Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – EDAs Series 1

Following the resounding success of the TV revival series of Doctor Who that launched in 2005, peripheral Doctor Who mediums quickly adapted to capitalise on the huge increase in potential fans that would want to explore other mediums separate from the TV series. Big Finish were no different, and they launched the immensely successful Eighth Doctor Adventures in 2006 starring Paul McGann as the increasingly popular Eighth Doctor and Sheridan Smith as new companion Lucie Miller. These audios swap out the format of previous Eighth Doctor audios – stories divided into four 25-minute episodes in a format similar to Classic Who – in favour of the New Series story format – single 45-minute episodes, with the occasional two-part story. This means that, if the New Series is a format that you are more accustomed to, the Eighth Doctor Adventures are an excellent jumping-on point because they not only share a similar tone to the modern TV Series, they also use a familiar approach to character and story development, such as recurring story arcs that feature in every story, and a companion who originates from what was the modern day at the time.

1.1 / 1.2 – Blood of the Daleks

The first story in the Eighth Doctor Adventures is a two-part story that introduces new companion Lucie Miller as well as depicting the Eighth Doctor’s next encounter with the Daleks. It does both fairly well, though the introduction of Lucie is over very quickly before the main story begins to unfold. This is perhaps the quickest companion introduction Big Finish have attempted thus far, and this is probably due to the fact that the EDAs were designed to mimic the style and tone of the New Series, which had only recently released when this series of audios began in 2006, so things move a bit faster than in the Main Range audios. The premise is simple – the Doctor and Lucie materialise the TARDIS on the planet Red Rocket Rising, which has been recently devastated by a meteorite impact. The remaining human population is scrabbling to survive amongst the ruins of their society, and a rampaging mob is hunting down the Acting President Eileen Klint and another woman called Asha, as it quickly becomes apparent that there is more to the situation than meets the eye. Another survivor, Tom Cardwell, is considered an insane tinfoil-hat prophesier of doom by his fellow citizens, but despite his appearance Cardwell also knows more than he is telling, as he has created defences against the acid rain and frequent dust storms.

The plot revolves around Professor Martez, an insane scientist who was using human remains and living human specimens to harvest samples for genetic experiments that were intended to improve the people of Red Rocket Rising. Martez and his assistant Asha were arrested for their violations of human ethics, though Martez later died and his assistant was freed by Klint in the hopes that the two of them could try to restart the society of Red Rocket Rising. There is an incredible scene where the two of them are rummaging around in the ruins of Martez’s laboratory and they reactivate a receiver, only to hear the grating voice of the Daleks sending signals down to the planet. Although there are several twists in this story that can be seen coming from a mile off, there are some others that are very well-hidden and there are some great reveals that are very well-executed. If there is one thing that Blood of the Daleks does well, it is that it does an exceptional job of illustrating the incredible devastation that the Daleks can dish out, particularly when they find the actions of a planet or culture particularly offensive. In this case, the Daleks seek to root out and destroy Martez’s work because they see it as any attempt to imitate the Daleks as an affront that must be destroyed.

Another interesting aspect to this story is that, due to circumstance, the Doctor and the Daleks end up briefly teaming up – it is always fun when the Doctor and the Daleks work together, and this story is a great example of why. It is also worth noting that Sheridan Smith does an exceptional job voicing Lucie Miller, for her first audio the new companion is immediately likeable in much the same way as Rose was in the first episode of the New Series. Although Lucie Miller is similar to Rose in that she is a relatable young female companion, there are distinct personality differences between the two, and Lucie often feels more similar to Donna than Rose as she has a much spikier personality. It is great that Lucie’s first audio is a Dalek story, as she is put in the unique position of having a harrowing adventure the first time around and then having more light-hearted travels later on, whereas for most companions the adjustment goes the other way. It is particularly harrowing hearing the Doctor relive memories of the genesis of a Dalek species, as there are a lot of parallels between the events that happen on Red Rocket Rising in this audio and those that happen on Skaro in Genesis of the Daleks. Overall, Blood of the Daleks is a fantastic opening to the EDAs that sets the tone of the series perfectly, introduces Lucie Miller as the Eighth Doctor’s newest companion and tells a fantastic Dalek story.

1.3 – Horror of Glam Rock

The title of this audio is a humorous reference to the Fourth Doctor TV story Horror of Fang Rock, and although there is no direct relation between the two stories, this one does have a distinct 1970s feel. The Doctor and Lucie arrive in 1974, and quickly discover the body of a man described as a ‘Glam Rocker’ who had been murdered by a savage beast, before the creature starts attacking a nearby diner. This story is notable for starring both Una Stubbs and Bernard Cribbins, and needless to say the supporting cast put in an excellent performance that really brings this story to life. The sound design is also excellent, with the soundtrack taking on a bit of the Glam Rock feel. There are some tense scenes in this story, and there are some sequences that are reminiscent of Tooth and Claw from the TV series. Instead of one werewolf, however, the Doctor and Lucie are up against several bear-like creatures with scales, with just the resources and occupants of a 1970s diner for backup.

The use of the stylophone as part of the setup is great, not only because the unique instrument has its own distinctive sound but also because it is used in a really creative and creepy way in this story that really adds to the atmosphere. The creatures use the stylophone to possess the musician who plays them, and the creatures eventually use this to undermine the Doctor’s efforts to protect the people in the diner. Arnold Korns, the manager of a band called the Tomorrow Twins who is played by Bernard Cribbins, proves himself to be particularly cruel and ends up doing more harm than good by attempting to save himself, purely so that he can make his appearance on an episode of Top of the Pops. Another of the side characters, called Pat, turns out to be Lucie’s auntie in her youth, which creates a fair bit of intrigue as Lucie gives away too much to her without realising the implications.

As Lucie’s first trip to the past, Horror of Glam Rock is a great audio that takes full advantage of the shorter format to deliver a punchy story that would not have felt out of place in the Russel T. Davies era of the TV series. We get to hear more of the Doctor and Lucie interacting as their friendship strengthens, and at the conclusion of this story there is a heartwarming moment where the Doctor asks Lucie to travel with him as a full-time companion, instead of as a temporary passenger. We also get more of a development of the series arc that was hinted at in the conclusion of the previous story, as the mysterious Headhunter searches for Lucie Miller in the diner after they have left, proving that she is chasing the Doctor and Lucie through time and space.

1.4 – Immortal Beloved

This audio deals with the concepts of young love and religion, and thrusts the Doctor and Lucie into a bizarre society styled after Ancient Greece that exists on a planet in the 34th century. They meet two lovers, Sarati and Kalkin, who at first appear to be attempting suicide, though it is clear that there is more going on than it first appears when military helicopters arrive to intervene. The society is run by two individuals, called Zeus and Hera, who seem to be part-ruler and part-god, worshipped by their subjects. Other high-ranking figures in this society have names inspired by Greek mythology, such as Ares and Ganymede, and the architecture of the planet is also inspired by Ancient Greece. Though this might seem a strange choice, all becomes clear as the story of this audio unfolds. As usual the sound design is excellent, and it is interesting to note that Paul McGann’s son, Jake McGann, appears in this audio, and it won’t be his last role in the Eighth Doctor Adventures.

