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Daleks among Us – Who, what and why? Most of all, WHY?

This is the hundred and seventy seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy, Tracey Childs and Christain Edwards as Seven, Elizabeth Klein and new companion Will Arrowsmith. There are four episodes, roughly 30 minutes each, complete with cliffhangers and original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the second disc and a few minutes of the soundtrack at the end of disc 1.

This is the third story in a trilogy that has followed the Doctor and his companions in their hunt across time and space for the Persuasion machine and its creator. The trilogy opened with the dreadful ‘Persuasion’ then picked up a little for the passable second story ‘Starlight Robbery’. It needed a really really good story to finish it off and bring some redemption to this lacklustre set of releases, but unfortunately we are served up with another underwhelming story. Which is a shame, as a mixture of Daleks, Klein, Davros, Seven and Nazis seems like a total no-brainer for a great story.

The story is a confused mess of ideas that often loses sight of the Persuasion strand altogether. There’s too much going on, and it does not all fit together neatly. On top of this, the writer has given the characters some really terrible dialogue. Terry Molloy is as game an old trouper as they come, professional right down to his fingertips, but even he seems to cringe a little at some of the lines Davros is forced to utter. Also, the series continues to include Will Arrowsmith. He is as terrible a character here as he was in Persuasion, he alone ruins the whole thing for me. I kept wishing that the Daleks would just exterminate him and have done with it. I can’t see the Doctor or Klein shedding a tear. A truly terrible character, I really hope that Big Finish do not plan to bring him back. Once again McCoy’s performance is strangely delivered, almost as though he hasn’t done a rehearsal and is still deciding where to put the stresses and inflections on the words. It pains me to say it, as I have really enjoyed his performances over the last few years. And so many of the ideas have been done before, and better. The parallels between the Daleks and Nazis? It’s way too laboured and in your face here, not the subtle hints that you got in the Tom Baker classic ‘Genesis of the Daleks’.

All in all this is a long, confusing story with lots of running around and too many ideas thrown in. unfortunately the central plot strands were not interesting enough in the first place to hang a trilogy on, and the end result is a total uninteresting mess with only a fine performance from Molloy to redeem it in any way. 1 star. The extras are the most interesting thing, where various people talk about how wonderful the trilogy has been with a straight face, and Molloy gives a genuinely interesting account of how he created his Davros voice.

BF have faltered over the last few releases, with only two OK stories out of the last six. As this were released in the 50th anniversary year I only hope that there is something a bit special in the works for later releases in the year to make up for these disappointments.

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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 1 August 2015
This is the 177th release in the Main Range by Big Finish, and the third in a trilogy featuring the Seventh Doctor and Elizabeth Klein. The first story in the trilogy is ‘Persuasion’ and the second is ‘Starlight Robbery’.

Following the trail of Schalk and the Persuasion Machine, and knowing that Garundel’s allies are somehow involved in what is going on, the Doctor, Klein and Will head back to Minos where they last saw Schalk to try to pick up the trail. What they find there horrifies them. Now the Doctor has to travel to Azimuth and try to save the universe from the Persuasion Machine. Klein is driven to find out about her own past, and what the Doctor has to do with involving himself in her life now, and Will tries to save all his friends. Nobody will be quite the same by the time this story is finished. Because on Azimuth, there are no Daleks, and there never were. Twenty years ago Azimuth was not saved from the Daleks by the Doctor. And to suggest otherwise will have dire consequences.

This is a great story, and a brilliant conclusion to this trilogy. The story takes all the threads that have been presented in the first two stories of the trilogy, and weaves them together into a breathless tale of treachery, greed and horror; one that has Klein facing up to her past as well as her present, and Will Arrowsmith feeling the grief of some more brutal lessons about ‘life in the field’. For the Doctor, he must face up to the consequences of all his past actions, and atone for things he didn’t even know he was responsible for. The characters in this story (and through the story there are quite a few characters who meet up with the Tardis crew) are really well cast. The story itself is brilliantly written, and it is well paced throughout the whole 120 minutes. This story is a conclusion that really allows the first two stories in the trilogy to become an integral part of the ongoing longer tale, and which, for me, will mean a really worthwhile re-listen to the first two stories, knowing now how things fall into place over the whole three stories. To say more is to risk spoilers, but this is a trilogy that is well worth listening to. If you think the first two stories in the trilogy are a little slow, bear with them, because the pay-off is in this story, for sure.
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A new Doctor Who audio story. This features Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, with Tracey Childs and Christian Edwards as his companions, U.N.I.T. Science Advisor Elizabeth Klein and her assistant Will Arrowsmith.

It's the final part in a trilogy of stories, the first two of which were Persuasion (Doctor Who) and Starlight Robbery (Doctor Who). These three releases don't entirely stand on their own as they form one long story. Suffice it to say that if you've not heard those two, you haven't really got a hope of understanding this one.

