Doctor Who: The Curse of Davros. Audio Book Review


Big Finish, CD £14.99, download £12.99,

Reviewed by Chris Limb

“Bonaparte calling Dalek Command…”

Riding the night bus home from a club, Flip and her boyfriend Jared are jolted from their humdrum existence by the sight of a flying saucer crashing nearby. Alighting to investigate, they discover an escape capsule that the authorities have missed, an escape capsule containing a groggy man known as the Doctor…

In the thirteen years Big Finish have been producing Doctor Who on audio they have built up their own distinct mythology and backstory, some of which is apparent here. Flip and Jared have already encountered the Doctor a year or so before by their reckoning so perhaps have some idea of what they’re letting themselves in for when they escort the disorientated Time Lord back to Flip’s flat. However, the lengths to which the Daleks pursuing him will go to retrieve their prisoner means that life will never be the same again for the couple.

Unexpectedly switching from a contemporary setting to a historical one after a single episode changes the feel of the narrative and ups the ante: the incongruity of Daleks in a modern supermarket is mild compared to Daleks at the Battle of Waterloo. Their history-changing, mind-swapping plans – devised by none other than Davros – are nothing new, but then again Davros always did have the tendency to meddle in such things. However, whilst this may be the plot, it’s not the story, which is more to do with the relationship between Davros and his old nemesis the Doctor.

Although they only met once on screen, Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor and Terry Molloy’s Davros have become old sparring partners on audio. This play continues the tradition but comes up with a very different way of doing it, resulting in a couple of standout performances from both Baker and Molloy.

Other highlights are visceral first hand descriptions of both what it’s like to actually be a Dalek and the living hell of Davros’s genius-trapped-inside-a-corpse existence…

Big Finish audios are now quite distinct from both the classic and contemporary TV series and can be seen as providing a bridge between the two for fans who want to learn more.  Whilst The Curse of Davros is perhaps not the best audio to start with – it requires some pre-knowledge of Big Finish audios and the Sixth Doctor’s temporally convoluted history – it is a worthy addition to the canon and once again proves what an excellent Doctor Colin Baker is, given half a chance.