MY BIG FINISH JOURNEY PART 18: THE TIME OF THE DALEKS
The Time Of The Daleks is Paul McGann’s first adventure where he faces the daleks. I was so excited to listen to this audio as I think it is a big moment for any doctor to come up against the daleks. Whilst this story had some great moments this story suffered some issues with its plot. Some doctor who stories work great in audio form, Embrace the Darkness being a perfect example of this. Whilst other doctor who stories work a lot better on screen. I feel like The Time Of The Daleks would have worked so much better as a modern doctor who episode on screen. With a very complicated plot which included a lot of teleporting it was often hard to follow what was going on. I have been listening to big finish for just over a year now and there are still some stories which you just can’t wrap your head around or follow no matter how much characters try and explain what’s going on. However, hearing the daleks come back was incredible as they sounded like the modern daleks even, thou this story came out before the series was rebooted in 2005.
I will try and explain the plot however I am still struggling with what actually happened. It starts off with there being a rupture in time which has slowly got bigger and bigger due to the effects of Storm Warning where Charley (the companion) was supposed to be dead, but the Doctor saved her. This has created fractures in time which has lasted the first two seasons of the Eighth Doctor adventures. This crack in time has caused a fleet of Daleks to get stuck in the time vortex. The daleks had started a war with the timelords in order to get access to time travel. I love the early mentions of the time war before Russel T Davies made it an actual thing. It is as if a time war between the time lords and the daleks was destined to happen. Weirdly Shakespeare had also gone missing through history as an event happening in the future was going to kill Shakespeare and stop him from ever being successful. I found this completely random and whilst it was talked about in the first part this subplot just seemed to disappear until the end of the fourth part as if the writers had forgotten about it. The Doctor and Charley landed in a dystopian future where there was a dictator of Great Britain. The leader was trying to build a time corridor for the daleks to travel through and in return she would be the only one who remembered Shakespeare. As motives go, her motives were all over the place. You also had no idea what side she was on which made the plot even more confusing. The first part was very good as it set this up really well and the daleks coming in at the end was a great cliff-hanger. After the first part was where the story went really downhill. The Doctor was forced to make the time corridor stable whilst a rebel group who hated the dictator tried fighting the daleks and ultimately failing. Time corridors seemed to pop up all over the place, in mirrors and anything with a reflection. This was a cool concept and one I would like to see again but it was explained how this happened and there were some clear plot holes. Following the Doctor and all the side-characters jump between portals going into different places was extremely confusing and I just lost track of what was happening. All I know is that the rebels and some of the imperialists worked together to get past the daleks into the reactor room where the tried to blow the whole place up. However, the daleks got in there easily and killed them, so it felt just an excuse to get a cliff-hanger in. The Doctor didn’t really do much he was just stuck by the daleks side for most of the story. One good bit of the final three parts was when the dictator got turned into a dalek. It was similar to the Dalek Sec transformation in Daleks Take Manhattan (2007) except she got put inside the shell of the dalek. It was graphic and sounded horrible, but it did make the Daleks come across evil. The Doctor opens a portal up on the dale crucible. Charley who had been held captive for the 6th time in the story ran to the portal and the dalek tried exterminating her but instead destroying the portal which left the daleks stranded in the time vortex and the Doctor and Charley was safe. It wasn’t a bad ending, but it was by no means good. The story ended with the Doctor finding out that a young Shakespeare had been with them the whole time which solved that problem as the Doctor took him back to his place in time. There was a good last scene where the Doctor and Charley realise how many problems have been caused by Charley being alive and how time is fracturing. Its great how the story arc has carried on and I want to find out what will happen next.
The side cast in The Time Of The Daleks were very average. This is partly because there was so many of them, none of them really got a chance to develop and also because there were so any you couldn’t really follow who was who and what they were doing. The Doctor was great even thou he didn’t do much throughout this story. I loved seeing him come up against the daleks for the first time. Charley was also decent in this story. I am starting to like her more and more as I get used to her. The daleks were a real threat and came across as pure evil which was refreshing to how they have been written in later series of the modern era.
To conclude, The Time Of The Daleks had some great moments, especially between the Daleks and the Doctor however the plot was way to confusing and hard to follow for an audio adventure and the side characters were very forgettable. If this story was on screen, it might have been easier to follow however there were still a lot of plot holes so unfortunately The Time Of The Daleks is one of the weakest of Paul McGann’s second series.
I rate The Time Of The Daleks an 5.5/10.
Written by: JACOB MOORE
Hi I’m Jacob and I write articles on big finish audios, classic episodes and news blogs. I hope you enjoyed the review:)