There are only three certainties in this world: death, taxes, and occasional surges of interest in long-playing records.
You can always rely on the old favourites – and if you don’t believe us, take a walk round Sainsbury’s. Alongside the NOW albums, Michael Buble showtune collections, and four-disc compilations of great running/ driving/ gardening songs, you’ll also find a stack of classic albums lovingly remastered on 12 inches of 33 1/3 RPM plastic. CDs may be dying, downloads may reign supreme, and streaming may be secretly plotting a coup – but vinyl, it seems, has never been so popular (apart from the several decades in which it was pretty much all you could get, but let’s not nitpick).
Anyway: talking of Sainsbury’s, that’s where you’ll need to head if you want to pick up the latest must-have Doctor Who collectible: a limited edition vinyl pressing of 2012’s Energy of the Daleks, starring the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. It’s shiny, it’s immaculately packaged, it’s… blue?
Unorthodox (if predictable) colour schemes aside, the big news for audiophiles and collectors is that this is a 180 gram pressing, pushing it into the ‘heavyweight’ category. We’re not exactly experts on vinyl here at the hallowed halls of The Doctor Who Companion (aside from Jonathan, who is an expert in just about everything) – but 180g is supposedly more robust, not to mention more satisfying to hold in your hand. (It probably makes for a more lethal projectile if you’re chucking it at an approaching zombie, as well.)
If you really want to get your hands on this, you might need to shop around a bit. The Energy of the Daleks release has been restricted to just 1500 copies, at participating stores only. Says Nicholas Briggs:
“We’ve been delighted by the response to our ongoing range of Fourth Doctor stories. We have such an exciting and rewarding time making them, and we’re just thrilled that’ll we’ll be reaching a brand new audience for vinyl through our friends at Sainsbury’s.”
And what of the story itself? Well, it was the fourth in Big Finish’s much-hallowed Fourth Doctor series, and saw the Doctor and Leela (Louise Jameson) land in 21st Century London in order to investigate strange energy readings. What could possibly be behind them?
With guest turns from Mark Benton (Rose) and Dan Starkey (A Good Man Goes to War), and Baker and Jameson sounding refreshingly youthful despite advancing years, Energy of the Daleks ticks just about every box on the nostalgia checklist, and is described by Starburst Magazine as “a cracking little romp which suffers just a little by its brevity but can’t help but warm the cockles as it genuinely reminds us of that special time in the 1970s when Tom Baker had made Doctor Who more popular than ever and there always seemed to be fish fingers for tea”.
So there you go. It’s Leela’s first encounter with the monstrosities of Skaro, which grants it a certain importance. Oh, and it has Robomen, which ought to be enough for anyone.
(We bet you can’t guess who’s doing the voice of the Daleks, though.)
Energy of the Daleks is released on vinyl on 25th May.