Rewritten from material that I originally posted 6/23/13 on another forum:
Blurb: In 1967, the Daleks were written out of Doctor Who as their creator, Terry Nation, prepared to launch them in their own TV series. Production was halted at the eleventh hour, but the script has survived – now making its debut on audio.
When the crew of Explorer Base One is attacked by the Daleks, Space Security Agents Sara Kingdom, Mark Seven and Jason Corey are sent to investigate. They discover a plan that threatens the future of the entire galaxy…
Format: Limited-cast audio drama with narration. Adapted from an unmade television script. Published by Big Finish Productions and released December 2010 in a box with the unmade Doctor Who story, Prison in Space.
Setting: Planet M5, sometime in the 3990's.
Continuity: Featuring Sara Kingdom, this story must take place sometime after The Daleks Masterplan.
Canonicity Quotient: The Daleks are only said to have been encountered by humans twice before and neither of those times is the Dalek Invasion of Earth. Terry Nation clearly did not intend for his Dalek spinoff series made in the United States to be part of Doctor Who continuity, although parodoxically he did reuse the character of Sara Kingdom. Although the audio story Guardian of the Solar System made allusion to Mark Seven, a character in this story, its impossible for this to be compatible with The Daleks Masterplan where everyone has heard of the Daleks and knows of them from their invasion of Earth. As Guardian of the Solar System is itself suspect due to an unreliable narrator, this story becomes less likely although it is possible that some version of these events actually did occur. 0.50
Discussion: I'm sorry I must have nodded off. This is the problem with the Destroyers. The script is competent enough and I'm sure that if the pilot had been made and still existed I'd enjoy watching it. Unfortunately as a very visual story it means that it needs to be narrated. This makes the story incredibly boring and I kept losing focus as the story wended as it was very difficult to pay attention.
Jean Marsh is back as Sara Kingdom in this. Continuity does not appear to be maintained with traditional Doctor Who, which makes sense as this was for an American audience. The Daleks had only been encountered twice before so this seems like an alternate version of things. This fact makes it intriguing to me that David Richards appears to think that Marsh should have known about this series. Did he really think that Nation would have insisted that they bring Marsh in to play Sara in the US Pilot when it would have been far easier to recast her with an American? In any event, Marsh does a much better job here of trying to sound like her young self even though her age seems difficult to hide and it often sounds like she has marbles in her mouth. Its a better outing than her "house" stories though and not quite as good as what she achieves in The Anachronauts. I was somewhat disappointed that as the only woman in the script she's made far girlier than Sara Kingdom in Doctor Who. Here she's frightened and gasps and gets overly emotional about her brother. I would have loved the tough as nails Sara Kingdom but here she's just the woman on the team. Mark Seven if the one who really steals the show here and I think would have made an interesting character if the show had continued.
The music on this one seemed a little forced. It's just a little to much like the spy thrillers of the period. I have a hard time thinking that any sci-fi series would have had such a contemporary theme. Think about things like Star Trek and Lost in Space. Neither sounds like the modern music of the period and I have a hard time thinking that the Daleks would have been any different. It made me chuckle a bit when I heard it but that in itself is a problem. It shouldn't have been a humorous overly 60's theme tune. It should have had a style all its own.
I do have to say though that I have to mention something about the sound effects. With David Richards saying so often that he wanted this box to match the 60's era it seems so strange that the sound effects used in both Prison in Space and the Destroyers were way to modern. The guns in Prison in Space had a very modern sound when they're brought to bare and the doors seemed way to subdued for the doors that we normally saw in 60's Doctor Who. The Destroyers uses the more modern Dalek sound effects, when it would have been nice to get the 60's sounds for the nostalgia factor. I think that this was a real missed beat when so much of the rest of it, obviously does seem to have had care taken to make both stories feel like they came from the 60's.
In the end of the day the Destroyers I think would be interesting if Big Finish continued the Daleks series as full cast audios and abandoned this format, but as it is it was an incredibly boring story to listen to. Its no fault of Nick Briggs or John Dorney, its just that the material wasn't really suited for audio in the first place.
Final Rating: 4/10
Recommendation: Boring almost to the point of tears. The Destroyers tells a visual story in an audio format. Sara Kingdom will underwhelm you and the story is full of a lot of standard sci-fi cliches. I'd definitely recommend skipping it.