Big Finish Productions
Dalek Empire III: The Survivors

Written by Nicholas Briggs

Starring William Gaunt and Sarah Mowat

Synopsis: The Border Worlds are gripped by a terrible plague... Galanar's mission takes him right to the heart of the tragedy. The Dalek plans for 'Geo-forming' are already in operation.


Betrayals, deceit and lies... by Joe Ford 23/9/04

Now we're really on a roll, characters are blossoming, plots are revving up, the pace is tightening... and we are only halfway through the story! If Nick Briggs can keep this level of excitement up the entire seven-hour epic will be over in no time at all!

Opening with a gripping appeal to the Galactic Union from Siy Tarkov and Selestru, you could be mistaken for eaves dropping on a genuine conference such is the strength and conviction of the performances. Briggs has finally dragged one of his star performers, William Gaunt, to a level of importance in the story and it is wonderful to see his character defiantly attempt to convince his people that the Daleks are genuine menace that needs to be stamped out. As part three progresses and Selestru has pushed a surveillance team into operation it becomes clear that even he, safe in the arms of the Galactic Union is being tricked by the Daleks.

The Graxis wardens are desperate to get off world now they have genuine information about the Daleks but are hampered when young Kaymee falls desperately ill. In what is one of the most emotional scenes in any Big Finish story Saxton has to leave her young ward with the Daleks to receive medical attention only they can give. Ishia Bennison and Laura Rees give it their all in this scene, Kaymee's hysterical realisation that she is going to die and Saxton's forceful promise that she will come back and rescue her really tugs at the heart strings and makes you realise that only three hours into this epic just how the characters have grown on you.

Also of note in this plot is the Carneill who is having a crisis of conscience, desperately trying to save as many lives as possible while still remaining loyal to the Daleks. It will be interesting to see how his masters deal with his betrayal.

Galanar is trapped on Skalanis VIII, fully aware that the Dalek's mass production of the drug Variant VII, the supposed cure of the plague is utterly impossible. In what is a particularly tense action sequence he manages to evade Dalek security and make a dash for their research lab, David Tennant gives a breathless performance as the fugitive and the music and pace is perfect at getting the heart pumping. But what the bloody hell did he find behind that research station door...?

Sarah Mowat excels as the Dalek Supreme, I love it when she does that icy whisper and follows it up with a BOOMING STATEMENT! How is the fabulous Susan Mendez connected to this story? Sharing the same actress cannot be a co-incidence surely and I await a spectacular twist linking this to the first two series. To hear a Dalek voice with such a feminine tone is scary shit and Mowat provides a real chiller of a scene when she interviews Galanar.

Not to mention poor Siy Tarkov who has gone undercover to discover genuine knowledge of Dalek duplicity. Re-united with his daughter they share a few touching scenes which help provide one hell of a blow at the end of the disc.

It's incredible how Nick manages to juggle up all these plots without leaving the listener confused or pushing anyone to the background for ages. The momentum built in the first two discs has started to pay off as characters reveal their true colours and the Daleks finally emerge from the shadows as the ruthless bastards we know they are. The theme of friendship is never forgotten and it is touching to see how close the Dalek invasion is pushing people together (reminding me off that wonderful line in Genesis of the Daleks about their evil producing something good).

A fantastic third instalment... let Briggsy write every single story! He's too fucking good, he's showing everyone else up!