Books & Literature

Audiobook Review: Doctor Who: The Audio Novels – Emancipation of the Daleks by Big Finish

SCI-FI: Bill Potts has an unexpected visitor: another Bill Potts from twenty years in the future. Bill summons the Doctor, who confirms that the other Bill is the genuine article. She has come to see her younger self for a reason… but she can’t say what it is without creating a paradox!

An entertaining Dalek story featuring the Twelfth Doctor which grips the listener from beginning to end.

The Doctor is stuck on Earth lecturing at a university in Bristol while he safeguards a vault containing his most cunning enemy. Meanwhile, his companion Bill Potts receives a strange visitor who looks like an older version of herself and who tells her that she needs to help her fix the timeline. Before long, a Dalek ship crashes into Earth setting off a chain of events that will result in the Doctor’s death and the enslavement of the Daleks by humans …

Big Finish have released the third volume of their Audio Novels series with this ripping story from the pen of Jonathan Morris. This range is not one of their regular audio dramas but rather an enhanced novel that runs for six hours and includes sound effects and music to liven the proceedings up. Previous volumes have featured adventures of the Third and Fourth Doctors but this one features the Peter Capaldi incarnation of the Doctor alongside his companion Bill (originally played by Pearl Mackie). While neither of these actors appear here, they are represented by Dan Starkey (a Big Finish regular and the man who brought to life the character of Strax in the TV series). Starkey is an outstanding narrator who not only navigates the lengthy novel well but does more than a passable impression of both Capaldi and Mackie. He also voices most of the other characters with distinction. Of course, it would not be possible to do a Dalek story without Nicholas Briggs’ Dalek voices and he provides them with his usual flair.

Morris’ script is a fine example of how to sustain a lengthy narrative without letting the interest of the listener wane. He moves adeptly through multiple timelines and iterations of various characters without confusing the listener too much. It helps that Starkey is an exceptional narrator who gives subtle changes in the voices of the different Bills (at one point there are three of them!).

Previous volumes have suffered from overly long character development with little action, but in this volume, Morris strikes the right balance between the two. Proof of this is how quickly the time flies when you are engaged with the story. When the story reaches its inevitable conclusion, it is fast-paced and exciting before Morris cleverly lets the dust settle as we are led through the quiet coda to this adventure with skill. The ending feels neither rushed nor convoluted—something that Big Finish adventures can sometimes not quite achieve.

This is a great adventure for fans of the Capaldi era and it will chew up many car or bus trips quickly. The novel is only available as a digital download and contains interviews with the writer and performers as well as featuring some of the delightful score composed by Steve Foxon (who also prepared the top-notch sound design).

This is a series that has much potential provided the quality of the story is as good as this one is.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter:  @Wagnerfan74

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: July 2022
Approx RRP: $20 Digital Download

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