Brotherhood of the Daleks (2008)

2008 TOMS TARDIS AWARD WINNER

  • Best Cover Design (Alex Mallinson)

Brotherhood of the Daleks is the most complicated story that I have ever listened to. I have never felt so confused when listening to a story There have been complicated stories like The Chimes of Midnight but Brotherhood beats Chimes by miles. Going on Internet Forums I don’t think I can recall anyone who has understood it and even if they did whether it was on the first listen. This story was written by Script Editor Alan Barnes who has written such stories as Storm Warning, Zagreus & The Girl Who Never Was so when it was announced he was writing this story you knew you were getting something really good. This is the first release featuring the Daleks in the regular releases since last March’s Renaissance of the Daleks. Its quite good that they limit the Dalek stories to one a year because I think that otherwise it would be overkill.

This story is the third to feature the Sixth Doctor and Charley storyline in which the Doctor is trying to figure Charley out and what she knows that the Doctor doesn’t. There was certainly a hope from me that there would be something that might slip out from Charley. As the story progresses you think that you know that the Doctor & Charley are on Spirodon which is where the Third Doctor and Jo Grant went in the 1973 story Planet of the Daleks. Just when you think the adventure is going to take place on this planet you learn that all is not what it seems and as the story progresses you get further confused and you realise that the Daleks are trying to understand the word and throughout this story I was desperate to find out what the word was. When the word was revealed I must admit it was the last word I was expecting. Folkestone isn’t perhaps the most magical world but it ties in with Charley who was leaving Folkestone when she boarded on the R101 back in Storm Warning. The idea that Thals have been planted into Daleks is a good one and it would be nice to see that explored in future stories. They might sound differently to normal Daleks but that’s good. Another moment that I liked was when Charley revealed that she was a Dalek replicant. I thought that was a brilliant cliffhanger and it made some sense as to the riddle of why the Eighth Doctor doesn’t remember any adventures the Sixth Doctor had and I was disappointed when I discovered that this wasn’t the case. But then after listening to it I thought that it was quite a good choice not giving too much away now because there is potential to this storyline.

Colin Baker and India Fisher worked very well and they did the best they could with this complicated script but even in the Extras they admitted to not being 100% clear on the plot. Colin Baker is on good form in this story which is not exactly a surprise and it shows what a good actor he is because he helps make the story bearable and also you want to get to the end of the Charley mystery. India Fisher is also putting in some of her best performances since she first appeared as a regular companion in 2001. When I thought that she was in fact a Dalek replicant after all these years it was a genuine shock and Fisher played this well. You didn’t know just who side she was on is and that’s a testament to Fisher’s acting. Of all the guest stars it is Michael Cochrane was the best. Most Doctor Who fans will remember Cochrane when he appeared in the 1989 Seventh Doctor story Ghostlight and then he also appeared in the 2006 Seventh Doctor story No Man’s Land. His voice works very on audio and hopefully he will do more of these stories in future. He played Murgat which as I was listening to the story just thought that he was a plant man that was in a glass scuba diving suit type thing which is quite a strange thought. Ultimately the character was a very well written and a very well acted character that interacted very well with the main characters.

Alan Barnes has really written a very clever, very multi layered, very complex story which only the very smart of Doctor Who fans will really understand it. Barnes doesn’t compromise for fans that aren’t as smart and part of me thinks that this is a very poor attitude to have because it means that a certain part of fandom will be left out because they don’t understand but then part of me thinks that this is great because at least you know your not going to get a story that hasn’t got 100% of Barnes’s enthusiasm. Nicholas Briggs has directed this story and as usual you get a nice well paced story and even despite the confusing plot I found the pace of it was always consistent. I think at time it needed to be slowed down to help some of the more confusing plot points sink in but overall his directing is good. He did do a good job with the Dalek voices as usual and its hard to believe that there was a time when he wasn’t doing them but amazingly we were Brigg-less concerning the voices.

This story will need to be listened to several times to even understand half of it. Needless to say that curiosity gets you through these stories and that is what I liked about this story cause I was thinking what was going on. After listening to it once I have no idea about the exact plot points so that is why it is the least successful of the three stories that have the Sixth Doctor and Charley. I think that because expectation is growing as time goes on anything that doesn’t quite match the proceeding story is going to be viewed as a letdown which is a shame because with a few tweaks it quite possibly could have kept the trend going.

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