The year is 2163. Ten years since the Daleks invaded the Earth. One year until the Doctor, in his first incarnation, will help bring the occupation to an end. But for now, their reign of terror goes on.So this is a very interesting idea! Sending the Doctor to Earth a year before the end of the Dalek occupation. This means that the Sixth Doctor has to be very careful how he acts, lest he create a problem for when the First Doctor arrives.
The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Peri to Scotland – enslaved, like everywhere else on the planet. But there are rumours of Dalek-free islands off its coast. Places where resistors and refuseniks are coming together, gathering arms and armour, preparing to strike back against the enemy.
When the Doctor falls in with an unlikely group of freedom fighters making that dangerous journey to Orkney, he finds himself trapped – but not only by the Daleks, their robotised henchmen and their human collaborators.
Because history shows that for another year, resistance is useless…
The rebellion must fail – and as a Time Lord, the Doctor can do nothing to help
So there’s that ethical problem, and it’s a bit bigger than it might otherwise be, because Peri is still very nervous and uncertain about the Doctor, having reunited with him after several years of being away. To her, it looks like he might just be being a coward.
Add to that the challenge, for the writers, of making this a story that could well have taken place during the First Doctor’s run, and therefore having to include Robomen, who were a silly concept, but are used to great effect here.
Really, Masters Of Earth had a lot working against it, and I’m pleased to report that Big Finish pulled it off and then some. This is one of their better Dalek stories, and probably the best story in the main range for the whole of 2014.
Everything about this story works, and works well. The Doctor dealing with a Dalek threat, but not being able to deal with the real Dalek threat is handled nicely. There’s also some great scenes with Peri getting really familiar with dangerous botany.
I also have to give my usual kudos to everyone involved in the acting department. Briggs does his usual excellent job with the Daleks, and Baker and Bryant are both their wonderful selves. I also want to praise Tracey Wiles, who, as Moira Brody, takes a new character and really infuses her with some greatness.
I’d say if I had to recommend one good, solid, 2014 main range story for a newcomer, then Masters Of Earth would be it. It’s not part of any great arcs, but it is still a great story.
Chris Swanson is a writer and blogger from Phoenix, Arizona. Read more from Chris on his blog, and follow him on Twitter.