If you have, read on.

This story runs for four parts and is spread across two cd's. Episodes one, three and four all run close to thirty five minutes [approx], whereas part two is just twenty three minutes in length.

Still on the track of Schalk and the Persuasion machine, and unaware that some old enemies are now involved, the Doctor and friends follow a trail that brings them to the planet Azimuth. A place which, decades before, the Doctor helped liberate from Dalek control.

So why is mentioning that, and the Daleks, now a crime that will lead to people being re-educated?

Rebels, who have a rather surprising leader, are fighting back against an oppressive regime. But other things are going on here. Forgotten legacies are about to be revealed as the battle for the power of persuasion comes to a head..

The Seventh Doctor is always especially interesting when he's not in control of the situation, and this is especially true in the first third of part one. Some memorable early scenes are followed by what may appear to be a plot device, but will clearly have consequences. And then we're on Azimuth.

As the truth of this world is slowly revealed, it does play with some interesting ideas and metaphors. The first episode is long not least because it needs to get to a certain point for the cliffhanger. A very good cliffhanger, but one you will see coming a long way off if you've read the back of the cd box.

It does though allow for the Seventh Doctor to do something for the first time on audio, and the results are worthwhile.

Part two pushes Klein down an interesting path.

But part three sees three storylines competing for attention. And some of the interesting early points being lost. It's a very clever story that ties an awful lot together and has some original ideas of it's own. Although some other Dalek stuff can feel over familiar.

Part four is more of the same, with a huge amount going on.

There are some excellent resolutions for many characters. A few surprises I didn't see coming. And one of those final scenes you might enjoy despite yourself.

As mentioned not a story that really stands on it's own. And as a whole a laudably amibitious series of releases, but how well it comes off as a whole is perhaps a matter of opinion. So perhaps there are stronger Seventh Doctor releases out there, but credit to Big Finish for trying what they're tried with this batch.

There's just under eighteen minutes worth of music from the story on the final track of disc one.

A trailer for the next release in this range on the track on disc two after the end of part four.

And just under nine minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew on the final track of that disc.
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on 26 September 2015
‘Daleks Among Us’ was written by Alan Barnes and is the third story in the 2013 Seventh Doctor audio trilogy, and follows on from ‘Star Light’ robbery. This story was recorded on 5 and 6 February 2013 and released in September. To fully appreciate this you really need to know the backstory of both Klein and Davros, plus have listened to the two previous stories in the trilogy: ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Starlight Robbery’

Publisher Summary:
“AZIMUTH DEPARTMENT OF RE-EDUCATION
REMINDER: TO ALL CITIZENS
There are no Daleks on Azimuth. There have never been Daleks on Azimuth.
Twenty years ago, the Daleks did not invade Azimuth. There was no war. There were no death camps. A man named ‘the Doctor’ did not help liberate Azimuth.
There are no such things as Daleks. They do not exist. There are no Daleks among us.
UPDATE: TO ALL CITIZENS
A strange blue box has not appeared in Monument Plaza. Off-worlders named ‘the Doctor’, ‘Elizabeth Klein’ and ‘Will Arrowsmith’ are not at large in the city. For your own safety, should you not see any of the above, report at once to the Department of Re-education, Azimuth Central.
NEVER REMEMBER”

I love it when BF use original theme tunes and hearing John Debney’s composition of the theme tune always puts a smile on my face. Wilfredo Acosta’s music and sound effects of manage to convey atmosphere without having spelling it out. The sounds are clear and crisp. Ken Bentley’s directing is rather stolid, as is McCoy’s performance. The acting is mostly good all round but I find Tracey Childs as ‘Klein’ dull and uninteresting, maybe that’s the way she is written. ‘Will Arrowsmith’ is played Christian Edwards and is a light hearted coward, and possibly the most exasperating character in all this. Davros is ineffectual and unnecessary.

The premise is that there may be Daleks Among us. How unexciting. There are a few good ideas and twists which make it enjoyable though. The trilogy is tied together by the idea of the persuasion machine and is a very loose theme that could really have been dropped as it doesn’t add a lot. This is also about giving ‘Klein’ an established place in history. Lots of good ideas but they don’t really seem to gel together as well as they should which makes this strangely boring at times, but at least it has good production values I suppose.

Another story that attempts to make a laboured comparison between Daleks and Nazis. The acting is average the story is oddly lopsided and removing some of the filler could at least get it going along at a decent pace but what is any of this about? Is it about the Doctor and Davros, giving Klein a back story or resolving the trilogy about this persuasion machine? A double whammy of boring and confusing; I can’t think of many stories that manage that!
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