Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – EDAs Series 4, Part 1

Having concluded the last of the lighthearted adventures with the Doctor and Lucie Miller in Series 3 of the EDAs, Series 4 dives immediately into a far darker and more melancholy take on the ‘New Series’ style Big Finish had developed across the four series. This series is full of twists and turns, and requires a little more context than the others, requiring a Bonus Story to be listened to in order to understand the finale. This series of audios represents the pinnacle of Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith’s time together as Doctor and companion, though ironically the Doctor has a new companion, Tamsin Drew, for the majority of the series. Although it requires a fair bit of listening to reach this point, this is where the EDAs really pay off as Big Finish delivers a strong series of audios with some great excellent rug-pulls along the way.

4.1 – Death in Blackpool

This is a Big Finish Christmas Special, and it shows – from Lucie’s nostalgic recounting of the ‘perfect Christmas’ at the beginning, to the depiction of an actual Father Christmas. In many ways this audio is a deconstruction of the classic format of New Series TV Christmas Specials. This one is particularly bleak and taps into the more melancholy aspects of Christmas, such as the idea of the ideal Christmas being tainted by the loss of a loved one is a concept that is as relevant as ever. We revisit the character of Auntie Pat, who is actually still the Zygon Warlord Haygoth in disguise unbeknownst to Lucie, and Haygoth reveals to the Doctor that he is dying. Having felt guilt at the fact of essentially cheating Lucie out of mourning her Auntie, Haygoth now wishes to enjoy one final Christmas with Lucie before passing on.

This audio is a great outing for Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith, and we see the character of Lucie Miller pushed to the extreme as she discovers that the Doctor has been keeping secrets from her. Her psychological battle with the sinister entity attempting to steal her body is grim to listen to, but this is arguably second to her reaction to the horrific discovery she makes as the Doctor and Auntie Pat unwittingly reveal Haygoth’s true identity. It represents a huge step forward in Lucie’s character as she is forced into a decision that shakes up the status quo for the first time in the entire series.

An unexpected highlight of this story is Father Christmas, who initially comes across as a comedic character, rather like Nick Frost in Last Christmas, but as with that interpretation of the mythical figure, there is more to this than meets the eye. The villain, a ghoulish ‘Zynog’, is a great concept: a Zygon who has been reduced to a body-hopping entity after having its original form destroyed, due to the fact that it committed the Zygon sin of attempting to take the body print of another Zygon, and this presents a very personal threat to Auntie Pat. It goes without saying that Auntie Pat’s character arc is one of the best things about the EDAs, and the idea of a Zygon genuinely falling in love with its stolen Human life is a fantastic concept that this story concludes well, as Auntie Pat’s conclusion is one of the most heart-breaking things in the series.

Bonus Story VIII – An Earthly Child

An Earthly Child is a Bonus Story set after the events of Death in Blackpool, that depicts the long-awaited ‘return’ of the Doctor to 22nd-century Earth, to reunite with his grand-daughter, Susan. This audio introduces Susan’s son and the Doctor’s great-grandson, Alex Campbell, and depicts the Doctor fulfilling his promise and coming back to see Susan again.

Having been left behind on 22nd-century Earth at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Susan has married a freedom-fighter and built a life for herself as a politician, attempting to build alliances for humanity with alien races while facing a huge amount of anti-alien sentiment from the majority of survivors of the Dalek invasion. Even decades after the defeat of the Daleks Earth is still a mess, as people are still being discovered living in caves across the planet, cities are in ruins and the population is still recovering from decimation.

This audio fulfils a fan-favourite moment that has been anticipated for quite some time, to the point that it is odd that the New Series has not brought Carole Ann Ford back as she is excellent in the role and recaptures the character of Susan excellently. This audio is required to fully understand the finale to the series, so for that purpose it is ‘required listening’, but ultimately this is also a treat for fans so it is well worth listening to even without the context of the EDAs.