At this point, Lucie Miller has been firmly established as a companion, and Sheridan Smith does a fantastic job of actualising the character. Lucie is a great companion who is very different from Charley, and this audio is a great showcase of how she reacts to situations differently. Although she and the Eighth Doctor didn’t get on initially, by now they have become close friends and have learned to trust each other. They are confronted with an interesting dilemma in this story, as the society has been constructed around the concept of the members of the ruling class transferring their consciousnesses to younger clones of themselves who they raise as children. As such, there is a constant cycle of life and death as the older rulers rear their young only to steal their bodies. The original crew of the colony ship who brought the settlers to the planet continue to do this in order to preserve the society that they have created, as they believe that without their guidance the carefully-crafted civilisation would fall.

This audio is definitely an interesting listen, not least because it deals with the bizarre implications of a society built by body-hopping consciousnesses who have set themselves up as gods. They have transferred their minds so many times under their fake god names that they can barely remember who they originally were, and although all talk of the worlds outside the planet are banned, the ‘gods’ are quick to turn to drastic measures to try to find the parts for their cloning machines and mind-transference devices that, after thousands of years of use, have started to decay. Faced with the downfall of their civilisation, it is clear that the former humans masquerading as gods will go to any lengths to ensure their own survival.

1.5 – Phobos

This audio starts with one of the best cold opens in the series so far, set in a ski resort that has been constructed in a bio-dome on the surface of Phobos, the innermost moon of Mars. As the blurb on the back of the CD points out, ‘Phobos’ is the Ancient Greek word for ‘fear’, and it quickly becomes apparent that some kind of creature is stalking skiers on the resort, despite the extreme nature of the setting. Rumours are abound amongst the staff of the resort and the adrenaline-junkies that bizarre monsters stalk them in the night, and this audio does a great job of using the setting to create some really tense scenes set amongst the howling winds of the icy environment and some very creepy imagery. The Doctor and Lucie find a woman shivering from fear, not cold, and next to her lies a mutilated body that kicks off the mystery.

Phobos is another monster run-around, though it is distinctly different from Horror of Glam Rock in both setting and tone. The soundtrack is excellent, as is the sound design, and Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith put in excellent performances as always. Unfortunately, the supporting cast are not very memorable, and apart from a few exceptions they are mostly interchangeable. There are a few surprising twists in this story that make it an interesting listen, though it does seem to resemble Scooby-Doo at times, with Lucie even dropping a reference that confirms this. That is a suitable analogy for this story -if you enjoy classic monster run-arounds with overblown sci-fi concepts then this is the ideal story for you, so from that point of view it somewhat resembles a Third Doctor story.

Arguably the only downside to this story is that Lucie Miller is not given much to do as a companion, as the quick pacing means that the vast majority of the plot advancement is spearheaded by the Doctor, with Lucie seemingly just tagging along for the ride. As such, the Headhunter appears but is played more for laughs than an actual serious threat, though it seems certain that the next story will feature the long-awaited encounter between her and Lucie Miller.

1.6 – No More Lies

This audio has an interesting opening, as we see an adventure already in progress with the Doctor and Lucie pursuing a man called ‘Zimmerman’ who is attempting to collect rare time-travel technology and has attracted the attention of several time scavengers in the area. One thing that is notable is that it appears that some time has passed, as Lucie is now confident and capable enough to chase down a villain through a time ship while the Doctor waits in the TARDIS, and then helps fly the ship by typing in co-ordinates, proving that her and the Doctor have been travelling together for some time and have come to rely on each other greatly, and Lucie is more willing to discuss ‘sciencey’ and technobabble-orientated dialogue, whereas in previous stories she has often shrugged it off.

The setting of this story is interesting – a seemingly unintentional time-loop has trapped Zimmerman, aged 30 years older than he was when the Doctor and Lucie met him, in an endless dinner party along with all the guests – this provides some great opportunities for interesting narrative elements involving such a bizarre temporal anomaly, and despite everything it soon becomes clear that Zimmerman has changed somewhat in the 30 years since he last met the Doctor – he has a human wife, for a start – and as the Vortisaurs and Tar Modowk close in, the Doctor has to figure out if he believes Zimmerman’s stories of redemption and forgiveness, and indeed if the time loop is the result of any insidious action at all.

As always, the sound design of this audio is incredible, and No More Lies is particularly memorable because it features guest stars Nigel Havers and Julia McKenzie as Nick and Rachel Zimmerman. This audio keeps you guessing throughout and delivers a satisfying conclusion, making good use of its runtime to present a well-paced story. The Headhunter also makes her triumphant return in this audio, having literally fallen off her bike in Phobos she has a much more effective presence here, arriving at the last second to snatch Lucie just before she enters the TARDIS.

1.7 / 1.8 – Human Resources

Having been abducted by the Headhunter at the end of the previous story, Lucie is transported to what initially appears to be a boring office – the same one that she was supposed to be started her first day at in the prologue of Blood of the Daleks. The Doctor is sent after her by a Time Lord called Strax, who makes his first appearance in this story but will become more important later, via a Time Ring that is given to the Doctor by the Time Lords. It soon becomes clear that there is more at work in this office than meets the eye, as the office workers and phone operators discuss co-ordinated battle tactics in the same manner as a standard company staff would discuss ordinary day-to-day activities – the Doctor infiltrates the company and soon discovers that they have been commissioned to attack targets on a planet, and the office is in fact a huge mobile structure – the entire staff have been brainwashed to think that they are still on Earth but they are in fact aboard a walking weapons platform. This is a great setting for the first part, and the office environment is really brought to life, complete with overbearing sexist bosses and mundane PA announcements. Lucie soon finds out the hard way that staff who are fired get ejected from the building and have to join the war going on outside, or scavenge among the ruins in order to survive. The Doctor, in the meantime, pretends to be a client looking to instigate a planetary invasion – there is an amusing scene in which the Doctor bluffs his way into the bosses’ confidence by arranging a military coup on Gallifrey, and although he certainly isn’t serious it gives the impression that he has given the matter some thought in the past.

Naturally, the Doctor heads into the situation with the intent of taking down this company, as the thought of reducing the process of planetary invasion to a business arrangement doesn’t sit right with him or Lucie. However, as events unfold and part one draws to a close it becomes clear that there is something that has not been accounted for – the Doctor steps in to defend the inhabitants of the planet under attack, without thinking to investigate who they are and why they are being attacked in the first place. As it happens, the race under attack is the Cybermen, and part one ends with a fantastic cliff-hangar that, due to the two discs being released separately, came as a complete surprise to the listeners at the time. The Cybermen in this story are a variant of the late-Second Doctor era Cybermen who have settled on the planet Lonsis, though they also seem to share many elements with the Cybus Cybermen including stompy feet and a very similar voice, making these Cybermen an interesting hybrid of Classic and New Series Cyberman traits.

