The Elite (2011)

2011 TOMS TARDIS AWARD WINNER

  • Best Lost Story

The third series of the Lost stories returns with the Fifth Doctor. This story takes place straight after Arc of Infinity where Tegan returns after briefly leaving the show which happened during the end of one season and the beginning of another. The idea came from Barbara Clegg who had written the 1983 story ‘Enlightenment’ and the plot was taken further by John Dorney who wrote the truly brilliant ‘Solitaire’ and ‘The Rocket Men’. The story takes place on an unnamed planet where there is a battle going between the Elite and the rejects. The Elite are led by the High Priest.

Now if you cant get who the High Priest is by the end of the first scene then your just not trying very hard. At the end of the second episode, its revealed that the High Preist is actually a Dalek that had crash landed on the planet and had forced the people of this planet to build him a new unit and had deliberately started a war in order to speed up the technology because of a quite clever theory that war speeds up the urge of creating new technology. Now the idea that there is a sole Dalek in a story is nothing new and as proved in the 2005 story ‘Dalek’ its possible to make a story out of just one but in a truly brave and impressive moment. The Dalek gets killed and this starts off a civil war which is where the last third of the story draws its action from.

If I had a quibble with this story then its that Nyssa doesn’t really get a great deal to do apart from getting brainwashed and wanting to kill. This is a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things but since I am a Nyssa fan it always bugs me slightly when she isn’t in the centre of things. Sarah Sutton is always good in any story that she appears in. Peter Davison gives his best performance for sometime in this and the Doctor’s reaction to seeing the Dalek is one of the best moments in this story. Janet Fielding also gives a good performance and it feels like is comfortable with playing the mouthy Australian again. This combination without Turlough is surpringly good and is used far better than the TV version. The big name in this story is that of Ryan Sampson who appeared in the 2008 two part story ‘The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky’. In this he plays Thane who becomes one of the most important and arguably one of the best of the supporting characters. I found his character in the Sontaran story to be rather weak and in this I couldn’t tell that it was him and this meant that it wasn’t until after finishing the story that I knew who he played.

Now despite guessing the cliffhanger of episode two, I was still glad when it happened. It’s very rare for a Doctor Who story to surprise me. Partly down to the insistence of Big Finish/BBC in having the Daleks in the title. When I started listening to this story I didn’t think we would get a Dalek story in the Lost Stories series. In the September 2011 issue of Doctor Who Magazine, they preview this story and Dorney is quoted as saying people might guess what happens at the end of episode two (which I did) but if they guessed what would happen in episode three then he would be “amazed”. I have to say that I didn’t guess what happened but neither was I as impressed with it as episode two’s ending. That’s not to say that it isnt a good one but I just prefer number two.

This is one of the strongest Lost Stories for quite sometime. It’s a story that seems to be heading in one direction which looks like it is going to be great and then changes into something else that is just as great. This has to be in my top 2 of best ever Lost Stories. John Dorney has done a very good job in writing an simple yet creative adventure and is putting together a very strong run of stories. This is a good start to the Lost Stories series and I am looking forward to the next story with baited breathe.

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