Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Big Finish Doctor Who 040 Jubilee

Go To
The Doctor and the Lone Dalek

"Jubilee" was loosely adapted into the TV episode "Dalek" by its author, Robert Shearman. The surnames of two of the actors here, Jane Goddard and Kai Simmons, would show up as characters in that episode too. It's also considered possibly the best episode Robert Shearman, and Colin Baker, ever did.

The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn arrive in the Tower of London (again) in 2003. Evelyn notices that the Tower is exceptionally dusty, and before she can investigate, the TARDIS vworps off in terror. The Doctor, meanwhile, has a sudden attack of Flash Sideways and starts clinging to Evelyn as though he hadn't seen her for a century.

England, meanwhile, is the political center of a powerful empire, and its Presidents have ruled the world since the great Dalek war of 1903. Dalek imagery is everywhere: on coffee cups, toys, t-shirt, in movies, songs, on toothpaste. Just as iconic as the Daleks is the imagery of the dashing Doctor and his Love Interest, Evelyn "Hot Lips" Smythe, who vanquished the Daleks during the war.

The Doctor tries to protest, and becomes the guest of President Nigel Rochester and his air-headed wife Miriam. Rochester is a ruthless dictator who spends his time assassinating people, insulting and hitting his wife, making weird and draconian laws, and fashioning little people into makeshift Dalek-shaped slaves for his entertainment. He also has one Dalek left to play with: the last survivor of the war, captured when its self-destruct function was disabled. Every once in awhile, it's shown to the people for motivational purposes. While it's held captive in its crippled state, it's tortured, interrogated, and occasionally boiled a bit to make delicious Dalek pus juice. And to celebrate the 100th anniversary, it'll be publicly executed. Confronted with the Doctor, the Dalek speaks for the first time in decades, and the Doctor is absolutely horrified by its torment. But a Dalek is a Dalek, and the Doctor's main priority is to get the timeline back on track. Because he sort of remembers fighting in that Dalek war, and — perhaps most terrifyingly — he doesn't remember escaping from it...

While Rochester takes the Doctor for a tour of his Crapsack World, Miriam reveals to Evelyn that she's not dumb at all. But she's been raised to be docile and self-loathing, as is every other woman in the world. She takes Evelyn along to see the mysterious captive of the empire... the old man in the wheelchair... the one who, you could almost say, created the Daleks. The trip leads Evelyn to the Tower of London (as usual), where she finds... the Doctor, who's been held captive there for 100 years. After Evelyn passed away of old age, he lost his mind, and when they took her bones away from him, his constant escape attempts eventually cost him his legs as well. And now he's incapable of recognizing Evelyn.

Rochester, meanwhile, confides in the present-day Doctor that he's not really evil. He's just a raving paranoid, terrified of Dalek spies. And that's why he has to be a heartless dictator to the entire world, including to Miriam. The Doctor tries to explain that there are no Dalek spies, but Rochester is convinced that there must be; otherwise why does everybody act so evil all the time?

Evelyn and Miriam plan to stage a daring revolution using the — very broken and very traumatized — Dalek. Evelyn immediately regrets this decision when it turns out that Miriam is batshit insane and actually believes wholesale in the regime's views, especially the misogynistic ones. The Dalek, now given back its gun, confronts the old Doctor in the Tower, reasoning that, as the conqueror of the Dalek race, he is its new commander and it asks him for new orders. The old Doctor bitterly laughs at the notion and tries to shoo the Dalek away, but this only prompts it to start begging him to give it some orders; any orders. The old Doctor, tired and broken, resignedly asks the Dalek to kill him, to which it complies, which makes the present-Doctor's flashes of the past intensify. He realizes that his presence in both time zones simultaneously is causing them to merge, and valiantly tries to keep this from happening through the power of his will. The Dalek is brought to the Jubilee celebration alongside Evelyn, the only creature left in the universe it feels any respect for, where they meet Rochester and the Doctor.