The Headhunter is also utilised excellently in this audio, as her motives and character become clear almost immediately. Hired by the company to recover Lucie Miller when she was abducted by the Time Lords, the Headhunter has no real affiliation with them, and so when the Cybermen invade one of the weapons platforms, she agrees to help Lucie to save herself, which makes perfect sense for the character as she is not inherently evil, just motivated by monetary gain. We also learn a bit more about how the Time Lords are beginning to take an interest in interfering with the interstellar wars scattered throughout time, but their willingness to intervene in order to combat the Cybermen foreshadows more serious conflicts to come. Establishing the Celestial Intervention Agency as an even-present threat that has been influencing events leading up to this point is important for later audio stories in the Eighth Doctor’s life, and it is particularly interesting that Straxus is introduced alongside this concept, which is some brilliant foreshadowing for events later in the series. Overall, Human Resources is a great finale to the first series that answers many questions about the ongoing story arc of the EDAs but leaves enough plot threads hanging that, although it provides a satisfying conclusion to the series, it also establishes many of the plot elements for the next series.

Next – Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – EDAs Series 2, Part 1

Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – Late Charley Era Part 1

Following the abrupt cancellation of the Divergent Universe storyline when the New Series was announced in 2004, Big Finish shifted the next wave of the Eighth Doctor audios into a completely different gear. However, it seems in hindsight that they did this without giving the writers of each individual story enough time to compensate, because a big criticism of a lot of the audios in this initial wave of post-Divergent Universe audios is that they were clearly written for that setting, and although some measures were taken to retroactively slot them into the pre-existing Doctor Who universe by including the TARDIS and some other familiar concepts, these audios are so bizarre and dreamlike that they clearly beyond in a pocket dimension. Still, they represent some of the most unorthodox of Big Finish’s story ideas to date, and are an important chapter in the Eighth Doctor’s life…

#72 – Terror Firma

The post-Divergent Universe era kicks off to an incredible start with Terror Firma, easily one of the best outings of the Eighth Doctor against the Daleks that you are likely to find on audio. The previous Eighth Doctor Dalek story, The Time of the Daleks, was an entertaining romp in its own right but it did not live up to the expectations set by previous Dalek audios such as The Mutant Phase and The Apocalypse Element. However, between The Time of the Daleks and Terror Firma Big Finish released several excellent Dalek audios – including Jubilee and The Juggernauts – as well as the classic fan-favourite Davros, and Terror Firma continues the run of great Dalek and Davros stories by picking up Davros’ story where it left off from Remembrance of the Daleks. Terry Molloy is fantastic as Davros as always, and here we see him combating the personality of the Dalek Emperor that is beginning to assert itself over Davros, playing off the idea that Davros had set himself up as Emperor of the Imperial Dalek faction in the final Classic Who Dalek story.

This audio is full of references to past stories, particularly past Dalek stories – Genesis of the Daleks gets a nice call-back in this, there are references to Storm Warning, Zagreus and Creed of the Kromon, and there are some great plot developments that re-contextualise the entire Eighth Doctor era, this one is definitely the kind of audio that needs to be experienced first-hand. The direction, editing and pacing is excellent – and there are some exceptional performances from Paul McGann, India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas. There are really some exceptional scenes in this, especially between the Eighth Doctor and Davros, which showcase how truly evil and twisted Davros is – spending hundreds of years alone in an escape pod has not helped Davros’s sanity.

This is also a great showcase of the Daleks themselves, as these are a race of brand new Daleks that Davros has created post-Remembrance of the Daleks, removing the distinction between Imperial and Renegade Daleks and creating his own faction. This means that both the Daleks and Davros are quite mad, making for some great scenes that make this audio distinct from any other Dalek story. In a lot of ways this audio is mad, it makes no attempt to fit into the continuity of either the wider Doctor Who universe or the Dalek timeline, and trying to locate when and where this audio was set either in Earth’s history or in the timeline of the Daleks is unknown, as the plot threads of Earth being conquered by Daleks, the majority of humanity being transformed into Daleks, and Davros physically transforming into the Dalek Emperor have never been revisited. Some fans have pointed out that the plot point of using humans to create Daleks parallels The Parting of the Ways, leading to Big Finish officially confirming that Davros does not become the Dalek Emperor seen in that two-part story. In many ways, Terror Firma could easily have been set in the Divergent Universe, something that is apparent about the next three post-Divergent Universe stories.

#75 – Scaredy Cat

A huge shift in tone and setting from the previous story, Scaredy Cat presents an interesting premise – two planets, one populated, one empty, with the population of the inhabited planet pledged to prevent anyone from ever setting foot on their untainted sister-world. As the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz soon discover, however, not all is as it seems on the pristine world of Endarra, as there are scientists from Caludaar performing experiments on the native life forms. The story deals with the morality of good and evil, and explores why criminals are motivated to commit horrendous crimes.

Scaredy Cat utilises the same fragmented story structure as Terror Firma, though the end result is not as effective as in the previous story as we are not familiar with the characters – juxtaposing the Doctor and his companions with scenes involving Davros works because we already know who Davros is, but in this case Scaredy Cat uses original characters which are not known to the audience, so establishing the context for the cutaway scenes is difficult. Scaredy Cat also suffers from a lack of general background context, and relies on throwaway terms like ‘political activist’ without any real establishment of the basis on which we can judge characters based on their political motivations alone.

Unfortunately, this audio has some serious issues, and its bizarre pseudo-scientific explanation for the strange happenings going on throughout the story mean that this audio could have been better utilised as part of the Divergent Universe saga – likely because it was originally written as an audio set in the Divergent Universe, and was hastily re-written to accommodate the fact that the Divergent arc was brought to a premature close. Overall, it is definitely an interesting listen, and it gets points for its creativity – but it can’t hold a candle to some of the next few stories that share the same ethereal post-Divergent Universe atmosphere.


#77 – Other Lives

This is an interesting audio as it is a pure historical – the only one of its kind that Paul McGann has recorded as the Eighth Doctor to date – and as pure historicals go, this one is strong but ultimate quite predictable. Pure historicals usually range from being either focused on a particular figure from history, or take extra care to set the scene for where and when it is set. Other Lives does both, whilst also taking full advantage of the setting of the Great Exhibition of Works of Industry of all Nations in 1851. The Crystal Palace makes for a dynamic setting, and there are some great characters that are brought to life by a host of talented voice actors.

