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Daleks, a rainforest and a double Ace
on 11 April 2006
"The library on Kar-Charrat is one of the wonders of the Universe. It is also hidden from all but a few select species. The Doctor and Ace discover that the librarians have found a new way of storing data - a wetworks facility - but the machine has attracted unwanted attention, and the Doctor soon finds himself pitted against his oldest and deadliest enemies - the Daleks!"
So, the Daleks make their first appearance in a Big Finish audio adventure... and I'm pleased to say that the Doctor's oldest and deadlies foes make the translation to the new format with considerable aplomb!
Mike Tucker's The Genocide Machine is a classic Doctor Who story, with quirky characters such as Bruce Montague's Chief Librarian Elgin and the unfortunate, ever-silent Cataloguer Prink, a random element (Louise Faulkner's mercenary Bev Tarrant) and a suitably villainous foe in the form of the Daleks. The rainforest planet of Kar-Cherat is conveyed excellently by the story's use of atmospheric sound effects (this is rapidly becoming a habitual trait of the Big Finish stories). The Daleks sound excellent, voiced with a harsh edge by director and composer Nicholas Briggs, who also provided Dalek voices for the new TV series with Christopher Eccleston.
The Daleks in The Genocide Machine seem to fit the timeline of the new TV series more than anything else, being commanded from Skaro by an apparently massive Emperor Dalek that sounds a lot like that revealed in The Parting of the Ways. However, to please the crowd, The Genocide Machine also features a Dalek Supreme and, in a triumphantly recogniseable appearance using the original sound effects, a Special Weapons Dalek. The Daleks are also up to their usual tricks, duplicating humanoids and taking over planets.
The cast are good, although Sophie Aldred sometimes doesn't convince as the robot Ace. The running joke of Prink as a supposed chatterbox who never manages to get a word in edgeways is somewhat predictable, but overall The Genocide Machine is well scripted and performed. An entertaining turn; the Big Finish series continues to impress.