At the president's invitation, the Doctor gives a grand speech to the population to explain that they can't blame the cultural memory of the Daleks for their misery — they are exactly like the Daleks, and they exemplify how a society collapses in on itself when given absolute power. Miriam, in a fit of frothing insanity, takes this opportunity to deposes her husband and decides that the Dalek would make a fine ruler and asks to become his wife. At this point, the Doctor's tremendous will fails, and 2003 and 1903 merge, causing the Dalek invasion fleet to materialize at the Jubilee celebrations. The Lone Dalek, driven even more insane by experiencing Evelyn's kindness and convinced that the only way to prevent absolute power breeding corruption is to never attain absolute power, exterminates the Supreme Dalek and seizes control of the Dalek command circuits. He orders every Dalek on Earth to self-destruct for the glory of the Dalek race, then piteously begs Evelyn to kill him, which she regretfully does. The destruction of the invasion fleet in 2003 before the invasion has a chance to take hold in 1903 causes reality to snap back to the way it should be.

The Doctor and Evelyn comes to inside the Tower, which has gone back to its normal tourist-filled self. They then hear panicked screams from one of the tourists; it turns out that the normal timeline's version of Miriam, and she freaking out over how her beloved husband, Nigel, is suffering from a sudden heart attack. The Doctor manages to resuscitate Rochester, who recognizes as him as he wakes up, calling him "the saviour to us all". As paramedics turns up to help Rochester, he meekly tells the Doctor that all he ever wanted to was to be a good man, and he wonders if that will easier now. The Doctor tells him that it will have to be his own decision. Rochester thanks him and ensures him that he won't forget him, while Miriam also showers him with gratitude for saving her husband's life.

The Doctor, somewhat disturbed that Rochester still recognized him despite the fact the altered timeline never actually happened, tells Evelyn that he wants nothing more than to just get away from the Tower and London for the time being. Later, inside the TARDIS, Evelyn complains to the Doctor that she has trouble sleeping as every time she attempts to, she dreams of the Evelyn from 1903, and how she died, as if it actually happened to herself, and the Doctor tells her that he is having the same problem too. Evelyn wonders how it is possible, seeing how everything was put back to normal in the end, and the Doctor tells her a hundred years of humanity living out the worst, most depraved sides of themselves, and all the accumulated hatred and fear resulting from it, is not going to go way that easily, but will probably linger as a shadow in peoples' mind for some time, but only as the occasional dream and strange deja vus, which will be dismissed as pure fantasy by the ones experiencing them, as most will not think themselves capable of the cruel acts did in the other timeline, but he and Evelyn will know better. "The Daleks might be gone, but the evil men do will echo on forever," concludes the Doctor. Worried, Evelyn asks him if it can ever be as bad as what they saw in the other timeline. The Doctor says that maybe, if people are willing to confront the shadows in their minds and learn from the darker sides of history, things won't ever be that bad again.


