I, Davros

This is just a brilliant sequence of audio plays – apparently now available with the set of BBC Davros DVDs, which does make that sound like an even more attractive purchase, and comes close to conferring the stamp of accepted canonicity on the stories. Davros is, of course, perhaps the only character for whom you could develop a detailed back-story like this; the Master is too closely linked with the Gallifrey mythology, and there are not really any other villains of serious depth (some might come close – I have a high regard for Mavic Chen, myself.) This could have turned into the most awful fanwank, but in fact we have a tight, taut set of plays depicting the rise of Davros through the ranks of the Kaled leadership on Skaro against the background of the “Forever War” against the Thals. Terry Molloy reprises the title role (apart from most of the first play), and in the last play we get Peter Miles as Nyder.

In Innocence, Rory Jennings becomes the fourth actor to portray Davros, but at the start rather than end of his career, as a callous little budding megalomaniac scientist – we completely understand how the youth becomes the Davros we know. An excellent depiction of a troubled family background in an intricate and violent political situation; of all the stories, this shows the most obvious homage to Robert Graves, and that’s not a bad thing.

Terry Molloy comes back in Purity, to tell the story of young Davros’ entry to the military elite and the continuation of the story of his calculating mother, Calcula. Lots of glorious references to canonical Skaro lore, including not just the Mutos from Genesis of the Daleks but also the Varga plants from Mission to the Unknown/The Daleks’ Master Plan; and the political leader of the Kaleds is the Kaled Supremo, a very nice touch. The plot is perhaps the least original of the four stories – Davros and friends sent on a mission which is fore-ordained to failure – but it’s very enjoyable.

Corruption reprises quite a lot of the material from the earlier BF Davros play, but in my view (and I may be in a minority) does it much better, going through the court politics around Davros’s increasing hold over the Kaled Supremo, and of course what he finally does to his mother, a crucial bit of psychology, at the end of which he adopts her “children”, the Kaled Youth movement, at the same time as preparing the inevitable future for the Kaleds’ children as a whole.

Guilt is the only true prequel of the four stories, in that it deliberately takes us just up to the point before Genesis of the Daleks, with Davros overcoming disability and captivity to join forces with Nyder (Peter Miles brilliantly reprising the role) and develop the elements which are to be united in the form of the Daleks. Even though the trajectory is pretty much pre-set, it is again an excellent ride.

In summary, a brilliant set of four plays, which I suspect would stand on their own as dramas even for a non-Who fan.

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1 Response to I, Davros

  1. nwhyte says:

    At its best, LJ also had a good community feel about it. But the migration of interesting material to elsewhere has weakened that.

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