The main premise of the story involves the trio being separated by a series of increasingly bizarre circumstances (including the TARDIS being stolen by a rich French couple) and the Doctor is soon accused of murder and kidnapping. Unfortunately, C’rizz and Charley are not given much interesting to do, and several of the characters some off as somewhat cliched, if it were not for the Doctor’s plotline being slightly more interesting, there would be little much to say about the first two parts plot-development wise. Charley and C’rizz both spend a lot of time interacting with characters that amounts to very little, and overall their escapades contribute little to the overall story.

Despite its status as a pure historical, Other Lives still retains the ethereal nature of the Divergent Universe arc – it is telling that these first few stories were originally destined for the Divergent Universe. There are some interesting elements, such as the focus on the horrors of Victorian freakshows, but there is a severe issue with pacing and overall the plot is very low-stakes compared to others in the series. Nonetheless, it makes for an interesting listen for fans of the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C’rizz, as they are each separated and faced with unique situations and India Fisher, Conrad Westmaas and Paul McGann deliver exceptional performances as always.

#80 – Time Works

Although its becoming a tired criticism at this point, Time Works feels like the breaking point of the post-Divergent Universe arc – it is obvious that these plays were supposed to be set in the Divergent Universe, so the writers had to jump through hoops to make them somewhat grounded in reality in order to set them in the prime universe – it is a shame to see really creative ideas stymied in this way. Nonetheless, Time Works is an immersive experience that presents a very interesting setting for the listener – there is a lot of clock and clockwork imagery involved, making the setting familiar enough that visualising the setting is easy as it leans on concepts that we are very familiar with – clockwork and castles spring immediately to mind – although its attempts to be overly enigmatic do occasionally fall a bit flat.

It is worth noting that this audio has a fantastic soundtrack, as the score contains several haunting melodies that help to illustrate the otherworldly setting. Speaking of which, the setting depicts a society that runs with a strict adherence to timekeeping, and it also features Clockwork Robots that are similar to, but not the same as, the ones seen in The Girl in the Fireplace and Deep Breath, and are also not in any way related to the Clockwork Men from the Ninth Doctor novel The Clockwise Man. Nonetheless they make for effective villains as the concept is particularly creepy, especially when paired with the incredible sound design.

Overall, Time Works deals with some interesting concepts coupled with exceptional direction and sound design that make it one of the strongest audios in the post-Divergent Universe series. Whilst there are a lot of elements that were clearly intended for the Divergent Universe, this story stands in its own right as an exceptional audio, and listened to in isolation it offers a fully-realised world with exceptional execution. Unfortunately, it is brought down somewhat by the others in the series, as they are sadly bundled together as the ‘what could have been for the Divergent Universe’ collection, with Time Works being the series finale. For good old-fashioned Doctor Who escapism, however, Time Works delivers on every front.

Next – Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – Late Charley Era Part 2

Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – Early Charley Era Part 2

Concluding the first series of Eighth Doctor audios, we resume our review of the Early Charley Era with the second ‘wave’ of audios that was released in 2002 and 2003. This was a fascinating turning point both for Big Finish and Doctor Who in general, as audios were quickly establishing themselves as a fundamental aspect of Doctor Who in their own right. The audios in this list are famous for defining the Eighth Doctor’s early era and dazzling fans with a wide variety of creative concepts and thought-provoking stories that question the very nature of Doctor Who itself.

#28 – Invaders from Mars

We begin with a cult classic, Invaders from Mars, by Mark Gatiss. This is a fascinating audio with a very creative story idea – the story revolves around the historic broadcast of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds on a 1938 broadcast of the American radio show The mercury Theatre on the Air directed by Orson Welles that allegedly misled many listeners into believing that the Earth was actually under attack by a real-life Martian invasion, and essentially asks the question of what would happen if aliens were actually attempting an invasion at this time – only to be tricked into believing they had been beaten to the planet by an even more powerful race of aliens. This audio also features an incredible cast that includes Simon Pegg, Katy Manning, Jessica Hynes and Mark Gatiss, so it is a fascinating listen for that alone, and fans of Orson Welles will appreciate that he is included as a historical figure in a Doctor Who story.

Written by Mark Gatiss, this audio features the customary fun and wonder that would later become a recognisable trait of episodes of the New Series penned by Gatiss, so fans of his work are bound to enjoy this one. It’s got just enough murder mystery and New York accents to be called a Noir, yet this story also stays true to its science fiction roots to create an interesting blend of genres that makes for a great listen. It’s certainly one for those who enjoy the more light-hearted approach to Doctor Who but it is not short of atmosphere or suspense.

#29 – The Chimes of Midnight

The famous ‘Christmas Special’ of the Big Finish audios, The Chimes of Midnight should, despite its setting, be considered a Halloween special more than anything – this is without a doubt one of the most atmospheric and creepy Big Finish audios starring the Eighth Doctor. This audio highlights the backstory of Charley and continues the story arc revolving around her being saved from the R101 when in reality she was supposed to have died, whilst at the same time delivering a fantastic standalone story that makes for essential listening every time the festive season comes around. Although the ‘haunted house’ is a tired trope at this point, The Chimes of Midnight gives a fresh new take on this concept and also advances Charley’s story by exploring the temporal consequences of a house with occupants that should not exist.

This audio is not for the faint-hearted, and it deals with issues that the televised series would not be able to tackle in such a head-on fashion – there are several scenes that some listeners might find upsetting, a testament to how well the audio executes its central premise – and one of the main reasons why this audio has become an enduring classic that fans listen to time and time again is that it creates a spectacular atmosphere that, to date, has not been replicated in any other form of Doctor Who media to quite the same extent. Subsequent episodes of the televised series have attempted to utilise the ‘haunted house’ setting to varying degrees of success, but The Chimes of Midnight has a distinctive identity that cannot be imitated.

To reveal more about The Chimes of Midnight would spoil some essential aspects of the story, and it won’t be the only audio in this review that is difficult to discuss in writing as we will see later, but for those who enjoy creepy Christmas stories about haunted houses that also involve raspberry jam and copious amounts of plum pudding then this is the story for you. It is easily one of the best Christmas-themed pieces of Doctor Who material out there, especially for those who appreciate a festive ghost story.

#30 – Seasons of Fear

Despite being a franchise that revolves around the concept of time travel, there are actually very few Doctor Who stories that use time travel as a central concept to the story, instead the process is mostly used as a means of transportation rather than a plot device within the stories themselves – there are some exceptions, of course, but generally speaking this pattern holds true for Doctor Who TV episodes and audio stories alike. However, Seasons of Fear is a rare example of a story that not only spans multiple timeframes in a single narrative, but also utilises time travel in a way that is unique among Doctor Who stories.

