4 out of 4 found this review helpful.
The Dalek Contract hurtles us towards the second season finale of the Fourth Doctor Adventures with surprising alacrity. While it isn't the most original of stories, I found it a really enjoyable listen that certainly killed an hour perfectly well. I will say that this story, more so than any of the other two part stories, before or since, in this range, this really does need the listener to be imminently entering possession of the next part for it to fully make sense. Unlike the previous stories, which were, at times, very self contained, this feels much more like a full-on four part story. And while that isn't a bad thing, in and of itself, it does make it feel a little weird as to why these stories are being packaged separately. However, while this half of the story does come across as little more than set up for the next half of the story, it still feels engaging and enjoyable. The idea of the Daleks forced to act under the orders of Cuthbert brings out the side of them that we only really see in stories like Power Of The Daleks and Victory Of The Daleks, that cunning and manipulative side. This really helps to build up a lot of tension as you want to wonder when the Daleks' full plan is going to emerge. The lines that they are given to say are certainly creepy enough to give the audience a few chills, particularly some of their sly lines that hint at their true power. I also really loved hearing Mary Tamm's Romana interacting with the Daleks, simply because I felt that Briggs wrote the scene better than Nation ever did. Briggs made Romana sassy and confident, but we could see that vulnerability beneath. One thing that did grate on me a little was the continual talk of the 'experiment' that Cuthbert was conducting, but we never actually got to see it. It was still kept in the shadows, which was nice for the previous two audios, but I feel that, by now, we should be starting to get some solid hints about it, but instead all we got was vague hints about the danger that was threatened. It's a shame, and probably the only major fault I have with this story. Sure, I didn't think that it's ideas were terribly novel, but it was a story that was engaging and I really liked that. The characters weren't terribly interesting, which was a real shame because there could have been more of an effort made to give them some added dimension. However, the basis was solid and Briggs may play around with them more in the second part. I did think that Toby Hadoke's Mr Dorrick did, however, get much more to do than in Sands Of Life/War Against The Laan, so that pleased me. Both Hadoke and David Warner were fantastic, really playing off each other wonderfully. I did think that some of the mystery of David Warner's character from the previous two parter was lost, and he was perhaps played a little too much for comedy. I did think the rest of the cast were really good, particularly John Leeson in a double role. To say Nick Briggs is good as the Daleks is an understatement. I don't think he could ever phone in the Daleks, despite the amount of times he's called to do the voice. And finally, Tom Baker and Mary Tamm are brilliant together in what is their final story together. They are wonderful, with Tom Baker in particular giving a great performance. Tamm is also amazing, especially knowing this was recorded a few months before her death. She is fantastic, and it's nice that she finally got the chance to meet the Daleks, even if it was her final story, and it's clear she's loving it. Alistair Lock's music and sound design was also really good, and reminds me a lot of the score for Genesis Of The Daleks. I loved the opening beats, it just sunk me straight into the story. Overall, The Dalek Contract is a very good story that gives plenty, despite the fact it doesn't really contain anything new or original. A good listen, and one that makes me look forward to the conclusion of this 70's-style epic.