“What’s the matter? Too scared to show your plungers?”
This is the seventh and final release in the second season of the new Fourth Doctor Adventures, and features Tom Baker as the Doctor, with Mary Tamm as Romana I. Sadly, this was the final story that Mary Tamm worked on; she was receiving treatment at the time of the production, and while she must have found it a challenge, she was determined to complete her work, and does so wonderfully and professionally, as always. She is missed by all Doctor Who fans.
In the previous story, The Dalek Contract, Romana and the Doctor, travelling with K9, have found themselves mixed up with Cuthbert and the Conglomerate again. What is Cuthbert up to in the Proxima System, and how have the Daleks become involved? The depths of greed and ambition are plumbed by Cuthbert yet again in these connected stories, as we find just how far he will go to succeed in his ambitions.
The Doctor is separated from Romana and K9 who find themselves with Cuthbert and Mr Dorrick; the Doctor is working with the Proximan rebels Chidak and Halker to try and save their planet, and defeat the Daleks. But can even he defeat a combined force of Daleks with Cuthbert and his evil plans?
This is exciting, edge-of-the-seat stuff; even the music is brilliantly placed in this story so as to heighten tension and bring back fond memories of the wonderful soundscapes of those classic 1970s stories. The Daleks are as amoral as ever, and Cuthbert is not far behind them. Toby Hadoke as the rather insignificant Mr Dorrick is wonderful. Romana, K9 and the Doctor are played on top form, as always, and are just absolutely brilliant. The story itself is complex and yet oh, so wonderfully rewarding – the Doctor pulls his sleight of hand and we just know he’s going to save the Universe – again! Absolutely wonderful, and if the last scene doesn’t bring a smile to your face, and a tear to your eye, then you’re a stronger minded person than me.
on 23 September 2013
It's Back to The 70's again as We travel in The Tardis with The Greatest Doctor of Them All!
Who or whom I hear you cry?
Why Tom Baker of course!
The One and Only!
This time he's aided by his beautiful assistant and fellow Time Lord or Lady if you prefer Romana Played by The Late & Great Mary Tamm.
The Doctor's doing what he does best, Battling the evil Daleks in story which for once doesn't include Davros and even better for his absence!
A Great story with Wit, Peril and Gravity from Nick Briggs.
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.
on 22 March 2015
‘The Final Phase’ is not a complete story in its own right. Instead, it consists of the latter two episodes in a four part story that follows on from the previous release in this series, ‘The Dalek Contract’. As such it doesn’t really work independently and needs to be listened to in conjunction with ‘The Dalek Contract’; 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.
In a continuation from ‘War Against the Laan’, the Doctor finally discovers the nature of Cuthbert and his Conglomerate’s experiment. But so have the Daleks. It soon becomes a case of who will reach the product of the experiment first; Cuthbert, the Daleks or the Doctor and his rebel allies.
The story sets the Doctor against two main opponents, Cuthbert and the Dalek Supreme. The Dalek Supreme is portrayed as an intelligent foe, one that is content to be patient and plan. He adopts of an orchestrating role. There is some typical amusement to be taken from the Cuthbert/Dalek Supreme relationship in that Cuthbert is naïve enough to believe he can control the Daleks where the Doctor knows he can’t. Cuthbert becomes a more intriguing opponent during the course of this audio. As the Doctor suspects there is something more to him than just a businessman. Nothing is really confirmed in the story and Cuthbert is left as a slightly mysterious figure. There is certainly scope for more from this character and David warner is superb throughout. Although, the whole ‘Ramona’ running joke gets a bit tedious.
‘The Final Phase’ is a good story for Romana as it sees some substantial character development for her. Her emotions at the Doctor’s supposed sacrifice reveal her altered attitude towards him. It is a moment of realisation for her, she has come to like and respect the Doctor. It portrays the unexpected closeness that has developed between them. It is a moment that also significantly bridges the gap between ‘The Armageddon Factor’ and ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ to some degree. There is no return to Gallifrey after the search for the Key to Time for Romana. For some reason she opts to continue travelling with the Doctor and this story provides a suitable possibility for why. This suggests that this audio play could take place sometime not too long before ‘Destiny of the Daleks’. However, that compounds the issue that Romana seems to know more about the Daleks in this story than she later does in ‘Destiny of the Daleks’.
‘The Final Phase’ is a fitting finale to this Fourth Doctor season. Not only does it provide a Dalek epic suitable to conclude a series that has taken place in the fiftieth anniversary year, it also includes Tom Baker doing an impersonation of a Dalek and, more importantly, serves as a worthy final story for the first incarnation of Romana and, sadly, the last appearance from Mary Tamm.