Stockbridge used to be such a lovely place. The loveliest village in all England, according to the guide books. But hardly anyone visits Stockbridge now: a few tourists, a couple of Trust guides, the odd beady-eyed raven.
But something is coming to Stockbridge. Something which turns village cricketers into ravening zombies — a plague such as the Earth has never seen, falling through history from a time when humanity's greatest enemy was a race known as the Daleks.
Nyssa and the Doctor have undergone temporal transference after the explosion of the time bubble and have been anchored by a space-time event. It appears they have landed in Stockbridge in an old, dusty building, on observing Sir Justin's statue, and realise they are in a church. They decide to go out and ask someone where they are and if they can find the TARDIS. They arrive at the Green Dragon but it is empty. Suddenly they are greeted by an old woman, Ms. Margery Withers, the sister of Alice Withers. When they ask her what year it is, she ignores them and goes to get their food and drink. The Doctor, based on the technology in the bar, including a touch-screen register, places it in the early 21st century. Finding the food rotten and stale, they pay, leave a tip and head back outside. Out in the winter storm, they hear noises and spot carrion crows which attack the Doctor. Fearing a second one, they duck into a nearby cottage.
Inside, the Doctor says that the crows could've easily killed them but didn't, so perhaps they were trying to warm them. Moving through the cottage, they look out through the back where the weather has turned to spring. They step out and notice the winter snow is quickly melting away and they hear a cricket match in the distance, deciding to go have a look, perturbed by the time fluctuations. They go to talk to the spectators to see if they've seen a blue police box but suddenly the players stop, and ominously begin to approach them. They then see a spaceship overhead. They ask the spectators who's in the ship but receive no useful reply. The ship lands so they go and greet the new arrivals. The Doctor introduces himself and Nyssa but the two arrivals, Isaac and Lysette Barclay, are startled at their presence since it shouldn't be possible given the obscurity of the location. Isaac asks if they're "Trust Inspectors", here to shut down their tour program and the Doctor confirms this, only for the sake of learning more. He assures Isaac though that they just want to observe and they don't necessarily file any closure report. It turns out they run a Stockbridge Historic Heritage tour along with their technician Dobson to show people an example of a preserved old English village and bring passengers from outside the galaxy to have a holiday and learn about the place. The Doctor explains to Nyssa that in the 45th century most of the earth's population has left and the solar flares make the planet almost uninhabitable. Isaac explains that they have brought a new lot of passengers to Stockbridge in order to learn more about the place. He reveals to the Doctor privately that tour sizes have been dropping and he partially blames the lack of funding which the Doctor agrees. He tells Isacc they would like to help in the preservation. Isaac, upon hearing this, warms up to the Doctor. Nyssa asks about the villagers where it is revealed that they're actually clones whose lives are shortening due to repetitive cloning. The Doctor asks if this is the case with the wildlife, such as the crows but Isaac says there should be artificial life-forms known as owls. Nyssa asks whether the problem is time itself leaking because earlier they had heard carols coming from the Church and other strange noises, as if the past was bleeding into the present but Isaac laughs and explains that they use a sound archive and play sounds during the tour to enhance the experience for the tourists/guests. Lysette tells Isaac she's ready to take the guests around the village and the Doctor agrees with Lysette's request to take Nyssa (so she can keep an eye out) with her while the Doctor says he's going to go take a look at the environment system with Isaac's permission since Isaac wants to check on them to know if that was the cause of their earlier disturbances.
On Lysette's tour they encounter many oddities of the village. One appears as a black cloud over the green fields. The Doctor takes a look at the environment systems and is rather worried about how advanced the system is, asking if they had outside help in creating this while Isaac reports that the authorised tech is on the way, and they aren't allowed to touch it without permission. Suddenly outside the villagers begin to collapse as rain pours, seeming as if they're being burned by acid, and the Doctor is worried for Nyssa and Lysette...
The Doctor asks Isaac for a comm-link to try and contact Nyssa and Lysette. Suddenly the villagers outside begin to get up again and head towards them. Not knowing whether the clones outside are friend or foe, they let one, Mrs. Sowerby, inside to check. They subdue it and the Doctor theorises that whatever is in the rain is controlling them, much to Isaac's disbelief. Their shelter holds them at bay at first, but it may not be enough...
Nyssa and Lysette observe the cloud and speculate what it is. The tour guests are irked by the turn of events and the two are berated by Alexis Linfoot for going too quickly, as she and her husband Vincent Linfoot have come for Mr. Linfoot to confirm his genealogy, which he has traced back to Stockbridge.
