By Will Barber – Taylor
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.
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 refuges 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 but also by history.
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
Masters of Earth is a story about the struggle for humanity against an alien menace and whether it is possible to save humanity when you are facing a creature that has no humanity. The story deals with this in a very clever way and makes you think about what is the line that shouldn’t be crossed when you are fighting monsters. It also deals heavily with the subject of time – and how when an event happens it cannot be interfered with. This is represented in the plot by having The Doctor (Colin Baker) attempting to help but without crossing any lines which is contrasted by Moira Brody (Tracey Wiles) who will stop at nothing to defeat the Daleks. Both want to achieve the same thing but their methods are so at odds that it creates tension which helps keep the plot going when the Daleks aren’t around.
The lack of the Daleks actually works in the story’s favour as it makes them seem bigger and much more powerful than when they are featured in every scene. Mark Wright and Cavan Scott manage to strip the Daleks back to their sinister origins and by doing this make them much more deadly and enjoyable. They fly through the scenes they feature in to bring a real sense of terror (thanks in part to Nicholas Briggs’ great classic Dalek voice) to the Highlands, with the Dalek effects mixing seamlessly with the great effects that manage to create the windswept Scottish coast.
Colin Baker stands out brilliantly in this story. He commands the story and manages to bring the full force of the Sixth Doctor to play throughout the story. Baker’s interactions with the Daleks are particularly brilliant with Baker managing to put the petered pepper pots in their place. He exudes confidence and style which reflects the writing of the story.
Masters of Earth is a fantastic Doctor Who audio adventure which manages to mix a great story with a suitable take on an old enemy and a fantastic leading performance. Overall, highly recommended.