This is one of the BBC releases where they release the audio from the original tv serial and overlay an audio track narration where required to tie in the visuals that we can't see on the audio cd. This story, a four-parter originally from 1979 (Season 17), features the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker and Romana II, played by Lalla Ward. The story introduces Lalla as Romana II as Romana regenerates (being a TimeLady) into a new form. There is opportunity in this sequence for some humour as Romana `tries on' some new forms, and the Doctor critiques them as he is also mending K-9.
The story, with audio narration by Lalla Ward, starts with Romana's regeneration and the partial mending of K-9, when the Tardis lands on a rocky planet with high radiation levels. Investigating, the Doctor and Romana find a burial party and then see the landing of a spaceship. They find the Movellan spaceship and the crew who are investigating themselves into the goings-on on the planet, which, to the Doctor's horror, he finds is Skaro - the home planet of the Daleks.
Features of this story that really stood out for me, were firstly the narration by Lalla Ward. This has been done tremendously well; she really does not sound any older since the original 1979 story; quite remarkable. The narration itself is sympathetic to the story and does not overshadow the action or the original soundtrack at all. Secondly, I had forgotten just how ghastly and maniacal Davros sounds. This really is brought to life in this story, as David Gooderson did a great job standing in for Michael Wisher in the part. The tone of his voice and the words of Davros really do remind you how evil and looney Davros always was in these early Dalek stories. Great stuff; totally recommended.
on 9 November 2012
DOCTOR WHO - DESTINY OF THE DALEKS on audio?
Would a seemingly uninspired Terry Nation penned four-parter (with hit-and-miss attempts by the series' Script Editor, Douglas Adams to inject a barrage of humour and wit - including the bizarrely incongruous regeneration set-up) be improved with an additional narration?
Simply, yes; it works. Cover me in Creosote, throw a bag of feathers over me and slap me with a wet copy of the RADIO TIMES.
Consummately narrated by Lalla Ward (companion, Romana 1979-1981), DOCTOR WHO - DESTINY OF THE DALEKS positively shines with AUDIOGO's polishing off the grime and disinterest bestowed upon it by legions of fans (well, the majority of them) over the decades.
"...voluptuous curves and amply cleavage. The Doctor shakes his head, `Not today, thank you'. She joggles out to try again..."
Naturally, the beauty of audiobook OST is that there is no reliance upon the visuals, replete with their dents, scratches and unevenness, that the broadcast version exposes. Therefore, for DESTINY OF THE DALEKS at least, a horizontal shuffle to audio is generously perfect. Its failings - including a pedestrian direction by Ken Grieve - are diminished (but not completely camouflaged - why, following decades of decay across Skaro, does an organic Kaled mutant remain as fresh as the day it was grown?) and, in parts, are enhanced (as three armoured machines glide toward Romana at the end of the opening episode one noticeably increases your heart rate, as does her terrifying interrogation within Dalek Control).
For younger fans of the series, those who `...sought, located...' (sic) the NEW SERIES for the first time, it may be incredulous to understand that in the days before DVD releases and, in some instances, VHS tape cassette releases fans relied upon "...place a tape cassette recorder in front of the TV's speakers to record an audio..." of each episode, to be played back endlessly - eventually stretching the hair-thin oxide magnetic tape - before the next broadcast. That's how we, fortysomething+ fans, naively appreciated the series and continue to do so.
So, if DESTINY OF THE DALEKS is your first OST then it is an unmitigated choice even if you may find it an odyssey being enveloped in an alien format (a four-part episode compared to a NEW SERIES single-parter). Enjoy it in the way that the "not-we" did back in the 20th century...
Certainly, the story is not as stimulating or intriguing as its predecessor (GENESIS OF THE DALEKS) but, upon re-review, it was a qualified success. Terry Nation continues to pursue the intimation that there was an emerging Dalek Empire, scouring across their galaxy subrogating millions of unwitting humanoids in their attempt unfurl hate across it and to make it `dalek'. Whilst this concept of a gradual but insurmountable presence, seen in several Third Doctor adventures, has been adopted by the officially sanctioned BIG FINISH audio plays (see DALEK EMPIRE) but, regrettably, dismissed by BBC WALES in favour of wild, unbelievable (even for science fiction) and cynical schemes of atomising `reality' itself (although, perhaps, just perhaps, Davros proffers a prophecy that such a weapon would be feasible as he states, "...all matter will succumb to their [dalek] power..."). Was Russell T Davies' listening carefully when he penned THE STOLEN EARTH/JOURNEY'S END?
The plotline is simple: The daleks seek Davros to end an embittered war with a race of robots, Movellan. No `timey-wimey' elements, or aliens with an ability ton erase your mind, or creatures that can morph or teleport at the click of their fingers; reliable, uncomplicated robots against robot-hybrids.
"...that wouldn't keep out a determined mouse..."
The narration is astutely composed (credit to Robert Ayres), ably integrated into the soundtrack (remastered by Mark Ayres) providing a forthright energy and verve that was unaccomplished within the original.
Additionally, the bonus interview with Ward, conducted by David Darlington, is a pure unalloyed pleasure and demonstrates that over 35 years on that she remains as ever committed to DOCTOR WHO. Recorded three weeks after the death of her predecessor, Mary Tamm, Ward fondly recalls that she initially struggled to follow in her Romana footsteps - whether in character or in fashionable style - but, eventually, began to re-pitch the Time Lady in her own achievable mould.
Overall, the release of DOCTOR WHO - DESTINY OF THE DALEKS, maybe for the first time in any format, demonstrates the skill of linear, unadulterated storytelling that Nation was so adept at. To write something that on the surface is so plain, tepid, forlorn but within it beats underlying message primitive optimism, hope and salvation you have to a master of your craft, and that is what he was, like his contemporary Terrance Dicks, and surely this story stands testament to that.