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The Daleks' Master Plan (part two),
This review is from: Doctor Who Daleks: The Mutation Of Time (Audio CD)
THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN was an epic story that unfolded over thirteen episodes (the one part MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN followed - after a gap of four weeks to tell the story of THE MYTH MAKERS - by the twelve part epic that was THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN itself) and as such was a story rather too epic to be told in one of the slim Target novelisations of the 1970s and 1980s. Wisely then, John Peel split the story into two separate books of which this is the second, and this audio option has followed much the same format. Be warned then, if you buy this rather impressive 5-CD tale, to get the full story you will probably want to invest in PART ONE: MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN at some point.
However it is worth it because this is a very strong retelling of one of the finer epics from the early years of the TV series and the lengthy running time of the original tale means that some very strong characterisations are possible and that the tragedy of the story of Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom and the machinations of the wicked and treacherous Mavic Chen, the Guardian of the Solar System no less, both unfold on a rather epic scale.
This half of the story picks up from the end of the previous volume with a retelling of the events of the first DOCTOR WHO "Special Christmas Episode" - episode 7 of the 12 - which didn't really progress the plot but actually makes for a few chapters of what is a bit of light-hearted fun before the story takes a darker turn as we are returned to the planet Kembel and rejoin the story from where it was left, with the Daleks and their allies now needing to track down a missing vital element which is needed to help complete their "master plan", and the Doctor just happens to have control of it. For once the TARDIS is actually able to be piloted with rather more success than is usual and a chase through time ensues encompassing locations such as ancient Egypt at the time of the building of the pyramids, and an encounter with another old enemy. Eventually the plot moves back to Kembel and a final devastating encounter with the Doctor's oldest and deadliest of foes.
This volume retells the story told in episodes 7-12 of the television story which is something of a journey through time (whereas the first half was more of a journey through space) but still manages to be a quite successfully self contained as a story in itself although it is the weaker of the two volumes in terms of its dramatic tone and storyline.
Reading duties are shared once more between actors Peter Purves (companion Steven Taylor in the original) and Jean Marsh (who played Sara Kingdom) and whilst they both have very distinct styles, both read the story very well, each doing a couple of chapters at a time presumably because it would have been rather difficult on both them and the listener to have the same voices throughout. The transitions between the blocks they read are unannounced and can take a moment or two to adjust to, but the story is told in dramatic terms and holds the attention very well. Dalek voices are provided by current TV series Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs which probably avoids a lot of general embarrassment all round. The story is enhanced by some subtle but effective sound effects and music all of which makes for a rather impressive package.