4.2 – Situation Vacant

This audio appears on the surface to be Doctor Who does The Apprentice, as the Doctor is interviewing potential new companions by giving them various tasks which eventually leads into a full-on alien invasion, so one would be forgiven for thinking that this is another throwaway comedy story, but it doesn’t take long to discover that this is far more than just a story based on The Apprentice. Not only is the setup suspicious at best, as it seems far too grandiose for the Doctor, but there are plenty of surprises in this story that make it a fun listen.

The supporting cast in this story is great, as it features James Bachman, Joe Thomas and Niky Wardley, who all do fantastic jobs in their roles. This audio takes a few bold turns with its main characters, as each of them are keen to secure the position of new companion and so the four of them are working to help the Doctor investigate an issue whilst also competing against each other, which is fun to listen to, to say the least. The most fun thing about this audio is the eliminations, in which the Doctor objectively analyses the performance of the candidates and selects who should be deselected, which is always entertaining.

The hints throughout suggest that there is more to this situation than it first seems – over the course of the story the events snowball, and the tension builds as it soon becomes clear that the situation is spiralling out of the Doctor’s control. Nonetheless, what follows is by far one of the most enjoyable stories of the EDAs so far, and if the New Series was ever to do an Apprenctice-themed episode for TV, we can only hope that it takes inspiration from this audio. We are also introduced to our new companion in this story, though from this point on we reach severe spoiler-territory, so if you haven’t yet listened to these audios and want to experience them for yourself, stop reading now and go listen to them!

4.3 – Nevermore

Nevermore deals with some interesting ethical dilemmas, as the Doctor and Tamsin arrive on the the planet Nevermore and meet its only living resident: convicted war criminal Morella Wendigo, who was condemned to spend her lifetime living on the planet that she destroyed, guarded by squawking mechanical ravens. There is a running motif of cats throughout this story, as one appears in the TARDIS seemingly out of nowhere at the start of the story and sets co-ordinates while walking over the console, bringing the Doctor and Tamsin to Nevermore seemingly by accident. This audio is steeped in the lore of Edgar Allen Poe, and those who have not read his works will likely be less appreciative of this audio than those who have. The designer of Wendigo’s prison, Senior Prosecutor Uglosi, has a bizarre obsession with Poe that permeates through the entire design of the prison.

This audio does some great character building for Tamsin, from a great scene at the beginning where the Doctor is showing her different rooms of the TARDIS to her desire to save the cat that inadvertently kicks off the plot of the entire story. She also reveals her acting skills came in handy by using her skills in escapology to untie some difficult knots – she ultimately proves that she is a suitable fit for the role of new companion. She is definitely a very different companion to Lucie, and her interactions with the Doctor are a treat to listen to as she learns the ropes of travelling in the TARDIS.

The backstory of Morella Wendigo is a compelling one – having doomed the planet of Corinth Minor with a virus that led the Time Lords to destroy the planet with a substance called the Red Death to prevent the biohazard from escaping, she was subsequently imprisoned on the planet, now renamed Nevermore, to serve a penance of eternal contemplation for her murderous crimes against the population of an entire planet. Overall, Nevermore is an interesting listen for many reasons, though those who are unfamiliar with Edgar Allen Poe may find it more dull as it is clearly intended as a love letter to that particular author.

4.4 – The Book of Kells

The Doctor and Tamsin arrive in Ireland, 1006 in the Abbey of Kells, as the TARDIS is dragged off-course by a temporally-sensitive individual currently at large in the area that is dragging other time-travelling entities, including an unfortunate Vortisaur, to the 11th century. It soon becomes apparent that someone wants to steal the Book of Kells, and the Doctor and Tamsin are caught up in a mystery of intrigue and deception. The cliff-hanger to part one is an interesting revelation that the temporally sensitive individual at large is none other than the Meddling Monk, though the context of the story is a dead giveaway to those who are familiar with the character.

