Listening to Nick Briggs third foray into the world of the tin plated pepper pots was an interesting experience for me- I had only a passing knowledge of the first two series, but I like both the Daleks and the idea of a whole series about them. Acclaim has been heaped on Dalek Empire and Dalek War and judging by the first three chapters (entitled The Exterminators, The Healers, The Survivors respectively) I have been missing out. As I sat on the beach during my summer hols, I was transported to the Graxis system, to Georgi Silestru’s office, into the mind of Siy Tarkov- I was gripped within seconds, and thanks to a brief flashback at the opening of Chapter One I came into this world with no disorientation and no confusion. It also helps that this Dalek series is not really linked to the first two in such a way it will turn off new listeners.

The story is split so that it focuses on several groups of characters and pulls of that rare trick of you actually caring about the lot of them. Its like The Empire Strikes Back I suppose- and if that’s not praise im not sure what is. Galanar played by David Tennant, took a while to warm up for me, but the revelation at the very end of Chapter Three got me really interested. This is obviously Briggs world, from the funky package design to the nice recap paragraphs in the CD sleeve, you can feel Briggs hand in the whole thing (indeed, he works in pretty much every department in the Dalek series). He also stars as the Daleks, and is as good as anyone can be WHEN-SPEAK-ING LIKE THIIIIIS! If anyone deserves to voice the new metal meanies from Skaro in the Ninth Doctor’s adventures its this man. Reading the ‘His Dalek Materials’ article last months DWM it was astonishing to find out that my favourite group of heroes, the Graxis wardens, weren’t going to be in the story at all before the script was looked over by a few people at BF towers. The way Briggs has remoulded his story it does not show that these characters (who are interesting, well played and well rounded) were never going to be in it at all! He also exposes how he is afraid of his Dalek series failing, and it would seem to be this worry that has made his script and direction so strong.

Packed with great dialogue and acting, Dalek Empire III Chapters one to three are exciting, terrifying and thoughtful in equal measure. Briggs makes the Daleks scary, and while they were cool on TV, for me, as a sixteen year old who watches too much telly, they aren’t scary at all- Nick has pulled off something special in that alone. You can tell there is still more to come from this series- im halfway through and its all building towards something. I have my suspicions about the Dalek supreme, and that alone keeps me hooked. Dalek Empire III is, so far, great Doctor Who without the Doctor. I would like to hear one of them pop up (it would just be a cool surprise!) but seeing the Daleks minus their Gallifreyan nemesis is refreshing and exciting- after all, as there is no companion or Doctor, we know that no one HAS to survive for next week….


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