Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 193: Masters of Earth

DWMR193_mastersofearth_1417“We are the Masters of Earth” – so proclaim the Daleks. And there doesn’t seem to be much the Doctor can do about it when he lands in Scotland in 2163…

Mark Wright and Cavan Scott’s script for the reunited Sixth Doctor and Peri is simultaneously a prequel and a sequel to the seminal Hartnell tale, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, and while it is careful to maintain continuity with that earlier story (the Daleks have satellite dishes on their back) the writers don’t hesitate to mine other parts of Dalek lore to up the threat level. In that respect, it reminds me somewhat of John Peel’s novelisations of the 60s Dalek stories – although this is a quantum leap better than Peel’s own attempt to write a tale set in a similar period to this. (There’s also a nice – if perhaps unconscious – nod to Matt Jones’ Bad Therapy, the New Adventure which reunited the Doctor and Peri after her experiences on Krontep when Peri makes her displeasure with one of the Doctor’s tactics felt.) The script mirrors the general beats of the earlier story but constantly gives it its own spin.

Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are on fine form, Bryant clearly revelling in the more mature version of Peri, realising that sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. Baker is given plenty of opportunities to demonstrate the ways in which his Doctor has also matured between the time of his TV travels and now, and the discussion between the pair about the Doctor’s choices on Skaro is beautifully played.

Director Nick Briggs has assembled a strong cast, with Tracy Wiles making a great foil as Moira Brody; she and Brian McCardie as Alan Weir demonstrate just how far the Sixth Doctor’s persona has changed. Hugh Ross, Sean Biggerstaff and Damian Lynch are equally effective. Briggs himself gives us multiple different Dalek voices, and an appropriately-slurred Roboman. The only area that doesn’t quite work for me this time around is the music, which sometimes seems to riff off the original Counter-Measures theme!

Verdict: A very nicely judged and performed tale that expands the world of the original while telling its own distinct story. 9/10

Paul Simpson

 Click here to order Masters of Earth from Big Finish

 

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