This audio casts Graeme Garden as the Monk, and it is worth mentioning that he was a fantastic choice for the role. It makes sense that, should the Monk ever return to the TV series, they would be played by a comedian, and Graeme Garden brings that essential levity to the character whilst also maintaining the presence that a villainous Time Lord should have.

For those not in the know, the Book of Kells is a real historical artefact, and it was stolen from the Abbey in 1007 only to be found a few months later, and this audio plays off that event and makes several references to current events of this era, so history fans are bound to enjoy this one. In some ways it is almost a pure historical, were it not for the presence of another Time Lord. Though these stories have a mixed reception in the fanbase, The Book of Kells proves that the New Series would be able to do a pure historical in an interesting way.

Next – Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audios Review – EDAs Series 4, Part 2

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 pair of 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.

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 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 Dalek Emperor's Guard Figures

Welcome to my showcase of custom New Series Dalek Emperor’s Guard figures, showcasing my collection of custom Dalek figures that are assigned to guard the Dalek Emperor, both in-canon and on my display wall. Established in the 1967 Second Doctor story The Evil of the Daleks, the Dalek Emperor’s Guard are an elite order of Daleks assigned to protect the Dalek Emperor against attackers or assassins. They are identified by their black domes, and when the Dalek Emperor reappears in the New Series episode The Parting of the Ways, bronze Daleks with black domes can be seen guarding him, continuing the long-established tradition and entrenching the Dalek Emperor’s Guard design.

As with the custom in my Asylum Project posts, I have taken many creative liberties with my custom representations of the Emperor’s Guard – after all, just having four identical black-domed Daleks would be boring. As such, there is a bit of variety in the selection of customs showcased here that, although not exactly screen-accurate, are still in-keeping with the design philosophy of the Daleks. Some of these designs take inspiration from other forms of Dalek media including various Big Finish audios and Doctor Who comics.

Custom Dalek Emperor’s Guard Pair

Despite their brief appearance in The Parting of the Ways, the New Series Emperor’s Guard Daleks made quite an impact on Doctor Who merchandising – for some reason, black-domed Daleks were used often in promotional posters and in magazines, and those who collected the Doctor Who Battles in Time Trading Cards back in the day will remember the unusually large number of Emperor’s Guard Daleks that were hanging around – it got to the point that it was rare to see a Dalek that didn’t have a black dome, even the bronze members of the Cult of Skaro were depicted as Emperor’s Guard Daleks in the Battles in Time series. Ironically, however, Character Options didn’t create a standalone Emperor’s Guard toy, and it wasn’t until the Doctor / Dalek two-packs were released years later that we finally got an Emperor’s Guard in figure form. Nonetheless, I made these two custom Emperor’s Guards using the older New Series Dalek sculpt, with black Citadel paint on the dome.

Custom Dalek Emperor’s Guard with Cannon

This slightly more elaborate Emperor’s Guard Dalek is based on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance of a Dalek with a black skirt and bronze hemispheres that appears in the background of The Parting of the Ways, in a scene during the final battle in which the Emperor is talking. Like many Emperor’s Guard Daleks, this figure possesses an oversized extra gunstick instead of a manipulator arm, which I salvaged from a larger remote control Dalek. I painted this Dalek using black Citadel paint for the dome, midsection slats, skirt and base, silver Citadel paint for the neck rings, and bronze Citadel paint for the midsection and hemispheres.

Custom Dalek Emperor’s Guard with Dual Gunsticks

This figure was originally a Dalek Commander, although I have painted the entire midsection with black Citadel paint to emphasise the hemispheres. I created a crude second gunstick by removing the plunger attachment from the manipulator arm, and the inside of the dome is painted red to give the impression that a light is emanating from inside this Dalek. The function of the secondary appendages of an Emperor’s Guard Dalek are unknown, as some sources claim they are advanced sensor equipment, others say that they are extra weapons, and some say both. Overall this figure looks very striking as an Emperor’s Guard Dalek, although more work is needed on the second weapon and breaking up the black colour scheme.

