Well, it's that time again sports fan as the DWADs release the premiere episode of a David Segal Dalek story from the mists of time before Jeff Coburn arrived and stories even started to approach being listenable. You know, listening to contemporary AV The Secret of Nematoda, it's easy to see the gulf in quality. More actors, original music, better sound quality, vaguely new plots... I think it can be summed up in the scene where two conversations occur simultaneously in the same scene, yet we can hear and understand both. You STILL don't get that kind of variety in DWADs to this day. Even with a proper actor as the Doctor, there's still the sneaking suspicion the episodes are compiled from random soundbites (I refuse to believe that JKF and the guy playing Charlie were ever in the same room at the same time for example). As good friend Mr. Hansen points out, in terms of story the AVs were not exactly the amazing leap forward the legends have it, and it seems more that the AVs were the best thing ever - it's just that all the other fan audios were much, much worse.
So, Day of the Daleks. No, not the really nifty Pertwee story with time paradoxes and a Dalek voice so nasal it'll make you pine for Briggsy, but the DWAD version. The Segal Doctor has finally got away from his predecessor's UNIT blur/era and ditched Sarah Jane Smith into the bargain (stop cheering at the back or I'll demand you explain how this should be fitted into TV canon). And so...
You know I have to admit that the poor quality of the sound actually makes the theme tune sound better - while everything is two rooms away, the music seems to come from a deeper pantheon in the vortex of horror. OK. A horrible loud vibration that only my skilled Whovianologist powers of deduction show is actually the TARDIS landing. Someone's talking but I can't hear much over the windy atmos. I'll assume it's the Segal Doctor but anyone who's read my review of the last ep will know I spent the whole episode trying to work out which one he was (a clear opposite to The Call of Pudsey where he plays 80% of the cast and none particularly well).
Yep. Sure is windy. Positively arctic. Something about the Doctor wondering whether to stay or go. I honestly have no idea. He's talking about coyotes or something, I think. Oh, sounds like the idiot's fallen over. "I can tell he's been drinking," says a voice that could be anyone. And... a helicopter landing? Seriously, this is like trying to make sense of a mime fest on SBS with the antennae broken.
You know, if this guy IS the Doctor/Dave Segal he's not quite how I expected. When asked by the helicopter (?) owner if he needs a lift, the guy goes, "Ahhhhhhhh, yeah," like a neutered Quagmire. Apart from the 'ahhhhh's there's nothing remotely stolen from Tom Baker. At least nothing I can work out. He just says "Yeah" in an awkward tone of voice. A lot. Which is annoying as between that and the atmos, I can barely tell the moments where he saying anything else, let alone decipher what it is.
Well, it's definitely the Doctor. So he's in a car that sounds like a helicopter being driven by some friendly guy who has a name but I don't know what it is, but he has little time for drunk drivers. Oh, and it's raining. So the Doctor and the driver go to the nearest dry bar and order ginger pop and tea. Respectively. Thrill-a-minute listening as you can imagine. And they are in England. Wonder what that crap about the coyotes was all about?
In a mumbling ramble of clearly improvised dialogue, the Doctor reveals he's looking for Sarah Jane Smith (didn't she dump your ass in the previous story? Honestly, I'm confused, is that what happened?) and has luckily got a lift from the one guy who might know her. Gosh, what a coincidence! This half-assed dialogue is really a joy to listen to - like really crap warm-up men trying to entertain a crowd...
"Does she work on one of the newspapers?"
"Ahh. Yes. The Daily. Tribune."
"The Tribune. Uh, yeah. I, er, I pick that one up every once in a while. Yes, er, she works there. But I haven't seen her though."
"Whatever. So she's a journalist."
"Yeah. Yeah. I've read some of her... journals."
...you can't make this smeg up!
A passer by wanders up and explains he knows all about Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor and is willing to direct them to her so the Doctor and his driver (pausing only to pay the 94 cents (?!) for their drinks at the bar) before the Doctor sees something and nearly causes a car accident - which of course is described with strange Zygon-like burps and helicopter buzzings. The Doctor gets out (for some reason) and decides to cross an unstable suspension bridge (for some reason) in the sleet and thunderous rain (for some reason). His driver - the other guy seemingly having vanished... assuming they're not actually the same guy and I'm just confused - makes lots of unhelpful "gosh, that bridge looks likely to collapse" comment and, get this sports fans, THE BRIDGE COLLAPSES!
Wow. That was barely five minutes. There were no Daleks. No monsters. No nothing. The Doctor goes to a roadside cafe and then stupidly walks across a bridge that collapses. You couldn't have sold this to Doctor Who back in 1968! It's THAT BAD!
What a crushing disappointment, especially after the high standards of bafflement and bewilderment laid down by its own sequel. I am suitably unimpressed!