Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Emissary of the Daleks


Starring: Colin Baker
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 857 8 (CD),
978 1 78178 858 5 (download)
Release Date: 30 September 2019

On the planet Omnia, a young man leads the Doctor and Peri through the battle-scarred ruins of a city. Among the rubble, he shows them proof that their invaders and new masters, thought to be invincible, can be defeated. The proof is the blasted, burnt-out remains of a Dalek. But this is a Dalek-occupied world like few others. For one thing, there are few Daleks to be seen. For another, the Daleks have appointed an Omnian, Magister Carmen Rega, to govern the planet as their emissary. Why are the Daleks not present in force? And can the Doctor and Peri risk helping the Omnians, when the least show of resistance will be met with devastating reprisals from space…?

It must be hard coming up with a new angle for a Dalek story. In Emissary of the Daleks, we discover that the pernicious pepperpots have already successfully conquered the planet, and have set up a member of the local population as a puppet leader. So far, so Day of the Daleks. The intermediary role played by Magister Carmen Rega (Saskia Reeves) also bears comparison to the conflicted character of Susan Mendes in Big Finish’s own Dalek Empire series. The Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) face betrayal by some apparent allies, and explore some enormous mine workings. So far, so Dalek Invasion of Earth

There are two main innovations in Andrew Smith’s plot. Firstly, the planet’s history prior to the invasion has been eradicated, with banned texts destroyed and even the engravings on tombstones smoothed away. Secondly, the size of the occupying force is relatively small (it’s worth checking out the “Backstage” tab of the product page on Big Finish’s website to learn the historical inspiration behind this aspect of the Daleks’ tactics). This explicit lack of Daleks would have come in handy during the making of Day of the Daleks, when the production team had just three of the props to work with but no on-screen explanation for the miniscule size of the alien ‘army’.

The reason that is eventually revealed for the dearth of Daleks on Omnia is not what I thought it would be when I first read the back-cover blurb. The synopsis’s talk of Dalek wreckage and a human governor on “a Dalek-occupied world like few others” had me thinking that this might not be a Dalek-occupied world at all – or at least, not any more. Imagine if the invaders had been driven out, but the resistance group that did the driving never actually told the rest of the population. What if the current rulers were only pretending to be subservient to the Daleks, using the empty threat of Dalek reprisals to keep the people in line. What few Daleks are seen could just be empty casings or mocked-up replicas under the control of the regime… That perhaps sounds more interesting than what transpires in Emissary of the Daleks – but it would be unlikely to happen, as phoney Daleks should probably not have such authentic-sounding and powerful voices as those provided by Nicholas Briggs in this production, and Big Finish would not want to be accused of ‘mis-selling’ a non-Dalek story as a Dalek one.

Yes, it must be hard coming up with a new angle for a Dalek story. Emissary of the Daleks does contain a few surprises (a big one takes place during a resistance meeting), but I’m-a-sorry to say that much of the adventure proves somewhat predictable.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.