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The Dalek Contract (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2014
Wow! This is a 'Doctor Who' fans' dream come true!

This is a fantastic season finale to a series of audio adventures with the Doctor and Romana with K-9. They face not only the return of David Warner as Cuthbert, but also the dreaded Daleks. This is the first time that Mary Tamm's Romana and K-9 encounter the Daleks.

'The Dalek Contract' is the first disc containing the first two episodes of a four-part story with the Doctor, Romana, K-9 and the Daleks. Having two of the four episodes on a separate CD is really annoying, as it would be nice to have them both together as a 2-disc set.

I've had the CD of 'The Dalek Contract' signed by writer/director/Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs on Big Finish Day 6 in January 2015.

The TARDIS arrives in the Proxima system where the Doctor, Romana and K-9 are on a bitterly frozen world. Its people are under attack from the Daleks. It turns out the Daleks are working with the villainous Cuthbert (from 'The Sands of Life'/'War Against the Laan').

We find out what Cuthbert has been up to with his deadly time-experiments and how the Daleks are involved. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 are caught up in the Daleks' activities and have to solve the mystery as to why they're formed a business contract with Cuthbert.

Nick Briggs has done a fantastic job bringing everything together about the Doctor and Romana. It feels right to have the Doctor and Romana with K-9 face the Daleks in their final adventure of this season and also have another face-off with recurring villain Cuthbert.

Tom Baker is wonderful as the Doctor in this four-part story. Tom's enthusiasm shines throughout as he seems to be really enjoying these audio adventures as he was reluctant to do so beforehand. I like Tom's contribution to these Big Finish audio adventures.

I love how Tom's Doctor reveals about the Daleks and known what they're capable of from his experiences in 'Genesis of the Daleks' and 'Energy of the Daleks'. When Tom's Doctor talks about Daleks, you really home in on his every word that make you terrified about the Daleks.

Mary Tamm's Romana gets to face the Daleks at last! I'm very pleased about this as it's very fitting before she sadly passed away in 2012. But why have Big Finish done a Dalek adventure with the first Romana? In TV, Romana 'first' met them when she was Lalla Ward in 'Destiny of the Daleks'.

There is an answer in 'The Lying Old Witch In The Wardrobe' (from 'Short Trips: Companions'). I like that interrogation scene with Romana by the Daleks. Every time Romana gives an answer it registers as an 'untruthful response' echoing the similar scene in 'Destiny'.

K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) also gets to meet the Daleks. To hear K-9 actually interacting with Dalek was sheer bliss and it's a confrontation that's been worth waiting for. You think K-9 and the Dalek are going to battle against each other before K-9 steps down.

K-9 does rescue the Doctor by blowing up the Daleks at some point. Although he does get terribly tortured by Daleks in 'Part Two' and is revealing answers to Daleks questions against his will. I really like K-9's appearance as he gets more scenes with the Doctor and Romana.

John Leeson also gets to play a human character called Tollivun. This was a delight to hear John playing somebody else as well as K-9. John has played another human character in 'Doctor Who' before in the TV story `The Power of Kroll' where he played Dugeen.

David Warner returns as Cuthbert. I was delighted to hear David as Cuthbert again as he was so brilliant and villainous in the Laan story. Cuthbert is working with the Daleks and you wonder why. He seems to think he controls the Daleks whereas in fact they control them.

I like that moment when he's impatient not getting his brown source for his chips and calls Romana 'Romona' instead reminding me Clare Keighley from the Gareth Roberts novelization of 'Shada'. David delivers a brilliant villainous performance as Cuthbert and is a delight to listen to.

Toby Hadoke also returns as Mr Dorrick, Cuthbert's sidekick. I like the double act between Dorrick and his boss Cuthbert, and you can tell how well Toby and David bounced off each other. Mr Dorrick is having doubts about this project and this contract with the Daleks.

There's also Dominic Mafham as Chidak, who is on the planet Proximia Majo. Chidak distrusts the Doctor and Romana and thinks they're working for the Daleks. When Chidak and his men are being attacked by the Daleks, he slowly begins to trust the Doctor and Romana.

