Genesis of the Daleks (CD)Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 10 February 2011 - Reviewed by Darren Allen

Genesis of the Daleks
Vintage Beeb,
AudioGo (CD)
RRP £6.10
Purchase from our Amazon Shop
The latest batch of BBC Vintage Beeb releases (the third), wherein BBC LPs/tapes of the 1970s are reissued on CD, in some cases for the first time, includes another outing for Genesis of the Daleks. This is its fourth release; following the original LP/cassette release in 1979, the BBC Radio Collection double cassette pairing with Slipback in 1988 and the expanded CD release of 2001 paired with Exploration Earth.

I have two problems with the Vintage Beeb range. The first concerns the very concept of a 'Vinyl replica'. Now to me, like a lot of people, this means a faithful replica of the original album sleeve in cardboard. This is something that the Japanese have been doing with albums for nearly twenty years; releasing faithful reproductions of many albums in exact detail with gatefold sleeves, embossed sleeves, cut outs, inserts etc. Even with some EMI albums of the early 1980s they have exactly replicated the paper inner bag complete with the "home taping is killing music" logo and slogan! (Apologies for those readers under forty for which this will mean nothing. But believe me it shows attention to detail!)

Unfortunately to BBC Audio/AudioGo, 'Vinyl replica' just means a reissue of a title onto CD in a standard jewel case but now with the original sleeve artwork/photo used on the booklet and a black CD. The latter is a nice gimmick, but it hardly makes the release a replica!

The second problem is that whilst we are seeing some long unavailable albums such as I’m Sorry I’ll read that Again released onto CD, this range still contains a number of titles previously released on CD as part of the BBC Radio Collection. Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Magic Roundabout and Genesis of the Daleks to name but three. The question on a lot of peoples’ lips is "When are we going to see a CD release for the themes albums that were a mainstay of the BBC Records and Tapes range of the 1970s?" I would dearly love a re-mastered copy of 1979’s BBC Space Themes as my original tape is showing its age... but then it is thirty years old! I suppose the problem here is that is easier to clear the rights for BBC shows, rather than music collections.

I remember buying the original release of Genesis of the Daleks back in 1979, when it was timed to coincide with the screening of Destiny of the Daleks. At the time it was hoped that it would be the start of a series, but despite being a consistent seller it was sometime before we got a range of Doctor Who audio releases!

Even now, Tom Baker’s opening line "I stepped from the TARDIS onto a bleak planet..." is as great a hook as ever, drawing the listener in to a breakneck version of the original TV story. Although the ensuing argument with the Time Lord about interrupting a transmat beam jars somewhat! The linking narration fits very well, filling in the gaps of story inherent in condensing a six-part TV story down to under an hour’s worth of LP. And Tom’s reading is superb, as we move from one memorable scene to the next. Only being an hour long, such a short version should not work; but it does and all credit to Derek Groom who produced it back in 1979.

There is one difference to the original audio release though. That annoying jump cut at the end of side two of the original LP, wherein the theme cuts in halfway through the Dalek’s closing line resulting in "we will take our rightful place as the supreme power of the univer", has been rectified in line with the previous CD release, so you now get "universe" in all its glory. Whether this is a good thing or bad, I leave to individual choice!

Despite problems with presentation, to quote Destiny of the Daleks, "Its what’s on the inside that matters." This is still a very valid release and heartily recommended for two reasons. Firstly, it does reproduce the original 1979 release complete with end of side one cliff-hanger. And secondly, it can be ordered online for not much over £4, making it very good value!

FILTER: - Audio - Fourth Doctor - Series 12