Big Finish Productions
The Elite

Written by Alan Barnes Cover image
Format Compact Disc
Released 2011

Starring Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding

Synopsis: The Doctor offers Tegan and Nyssa a trip to the paradise world of Florana, but instead the TARDIS takes them to a domed city on a planet scarred by warfare. A world where everyone is young, and fighting for the glory of the Elite...


A Review By Donald McCarthy 24/7/13

Big Finish's range of Lost Stories is an intriguing idea but one that does come with a potential flaw: they're adapting stories made for television and not audio. Now, you might be saying that this isn't a problem and I'd mostly agree. Yet the audio format is unique and you can do more with it than you could on television in a number of ways, but I think it's a legitimate concern that this might make the story not as exciting or engaging as it could be.

The Elite suffers very little from this problem, thankfully. There were times when it became too talky in a way that the lesser 80s stories were, but it also had a spin on a number of Doctor Who tropes. I actually have trouble imagining this story making it through during Davison's era as it's more daring in content than what was done in 80s Who, at least up until McCoy's era.

To do a proper review of this I'm going to have to spoil the big twist that comes at the end of part two. However, even if you haven't seen it, I think it's worth going ahead anyhow...


The big twist is that the people of the planet the Doctor lands on are worshipping a Dalek. Big Finish has done many Dalek stories, which isn't surprising, especially before the new show aired, as the McGann books couldn't get the rights for the Daleks as they were too expensive. However, I think the range is now suffering from a little bit of Dalek fatigue, which means the twist at the end of episode two is met with a shrug.

But here's the catch. This doesn't turn into a Dalek invasion story. Not at all. Instead, something much more interesting is done with the Dalek which I won't spoil as it's worth experiencing on your own.

Peter Davison does well in this story, which is no surprise as he's probably the best actor to have played the Doctor, although Eccleston does give him a run for his money. However, the audio format isn't the best for Davison's Doctor as his Doctor showed a lot simply through his physical motions (which is part of why he's such a great actor). He doesn't have the unique tone of voice that Sylvester McCoy does or the loudness of Colin Baker. Davison attempts to come over this hurdle by switching up his voice a little, being a little more strident in stressful situations and a little more somber in sad ones than he was on the show. This is natural, but it does mean Davison's Doctor probably comes off as slightly different than his TV version. It's up to you how much that might irk.

Tegan and Nyssa don't come off quite as well but Nyssa was always a stiff character in the show and Janet Fielding seems to make up for not being on television by turning her character's whininess up several notches.

The other voices are good, but the only character who particularly stand out is Father Thane. In the story's defense, Father Thane really stands out. He's a zealot of your nightmares and actor Ryan Sampson brings something great to the role. Some might find him a little over the top, but that's par for the course with most religious zealots.

The story's main thesis is about the dangers of belief and I do wonder how much was changed from the original script (I'm thinking a fair bit as the original writer, Barbara Clegg, is credited as "from a story by") as there are a number of instances that seem ripped from recent events, including a 9/11 type incident (but it's different enough that it doesn't seem gratuitous). I always enjoy when Who makes good commentary and this story did deliver on that front.

Overall, I recommend The Elite. It takes a while to get going, with parts one and two being a little bit too sedate, feeling like something we've seen many times before, but the last two parts are very interesting.