Audio Review: Doctor Who and the Planet of the Daleks

Doctor Who and the Planet of the Daleks

Doctor Who and the Planet of the Daleks - Credit: Archant


WHEN I was a wee slip of a lad, my parents agreed that we could spend our summer holiday in the vicinity of Longleat House and Safari Park, in order that their obsessive son was able to visit the attraction’s renowned Doctor Who Exhibition.

Featuring displays of old costumes behind glass, a crude replica of the TARDIS console room, and assorted props in various states of decay, it was like a Wonderland of discovery for my young self, as I came face-to-face with television monsters from the show’s past and present.

At the end of the exhibition was a small shop selling various items of Who merchandise, and after the acceptable amount of cajoling, I walked away with a badge and two new Target novelisations, The Ark of Space and The Planet of the Daleks.

The rest of my holiday was spent immersing myself in Terrance Dicks’ gripping prose, recounting the events of stories which were broadcast long before I started watching the series, featuring armies of frozen Daleks, giant insects, invisible aliens and graphic bodily mutation…

Even more so than previous releases, listening to the audio version of Planet of the Daleks takes me on a journey back into my personal past, long before I first saw the televised version of this story, when all I had to create the exotic world of Spiridon was my adolescent imagination – and what more do you need?

Following on from the dramatic conclusion of the previous adventure, Frontier in Space, which saw the Doctor shot by the Master, the story opens with the TARDIS arriving on the jungle planet of Spiridon, and the Time Lord lapsing into a deep coma.

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Desperate to find help, his companion Jo Grant ventures outside the ship, only to discover there are unseen things lurking in the undergrowth…

Based on Terry Nation’s original script, in many ways it’s Daleks-by-numbers, with a greatest hits tick box of elements from his previous stories featuring the psychotic pepper-pots, but somehow Dicks’ novel doesn’t feel repetitive, and imbues the story with a freshness and vitality which was lacking on screen.

Personally, this is a nostalgic journey back to the halcyon days of my youth, but it’s also one of the most typically “Who” stories of the Third Doctor’s era, pitting the Time Lord against his arch enemies in a desperate battle to prevent a resurrected Dalek Empire from conquering the galaxy, and you can’t go wrong with a story like that.

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