One of the most refreshing aspects to this story, which is a driving force behind the narrative, is its exceptional villain – Sebastian Grayle is a great example of an original villain who fits into the Doctor Who mythos as if he was introduced in the 60s. The interesting thing about this story is that although Grayle is presented as maniacal and arrogant from the beginning, he is also a tragic, almost sympathetic character as over the course of the story we witness his deterioration as he becomes more and more obsessed with killing the Doctor and sacrificing the Earth to his ‘masters’ in order to achieve immortality.

This story also develops the relationship between the Doctor and Charley and hints at a romantic relationship developing between the two. Although the hints have been fairly strong throughout the series, it is here that the notion becomes less of an implication and more of an inevitability. There are those who find the idea of the Doctor having romantic relationships with their companions to be distasteful, but Big Finish did an excellent job of writing Charley to be an intellectual equal to the Doctor, but it is India Fisher’s exceptional performance that sells Charley’s wonder and sense of adventure, and that is what draws her and the Doctor together.


#31 – Embrace the Darkness

If The Chimes of Midnight somehow wasn’t spooky enough for you, this series delivers yet another excellent ‘scary’ episode in Embrace the Darkness, a story that takes full advantage of the format of the audio dramas by telling a story set in almost complete darkness for the majority of the runtime, with creatures who have adapted to live in the dark and who take the eyes of the Human inhabitants of a science station. One of the best things about the early Eighth Doctor audios is the diverse variety of experimentation in storytelling that is displayed throughout, and that is clearly demonstrated by audios like Embrace the Darkness.

A highlight of this story is ROSM, or more specifically Rescue Operational Security Module G723, voiced by Ian Brooker – an AI operating several assault units designed to carry out search-and-rescue – at any cost. The other supporting characters are very clearly defined, though their more grating personality traits can get tiresome, especially the persistent pessimism from the Humans in the base – something the Doctor actually comments on. Nonetheless, Embrace the Darkness is a memorable audio that has its fair share of chilling scenes, and is one of the first choices for a ‘scary story’.

The best thing about this audio is Paul McGann, who by this point is firmly established in the character of the Eighth Doctor. This era of Big Finish invokes a sense of nostalgia for fans who listened to them on release, as the early Eighth Doctor audios were, at that time, the only source of ‘new’ Doctor Who, as in stories set after the TV Movie aside from the various novel and comic series, and Big Finish did an excellent job of establishing their new era of Doctor Who, and to this day the early Eighth Doctor audios stand as a truly unique era of experimentation for the audio series.


#32 – The Time of the Daleks

The first Dalek story starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor is unfortunately quite a lacklustre one, as although this audio is the fourth and final instalment in a story arc that ran through the three previous Dalek stories produced by Big Finish (The Genocide Machine, The Apocalypse Element and The Mutant Phase) this audio does not share the same space-opera quality of those audios and instead opts to retell the events of The Evil of the Daleks with a subplot about the Daleks attempting to remove Shakespeare from history, among other things, and the end result is less-than-stellar. Recycling plot elements from The Evil of the Daleks has been a common occurrence in the past, likely due to the fact that many fans have reached the conclusion that the episode is lost forever, but unfortunately every attempt to rewrite this story – from this audio to the Eleventh Doctor TV story Victory of the Daleks – has been lacklustre.

Fans of the Daleks will be able to appreciate this audio, not least because of the excellent voice work provided by Nicholas Briggs. As this is the fourth audio featuring the Daleks to be released by Big Finish, by this time the iconic Dalek voice that fans know from the New Series had been well-established. Unfortunately, as the weakest of the ‘Dalek Empire’ story arc this story doesn’t give the Daleks much to do, although there are several scenes of the Daleks quoting Shakespeare that is perhaps the most memorable aspect of this story.

There is an appearance from the Dalek Emperor, however, which is always welcome – although featuring most prominently in The Mutant Phase, the Emperor appears here using the same booming, authoritative voice that Nicholas Briggs used for the later appearance for the Dalek Emperor in The Parting of the Ways in 2005. Overall, the final part is fairly strong so this audio is definitely worth a listen, and fans of the Daleks in particularly will enjoy this story. However, it is not among the strongest stories featuring the Daleks that Big Finish have produced.


#33 – Neverland

Lovers of Gallifrey lore will feel right at home with Neverland, as this story is perhaps one of the most interesting insights into Time Lord society since The Deadly Assassin. It also stars Lalla Ward as Romana II, continuing her story from the Sixth Doctor audio The Apocalypse Element and establishing her role as President of Gallifrey that becomes a central plot point to the Big Finish Gallifrey spinoff box sets. This audio has generous helpings of intrigue, critical plot revelations and a fantastic story – as the penultimate story of the first wave of Charley-era audios, Neverland delivers on every front. The Doctor and Charley’s relationship reaches its most critical point as the Doctor realises the full extent of the damage that saving Charley from the R1-01 has done to the Web of Time, and we empathize with his desperation to find a way of saving Charley without destroying the universe.

The characters in this story are very interesting, as nothing is as it seems – without delving into too may spoilers, Neverland deals with the consequences of one of Gallifrey’s darkest secrets, and presents a very interesting interpretation of the concept of time that allows for some very creative narrative developments. The performances given by the cast are all excellent, but standouts include India Fisher and Paul McGann, as always, as well as Lalla Ward who always delivers a great performance as Romana that makes me wish she had appeared in the Monthly Adventures series more often, although she would go on to play the primary role in the Gallifrey spinoffs leading right up to the Time War.


#50 – Zagreus

Writing about Zagreus is difficult because it is rather like trying to describe a dream you had when you don’t fully understand what the dream was supposed to mean and find it extremely disturbing yet fascinating to consider how it might have subconsciously affected you. The three-hour long audio was produced in celebration of Doctor Who’s 40th Anniversary, and all of Big Finish’s regular cast from the Monthly Range of Doctor Who stories were creatively cast in different roles in Zagreus, meaning that Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy all appear as well as all of the other recurring cast from Big Finish’s range of Doctor Who stories, and they are all playing different characters which is a very unique and fun feature of this audio.

The story itself is steeped in Time Lord lore, as well as the lore of the show in general, though this is not a traditional ‘Anniversary celebration’ episode – in fact it is quite unlike any other Doctor Who story ever produced, but it is for each individual listener to decide if this is good or bad. There are a few often-repeated phrases describing Zagreus that pop up in reviews and essays related to the drama, these are that it definitely doesn’t need to be four hours long and that it is almost completely impenetrable to newer listeners. Although it was marketed as a 40th Anniversary celebration story, it definitely requires a lot of contextual listening in order to have any chance of understanding the story.

Describing too much about the story will spoil crucial plot developments, but the basic overview of the audio is that Charley and the Doctor are separated and wandering among the many rooms and corridors of the TARDIS, as she generates holographic representations of real-life events happening elsewhere in time in an attempt to guide Charley through the story. Overall, Zagreus is a bizarre listen that can only be fully appreciated if the entire Eighth Doctor and Charley arc up until this point has been listened to at least once, if not multiple times. Zagreus itself often requires a few listens in order to fully understand the plot, and it is not recommended for newer listeners to the audio genre. As a rule, Zagreus is best listened to knowing that the project was perhaps an example of Big Finish overextending themselves. Still, having a main cast filled with cast members from Classic Who is always a treat.