Custom Dalek Emperor’s Throne Room Communications Officer

I created this custom to represent a Dalek that has duties in the Emperor’s Throne Room but is not a member of the Emperor’s Guard, namely the communications officer responsible for the Emperor’s many channels that allow him to control of the entire Dalek Empire from a single room. This Dalek has the sole responsibility of keeping these communications running smoothly, and as such the rank is considered a privilege and coupled with ornate armour. This Dalek was originally a talking New Series Dalek, but it has since had a complete repaint with bronze Citadel paint on the dome, neck rings, midsection and hemispheres and black Citadel paint on the midsection slats, skirt and base, with a small amount of silver dry-brushing applied to the base.

Custom New Series Dalek Figures – Part 2

Whether I’m creating a brand new design or using a colour scheme that someone else created, painting unique colour schemes for New Series Daleks is always exciting, not least because each design I create is completely unique. The best part is that painting New Series Daleks is arguably one of the easiest methods of customising, so anyone can buy paints and brushes to have a go themselves. Not only is painting models relaxing and interesting at the same time, it also expands your creative mind and improves your hand-eye co-ordination. Painting New Series Daleks is always fun, because there is a huge range of colour scheme ideas to choose from, from recreating Classic Series Daleks to making customs of Daleks from the books or audios. However, the Daleks shown here are mostly my own designs, or are very loosely based on existing designs.

Custom Blue Dalek Council Member

Though this design is visually similar to the modified Eternity Circle Dalek, the blue is broken up by more gold – notice that the neck rings and midsection retain their original gold and bronze colour, with only the dome and skirt having been painted blue. This Dalek depicts one of the members of the elusive Dalek Supreme Council, which has been mentioned several times throughout the show’s history in both the TV series and the Big Finish audios but has never been seen. Presumably the Supreme Council lasted until the Time War, so I used a New Series Dalek for this custom. The only paints used were blue Citadel paint for the previously mentioned dome and skirt, and bronze Citadel paint for the base.

Custom Red Dalek Council Member

This custom is unique in that it mismatches parts from two types of Dalek from different eras. The dome, eyestalk and base are from a New Series Dalek, whilst the neck, midsection, skirt and appendages are from a Classic Series Dalek. This custom is loosely based on the ridiculous black and red original Dalek action figure, that looks nothing like a regular Dalek. To give this figure a consistent paint job, I completely repainted all the parts once the figure had been constructed, using red Citadel paint for the dome, midsection and base, black Citadel paint for the neck rings, skirt and hemispheres, and silver Citadel paint for the midsection and the base.

Custom Hive Dalek Supreme

This custom is very loosely based on the ‘Dalek Hive’ from the Doctor Who comic Fire and Brimstone, although it is totally different as this is a New Series Dalek and not the Classic Series-inspired design that the Hive possesses. Nonetheless, the basic colour scheme was inspired by the Hive Supreme and I even attempted to recreate the ‘joined’ ear lights, although the result looks more like an exposed brain – which is excellent. I painted this figure using yellow Citadel paint for the dome, midsection and skirt, black Citadel paint for the neck rings, hemispheres and base, and silver Citadel paint for the midsection slats.

Custom Temporal Weapons Dalek

Those who have read the War Doctor novel Engines of War will recognise the Temporal Weapons Dalek as a unique version of the Special Weapons Dalek that has a weapon capable of erasing people from history. The Dalek features on the front cover of the novel, as a Special Weapons Dalek with a New Series Dalek dome, but I decided to be a bit more creative with my interpretation of that Dalek for this custom. The figure was originally a Dalek Commander, although I have removed the front panel and replaced it with a huge, malformed cannon created using the pieces of a larger remote control Dalek gunstick and several wires from inside the remote control Dalek itself. I painted the figure using silver Citadel paint applied using a dry-brushing effect, and the ear lights were painted a dull burgundy.

