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'Masters of War'

CD audio adventure released December 2008, 2 episodes

Writer: Eddie Robson
Director: Jason Haigh-Ellery

Roots: Bob Dylan's 'Masters of War'. "It'll all be over by Christmas"

Intertextuality: Terry Nation's original outline for The Daleks revealed an alien third party race responsible for manipulating the Dalek-Thal war.

Dialogue Triumphs: "I welcome the death of this planet. It has brought me only pain and frustration."

"Repression is the only lasting philosophy, the dark deference of fear and slavery"

Alistair to the Doctor: "You're not interested in heroics, and no matter how professional we try to be, we humans can never shake it off!"

"A chap could spend years looking for the perfect place; let's try to make a perfect place."

Dialogue Disasters: "They caught another. I don't know who, but that truth detector evasion technique is working"

Continuity: Skaro is a cold world, and was previously visited by the Doctor during the 'Great Seige', an uprising which he was instrumental in "hundreds of years" previously. The Kalto province is a rural area. There are streets and a curfew in pace. There is a path to a pocket dimension in Skaro's heart.

The incubation project turns Thals into Daleks. Dalek behaviour is governed by a number of artificial limiters and some re-routing of neural pathways. Dalek cities have bullet trains. Daleks can't tell the difference between Thals and humans

The Quatch Empire are an alien race who exist in a state between dimensions. The first Quatch attack, known by the Thals as "the Invisible Assault" was during the Thal Empire, "hundreds" of years ago, during which time they provoked a war between the militaristic Thals and their conscripted troops the Kaleds. Davros was crippled during the assault and wooed over to the Quatch side while the aliens provided the Kaleds with technology which would equal them with their Thal masters.

Davros is a figure of legend, his presence sustained through computer-generated images and recorded 'teachings' to his creations. Believed to have disappeared while on an off-world pilgrimage, the matter of his survival and belief over it (or his death) have created factions within Dalek society. Forewarned of the return of the Quatch, Skaro's Daleks have returned from their quest to find Davros to protect the Thals (whether they want this or not.)

Alistair encountered Daleks back in 1972; three Daleks killed 47 of his men, which was later cited as evidence of his incompetence. He says the Daleks have visited Earth "several times" since and refers to Berlin "before the wall came down." He had wanted to be in the air force when younger, but vertigo put paid to that. This journey was supposed to be a holiday for Alistair - he thinks the Doctor is trying to make up for lost time.

The Doctor regards himself a reluctant leader, and tries to nip wars in the bud as much as possible. Someone once told him "a Dalek doesn't change its bumps" (though he calls them sensor arrays.) He has never heard of Davros.

Previous Adventures: The Brigadier antagonised natives and their "god" whose "enchanted spear" was a slim-line maser cannon capable of ripping someone apart "atom by atom" or even damaging the TARDIS. The Doctorr had removed its power cell but had to effect a quick dematerialisation and therefore the TARDIS controls need to be recalibrated.

Links: Sympathy for the Devil, Alistair's early Dalek invasion memory is likely Day of the Daleks (or some version thereof), while the Doctor refers to the Dalek Invasion of Earth. The Doctor calls Alistair "splendid chap." Planet of the Daleks (a distress beacon activating on the removal of a dalek dome), and Death to the Daleks (removable Daleks guns) Davros ("a Dalek can't change its bumps")

Location: Skaro, "hundreds of years" after the Great Seige (The Daleks)

The Bottom Line: "Although it is not quite the end I envisaged, I feel it strikes the appropriate note"

There's a bittersweet aspect to Masters of War, the last fully-cast audio to feature the Brigadier but not an 'official' Doctor, and yet with Sympathy For the Devil being such a triumph of the first Unbound season, Robson's script is very much a seamless sequel. If anything, it's the exploration of the Brigadier as a restless soldier wanting to settle down and make a difference which is the better story, overshadowing David Warner's Doctor and Terry Molloy's even further-embittered Davros. The Quatch make for a vague enemy - fey, and distinctly lacking in 'sass', but it's a ripping yarn and, despite its Unbound trappings, a satisfactory last outing for the Brigadier.

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