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Planet of the Daleks
on 23 October 2013
This is a reading of the novelisation (by Terrance Dicks) of the Third Doctor story, Planet of the Daleks. At the end of the previous story, Frontier in Space, the Doctor and Jo Grant have foiled another of the Master's plans, but the Doctor is wounded, and calls on his Timelord peers to help him and Jo in the Tardis to follow the Daleks. The Tardis travels to a planet where it lands, and where Jo, desperate to get help for the seemingly mortally ill Doctor leaves the Tardis to get help. But she is about to find more than she bargained for, for on Spiridon there are Thals and Daleks - many thousands of Daleks.
This is a great story, originally broadcast with the wonderful Jon Pertwee in top form as the suave and debonair dashing Doctor in the velvet smoking jacket, and Jo Grant as his UNIT assistant. The novelisation by Terrance Dicks is good, but this reading by Mark Gatiss really brings the story to an absolute top-notch experience for the listener. I don't think I've ever heard Mark Gatiss read one of the Doctor Who stories before, but he captures every voice and every nuance brilliantly. Even his characterisation of Jon Pertwee's Doctor is absolutely spot-on; brilliantly done.
The story is three hours long, and it never seems a minute too long - there is action aplenty, and plenty of story and scene shifts. The story moves from one where the Doctor is ill and Jo goes to get help, to one where there are conflicting ideas about who are the `goodies' and the `baddies', to trying to thwart the Daleks' latest masterplan to conquer the universe. The sound effects on this story are wonderfully subtle and appropriate - you can `feel' the desert, and you can `hear' and `see' the plants and wildlife on the primeval planet of Spiridon - even down to the movement of the ice shelves which are so pivotal to the story. This is an absolute winner of a story; as a story, as a Doctor Who story, and as an audio reading of the novelisation of this great 1973 story. Definitely recommended.