Next – Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – Divergent Universe Arc Part 1

Daleks! The Animated Series Announced as part of Time Lord Victorious

An unexpected yet exciting announcement by the BBC last week revealed that one of the upcoming releases in the Time Lord Victorious multimedia project is a 5-part animated series revolving around the Daleks that is set to be released on the Doctor Who Youtube channel in November. The trailers for this series have showcased the animation style of the series as well as some hints as to what fans can expect from this latest instalment in the Doctor Who universe.

One of the most interesting aspects of this series that can be gleaned from the trailers and promotional material that has been released so far is that the series seems to feature a diverse variety of Dalek designs, including several Classic and New Series Dalek designs and a modern take on the iconic comic series Dalek Emperor. This could imply that the series will feature several unique Dalek characters with individual personalities, which is always an interesting take on the Daleks that allows for more interesting Dalek dialogue.

This animated series also fulfils the life-long desire of the creator of the Daleks, Terry Nation, who since 1965 had intended them to helm their own spinoff series. Nation’s attempts to create a Dalek TV series failed, though he would go on to license the Daleks for the Peter Cushing movies and write several Dalek stories for Doctor Who in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, in 2020, his original vision is being realised as the Daleks get their own animated series.

Another very exciting aspect of this animated series is that it will introduce a lot more templates for Dalek customs, some of which have already been created by fans. Following on from the Asylum Project showcase of custom Daleks that has been showcased on this blog, more posts showcasing custom Daleks based on this animated series as well as the wider Time Lord Victorious story arcs will be listed at some point following the release of the series.

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Doctor Who – BBC Announces Animated Reconstruction of ‘The Evil of the Daleks’

Fans of Classic Doctor Who can rejoice knowing that two prominent Second Doctor stories starring Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling are set to receive full animated reconstructions in 2021 – fans have long awaited the reconstruction of the iconic Second Doctor story The Evil of the Daleks, and according to recent information released by the Radio Times, this well-known Dalek story is next on the list to be animated, bringing this long-lost Dalek serial back to life. This story particularly notable for being the debut story for Second Doctor companion Victoria Waterfield, as well as the first story to feature the Dalek Emperor.

As two of the previously released animated episodes were The Macra Terror and The Faceless Ones, fans have speculated that the next story of Season 4 – The Evil of the Daleks – would be next on the list to be animated. According to the Radio Times, this would appear to be the case. Following this, the next story to be animated will be The Abominable Snowmen, meaning that the end of Season 4 and the beginning of Season 5 will be complete. Fans will now be able to watch the episodes leading up to the departure of long-running companions Ben and Polly, and finally see the debut story of new companion Victoria Waterfield thanks to these animated reconstructions.

Animated Daleks from The Power of the Daleks

The most recent animated Second Doctor story to be released was The Power of the Daleks Special Edition, a remastered version of the 2016 animated reconstruction of the Second Doctor’s debut story, and the animated reconstruction of The Fury from the Deep is set to be released in late 2020. It would seem as though the animators working on these projects are prioritising Second Doctor stories first, which makes sense as these are the ones that fans have been most eager to see. However, it will likely not be long before the missing First Doctor stories, such as The Daleks Master Plan, receive the full animation treatment. Before then, however, there are still many missing Second Doctor stories that fans can look forward to seeing animated, such as The Wheel in Space, The Underwater Menace and The Space Pirates.

As recently discussed in our post about the potential for animating Big Finish audios once the missing episodes have been reconstructed, the future seems bright for Doctor Who animation, as there are still many excellent stories yet to be animated. Who knows? Once the missing episodes have been animated, we could see a limited range of Big Finish audios receive the same animation treatment, creating a whole new way of creating new animated Doctor Who stories starring the full original cast. We Time will tell, it always does.

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Custom New Series Dalek Figures – Part 6

Welcome to the latest post in a series of showcases of my Custom Dalek collection! During lockdown making Custom Daleks was one of the few things keeping me sane, and I am proud to present the latest in a series of posts showcasing the newest additions to my ever-growing collection. These Daleks are based on several ideas I had for potential Dalek ranks existing during the Time War and post-Time War era of Dalek history, combined with several experiments with alternate Dalek colour palettes using the updated Time War Dalek figure sculpt. Although the TV Series itself has been reluctant to include colourful variations of the New Series Dalek design, Big Finish have been including some interesting designs on the cover art of their Time War audios and some of these have inspired the basic colour layouts on these Daleks, to see more Custom Daleks that are directly inspired by Big Finish cover art, check out the previous instalment of my Custom Dalek Collection Showcase.

Time War Dalek Strategist

During the Time War, hundreds of Daleks were enhanced with temporal genetic engineering that allowed them to better understand the intricate subtleties of the Time Vortex and its infinite potential, and many as a result developed severe God Complexes. Uniquely for individual Daleks, Time War Strategists were known to make extensive modifications to their casings for purely aesthetic reasons – in some cases violating the most ancient of Dalek ranking convention to adorn themselves in elaborate casings. Human researchers who study Dalek ‘culture’ admit that these are perhaps the closest thing the Daleks have to ‘artists’.

This custom was created using one of the Dalek Interrogator Prime figures from the B&M Doctor and Dalek 2-packs sets, painted with bronze paint on the midsection slats, middle band and a selective number of hemispheres, and white paint on the dome with the detailing highlighted with thin black permanent marker.

Dalek Davros Guard

The Time War saw Davros propelled to a unique position of power among the Dalek hierarchy. Whilst they had previously shunned his attempts to modify or ‘improve’ the Dalek genome, dire straits during the darkest days of the war led to the Daleks taking extensive measures to ensure their own survival and they eventually turned to their ancient, long-estranged creator for help. As a result, Davros not only allowed to continue his experiments, he was even given his own Command Ship complete with devoted guards who altered their casings to emulate their creator. Unfortunately for Davros, this arrangement was short-lived, as his ship would be devoured by the Nightmare Child in the first year of the War, though unlike his guards he would be saved at the last moment by an insane Dalek Caan, leaving his devotees to meet their fiery end.

This custom was painted using black and silver Citadel paint applied using a regular sized brush, though a smaller brush was used for touching up the details. The dome was painted black initially and then covered with many coats of silver dry-brushing, giving it the look of scuffed metal.

