Resurrection of the Daleks (Audio Book)Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 15 March 2020 - Reviewed by Martin Hudecek
Resurrection of the Daleks (Credit: BBC Books)
Released September 2019
BBC Books/BBC Audio
Earth 1984..a man casually lighting a cigarette suddenly is unnerved by a peculiar sight. A party of strangely clad men and women burst from a Shad Thames warehouse, hounded on the run by some very odd behaving policemen. Policemen with guns and a distinctly unofficial licence to kill.
 
Abroad the TARDIS the Fifth Doctor and his companions have been caught in a time corridor, the origin of which is at first unclear. However, with due care and attention, the Doctor eventually ascertains that this potentially lethal obstacle is the work of his sworn arch enemy -the Daleks!
 
Meanwhile at the other end of the time corridor from Earth 1984 is a battlecruiser brim-full of mercenaries who are preparing for an attack on the semi obsolete prison ship the Vipod Mor. 
The Mor has a solitary prisoner abroad but one who has crossed paths with the Doctor on several occasions and who is as demented as he is brilliant, as dangerous to the cosmos as he is capable of breaking a centuries-long impasse between two logic-driven races.

This Dalek story is quite possibly the most convoluted and plot-hole-heavy of any in the original classic run of the TV show. However, it has plenty of blockbuster gusto to spare and ends up being a relatively memorable watch. For many years since TARGET tried to produce novelisations of the Saward Dalek stories, there has been speculation over how a book version of Resurrection might turn out.

Eric Saward does a reasonable job of bringing his mid 80s Season 21 story to life in the written word format.

Davros gets relatively short shrift in this adaptation, in that we don't get much insight into his psychology or his motivations as might be expected. I happen to be a keen fan of this villainous character and unlike a not inconsiderable contingent of Who fandom also laud Terry Molloy's reading of the role in TV, as much as his later Big Finish outings. Molloy is the narrator of this audiobook release and puts all his skill and vitality into making the 5 CDs' worth material carry through with conviction.
 
On the other hand, the Vipod Mor station crew are very nicely fleshed out indeed in this novel, with a particularly well-done back story for the traitor (Seaton) who enables the easier subjugation by the Supreme Dalek and mercenary forces. There is some particularly amusing material about a beautiful female android that bewitches a senior member of the crew, and also comedic is the addition to the TV scripts of Sir Runcible - the universally loved resident cat of the station.
 
A theme of Saward's closely linked story Revelation emerges at one point with the Daleks as immortals getting a brief outing here. Furthermore, Dalek characterisation is strong. The Supreme Dalek is both more pretentious and sadistic than the somewhat generic TV counterpart.
 
Terileptils get over a half dozen name-checks despite minimal links between Dalek lore and the season 19 pseudohistorical The Visitation. 
 
The subplot of the Earth army soldiers being overcome by the Dalek/ mercenary forces is expanded on well and some unanswered questions on TV are addressed.
 
The early episodes get the most expanding such that two whole discs are consumed before the first cliffhanger manifests itself. Also, the tense airlock battle ends up much more epic than the modest BBC Eighties budget would allow. A real uncertainty exists over just who will end up being the winning side for a good portion of the chapter this takes place in.
 
Nick Briggs has come to be known as the 'Voice Of the Daleks' from his many contributions on TV and other media. Here he does a sterling job bringing individual Dalek voices to life, not least when having to do one on oned Dalek conversations. These all too easily fall flat in less capable hands. 
 
In sum, this book/audio release is diverting enough if not quite an essential top tier Who product