(ISBN 1-903654-21-1)






 the Daleks have

 occupied planet

 Earth. By the 43rd

 century, only a

 handful of humans

 survive. Still further

 into the distant

 future, a Thal

 scientist must choose

 whether to betray

 his heritage, or see

 the universe



 When the Doctor and

 Nyssa find themselves

 trapped in this

 deadly chain of

 events, they must

 decide who their real

 enemies are. What is

 certain, however, is

 that no matter where

 the Doctor turns. . .

 his arch enemies, the

 Daleks, will be

 waiting for him.


 What could possibly

 be worse than that?

 The Mutant Phase...


 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT



The Mutant Phase

december 2000






“The Mutant Phase” is without a doubt the best of the first three Big Finish Dalek stories. For the most part, Nicholas Briggs does everything right with his story, not just in the writing of his script but also in his execution of it as director and in his performances in it providing various Dalek voices. The characters, the pace, the scope, and the cliffhangers are all first class, but where the story really excels is in how it takes the key elements of several previous Dalek stories and really raises the bar.


“The Mutant Phase” has the epic feel of “The Apocalypse Element”, but with just half the noise; it has the time paradox of “Day of the Daleks”, but with the more interesting setting of the established Dalek occupation of Earth in the mid twenty-second century; it sees the chilling Emperor Dalek from “The Evil of the Daleks” return; and, best of all, it has the

mutant phase itself. After “The Apocalypse Element”, Big Finish had to do something really mind-blowingly amazing to top the Daleks destroying a huge chunk of the universe, and with the mutant phase they create a foe that puts the likes of the Movellans and the Mechanoids to shame… something that the Daleks can really be afraid of.

In the far future, the universe is being devoured by gigantic space-faring creatures… creatures that the Daleks themselves are evolving into – the mutant phase. In a desperate attempt to save his race, the Emperor Dalek tries to capture the Doctor in a time corridor, hoping that the Doctor will save his archenemies from this even more malignant force. However, in doing so, the Emperor Dalek sets in motion a sequence of events which bring about the mutant phase, involving an American field full of genetically modified crops, a hole in a Dalek’s casing and a bee sting… very HG Wells.

Swept up in events, we see the Doctor and Nyssa visit the Earth of the far future which has been ravaged by the mutant phase, the Dalek-occupied Earth of 2158 - Mark Gatiss’ redneck Roboman is certainly something to be heard! - and even the Imperial Throne Room on Skaro.

I also like Gatiss’ second character of Karl, a dark and mysterious survivor on the future Earth who the Doctor goes to for information. So far for Big Finish, outside this story Gatiss has played a German submarine captain, a starship captain, a Knight of Velyshaa, and even the eighteenth century Jasper Jeake, not to mention having penned “Phantasmagoria”! Is there anything the League of Gentleman star cannot do within the Whoniverse?

Briggs also shows us the very best and very worst aspects of the fifth Doctor’s character. We see the Doctor put all the pieces of the puzzle together, always seeming to be that one step ahead of his opponents… but we also see him stand idly by, impotent as Nyssa’s young friend, Delores, is exterminated by the Daleks. As always, Peter Davison’s performance is beyond reproach. His portrayal of the Doctor is so good that it is easy to believe that this story was actually recorded as part of the 1981-1982 season rather than eighteen years later!

The two Thal scientists, Ptolem and Ganatus were also interesting inclusions, Briggs generating a lot of intrigue in the early part of the story by leaving us to wonder why exactly two Thals are helping their ancient enemies. The twist in the final episode involving Ganatus and the Emperor Dalek also works tremendously well, though unfortunately the climax of the story works rather less well. In fact, it is horrible. After three and half episodes of edge of the seat, behind the sofa, action-packed drama, Nicholas Briggs goes and presses the reset button, leaving us with an uncharacteristically smug fifth Doctor; a deus ex machina ending; and hell of a a lot of head-scratching to do.


If you can tolerate the disappointing ending, “The Mutant Phase” is a triumph in every other aspect. The Doctor and Nyssa have really come into their own as a two-person TARDIS crew, and Briggs’ sound design (and vocal talent) is breathtaking – particularly the Dalek Emperor which is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.


And so, all things considered, for the closest thing that you can get to a one-man-show outside a novel, you really have to take your hat off to Briggs for this immensely enjoyable audio. Absolutely awesome.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.

Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.