We Are The Daleks
Dalek Emperor: It is our new paradigm. To extend our influence through economic power. The power of the free market.
1987 – the year of the great hurricane, the stock market crash, and, of course, the appearance of a giant dalek-shaped office block in the heart of the City of London. This Skarosian skyscraper, as well as the sudden popularity of an anachronistically advanced video game, is intrigue enough to send The Doctor undercover as a city banker – and Mel as an IT specialist.
Yes – Bonnie’s back as Melanie Bush, and for once the character is actually living up to her rarely referred-to backstory as a computer expert. Mel is a companion who’s been gifted a renaissance by Big Finish – as much as we love the original ’87 run of the show, all high-rise hilarity and holiday-camp… camp, it’s difficult to argue that Bonnie was well served by the scripts. How lovely, then, all these years later, to hear her realising her potential and blossoming into the beautiful Bush that we always knew she should be – brave, clever, and, in the most startling departure from her television appearances, believable as a character.
This rollicking script from Jonathan Morris serves as a satirical swipe at capitalism and the free market. When the Daleks’ plans to enslave other races are discussed alongside our own indiscriminate outsourcing of labour, it becomes hard to dispute some of the uncomfortable parallels. It’s a powerful message, and, whilst not always exactly subtle, it’s completely in-tune with the Sylvester McCoy era of televisual Doctor Who. Down with Thatcher!
Celia Dunthorpe MP: The Daleks are not ideal partners, I admit.
Niles Bunbury: They exterminate their enemies.
Celia Dunthorpe MP: Yes. There are some cultural differences. But we must respect their customs.
But that’s not so say that this is all political polemic – far from it – there’s a thrillingly operatic space adventure to be had as well, all heroic feats and battle-fleets, not to mention taking time out for a proper English breakfast in the unlikeliest place imaginable… And while there’s an obvious Eighties vibe to the piece, it also owes a debt to the Dalek annuals and comics of the Sixties and Seventies. The Dalek Emperor that appears here isn’t actually given a description, but we like to picture him as the ‘golden globe’ variety from TV Century 21.
We Are The Daleks is a rich and rewarding tale. You can probably guess the twist with the computer game, we won’t reveal it here – just in case, but it’s played out in such an entertaining fashion that we can forgive any initial predictability. And the final scene’s hint that this story may well have far-reaching consequences – and a return appearance from one of its best guest characters – has us hungry for more.
Dalek: Would you like a vol-au-vent?
BLOGTOR RATING 8/10
Thanks to Big Finish
Review by Richard Unwin