Review – Big Finish Doctor Who #32: “The Time of the Daleks”

This is the next in line of my Big Finish Productions Doctor Who retro-reviews.

#32 – “The Time of the Daleks”

From Big Finish’s site:

The Doctor has always admired the work of William Shakespeare. So he is a little surprised that Charley doesn’t hold the galaxy’s greatest playwright in the same esteem. In fact she’s never heard of him.

Which the Doctor thinks is quite impossible.

General Mariah Learman, ruling Britain after the Eurowars, is one of Shakespeare’s greatest admirers, and is convinced her time machine will enable her to see the plays’ original performances.

Which the Doctor believes is extremely unlikely.

The Daleks just want to help. They want Learman to get her time machine working. They want Charley to appreciate the first ever performance of Julius Caesar. They believe that Shakespeare is the greatest playwright ever to have existed and venerate his memory.

Which the Doctor knows is utterly impossible.

Written By: Justin Richards

Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Paul McGann (The Doctor); India Fisher (Charley Pollard); Dot Smith (General Mariah Learman); Julian Harries (Major Ferdinand); Nicola Boyce (Viola); Jem Bassett (Kitchen Boy); Mark McDonnell (Priestly); Lee Moone (Hart); Ian Brooker (Professor Osric); Nicholas Briggs (Dalek Voice); Clayton Hickman (Dalek Voice/ Yokel); Robert Curbishley (Marcus); Ian Potter (Mark Anthony/Army Officer/Tannoy); Don Warrington (Rassilon)

***minor spoilers ahead***

The previous encounters with the Daleks within the Big Finish lineup continue to build, and and now comes the part where all of those temporal paradoxes of the last few adventures get explained for us.  In the wake of the attack on Gallifrey and their other appearances, the Daleks are proceeding with their objective to become the masters of time itself.  Everything hinges around a master clock that allows them transport through time by turning mirrors into conduits.

Ask yourself for a moment: is there much out there that can be considered nearly as wrong as a Dalek quoting Shakespeare?  It doesn’t seem that bad in theory, but to actually hear it…   As you might could guess – and the Doctor certainly does – the Daleks follow true to form where their hunt for Shakespeare is just the distraction for something far larger: the destruction of the entire human race.  In wiping us out from history, they will control time to the extent that they will be able to manipulate it to their ultimate goals.

As the basic setup for this adventure really is just that simple, there’s very little to talk about within the confines of the audio itself without spoiling everything, except to say that, yet again, these are Daleks done right.  But as a stepping stone to both the Dalek stories and the temporal storm building around Charley, this audio becomes so much more.  As the Doctor points out, if the Daleks are stopped, they simply do it all again.  That’s what they do.

But in Charley’s case, this temporal storm frightens the Doctor, and that will lead us into the next adventure, “Neverland.”  It’s there that fates will be decided, where we learn why the Time Lords are flying around in Type 70 battle TARDISes, and where the Gallifreyan boogeyman Zagreus will first rear his head.

Note about this series:

Due to the lack of interested readership after about 8 months, I’ll be retiring this series of reviews for now.  I can be encouraged to return to this series if readership picks up, and you can always be vocal and proactive about it.  Let me know if you want this to continue.

In the meantime, look for an upcoming series of movie reviews on another popular character who changes his face every few years: Bond… James Bond.