Curse of the Daleks (2008)

The Curse of the Daleks is the third and final Stage play and boy is it a strange one. For one it doesn’t feature the Doctor which is totally out of the norm considering even in the Companion Chronicles the Doctor features in the story in one way or another. The story was written by David Whittaker and Terry Nation. Both had written a Dalek story during the 1960’s. David Whittaker was Script Editor on the series during the shows first series from 1963 to 1964. He also wrote The Edge of Destruction (1964), The Rescue (1965), The Crusade (1965), The Power of the Daleks (1966) and also The Evil of the Daleks (1967). Terry Nation obviously created them and contributed to the story to begin with. The original stageplay began its life back in December 1965. This was Nations’ first attempt to try and use them outside of Doctor Who with a hope of them cracking America and to see whether they could cope without the Doctor to try and lose their massive battles to. This story takes a long time to get warmed up. A bit too long for me as I think that a story has about 10 minutes to really get going before becoming a story that I am not going to enjoy as much. The beginning scene with Ladiver & Sline in the spaceship and the members of the crew seem to take a long time. Another reason why it took a long time to get going was because of the narration. It was strange at first because I am use to him talking in his normal voice and I find that when he does his serious voice it’s nice but it doesn’t really seem like its him. It was the narration and the use of the narration that helped move along the story.

Overall I did like this story because when it did get going it was very entertaining and all the characters were well written. Another thing I liked about it is that it seemed to follow shortly after the 1963 adventure The Daleks. The characters were believable and likeable. Top award has to go to Michael Pread who plays Ladiver, Pread has a nice voice for radio and it just made his character more likeable. The character itself was one that your not meant to like but there is just something about the way the Pread acts and the way that the character was written that just make the role a unforgettable one. His partner in crime had a bit of Kenneth Williams about him. I am talking Harry Sline played by Derek Carlyle. He also sounds like a kind of Dickensian character who can be seen robbing the main character of their livelihood. Having said that I did like him as a stand alone character but he worked best when he was with Ladiver. There was a sort of chalk and cheese relationship between them. Captain Redway was another really good character played really well by Patric Kearns with Beth Chalmers (a Big Finish regular) putting in a cold as ice style performance as Marion Clements. Other characters in this story include James George as Bob Slater, Glynn Sweet as Dexion and Denise Hoey who plays Ljayna. I thought that all the performances though varied in terms of relevance were all played superbly.

I do have a slight bug bear with this story and that is the narration by Nicholas Briggs. Now I am a big Briggs fan and applaud him for all his work for Doctor Who over the years however I do get put off when he does this serious and stern voice which isn’t really him. Its just hard to take a man serious when you know he does Daleks, Cybermen, Judoon etc. As a director he really nailed it in this story. Whilst it may have taken quite a long time for it to get going once it did it never stopped. Right up until the end there was drama and intrigue and if there were a sofa in my mind then I would be right behind there scared to peek over.

Overall this play was the best of series. Each story was really different yet really good. I thought that the fact that the Doctor isn’t in this would be a major flaw but I actually think that the way the story was written the use of the Doctor might have made the story weak. Along with the sound effects and the way that the story was told its hard to find a major fault with it and that is what I like about this story. This shows that being a Doctor Who story it doesn’t necersarily have to have the Doctor in it. It would be really good if the Daleks had their own series…oh wait!

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