The Doctor uses the weather machine to analyse Mrs. Sowerby's saliva sample. Mr. Linfoot finds his ancestor and prepares to take a picture, noting the rain overhead. Inside the Church Nyssa and Lysette discuss the food reservation units in the Green Dragon and why the food they had earlier was rotten. Suddenly, it begins to rain outside. Mrs. Linfoot complains that it should be sunny in this quarter of the season cycle. Suddenly they hear Mr. Linfoot screaming outside and Mrs. Linfoot demands that Lysette go help him. However, Nyssa holds her back, telling her there may be something wrong with the rain. Mrs. Linfoot, fed up, runs out into the rain to help I'm but begins to experience the same agonising pain.
Isaac recommends that they start shooting the clones but the Doctor refuses to harm them, even if they attacking. The Doctor's machine's analysis reveals that there is some microorganism inside them that is controlling them. Fed up with Dobson's absence, the Doctor plans to try their ship's communications equipment in order to make contact with Nyssa and the others. Mrs. Linfoot is brought inside as only her hand was in the rain and Professor Jabbery helps confirm her stability. They try to decide what to do but hear strange noises outside, so Nyssa and Professor Jabbery go to investigate while Lysette stays with a now awoken and complaining Mrs. Linfoot. She berates them for not saving Vincent despite them trying to explain the situation. They prepare to go get Vincent but he awakens in a zombie-like state and they decide to retreat back into the church instead. The Doctor dons an environment suit and prepares to leave while Isaac is to create a distraction. Mrs. Linfoot tries to stop Nyssa and Lysette and the others barricading the door and she goes to greet Mr. Linfoot. They note from her hand that she's beginning to transform as her hand is blackened and decayed. Convinced her husband won't hurt her, she let's him in despite the other's cries not to and she is killed by Vincent. Isaac distracts the zombiefied villager clones and the Doctor makes a break for it. Lysette, Nyssa and Professor Jabbery find somewhere to hide. Nyssa theorises that the hostiles may have already been inside the bubble over Stockbridge for a long time, possibly waiting for something, but they cannot think of what this something would be. They agree they need to find another way out of there. Nyssa discovers a crack that ends up revealing a dark passageway. They begin to move through it when suddenly they hear something approaching. Nyssa recognises the noise and warns the others not to do anything rash because they have been discovered by a Dalek...
The Dalek takes them prisoner but when Jabbery refuses to go with it the Dalek exterminates Rinxo Jabbery on the spot while Lysette and Nyssa make their escape in a moment of distraction. The Doctor makes it to the shuttle just as Dobson arrives but Dobson falls victim to the clones. The Doctor contacts Isaac and tells him of the news, then tries to send out a message to Nyssa and Lysette. There is no reply or any acknowledgement that the transmission is received, leaving the doctor distressed, worried about Nyssa. He tells Isaac they'll stick to his original plan and he's going to pilot the skimmer to the Central Environment Station (CES) and stop the rain, after which they'll figure out what to do from there. Nyssa and Lysette attempt to escape the Dalek and head back into the chapel, as Nyssa has a plan.
One of the Daleks is awakened from cryogenic stasis and updated on the situation by its fellow Dalek. Together they awaken the third Dalek but it requests extermination after it discovers that it has permanent visual impairment due to extensive damage from cryogenic storage. It is granted and the other two exterminate it. The Doctor has almost arrived at the CES. The Daleks observe this and program the crows, which are under their control, to attack the Doctor and disrupt his journey. Nyssa and Lysette try to trick the Dalek using Lysette's bag as a distraction, after she extracts some important valuables from it such as an ASP (audio selection pod). Nyssa directs her to use it to make a sound to distract the Dalek while Nyssa takes her bag. They manage to avoid it, and Nyssa convinces Lysette to go with her through the dark passage they discovered earlier. The Doctor's shuttle has been severely damaged and his suit has ripped, allowing some of the rain to get on his hand. He says he feels the microorganisms already burrowing, and prepares to head inside the CES. The Daleks decide to send observation units to intercept him. Nyssa thinks they may have made a wrong decision going through the tunnel, but Lysette convinces her to keep going, having faith in her instincts. The crows attack a struggling Doctor who barely manages to make it inside the CES building. Once inside he begins to feel something attacking him from inside his body. Nyssa and Lysette find an open door and Nyssa theorises that it's open because the Daleks lack power for all their systems. Nyssa reveals she suspects the Daleks noticed the Doctor's continual arrivals in Stockbridge and set up a trap here precisely for that reason. She reveals the truth to Lysette that she and the Doctor are not here because of the foundation but they are actually travelers and the Doctor and the Daleks are mortal enemies.