The Daleks as ever are voiced tremendously by Nick Briggs. They're pretty loud in certain scenes, but are still chillingly scary. The Daleks mean business when attacking the Proxima system and dealing with Romana and K-9. One wonders why they're working with Cuthbert.

The Supreme Dalek appears in this adventure and is used as the main contract with Cuthbert. Cuthbert is appalled with Daleks' murder tactics as the deaths of people are very bad for business. Just what is the Daleks' involvement with Cuthbert's time experiments?

This disc ends with Romana and K-9 captured by Cuthbert and the Daleks. They make threats to kill Romana and K0 to the Doctor who overhears them on their communications channel. The Doctor responds and immediately surrenders. What will happen next?!

TO BE CONTINUED...

This is a spectacular and brilliant start to this four-part Dalek adventure with the Doctor, Romana and K-9. I enjoyed listening to the first two episodes and hearing Tom Baker and Mary Tamm together. After finishing this CD, I looked forward to the next instalment.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there are interviews with the cast and crew. These include writer/director/Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs; Tom Baker; Mary Tamm; John Leeson; David Warner; Toby Hadoke; etc.

There's a trailer for the conclusion to this Dalek story called 'The Final Phase'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the first part (in two episodes) of a story that continues in The Final Phase, and features Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor with Mary Tamm as Romana I. This story and The Final Phase was the last story Mary Tamm worked on; she was ill at the time of recording but determined to continue and complete the story. She is, and will continue to be sadly missed by all who respected her talent and presence in the Doctor Who world.

The Dalek Contract is a milestone in other ways as well. It is the first time that K-9 comes into contact with the Daleks directly, and there are some rather nice exchanges between him and the Daleks at one point in the story. And it is also the first time that Romana comes up against the Daleks, although as a well-studied Timelady she has of course heard much about them.

The Doctor has turned off the Randomiser again, much to Romana’s disgust, but he excuses his actions by saying that there are dangerous particles leaking into space which could rupture the Universe itself. And when they find out that the Conglomerate (under the utterly despicable Cuthbert) (from prevous stories The Sands of Life, and War Against the Laan) is involved, the fate of the Universe seems shaky at best. Can Romana, the Doctor and K-9 find out what Cuthbert is up to, and defeat the Daleks?

This is a great story, and really eerily reminiscent of the great days of the 1970s stories; even the music is spot-on and takes you back to those heady days. Tom Baker is in top form as always, and it’s great to have the new interactions with Romana and K-9, and Cuthbert AND the Daleks! Really it’s like a big reunion with old, and new friends. The story is action-packed and sets itself up well for the next part in The Final Phase. Fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The latest release in the series of Doctor Who audios to feature Tom Baker as the Doctor. With Mary Tamm as Romana. And this one also features John Leeson as the voice of K9.

This is the penultimate release in this run, and it's the start of a two part season finale.

It runs for two episodes of twenty five minutes each in length [approx] and is complete on a single cd.

It does feature characters who appeared in the earlier two part story in this season that finished with Doctor Who: War Against the Laan (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures). It also does reference events from that. But there's not too much continuity knowledge from that story required for this one, so casual listeners might be able to get into it without much trouble.

Since this is another two parter, though, it does mean it finishes on a cliffhanger. Which will be resolved in The Final Phase (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures).

This story sees the TARDIS land in the Proxima system, where the Doctor intends to investigate some strange readings. He finds the place under the control of the Daleks. Who have suppressed the locals, and only a handful of rebels are continuing the fight.

Also there is Cuthbert, ruthless tycoon first met in the earlier two parter. Why are he and the Daleks working together? nd what precisely are they working on.....?

This feels like the first two episodes of a four part tv story of the time, in that it sets up things and then has the Doctor investigate. Then a cliffhanger. It has that feel in ways other than the story, though. With excellent sound design and music that really make it feel like something that could have been on tv in 1978. Added to which the setting and many of the character names all feel like something that might have been written by Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks and writer of many of their stories. All of which adds to the charm.

Cuthbert is an excellent and three dimensional character as he's not bad just for the sake of it, and you really have no idea which way his loyalties will go in the end. There are strong scenes of the Doctor inspiring rebels and belittling the Daleks, plus Romana being delightfully disdainful of them also.

