Series Synopsis: Romana’s proud new Gallifrey is falling – the Daleks have come tbyhrough the Axis from one universe, preparing to conquer all others. Swarming through the corridors of the Capitol, the Daleks seek, locate and exterminate everyone they find – because they are searching for something, a something they believe will give them domination over the entirety of existence. And it can only be found on this particular Gallifrey. Whatever happens, wherever Romana, Leela and Narvin go, the Daleks will pursue them until they have what they want. But elsewhere, someone else in another reality has a plan of their own, and is waiting for the right moment to confront Romana. Is this salvation or the ultimate betrayal?
Noble Savage: ‘Romana has always been my friend and I shall always support her…’ Leela believes that those who tell stories about the Daleks are cowards, those who watch but do not fight. She’s a survivor (thank goodness) and she has a story of her own to tell. At the end of the last series Leela was furious with Romana and parting company with her forevermore. It was an appalling state of affairs and I thought the creative hands behind Gallifrey had gone doolally tat (especially since they had also erased my other two favourite elements – K.9 and Braxiatel). However a Dalek invasion forces them to put their differences aside (which makes me wonder why it was necessary to cause such a dramatic rift between them in the first place) and look after each other. Just the way I like it. Leela was always Romana’s protector in the first three series of Gallifrey and it was a role that suited her down to the ground. If there is blood to be shed then she will be amongst it despite Narvin’s objections. Leela thought that everybody was following her because she had a plan when in reality she just ran on ahead of them. She can be used for comic relief, too. I love the role reversal for Romana and Leela when it comes to facing a helpless Dalek, the former enjoys persecuting one whereas Leela shows pity on another.
Snidey Sidekick: That’s not a nickname that Narvin really deserves anymore, but I still rather like it. He can’t regenerate ever again and he is frightened of the Daleks. There is definite chemistry between Sean Carlsen and Louise Jameson, it was one of the few positive things I found to say about series V. Leela acknowledges that Narvin is not the man he used to be and he chooses to face his death head on and fight by her side. It’s a lovely moment. Narvin is a thinker, that’s what he brings to the party and it is his determination that convinces Romana that they could take on a squadron of Daleks.
Standout Performance: Nick Briggs’ Dalek that is tortured by Romana. Wowzas.
‘I want to know how this story ends for all of us. And if today’s the day and this is our final chapter like you say well, I’m determined to make it a good one.’
‘This is where it ends. You and I, at point blank range with a weapon I don’t have the faintest idea how to use…’
‘So the Destroyer of Worlds finally became the creator of worlds. Let’s hope I can finally save my own.’
Great Ideas: The idea of having a roll call of monologues at the beginning of the tale to introduce us to the horror of the Daleks and re-introduce us to the characters that were left standing at the end of series V was a terrific notion. It’s an arresting opening, informative and attention grabbing. Davros (via the Doctor) gave the Daleks concepts and knowledge of other worlds that they should never have had and set them on their task of bringing the rest of the universe to heel. Denying them pity, they did so viciously. Scott Handcock has been delivering some fine work over on the Bernice and Dorian Gray ranges so it is only fair that he is handed the reward of getting to play with the best toys in the box. Are the Daleks scavenging the multiverse for some kind of multiversal anomaly? They plan to make Romana’s adopted Gallifrey their base of power in this universe, a springboard to wreck havoc across the enormity of the Axis. That’s a pretty terrifying concept, Daleks spreading into every possible universe, creating chaos and slaughtering millions ad infinitum. Despite being portrayed by my good pal Peter Sheward, Castellan Slyne made very little impression on me in the previous season, he seemed to be introduced and then vanish for the length of a bible before re-emerging towards the climax. He is immediately much more striking in Gallifrey VI because rather than indulging in petty politicking (and nobody can hold a candle to Inquisitor Darkel when it comes to that) he is messing with the Daleks now, a dangerous game that he seems rather adept at playing. A squad of eight Daleks is more than enough to lay waste to an entire sector of the galaxy. Considering the use of the New Series Daleks in Gallifrey VI it is bound to generate some discussion about how this segues into the Time War (with a story about Daleks invading Gallifrey how can it not?). I want to wait and see how things pan out first. What I did appreciate was a mention of The Apocalypse Element, the Daleks’ first attempt to invade Gallifrey Prime and Romana’s involvement in that. You can take lots of steps throughout Doctor Who to guide you to the Time War; the Doctor’s attempt to avert their creation in Genesis of the Daleks, the Daleks attempt to invade Gallifrey in The Apocalypse Element, the Doctor wiping Skaro off the face of the universe in Remembrance of the Daleks…and now the events of Gallifrey VI. Experimental, underdeveloped weaponry to defeat the Daleks with? The Daleks know that the Time Lords harbour secrets in every alternative universe which they thought they would try to plunder through the Axis. There is a Dalek Co-ordinator stationed in the Axis that examines every timeline and predicts what they would encounter in each universe.
Musical Cues: I still love the revised Gallifrey theme. It worms into your head and I find myself humming it at inopportune moments. Darlington’s organ of death that was such a popular staple of the ranges first three years gets an appropriate revival this series and I can’t think of better excuse for such a portentous score than an invasion by Daleks. The one stirring thing about Romana’s goodbye speech was the music. Good job.
Isn’t it Odd: Was Councillor Allora in the last series? I don’t remember her at all. Mind you I have tried to wipe most of the material from my mind. Anomaly or not, she is culled pretty sharply (and channels Ressurection of the Daleks for an overwrought extermination death rattle). The only note of character that doesn’t ring true is Romana’s melancholy in her goodbye speech to her adopted Gallifrey. It never felt as though she had truly settled in and made a life for herself and the majority of the audience wanted her back home anyway. It’s a perfunctory scene that had to be fitted in but I wont pretend it moved me.
Standout Scene: There’s a gorgeous moment when Romana and Leela are reunited and they practically fall into each others arms with relief. Finally these characters are back to where they need to be, as firm friends. The real life chemistry between Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson spills across into their characters and it is a joy to bask in it. ‘This is Leela, a friend of mine. My best friend.’