Dalek Justiciar

Despite extensive propaganda suggesting otherwise, internal dissent within the Dalek Empire is a semi-regular problem for the Daleks, particularly on their production-plant worlds. In some facilities tens of millions of Daleks are grown and fused with their casings in a single day, and every once in a while Daleks are born with a tiny seed of conspiratory dissent that, if left unchecked, eventually germinates into fully-fledged treachery. As such, each Dalek planet has at least one active Justiciar, who is given full authority to exterminate any Daleks that show any signs of dangerous thinking before they reach maturity. Sporting striking red livery and capable of accessing any level of a Dalek production facility with unlimited access, Justiciars are ruthless and are known to exterminate other Daleks on a whim for the most minor of transgressions. As a result they are shunned by their own kind, and often isolate themselves leading many to develop unusual personality traits that ironically resemble the very quirks that they were assigned to root out.

This custom was created using an Axis Strike Squad Dalek with the black dome and hemispheres repainted with red Citadel paint, and then touched over with flecks of black and silver to give the impression that this Dalek is ancient. The custom was also given a grey wash to enhance this effect by adding a weathered effect.

Dalek Platoon Leader

Moving away from the more unorthodox Dalek ranks that have been showcased in this post thus far, the Dalek Platoon Leader is a somewhat more common rank of Dalek, as usually hundreds are involved in the process of a planetary invasion, though they are often spread out to co-ordinate Dalek attacks on important military targets. Distinguished by the black highlights to an otherwise standard Dalek casing with a silver dome, Platoon Leaders have advanced command processing units and can receive tactical information from and relay orders to several Dalek Assault Squads at once in real-time, all while personally participating in ground assaults as a front-line unit. A Platoon Leader would have been responsible for each of the Dalek attacks on important Human military installations during the Medusa Cascade incident, and thousands of these Daleks were said to have been destroyed leading their brethren into battle against the Doctor at the Siege of Trenzalore.

This custom was created using another Axis Strike Squad Dalek, this time with more black detailing added covering the midsection slats and middle band. The dome was dry-brushed with silver paint to add a metallic effect, and the entire custom was given a wash with grey paint to add a grime effect to the casing.

Custom Big Finish Daleks – Part 5

Welcome to the next instalment of our Custom Big Finish Dalek figures showcase here at Sacred Icon, this list details the first wave of Big Finish Dalek figures that were created in lockdown. The amount of time available to listen to Big Finish audios has increased dramatically during lockdown, and as a result there has been a lot of inspiration for new and unique Dalek designs based on Big Finish audios!

As Big Finish recently announced a huge shakeup to their schedule that will result in the end of the Monthly Adventures, it seems fitting to showcase these Daleks in celebration of Big Finish’s past as well as its future, as some of these Daleks are from the Monthly Adventures and some are from the Eighth Doctor box sets, the model which will soon be replacing the Monthly Adventures for all the Classic Doctors.

Dalek Virologist

Big Finish audio – Dalek Soul

During the events of the uniquely formatted Fifth Doctor story Alien Heart / Dalek Soul, which has two two-part episodes instead of one long four-part story, Nyssa is captured by the Daleks and forced to aid in the creation of new bioweapons, particularly viruses. This fascinating idea for a story also comes with a great cover design featuring an Emperor’s Guard from The Evil of the Daleks, though my custom takes the design a step further, retaining the black dome but recolouring much of the lower sections in deep purple paint. The spheres have also been repainted a dull grey to emphasise the purple colouration on the skirt, and to draw attention to the shiny midsection.

Dalek Commander

Big Finish audio – Dark Eyes

This custom is another slight alteration of a Big Finish cover Dalek, in this case the Gold Dalek seen on the cover of Dark Eyes 4. This custom captures the essence of the design but with some minor tweaks, mostly inspired by the yellow Dalek from the Peter Cushing movies. Whilst the exact role of this Dalek is unclear in Dark Eyes 4, as there are several Daleks that hold leadership roles during the events of the four stories in Dark Eyes 4, yellow or gold as the base colour for a Dalek is particularly striking, and it is no wonder that the producers of the New Series chose light bronze as the primary colour for standard Daleks. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see Gold Daleks return in some capacity.

Good Dalek

Big Finish audio – Tangled Web

During the strange events of the Eighth Doctor story Tangled Web, the Doctor and Molly meet several Daleks who appear to have turned ‘good’, having abandoned their evil ways and embraced a love of nature, particularly flowers. They are even described as using their casings for daytime naps instead of the slaughter of the innocent, in a very bizarre turn that is clearly masking something more going on behind the scenes. This custom was created using a Gold Supreme Dalek from Day of the Daleks, painted light purple with darker purple detailing to emulate the colour scheme that a pacifist sub-species of gardener Daleks might adopt.

Dalek Interrogator Prime

Big Finish audio – In the Garden of Death

Although the Dalek Interrogator Prime was already depicted (twice) in the Character Options Box Sets released by B&M, fans have pointed out that, as great as those figures are, the colour scheme itself is simply a recreation of a pre-existing Dalek colour scheme, that of the Daleks in the Eternity Circle in the War Doctor novel Engines of War. This custom is an alternate take on the colour scheme that has many similar elements but also deviates slightly, including a brighter blue dome, orange head lamps, black slats and a mismatched dome colour scheme inspired by the Peter Cushing Movie Dalek Supreme.

Dalek Invasion Leader

Big Finish audio – Masters of Earth

During the events of the exceptional Big Finish audio story Masters of Earth, the Sixth Doctor and Peri travel to Earth in the future, to a point in time during the Dalek invasion of Earth that the First Doctor eventually stops in the Classic Who episode The Dalek Invasion of Earth. This is an interesting idea for a story and allows for more exploration of the state of the planet during the decades-long occupation and a look into what was going on behind the scenes for the Daleks during that time. This custom depicts a potential Dalek Invasion Commander who is one position below a Supreme Dalek but still above the standard Dalek drones. This figure was originally a Saucer Pilot Dalek, with the hemispheres painted black and silver and black detailing added the the midsection and the eyestalk. The most prominent feature, the gold dome, is a homage to the sickly-gold lighting on the cover of Big Finish’s Masters of Earth.

Custom New Series Dalek Figures – Part 3

Although creating custom Dalek figures of my own design is fun, one of the most enjoyable aspects of creating custom Dalek figures is seeing what various Dalek colour schemes would look like on other types of Daleks. In this case, we are exploring New Series Daleks that have been repainted with Classic Series-inspired colour schemes. This has long been the dream of many Classic Doctor Who fans – to see New Series Daleks adopt colour schemes inspired by their history. This post aims to explore what some of these Daleks might look like if they were to ever appear in future New Series episodes.

Custom 1960s-style Dalek

This is the closest one can get to replicating the colour scheme of the original Daleks from The Daleks, and although the slats on the New Series Daleks make this custom resemble a late-1960s Dalek design, the original colour scheme was the one that I had in mind when making this custom. I painted this Dalek using silver Citadel paint for the dome, neck rings, midsection and skirt, grey Citadel paint for the midsection slats, cyan Citadel paint for the hemispheres and black Citadel paint for the base.

