To the Death was the tenth and final story in the fourth series of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Nicholas Briggs and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller, Niky Wardley as Tamsin Drew, Carole Ann Ford as Susan and Jake McGann as Alex Campbell.
It was the conclusion of a two-part story which began in Lucie Miller. It featured the deaths of three companions, which had a very personal impact on the Doctor and led him on a dark path that formed a plot thread for the anthology Dark Eyes.
Following this release, the Eighth Doctor Adventures range moved into box sets, beginning a new chapter (and a new look) for the Eighth Doctor which began with the Dark Eyes series.
"He can't be alive..."
After a last, futile fight-back against the Daleks, Lucie, Susan and Alex are heading home to England in the desperate hope of saving the Doctor's life. But the true, terrible nature of the Daleks' plan is beginning to emerge and the Monk has blood on his hands.
To defeat the Daleks, it can only be a struggle... to the death.
Following the destruction of the Dalek flying saucer by the submarine, its crew manages to recover the Doctor, who is still exhibiting faint signs of life. None of the Daleks aboard survived. Having searched the Doctor, Susan discovers that his TARDIS key is not on his person. However, hers is still glowing and it is emitting more and more energy the closer that they get to England. Susan believes that the TARDIS is his only hope of making a full recovery.
Several months later, the Monk tells Tamsin that Seb Andrews had come to him for help which he provided, believing that the resistance were planning to conduct only a minor skirmish. However, when the resistance proved to be too successful, he switched sides and render assistance to the Daleks for fear of being exterminated. Shortly after he reveals the truth to Tamsin, however, the Monk's base is captured by a group of soldiers led by Susan, Lucie and Alex.
While the Doctor is convalescing in the TARDIS, Susan tells him that she was furious with him for years for abandoning her on Earth and that she was astonished that he kept his promise, however belatedly, to return for her. The Monk has obtained a doomsday weapon, which he intends to use as insurance against the Daleks should they double cross him.
Although Susan believes that the Daleks are planning to place a motor in the core of the Earth as they had done in the aftermath of the 22nd century Dalek invasion, the Doctor believes that it is more complicated than that as he first encountered the Dalek Time Controller in the far future, during a considerably later point in Dalek history.
After Lucie attacks him for his role in the massacre of the resistance in the mineshaft construction area in North America, the Monk reveals that the Daleks are planning to place a time warp engine in the centre of the Earth. They intend to pilot the Earth through the Time Vortex in order to conquer the universe.
The Doctor determines that the Dalek Time Controller survived his encounter with his sixth incarnation in the Amethyst Viral Containment Station in the far future and travelled back in time to the 22nd century. He plans to return to Amethyst and destroy the Dalek Time Controller with the doomsday weapon before he can travel back in time. However, Lucie and Alex plan to fly the Dalek saucer to North America and use the weapon to destroy the time warp engine.
The Daleks attack the Monk's base with the intention of capturing the Doctor and presenting him to the Dalek Time Controller. While the Doctor, Tamsin and the Monk are cornered by the Daleks, Susan, Lucie and Alex are able to reach the Dalek saucer in the truck which they used to breach the base.
Although the Monk insists that he requires her assistance, the Daleks exterminate Tamsin as they deem her to be "surplus to requirements." The Monk is greatly distraught at her death, referring to her as "my Tamsin." He tells the Doctor that he adored her.
The Daleks sent a message to the Monk while he was travelling in his TARDIS with Tamsin: "Help us." As he was a Time Lord, he had greater knowledge of temporal engineering that the Daleks of the 22nd century and, consequently, he was recruited to repair the Dalek Time Controller which had been blasted back through the Vortex. On the way, the Time Controller was able to locate the Amethyst viruses which the Sixth Doctor had scattered through time. It was he who brought the virus to Earth. He believed that he could live with the guilt and keep the truth from Tamsin but he could not. He agreed to assist the Daleks in return for the opportunity to collect the priceless artefacts from each planet before it was conquered by the Dalek Empire.
The Dalek Time Controller tells the Doctor that his plan is to pilot the Earth, which will become a plague planet teeming with the Amethyst viruses, through time and space. Their first destinations will be the home planets of all species which pose a threat to the Daleks. It does not exterminate the Doctor as, given his Time Lord physiology, he will survive longer than the humans and will therefore witness the end of all life on Earth.
The Doctor tells the Dalek Time Controller that he was once had an opportunity to avert the creation of the Daleks but did not take it. If he has a single chance to escape, he warns the Time Controller that he will travel back in time and correct this mistake.