The Doctor uses the equipment at the CES to analyse the saliva sample. Nyssa and Lysette enter the Dalek facility when they suddenly hear a Dalek approach and mention the Doctor in the CES building, which reassures Nyssa as she now knows he is alive and that the Daleks have "conditioned" the village clones. The Doctor manages to program the machine to reverse the effects of the cloud dispersal when he is suddenly found and surrounded by the Dalek-conditioned villagers. He prepares to escape but his plan is promptly thwarted by the arrival of the two Daleks, who scan the Doctor and see the rain has already infected him and so soon he will be their prisoner and obey their command...
The Daleks exterminate the clone villagers since they fulfilled their function and take the Doctor prisoner, which Nyssa and Lysette see on the view screen in the Daleks lab. They investigate the Dalek's control lab further, looking for a way to help the Doctor. Nyssa finds a schema of the Dalek's base, noting the damage to it from geologic shifts, and surmises that if they find the control unit for the environment they can use a seismic shift to destroy their lab and possibly the Daleks themselves, comprehending that this may have been the Doctor's original plan, but was unaware of the master unit that the two have just discovered. Just then Nyssa brings up a map and they see the Daleks coming back with a prisoner... the Doctor.
The Doctor notes that they must have kept him alive for something since he hasn't been exterminated yet. He tells the Daleks that their race has been destroyed for years and they find this out when they try contacting Dalek central command. They then reveal their plan for resurrecting their fallen race, a plan which involves the Doctor's TARDIS, which they are now in possession of. Nyssa reprograms the machine to get the Daleks attention while Lysette prepares a Dalek gun. The Dalek's computers begin to go haywire while the Doctor collapses, the stress of the cellular take-over apparently too much. One of the Daleks goes to investigate the source of the new disturbance and is destroyed by Nyssa and Lysette. They decide to take the fight to the other Daleks since they know they won't fool them. The Daleks prepare to counter while Nyssa and Lysette head out. Suddenly Lysette hears a noise which Nyssa cannot, and betrays Nyssa, demanding she drop the gun and come with her as she is now a prisoner of the Daleks, as it seems she has come under control of the Daleks. The Doctor comes to back to consciousness and says he is a servant of the Daleks. Nyssa arrives and finds to her horror the transformed Doctor. Lysette, a Dalek servant, locks Nyssa up. The Doctor is commanded by the Daleks to open the TARDIS and reveal the craft's functions to them. The Doctor takes one of the Daleks inside and reports that the TARDIS needs to re-establish a link with time vortex which requires a quick trip. The Dalek reluctantly agrees. The Doctor then puts the TARDIS in a temporal state of grace and arrives at a destination full of mist. The Dalek is disabled by this and the Doctor is revealed to have been using a ploy all along. He removes the disabled Dalek from the TARDIS and hops back over to the CES. He finds Isaac and questions why he's here. Isaac says he was looking for him and reveals the rain stopped and when asked how he managed to avoid the villagers, he reveals as well that the villagers started dying and couldn't chase him. The Doctor asks why he wasn't affected by the mist and Isaac explains that it doesn't seem to be affecting anyone anymore. The Doctor explains that he survived the Dalek conditioning because he developed a retro antiviral from his own blood which he released into the atmosphere to be dropped by the rain clouds, hoping it may cure the villagers, but he laments that it seems he was too late. He then tells Isaac he knows he's a Dalek servant since Lysette is one and he just mentioned the Daleks by name and Isaac didn't respond. All pretences disposed of, he prepares to kill the Doctor with an electrostatic induction rod and complete his mission, which is to stop the machine from releasing more of the retro viral the Doctor made. The Doctor tells Isaac he knows the device as he built it and just came back to pick it up and tries to convince Isaac to fight the Dalek influence as he is capable of being human. He manages to get through to him by having him talk about his daughter Lysette and his wife Mary. She was killed by being thrown onto train tracks by muggers and he came to Stockbridge to get an idyllic life. It is revealed that they were using a "rejuvenation" chamber that they thought was government owned but was actually a Dalek device used to establish a link with the Dalek consciousness. Unable to fight it any more, Isaac succumbs and tries to kill the Doctor again, but the Doctor spares him and brings him back to the Dalek base.
