For those unaware, Big Finish Productions have been making Doctor Who audio dramas since 1999, featuring a myriad of Doctors, companions and monsters. If there’s a particular niche of Doctor Who expanded media you’re interested in seeing – or rather, listening to – Big Finish is the place to go. This makes their inclusion in the multi-platform event Time Lord Victorious both inevitable and brilliant, opening up the floor for actors from the TV series to reprise their roles in new stories. In this case, the Eighth Doctor’s adventures in the Time Lord Victorious saga continue in The Enemy of my Enemy.
Set after the events of He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not (which I thoroughly enjoyed), The Enemy of My Enemy sees the Doctor (Paul McGann) captured by the Daleks (Nicholas Briggs). But instead of the usual total extermination, this time the malevolent cyborgs want their greatest enemy to help them on a mission. The planet of Wrax, once a barren wasteland, is now a thriving jungle planet, inhabited by a species which had previously never existed. Something is very wrong with time, and the Daleks are as baffled by the Doctor. Thus, the Doctor is forced into an uneasy alliance with the Dalek Time Squad to survey the planet and uncover the power of the Wraxians’ devolution weapon – something so dangerous that even the Daleks are worried…
It’s a challenge to find anything new to do with the Daleks, having appeared in various Doctor Who stories – on TV & audio and in novels and comics – over the past six decades, but Tracy Ann Baines‘ script seems to be aware of this. Both the Doctor and the Daleks are aware of their own history together, but are forced into an uneasy alliance. Nicholas Briggs seems delighted to voice new kinds of Daleks, but my favourite of the new Time Squad branch is the soft-spoken Strategist Dalek, whose dialogue leaps off the page. It’s the Strategist that brokers the temporary truce between the Doctor and the Daleks, and is paired off with him for most of the adventure. Paul McGann bring a lot of necessary energy to a production with only really one protagonist, stuck in a dangerous situation with no one to trust. His best moment is his desperate plea to Sarathin (Rachel Atkins) for peace at the story’s climax – he’s a Doctor who wants to avoid conflict at all costs.
The Wraxians are an interesting parallel to the Daleks, with trophies of their various conquests littered around their buildings, but I do feel that in a longer story they could have been expanded into more fully-developed characters – as opposed to being straight villains. But Baines keeps the focus on the uneasy Doctor/Dalek dynamic in this fifty-five minute adventure, which works better for the format. Ioan Morris‘ ambient score sets an uneasy mood throughout, while the sound design by Peter Doggart helps to give the Daleks a real presence in their scenes, as opposed to feeling like disembodied robotic voices. All in all, I found The Enemy of My Enemy to be a terrific production, and a great addition to the Time Lord Victorious canon.