  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Though not really a film. Part of the adventure has Daleks slaughtering people en masse, and Rochester and Miriam take this moment to declare their love for each other.
  • Alien Invasion: Twice, 100 years apart by the exact same Dalek invasion fleet due to the insanely twisted timelines.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Taken to horrifying extremes. The combination of Victorian Values and Dalek ideology means that it's a cultural norm for men to abuse and humiliate women, to the point that Miriam considers Nigel an unworthy husband not because he hits her, but because he doesn't hit her hard enough.
  • Alternate History: Where the British Empire never fell, and instead adopted Dalek technology and ideals, mutating into the far more racist, violent, expansionist, and generally psychotic English Empire, which has reconquered the USA, and is pretty much ruling the world at this point while steadily growing ever more insane and hateful due to the government and society desperately trying to emulate the Daleks.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Alternate Doctor has had his legs chopped off to keep him from attempting to escape.
    • Nigel later chops off the arm of an American little person to make him fit inside a Dalek prop.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The English Empire takes all the nastiest traits of the Nazis (genocidal racism, genetic purity obsession) and the nastiest traits of North Korea (a ruling dynasty of insanely brutal, bigoted, and well...insane dictators, the aping of their former oppressors, refusing to allow anyone to leave England) puts them in a blender, adds a decidedly unhealthy obsession with the Daleks, and then takes the resulting insanity up to eleven.
  • And Then What?: The question that ultimately breaks the Dalek. The Daleks exterminate all other life... and then what?
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Nigel and Miriam. Subverted in the "English Empire" timeline, but seemingly played straight in the "Real" timeline where Miriam is distraught over Nigel's mysterious heart attack.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Throughout the first third of the story, there's constant references to the old man in the wheelchair, locked in the Tower of London for 100 years... the creator of the Daleks. Turns out that it's not Davros. It's the Doctor.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: An American little person disguised as a Dalek impersonates a British one.
    Dalek: "Alright lads!"
  • Call-Back:
    • The Doctor and Evelyn, being in the Tower. Again.
    • A subtle callback to "Genesis of the Daleks" is seen in some official art for the episode, which shows that the uniform of English Empire soldiers is near identical to that of Nyder and Davros, further hinting of how the English Empire is becoming more and more like the Daleks.
  • Central Theme: The story uses the Daleks to symbolise Britain's history - just as the Daleks are beloved cultural icons to the listeners but vicious, murderous monsters to the characters, so the Tower of London (and by extension all of Britain's history) is presented as a sanitised, commodified tourist trap to visitors, turning hundreds of years of vicious political brutality into mere trivia for tourists. The Dalek says it doesn't know the history of the Tower, it is the history of the Tower - murder.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Nigel is this in spades as exemplified in how he "makes new Daleks to play with" (He has people with dwarfism imported from England's vassal states and mutilated to fit in Dalek Shells). Though he is hardly alone, as the entire population of the English Empire is on the crazy train it seems, including Miriam who turns out to be fucking NUTS.
  • Defiant to the End: Despite losing his legs, his companion and his sanity, the Alternate Doctor goes out laughing at how pathetic and worthless his Dalek killer is, even while it is practically begging him to become its new master and offering to help him take revenge.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The worst extremes of Victorian age attitudes to race and gender became exponentially worse in the years after the 1900 Dalek Invasion.
  • Domestic Abuse: Nigel is nauseatingly enthusiastic about his violent physical and emotional abuse of Miriam, and this is implied to be the norm for men of the English Empire, so much so that Miriam's only reason for wanting Nigel overthrown is that he is "too weak", and she is eager to uphold the insane misogyny of the empire, and in fact begs the Dalek to be her husband and to "hit hard enough to break the skin". Yeah... this society is monumentally fucked up.
  • Enemy Mine: The Dalek prisoner is so broken by the torture It offers to become the servant of the Alternate!Doctor in order to get revenge for their torture and suffering.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The English Empire used Dalek technology to take over the world.
  • Exact Words: A bloodless revolution.
    "It will be bloodless. Dalek guns don't puncture the skin."
  • Fake American: The Americans.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The Cold Open is a Big Finish advert for a Doctor destroying a bunch of Daleks who cackle evilly and scream "scarper!" instead of "retreat!" It's helped by the fact that it's done by Nicholas Briggs, who does the real trailers that sometimes run before the episode proper in the tracklist. It's entirely possible to think you're listening to the trailer of the real next episode, right up until things get weird.
  • Family Business: The position of President. It has been passed through Nigel's family since his Great-Grandfather.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Alternate Six.
  • Female Misogynist: Miriam has bought the English Empire's misogynist propaganda hook, line, and sinker, and her main problem with Rochester is that his abuse doesn't go far enough. When she points out that he struck her but "didn't break the skin," it first sounds like a reassurance; it turns out to be a lament.