Custom New Series Dalek Figures – Part 1

One of the best things about creating the Asylum Project was the freedom to create any Dalek colour scheme I wanted and see it made real in figure form. Sometimes colour schemes didn’t work out the way I intended, or sometimes they took a few tries before I found the exact shade that made a particular colour combination work. However, most of the time a Dalek colour scheme would emerge fully formed and would just work on the first try – and many of the Daleks in this showcase are examples of that. Most of these Daleks don’t conform to lore, or if they do it is a tenuous link at best, but the most important thing about creating art is to allow only the limit of your own creativity to prevent you from creating a piece, not dogma or pre-established rules and expectations.

When collecting Daleks, particularly in the secondhand market, eventually one becomes over-encumbered with New Series Daleks – this is great news for the Asylum Project, but as much as I love making Asylum customs, I don’t want to limit the scope of my Dalek customisation to just Asylum Daleks. I have therefore created several New Series Daleks that, although complete, do not fit in with either my Big Finish or my standard New Series Dalek collections. Some of these Daleks are loosely based on canon designs, but many are simply my own colour schemes or heavily modified versions of existing colour schemes.

Custom Blue Dalek Sec Figure

The idea behind this custom was simple – what if the different members of the Cult of Skaro had different colour schemes? This would certainly have made them easier to identify, although if all three of the previously bronze Daleks had different colours, Dalek Sec would look bland by comparison. As such, I created this ‘alternate’ Dalek Sec custom, involving one simple change, making the skirt of the figure blue instead of black. Although this is a relatively minor change, the effect is striking – not only does it break up the consistent black colour scheme of the original figure, but it also adds menacing emphasis on the central rotating gunnery platform that makes up the Dalek midsection.

Custom Dalek Saucer Pilot Figure

Briefly seen in the 50th Anniversary Special The Day of the Doctor, the New Series Dalek Saucer Pilot is based off the original Dalek Saucer Commander from the 1964 epic The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Creating this custom was somewhat ironic for me, as I spend most of my time customising Saucer Commander Daleks by painting them to resemble other Daleks of the era – this time, however, I was repainting a completely different Dalek to that same design. The panels on the skirt section were certainly the most challenging, but using black Citadel paint I filled in the sections that required painting and then used a setsquare to scrape away the excess paint and leave a clean finish. I also used bronze and gold Citadel paint to add detailing to the neck rings, the eyestalk and the hemispheres. Finally, I replaced the front panel, including the gunstick and plunger, with that of a Dalek Commander figure, in order to break up the colour scheme of the midsection.

Custom Red Dalek Commander Figure

Red and Black is not a colour combination that has been explored very much with the Daleks, possibly because it makes the connections of their origin to certain fascist regimes slightly too overt. Nonetheless, the colour scheme still looks good on a Dalek, and it certainly adds an intimidating touch that is perfect for Dalek Commanders. I considered painting the head red as well, although I was unsure if this would create too much of a dominance of red in the colour scheme – after all, this figure is simply a Dalek Commander with the formerly gold detailing painted over in red, so I felt that sticking to the original design would make this figure consistent with other Dalek Commanders.

Custom Eternity Circle Dalek Figure

Featured in the War Doctor novel Engines of War, the Eternity Circle is a distinct sect of elite Daleks formed by the Dalek Emperor to develop Temporal Weapons for the Time War. In the novel, the five members of the Eternity Circle were been described as dark blue and silver, a colour scheme that was recently depicted in figure form via the new Big Finish Dalek Interrogator Prime figure. However, there are several points in the novel Engines of War in which certain members of the Eternity Circle are described as being dark blue and gold, and although this may be a simple misprint or mistake, I was intrigued to see what that design would look like. As such, I repainted a Dalek Interrogator Prime figure and replaced the silver detailing with gold, and then added a black wash to restore the figure’s original grimy appearance. The colour scheme works very well, particularly since it adds a certain degree of consistency with other Time War-era Daleks.