Custom 1970s-style Dalek

Death to the Daleks features one of the most striking Classic Series colour schemes of all time, and it is strange that this design has not made a prominent re-appearance since, particularly as it works so well on New Series Daleks. Of all the Classic Series colour schemes, this one looks the best on a New Series Dalek. I painted this Dalek using silver Citadel paint for the dome, neck rings, midsection slats and skirt, and black Citadel paint for the midsection, hemispheres and base.

Custom 1980s-style Dalek

I creatively used a Damaged Dalek Thay figure to depict a Renegade Dalek that had been damaged in battle and hastily repaired with now-rusted metal panels. I painted this custom using grey Citadel paint for the dome, neck rings, midsection and skirt, black Citadel paint for the midsection slats, hemispheres and base, and a combination of bronze Citadel paint and silver dry-brushed Citadel paint for the rear panels.

Custom Imperial-style Dalek

Although the concept of a mass-scale Dalek Civil War is probably a thing of the past, this custom proves that the Imperial Dalek design looks incredible on a New Series sculpt. I created this custom using white Citadel paint for the dome, neck rings, eyestalk, midsection, skirt and base, and gold Citadel paint for the eyestalk detailing, neck frame, midsection slats, plunger, gunstick and hemispheres.

Custom New Series Movie Dalek Figures

Welcome to my showcase of custom New Series Daleks that have been repainted in new colour schemes inspired by the 1960s Peter Cushing Dalek Movies. Known for their garish colour schemes, the Daleks in these films were distinctly different from the Daleks seen in the Classic Series of the show at the time. Ironically, however, the New Series would include design elements that were somewhat inspired by the Movie Daleks, such as the bulkier base and more prominent ear lights.

As such, I experimented with repainting several New Series Daleks to resemble Movie Daleks, with varying degrees of success. Some of these colour schemes are very much grounded in the 1960s, and would not be considered for Dalek designs today. Others, however, have merit that could make for an interesting cameo or reference to the Peter Cushing Movies in the modern TV Series.

Custom Movie Dalek Drone

This custom depicts a Movie Drone Dalek in New Series form, complete with the cyan dome and with improvised bronze slats. Despite the bright blue colour scheme seeming a bit too wacky for modern tastes, the cyan and bronze design does actually look very good on the New Series design. I doubt that this colour scheme will ever appear in the TV Series, and that is probably for the best, but it is still good to know that the New Series designs meld so well with Movie-inspired colour schemes. I painted this Dalek using cyan Citadel paint for the dome, hemispheres and base, bronze Citadel paint for the midsection slats, and silver Citadel paint for the neck rings, midsection and skirt. The ear lights were also painted using a dark burgundy paint job covered by a black wash.

Custom Movie Dalek Commander

Although the red Dalek in the Movie has a more gold appearance than the bronze-looking red Dalek here, I created this custom with the intention of ‘porting’ the Movie colour scheme into the New Series Dalek design mythos, rather than simply attempting to emulate the exact colour scheme of a Movie Dalek on a New Series Dalek figure. As such, I chose the bronze as it gives the Dalek a more muted colour scheme, and emphasises the red and black combination that looks excellent on a Dalek. I painted this figure using red Citadel paint for the dome, midsection and skirt, black Citadel paint for the hemispheres and bronze Citadel paint for the neck rings, midsection slats and base.

Custom Movie Dalek Supreme

Despite not being a Movie Dalek itself, the Planet of the Daleks supreme was a repainted Movie Dalek prop and so this design can therefore be technically classified as inspired by Movie Daleks. Unlike the other two Daleks, this one has been given an added custom grime effect using black Citadel paint. The eystalk of this Dalek was painted red to emulate the unique look of the eyestalk of the Supreme Dalek in Planet of the Daleks. Likewise, the ear lights have been painted purple. The rest of the figure was painted with black Citadel paint for the midsection and skirt, and yellow Citadel paint for the dome, neck rings, midsection slats and hemispheres.

Custom Davros Figure Collection – Part 3

So far in these Custom Davros figure posts the figures have been shown in chronological order from Davros’ perspective – from his early exploits in the Big Finish audio Davros and the TV story Revelation of the Daleks to his participation in the Dalek Civil War in audios like The Juggernauts and Daleks Among Us. However, we have now reached the point in Davros’ timeline in which the Time War is present, and as such I moved away from Classic Series inspired Davros figures and instead focused on customising Davros figures from the New Series, in which Davros is played by Julian Bleach.

Customising Davros figures is fun, particularly due to the variety of media to draw inspiration from. However, like many of my custom figures, these are not intended to be ‘screen-accurate’, or in the case of audios, accurate to their depictions on the cover. I like to take creative license with my custom figures and rely on my own imagination to create interesting designs that pay homage to excellent Doctor Who audios and TV stories.

Custom Davros figure from Terror Firma

Terror Firma stands at somewhat of a crossroads in Doctor Who canon at the moment as the depiction of Davros as having an internal mental battle with the Dalek Emperor persona stands at odds with what we see of the character in his appearances in the New Series after the Time War. It is of course possible that Davros eventually repaired himself, which is the most likely occurrence, so I created this custom to depict the ‘restored’ Davros, who has shed the Dalek Emperor title and reverted back to a form more akin to his traditional design. This custom is a slightly modified and repainted version of a New Series Davros figure, with several sections of the headpiece removed and the life support chair repainted. I used black Citadel paint for the base, skirt and midsection, silver Citadel paint for the dry-brushing on the skirt, and gold Citadel paint for the hemispheres.

Custom Time War Davros figure

This custom depicts Davros in the immediate run-up to the Time War, keeping a low profile as a weapons developer for the Dalek Emperor. We know that Davros created the Nightmare Child, and it was this terrible creature that would eventually destroy his command ship, taking Davros out of the war. We know that Dalek Caan would go back in time to save Davros, but this custom depicts Davros before his misadventure with the Nightmare Child. I used a standard New Series Davros figure painted with grey Citadel paint on the skirt and base, grey permanent marker on the hemispheres and silver Citadel paint on the midsection and control panel.

Custom Infirmary Davros figure

This custom figure depicts Davros in his last chronological appearance to date, in the Series 9 opening two-parter The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar – in this story, Davros is dying and appears in a bad way, with wires attached to his life support chair and a less pristine look for his controls. I also included the removable Davros as a feature for this custom, to replicate the scene in the episode in which Davros is removed from his chair. I had to use a hacksaw to remove the lower part of the Davros figure, and the inside was filled with hot glue, papier-mâché painted green, and pieces of wire and plastic to emulate his cybernetic organs and vertebrae. I also attached another arm from an Auton figure which can be used to prop Davros up, although it lacks a hand as seen in the episode. Lastly, the entire figure was given a black wash to add the grime seen in the episode.

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