The captured Dalek saucer which Susan, Lucie and Alex pilot to the mineshaft construction area is brought down using the magnetrap. In his attempts to sabotage the magnetrap control, Alex is exterminated, devastating Susan, Lucie and the Doctor. However, the controls are destroyed in the blast, allowing the saucer to fly once again.
Although Susan and the Doctor remain prisoners of the Daleks, Lucie escapes to the saucer. She plans to pilot the saucer to the mineshaft and detonate the doomsday weapon in order to destroy the time warp engine. Although it costs Lucie her life, the plan is successful. This results in all of the Daleks, including the Dalek Time Controller, and their fleet being dragged into the time warp. At the moment they would be killed in the resulting destruction, the Doctor and Susan are rescued by the Monk, who materialises his TARDIS around them. After returning them to the Doctor's TARDIS, the Monk confesses to them that it was he who rescued the Dalek Time Controller and released the virus on Earth and that he delayed the Doctor's arrival by projecting a false time spore into the Vortex. Incensed, the Doctor tearfully screams at the Monk, declaring that the universe would be a better place if he had been killed in the time warp explosion instead of Lucie. He refuses to forgive him and orders him to leave. The Monk slinks back into his TARDIS and dematerialises.
The Doctor utters to Susan about the instance at the beginning of their travels with Ian and Barbara that he nearly killed an injured man that was holding them up, and that it was only direct action that stopped him, a statement which Susan is concerned by. The Doctor tells Susan that this experience has changed him as the evil of the Daleks and the "rampant amorality" of the Monk have convinced him that he must play a more active role in protecting the universe from evil. He expresses disdain for the Laws of Time and questions whether saving Lucie, "one of the noblest souls in the universe," would adversely effect the Web of Time. When Susan voices her concern, the Doctor asks her to accompany him to ensure that her presence will serve to curb these dark impulses, stop him from taking the Laws of Time into his own hands. She declines his offer; however, as he departs, she expresses a sad hope that she shall see her grandfather again one day.
When he is alone in the TARDIS, the Doctor listens to a recording which Lucie had made using the temporal interocitor. He listens, broken, to Lucie's late wish to travel with him again. He claims that he will travel back in time one day and save Lucie before the detonation of the doomsday weapon.
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Lucie Miller - Sheridan Smith
- Susan Campbell - Carole Ann Ford
- Alex Campbell - Jake McGann
- Tamsin Drew - Niky Wardley
- The Monk - Graeme Garden
- The Daleks/Dalek Time Controller - Nicholas Briggs
- Lucie refers to Tamsin as "Nancy Drew" and Alex as "Alexander the Great."
- Susan and David saw the dismantling of many Dalek saucers. During this period, Susan learnt how to fly one.
- As of 2020, this is the last regular use of Nicholas Briggs' theme arrangement, which was introduced in AUDIO: Dead London. From The Great War onward, the Eighth Doctor series would return to using David Arnold's third theme variant.
- The story was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on 18 January 2013; it was repeated on 22 November to celebrate Doctor Who's 50th anniversary.
- This story was recorded on 2 and 5 July 2010 at The Moat Studios.
- This story was originally released on CD and download.
- Lucie tells the Doctor that she has forgiven him for the death of her aunt Patricia Ryder on 25 December 2009. (AUDIO: Death in Blackpool)
- The Doctor believed that he had killed the Dalek time controller on the Amethyst Viral Containment Station in the far future. (AUDIO: Patient Zero)
- Susan tells Lucie and Alex that she was held prisoner on a Dalek saucer and that she and her late husband David Campbell were in charge of dismantling all of the Dalek technology following the end of the first Dalek occupation. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
- The Monk told Tamsin that he once did "freelance work" for the Daleks. (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan)
- The Doctor mentions that he once almost killed a caveman with a rock in 100,000 BC. He tells Susan that he would have done so if Ian Chesterton had not stopped him. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- The Doctor refers to the fact that he once had an opportunity to avert the creation of the Daleks. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
- The Doctor listens to the message that Lucie left for him. (AUDIO: Lucie Miller)
- Following these events, the Monk will attempt to attack the Doctor's history, blaming the Doctor for Tamsin's death rather than accepting his own role in it, which results in the Seventh, Sixth and Fifth Doctors briefly being swapped with the Third, Second and First Doctors respectively as the Monk tries to manipulate them into changing history. (AUDIO: The Defectors, Last of the Cybermen, The Secret History)
- The Doctor says, "One day, I shall go back. Yes, one day," echoing what he said when he originally left Susan behind on Earth. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
- Official To The Death page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for To the Death at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide