story was, for me, too light for a real "Dalek" story.

OK, with that complaint out of the way, I can relax a bit. David Segal and the rest of the cast are right on the money in this story. Technically, it's very strong, maybe the best of the unremastered stories thus far. It's a fun story, and things flow smoothly; despite the many subplots it never becomes confusing or hard to follow.

While Tomb of the Daleks is not a classic audio drama, I can happily recommend it as "fanboy heaven" done right, an enjoyable romp reminiscent of the later Graham Williams-Fourth Doctor era.

Last updated: Saturday, July 16, 2005