  • Fictional Holiday: The Jubilee - usually a 100-year celebration is just called a centenary "Jubilees" are more common for 25 (silver), 50 (gold), 60 (diamond) and 70-year (platinum) celebrations, but it makes for a better title, and for British people is much more likely to conjure up images of street parties, bunting and celebration than "centenary".
  • Flash Sideways: Happens several times to the Doctor, due to sporadic telepathic contact with his alternate self.
  • Freedom from Choice: The Dalek is so used to following orders that even after a 100 years of no orders when the gun is returned the Daleks wants it removed so it doesn't have to give orders.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Implied in the backstory. The 1903 Doctor and Evelyn were aided by President Rochester's grandfather, who was apparently a labourer. Yet somehow he ended up the English equivalent of Kim Il-sung.
  • Grammar Nazi: Played disturbingly literally, as in this alternate future the English are forbidden to contract words (after all, Daleks don't contract words, do they?). Isn't, didn't, wasn't, haven't etc. are NOT allowed, with it being an arrestable offence. Miriam's overuse of contractions in Nigel's presence results in a violent beating. None of this is played for laughs.
  • Go for the Eye: "Our scientists have recently discovered your optic nerve.."
  • Heroic Build: The statue of the Doctor in Trafalgar square has, in his words "Bulging muscles"
  • History Repeats: Literally this time. The Time Crash means the same Dalek invasion happens simultaneously in 1903 and 2003
  • Hotter and Sexier: The "re-imagined" Evelyn. "Hot Lips" indeed.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Holy hell are humans the real monsters here. Things in the story have gotten to the point that the sheer sadistic insanity of humans has essentially broken the mind of a Dalek, to the point of it seeing them as "worthy inheritors" of the Dalek empire and it is desperate enough to beg the Alternate Sixth Doctor for help, and one feels rather happy to see the Daleks show up and start exterminating them.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Farrow wants the Dalek to kill Lieutenant Lamb with its newly replaced Dalek gun (supposedly to prove it can, but Farrow is clearly getting a disturbing kick out of the thought of watching). The Dalek instead forces him to cut Lamb's throat... but he can't go through with it, even while he insists he understands power because he's signed thousands of death warrants. So the Dalek tells Lamb to shoot Farrow instead. Lamb, a soldier like the Dalek, doesn't hesitate.
  • Large Ham: Rochester, Rochester, Rochester. You can practically hear Martin Jarvis picking bits of scenery out of his teeth between takes.
  • Language Equals Thought: Contractions are banned in this timeline. Aren't they?
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Miriam murders her husband in order to represent the human race as its supreme leader while negotiating with the Daleks. Sadly for her, it turns out that the Daleks were only asking for the identity of the leader in order to exterminate them. Oops. The people of the English Empire themselves get one as they finally encounter their beloved Daleks en-masse and discover what it feels like to be slaughtered by a so-called "master race".
  • Laughing Mad: The 1903 Doctor, whose sanity is already hanging on by a thread, goes overboard when the Dalek wants him to give it some orders.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Cold Open, a trailer narrated by Nicholas Briggs... for something that's decidedly not a real Doctor Who episode.
  • Man in the Iron Mask: The mysterious wheelchair-bound man who "created" the Daleks, locked in the Tower and his existence is a state secret.
  • The Merch: invokedDalekade, Dalek Squash, Dalek Rollercoasters. Something of a Mythology Gag, given the real world craze of "Dalekmania" back in the Sixties.
    Evelyn: You've taken something that is wholly evil and merchandised it.
  • Merchandising the Monster: The audio is set in an alternate timeline, where the UK defeated a Dalek invasion in 1903. A hundred years later, as the English Empire celebrates the jubilee of its victory, Dalek merch is everywhere, in a parody of real world Dalekmania.
  • Merged Reality: The arrival of the 2003 version of the Doctor and Evelyn sets off a Time Crash which eventually forces the Dalek invasion of 1903 to simultaneously happen in 2003... and collapse the English Empire timeline entirely, erasing the entire affair out of history.
  • Mood Whiplash: This story starts with one, just to let you know what you're in for. First you hear the trailer for the movie about the Doctor beating the Daleks ("It's the Doctor! Scarper! Scarper!")... then the trailer announces attendance is mandatory at your designated cinema and finishes with "All hail the glorious English Empire!" Some pitch-black comedy later in the episode makes for the same effect.
  • My Greatest Failure: Evelyn's death is this to the alternate Doctor.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Zigzagged with Miriam, the President's wife. Underneath her idiocy, there's a very clever mind. Underneath that very clever mind, there's an insane, blithering idiot.
  • Only Sane Man: Nigel Rochester thinks he's this. He's not. So does Miriam. She's not either. In fact the only vaguely sane character outside Evelyn and the Doctor is the captured Dalek who has actually become saner than the other Daleks by the end due to its realization of the fundamental insanity of the Dalek's beliefs.
  • Pet the Dog: The Lone Dalek won't let anyone hurt Evelyn.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Rochester and Miriam — he shows childlike glee with his Dalek collection and "toys," even while cheerfully mutilating people to fit into them; she spends one minute making clandestine alliances, then squeeing over hair and makeup the next. In this way, at least, they really are made for each other.
