L.S. Media Rating ****

Cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Alex Lowe, Mark Benton, Caroline Keiff, Dan Starkey, John Dorney, Nicholas Briggs.

Tom Baker’s incarnation and time as the fourth Doctor was never better than when he faced off against the scourge of Skaro, The Daleks. In Nicholas Briggs’ latest story for Big Finish, Energy Of The Daleks, Tom Baker is once more pitted against one of his greatest enemies and even though it was the first story that was recorded for the return of Tom Baker, there is much to admire in the delivery and the script.

The lacklustre feeling that was creeping through the first release, Destination: Nerva, seems at odds with the maliciousness that is felt from those who are confronting the monsters, the stuff of nightmares. The only element that’s missing to make it in to a truly incredible story is the absence of Davros, the Freddie Kruger of Science Fiction but then again that’s the advantage of having the story written by Nicholas Briggs. Like Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies, it always helps to have someone in charge who is not just a talented writer but also knows the history and timelines of one of the greatest exports of B.B.C. Television and who can keep the fans happy but also the obsessive’s.

The story itself deals with a question that was relevant when Tom Baker first put on the woolen scarf and offered round the jelly babies, Namely that of energy or rather the lack of it. The electricity crisis of the 1970’s brought down the Government and set against the three day week and culminated in the Winter of Discontent. There are parallels with that time and the story set in London of the future where around every well meaning action sits the shadow and evil presence of the Daleks.

This is a story that reels between high intense drama and the right of absurdity that only Tom Baker could get away with and that Nicholas Briggs seems to understand. What makes it heart breaking is that, Daleks aside, it’s all so very possible to imagine the breakdown of cultural society and in echoes of the 1970’s where people were told to use the least amount of energy possible and which saw theatres close early and television closedown at 10.30pm that this, if not handled with sensitivity to all sides could happen again.

An excellent script by Nicholas Briggs and bought to life lovingly by all in the cast.

The Doctor Who audio, Energy of the Daleks can be purchased from Worlds Apart on Lime Street, Liverpool.

Ian D. Hall