They are greeted by Nyssa, trapped in a Dalek force field, while it is revealed Lysette had some sort of nervous collapse. The Dalek arrives and tries to exterminate them, missing but disrupting Isaac's brainwashing, short-circuiting their control on him. The Doctor offers a deal to the Dalek, since it is the last one, that he will leave it alone if it lets his friends go. Isaac prepares to kill it but the Doctor talks him out of it. Isaac believes himself a failure. The Dalek taunts them and exterminates Isaac. The Dalek then demands the Doctor comply with its orders or it will exterminate Nyssa and Lysette. The Doctor, however, one step ahead, breaks a hole in the ceiling with the electrostatic induction rod. The retro antiviral fog seeps into the room and causes the already heavily damaged Dalek's cellular disruption to increase, destroying it. Lysette, having awoken, is distraught to find her father dead while the Doctor releases Nyssa. Just then, Lysette threatens the two of them, revealing that the Dalek instinctive voice in her head is angry, and she tells them to go while she reprograms the the computer to destroy the entire bubble over Stockbridge along with Stockbridge itself, to prevent the tragedy befalling future generations. She commands them to go as she is overcome with Dalek hatred and causes the building and the bubble to explode sacrificing herself along with it. The Doctor and Nyssa try to save her but she rebuffs them so they escape in the TARDIS just in time.
The Doctor laments how he brought all this upon Stockbridge with his frequents visiting. Nyssa says it's not his fault as they were randomly displaced by the time bubble but the doctor explains that he should have realised that the time bubble would accelerate only as far forward as Stockbridge existed, which is why it deposited them to the place it did, Stockbridge right before its inevitable point of destruction. Saddened, the Doctor quotes the poem The Deserted Village but Nyssa tries to cheer him up by telling him they should be off to "happier times and places", to which he reluctantly agrees.
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
- Isaac Barclay - Keith Barron
- Lysette Barclay - Liza Tarbuck
- Alexis Linfoot - Richenda Carey
- Vincent Linfoot - Barry McCarthy
- Professor Rinxo Jabbery - Richard Cordery
- Mrs Withers/Mrs Sowerby/Computer Voice - Susan Brown
- Cricketer/Dobson/The Daleks - Nicholas Briggs
- The Doctor offers Nyssa a macaroon.
- Alexis says her back feels like it went through a fusion grinder.
- The Daleks use artificial crows to observe the Doctor and Nyssa.
- The Daleks have been in cryogenic suspension for 17 centuries.
- In the 45th century, Earth becomes uninhabitable due to violent solar flares.
- Nyssa mentions Global warming as a potential cause of the sudden weather changes.
Food and Drink
- The Doctor orders a ginger beer in the bar.
- Lysette uses an ASP or Audio Selection Pod, a device used to play sounds throughout her tour.
- Isaac threatens the Doctor with an electrostatic induction rod, a device capable of generating three million volts and had a charge so hot is could turn sand to glass in an instant. The Doctor developed it himself.
- The working title for this story was Village of the Damned.
- This audio drama was recorded on 1 and 2 July 2009 at The Moat Studios.
- It was released on 8 December 2009.
- This audio release also included the tenth episode of The Three Companions, "Brewster's Story", as well as interviews with the cast and crew.
- This story is set between Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity.
- This story was originally released on CD and download.
- Nyssa previously encountered the Daleks in two alternative timelines (AUDIO: The Mutant Phase, Renaissance of the Daleks) and would later do so again on Traxana (AUDIO: Alien Heart) and on Florana. (AUDIO: The Elite)
- During her tour, Lysette makes a few mentions about a buried Rutan spaceship in the 12th century and a play that the villagers would use to re-tell the story of the invaders and the ship's explosion from said century in the 19th century. (AUDIO: Castle of Fear)
- Lysette also mentions a spot where the villagers would perform witch trials by testing to see if the accused floated or sank, thereby confirming they were a witch and condemning them to death. The Doctor, in his thirteenth incarnation, experienced a variant of this test which was also used as a death penalty method, termed ducking, when she fought the Morax in the 17th century. (TV: The Witchfinders)
- While Mr. Linfoot goes through the different grave markers of past inhabitants of Stockbridge looking for his ancestor Edward Linfoot and reading out the names to himself, he mentions seeing graves for Jane Potter, whom he notes died young and Lizzie Corrigan, whom he mentions as having lived to 112, among others. (AUDIO: The Eternal Summer)
- Several references are made to the Dalek invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy, which marked the beginning of the Second Great Dalek Occupation. (AUDIO: Invasion of the Daleks)
- The Doctor orders a ginger beer, just as he did in the previous story AUDIO: The Eternal Summer and in the Oseidon in his fourth incarnation in TV: The Android Invasion.
- The Doctor quotes the poem The Deserted Village by poet Oliver Goldsmith again. (AUDIO: Castle of Fear)
- Official Plague of the Daleks page page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Plague of the Daleks at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide