I, Davros: Innocence Review

I, Davros: Innocence
Written by Gary Hopkins
Released by Big Finish Productions

Review by Andre Panero

Finally we’ve had confirmed what we always knew; Davros always was a bastard it seems, in the most literal sense of the word.

Big Finish’s miniseries on Davros’ journey from troubled teen to twisted creator of the Daleks gets off to a cracking start with this slice of Skarosian soap. We meet Davros’ scheming, dominating mother Lady Calcula (played with joyous venom by Carolyn Jones), his foolhardy, fascistic dad Colonel Nasgard (Richard Franklin) and permanently appalled older sister Yarvell  (Lizzie Hopley).

The Thal/Kaled war has been going on for centuries and is no nearer being won; young Davros (Rory Jennings) is sixteen years old and likes to spend most of his time examining the strange creatures in Drammankin lake near the Nasgard family home. His older sister is just about to enter the Military Youth, but no one seems to know what to do with kid brother; should he join the military like his ‘father’ Nasgard, or should he become a scientist as his politician mum wants him to be? Like most sixteen year olds Davros doesn’t really know either and resents it when mum arranges extra lessons for him under the auspices of Tutor Magrantine (Peter Sowerbutts). However, he soon changes his tune when he finds that Magrantine is conducting experiments with a radiation chamber and living tissue.  It is not long before he is conducting experiments of his own, first on some unfortunate survivors of a Thal missile and then on Tutor Magrantine himself.

Even at this tender age it seems, Davros is a force to be reckoned with, although the story also demonstrates his other side, for as well as being a murderous psychopath he also happens to be a budding boy genius. He demonstrates a fascination for the natural world and an acute awareness of the dark forces that are tearing his home-world apart. When a bird dies near the lake he quickly deduces that it has been killed by poison gas and realises that the war, which had seemed so far away is drawing rapidly closer. He seems both appalled and fascinated by the prospect, a contradiction that is echoed in the scene where he dissects his first irradiated cadaver.

It is soon apparent that this is the first of many, since although the Thals and the Kaleds have yet to go down the nuclear route in their protracted conflict it is obvious that this will happen soon, otherwise why would Councillor Quested  (Sean Connolly) be asking Magrantine about the effects of a nuclear attack on the so far dome-less Kaled city?

From the Big Finish website it is clear that this series has lots more treats in store, including the return of Nyder (with Peter Miles reprising this role that he first played over thirty years ago) and some further exploration of the Shan storyline that the ‘Davros’ audio touched on in flashback form. The series will cover the majority of Davros’ left up to a point just before the Doctor enters in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’, thus ensuring that there are no gaps left in his life story. Whether this is a good thing or not, remains to be seen. I think however that this audio does demonstrate once again the strengths of the character once he is removed from his creations.

Article © 2006 Andrew Panero/Visagraph Films Internataional.