As the title suggests we are near the end of the adventure, however Sadly Mary Tamm as Romana struggled with this as she was very ill at the time so gives of her best despite this. The Daleks have their own agenda regarding Cuthbert's Quantum Gateway project and naturally the Doctor and Romana try to find a spanner to bung into the works. all the stops are pulled out and it's roller coaster time, this sets the scene for the final showdown. Mary Tamm Died shortly after this recording was made so this makes it her last show, such work is the end of an era as they say and it's literally true in her case, since everything steams along in this episode it makes it more precious to own this one.
Seventh and final release in the second season of Doctor Who audio stories from Big Finish which feature Tom Baker as the Doctor. In this run, joined by Mary Tamm as Romana and John Leeson as K9.
This is the second half of a two part story that began with The Dalek Contract (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures), and it continues right on from where that one left off. Since this story also picks up on plot threads from earlier in this run it isn't something that casual listeners will be able to get into without having heard what comes before.
This release has two episodes on a single cd. Both episodes run just over thirty minutes each [approx].
Part one sees the Doctor and those who oppose the Daleks taking the fight to them, whilst Romana and K9 are with Cuthbert. And the latter's plans slowly become apparent.
It does take a slight while to get going, as after some initial action things then have to steadily develop, but as ever with these the spot on re-creation of the style of the era is a nostalgic delight, and the lead performers really are splendid to listen to.
Come part two things do finally kick off big time, with battles against hordes of Daleks, explosions, epic Dalek schemes, aand everything you would expect from a season finale. Such as characters having epiphanies and a superb verbal confrontation between the Doctor and his arch enemies.
Cutherbert doesn't get to do quite as much as you might expect, and his final fate in the story is a bit surprising. Whether or not it leaves the door open for him to return, since there are loose ends, remains to be seen.
The final scene promises more adventures for this particular TARDIS crew. So it's a shame that they can't ever happen.
However the Fourth Doctor will return for another season of adventures with Leela, which will be out next year. A trailer for the first of them can be heard on the track after the end of part two.
Just under eleven minutes of interviews with cast and crew follow on the final track of the disc.
Not quite a five star release, but a good one that does manage to justify it's length, and is a decent listen.
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.
“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.
‘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.