The pace of the story is good and it zips along very nicely. It's not quite a five star release simply because you're only in effect getting half a story here. But it will leave you eager to find out what will happen next.

There's a trailer for the aforementioned next release on the cd track after the end of part two.

And roughly sixteen minutes [approx] of interviews with cast and crew on the tracks after that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2013
Nick Briggs Dalek story of last season was enjoyable and OK, but this season's is a real winner. The characters are all larger than life and the Daleks more Dalekier than ever! This and the truly excellent music score make this a quintessential Tom Baker vs. the Daleks episode. It is also helped by being a four episode story, as Two episoders never truly work for me because they cannot recreate the feel of the Tom Baker era. Can't wait for the conclusion!
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on 22 March 2015
‘The Dalek Contract’ is not a complete story in its own right. Rather, it forms the first half of a four part story along with the following, and last, release in this series, ‘The Final Phase’. As such it doesn’t really work independently and needs to be listened to in conjunction with ‘The Final Phase’; better yet, the two need to be listened to consecutively to fully appreciate them. However, the split of the story across two discs is a minor irritation and is more than compensated by the Dalek epic the two releases form which provides the series with a big finale.

These two stories also follow on from the earlier releases in the series ‘The Sands of Time’ and ‘War Against the Laan’ (which were also two releases that formed one complete story). ‘The Dalek Contract’ is not a direct sequel to these, however. There is a lot of talk about the Laan in the opening stages to remind us of them and their story. The focus at the outset of this story is not on the actual incident with the Laan but on what caused it to happen, the secret experiments of Cuthbert. The Doctor was clearly concerned with what Cuthbert was up to during the previous encounter. Now he has actively sought out this experiment; deliberately overriding the randomiser much to the chagrin of Romana. This possibly reflects the difference that still exists between Romana and the Doctor. With her faith in Time Lord education and society still present, she lacks the willingness to intervene that the Doctor possesses. She still has that typical Time Lord perspective that the Doctor is a trouble causer. Interestingly this seems to change somewhat by the end of ‘The Final Phase’.

The story has many typical Dalek elements. The Daleks are using one of their more subtle tactics and are pretending to be working for Cuthbert whilst they work towards their own ends, such as they do in ‘The Power of the Daleks’ or Victory of the Daleks’. Cuthbert, like a fair few characters in Doctor Who before him, is naïve and gullible enough despite his intelligence to believe that he can make use of the Daleks and even control them. There is also a group of rebels fighting back at a desperate disadvantage. It is good to see the Daleks exhibiting cunning to remind us how intelligent they are as well as physically powerful.

With some good performances throughout and a more than active role than usual in this series for K-9 there is plenty to be enjoyed. It misses the chance, however, to pull off a memorable cliff hanger. The conclusion to this disc is functional and adequate but not that exciting or original. It does set things up nicely though for ‘The Final Phase’.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2013
K9 and the Daleks!! At last!! All the cast are great and the story's pretty cool! David Warner is superb.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
Bought as a gift for a big Doctor Who fan. They enjoyed the story on this disc and would recommend.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
I've been a fan of Doctor Who since 1970, when Jon Pertwee first made his cloak-billowing appearance as the heroic Time Lord. By the time we got to the era of the Doctor and Romana the dream teams of producers and directors had passed and we had Graeme Williams' somewhat quirky take on the series, replacing the horror and violence of Tom Baker's early seasons with comedy... and K9. I fell out of love with the series during this period... mostly down to the presence of K9 and the affected quirkiness.
So I was a bit disappointed to find that, upon listening to this story, I was whisked back to those days... it was exactly like a 1978 Doctor Who story, even down to the music.

Tom sounds like he's getting into this one, and the late Mary Tamm tries hard to recapture the aloofness of the original Romana. David Warner can do no wrong in my book, and delivers a wonderful performance here... and as ever Nick Briggs gives us the best Daleks this side of David Graham and Ray Barrett. However it all feels so... light, just like the period it so authentically emulates.

I still hate K9.
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