  • Public Execution: Planned for the Dalek, then later for Rochester, then briefly for the Doctor. Surprisingly, nobody actually gets publicly executed in the end. A Dalek invasion will do that.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Lamb honestly doesn't seem to care whose orders he's obeying, so long as they don't kill him.
  • Putting on the Reich: The English Empire does a lot of talking about "racial purity" and has Stormtroopers. Enough said.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The cold-open to part one, complete with snickering Daleks & the Doctor as an action hero.
  • Reality Bleed: The Doctor realizes that the presence of himself, or rather both versions of himself, Evelyn and the TARDIS is causing 1903 and 2003 to slowly bleed into each other.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Doctor gives an epic one to the people of the English Empire, telling them they are no different from the Daleks.
  • Relieved Failure: President Rochester is absolutely over the moon to be ousted from power by his wife and reduced to living in a ditch in the middle of a Dalek invasion (once he's finished panicking, of course). He's spent most of his presidency driving himself completely insane with the self-inflicted delusion that he was only "pretending" to be a vile despot in order to appease imaginary Dalek masters, and now that the Daleks are finally here, he doesn't have to pretend anymore - he can just be a slave.
  • Running Gag: The Doctor getting locked in the Tower of London gets probably its grimmest iteration - the other Evelyn died there, and the Doctor is left there for a hundred years without his sanity or his legs.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Miriam is an insane, self-hating woman who fully believes the regime's misogynistic ideas about all women being stupid, docile, and harmless. Evelyn uses this to sneak away from her, telling her that since she is just a "silly woman", there is no reason to keep a watchful eye on her all the time since she couldn't possibly do anything to derail her plans anyway.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Played for Drama, as the different accent of the Americans (who have been subjugated by the English empire) is used as a justification to regard them as untermench to be enslaved or destroyed.
  • Sherlock Can Read: Soon after arriving and the TARDIS vanishing behind them, the Doctor ponders where they are, deducing from the acoustics and the style of the room that they're in a chapel about twelve feet above ground level but not knowing more. Evelyn quickly notes that they're in the chapel of Saint John the Evangelist, in the Tower of London. When asked how she could tell that, she notes the age of the stone, the vaulted ceilings, and the information plaque. The Doctor can't help but chuckle to this.
    The Doctor: That's cheating.
    Evelyn: Merely making the most of the clues given to me. Not my fault it's a whopping big clue.
  • Shout-Out: "And starring Plenty O'Toole as Evelyn "Hot Lips" Smythe."
  • Rags to Riches: Nigel Rochester's great-grandfather was a greengrocer but became the Doctor's Lieutenant and apparently the first President.
  • The Empire: The massively screwed-up English Empire which is about as nightmarishly evil as an empire built on imitating the Daleks can get.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: The Doctor manages to get an Armour-Piercing Question through the mad Dalek: Exactly what are they going to do when they win? The Dalek's answer is that they'll turn on each other. Eventually leaving one lonely and thoroughly mad Dalek like him, who is in no way a Supreme Ruler of anything. So he figures the Daleks can only become Supreme Rulers if they don't become Supreme Rulers... and things deteriorate from there.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: OHH boy. The TARDIS makes a bad landing and deposits the Doctor and Evelyn in both 1903 and 2003, where the earlier pair defeat a 1903 Dalek invasion. So when the '03 versions of the Doctor and Evelyn arrive in the "English Empire", they trigger a slow Time Crash as the paradox of two (technically identical) versions of them in the same place tries to resolve itself. Eventually, the 1903 invasion starts happening in 2003 as well, then the whole paradox collapses back to the real timeline. Except that the real-timeline Rochester has just had a "heart attack" from being stabbed-and-not-stabbed at the same time. The Doctor and Evelyn have foggy memories of the experiences of the 1903 versions themselves from the Jubilee timeline too. And some other people, who've lived utterly normal lives in the real timeline are going to have some strange dreams about dying, or Daleks, or torturing people whenever they're near the Tower.
  • Torture Porn: Though it is not directly portrayed, it is clear the alternate Six has been through plenty of this; having lost his mind, his companion, and his legs. We do get to hear the Dalek be tortured, though.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Unnervingly, the lone Dalek's experiences at the hands of humanity drive it utterly insane and make it realize just how futile its own existence, and the existence of the whole Dalek race, is in the end. The torture inflicted on Dalek made it saner.
  • Tuneless Song of Madness: Miriam merrily sings "God Save The Queen" while getting ready to oversee her husband's murder - and moments after receiving Farrer's head as a present, too. For good measure, she substitutes the last line as "God Save Me."
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
    • Played straight with the Doctor who is utterly disgusted and horrified at the esteem the English Empire has for him, as well as the respect the Dalek survivor has for him. Hideously subverted with the English Empire itself which is obsessed with emulating the worst aspects of the Dalek and gaining said survivor's approval.
    • The Lone Dalek is so traumatized after experiencing the sadism of the English Empire for a century and witnessing their Dalek-imitating society crumble under its own evil and brutality, that it realizes the Dalek Empire will suffer a similar fate should they ever attain total victory. So it decides to wipe out the Daleks entirely.