10 September 2019

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Andrew Smith

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: August 2019

Reviewed by: Nick Mellish for Doctor Who Online


"On the planet Omnia, a young man leads the Doctor and Peri through the battle-scarred ruins of a city. Among the rubble he shows them proof that their invaders and new masters, thought to be invincible, can be defeated. The proof is the blasted, burnt-out remains of a Dalek.

But this is a Dalek-occupied world like few others. For one thing, there are few Daleks to be seen. And for another, the Daleks have appointed an Omnian, Magister Carmen Rega, to govern the planet as their emissary.

Why are the Daleks not present in force? And can the Doctor and Peri risk helping the Omnians, when the least show of resistance will be met with devastating reprisals from space?"

There was a lot of buzz surrounding Emissary Of The Daleks, the latest play from Andrew Smith, when it was first announced. Rightly so, too, as the premise sounded very promising indeed: a world under Dalek rule which ticks along nicely, just so long as no-one rises up against them. As ideas go, it's a good one. Would you dare risk killing everyone if things are actually okay as-is?

There is a lot of potential there, with the Doctor and Peri in the role of possible antagonists. Do you risk it all just because they're Daleks, or accept the planet is fine right now with them in charge?

 

I was therefore excited to start this play, but that soon slipped into uncertainty and quickly into being unenthused. The trouble is, the premise is never really tapped into. Instead, we have a story we have seen a hundred times before. Daleks invade the planet; a well-meaning but ultimately flawed and foolish leader acts as human / Dalek liaison and does terrible things when trying to "do the right thing"; general population is terrified and live in fear and slavery; and the Doctor saves the day.

 

There was not one plot point or twist that I did not see coming at least two scenes earlier. Two of the cliffhangers involve screaming and what sounds like the death of the regulars… only they're fine. The character development and family relationships are as easy to guess as the plotting.

 

I really wanted to like this play, and there are definitely some good parts. I like the piece of Dalek mythology which Smith gives us, about how each Dalek sucker is as individual as a fingerprint. It ranks up with Trevor Baxendale's assertion in his novel Prisoner of the Daleks that Daleks could kill you quickly, they just choose to do it painfully, as good ideas that will be forever stuck in my mind as canonical now.

 

The story is something you've come across before, time and again, but the plot is at least free of holes, and whilst none of the characters made an impression, the cast have no weak links or performances on show.

 

Perhaps it's unfair to judge this play on what it is not, but what it is is so familiar as to be a bit dull. It may be told competently but I'm not sure you'd be able to call it exciting with any real sincerity.

 

As it stands, Emissary of the Daleks is by no means a disaster, but it's also entirely nonessential and overfamiliar to the brink of being boring. The buzz for the premise may be justified, but any for the execution is not.

 


+ Emissary Of The Daleks is OUT NOW, priced £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download).

+ ORDER this title on Amazon!


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