‘THE DALEKS’ MASTER PLAN’
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Mighty Dalek Adventure with The First Doctor
Check out ‘Mission To The Unknown’ first before you read this!
The 12 episodes of ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ are spread from Discs 2 to 5 on the audio CD. The first six episodes are by Terry Nation with the second six by former script-editor Dennis Spooner. The TV episodes were directed by Douglas Camfield, who later directed ‘The Invasion’ with Cybermen in it!
The story begins with a prologue reprising the final moments of ‘The Myth Makers’. The Doctor and Katarina bring a wounded Steven into the TARDIS whilst Vicki has decided to stay behind in Troy. This sets up the story well with explaining what’s happened before ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ begins.
In the first episode, the TARDIS arrives on the planet Kembel where the nightmare begins! The Doctor tells Katarina to look after Steven inside the TARDIS as he goes out to explore. The Doctor however encounters Bret Vyon, a Space Security Agent, who forces him to give him the TARDIS key.
The Doctor however manages to trap Bret in a sophisticated chair when he manages to get back inside his TARDIS. Eventually, the Doctor realises the Daleks are on Kembel. Pretty soon, the Doctor uncovers what the Daleks’ plans are for the universe. He’s determined to stop them once and for all.
William Hartnell is great as the Doctor in this 12-part Dalek story. I really liked how his Doctor does so much and gets into the action of the story. He isn’t side-lined as an old man like he usually tends to be in some ‘Doctor Who’ stories. It must have been hard work, but Hartnell plays it off really well.
I really liked the Doctor’s relationship with Steven, as they both bicker and banter with each other with a sense of affection and respect throughout. I liked how the Doctor defies the Daleks and does all that he can to prevent them having the taranium core during their chase through space and time.
I also like Peter Purves in this story as Steven. He’s injured at the beginning but soon quickly recovers and is able to get into the heart of the adventure. He manages to knock Bret out in his sickly state for the Doctor to put him in his chair. Steven has a voice to make protests to the Doctor when bickering.
But the bickering is done out of friendship and respect for one another and not out of hostility. I liked how Steven uses his piloting skills in this story and even manages to come up with a fake lighting for the fake taranium core. Steven sees Katarina die and he gets to adjust to Sara Kingdom.
Adrienne Hill as Katarina is a short-time companion in ‘Doctor Who’. She joined the TARDIS following the end of ‘The Myth Makers’. Katarina was a handmaiden in Troy and joins the Doctor and Steven on their adventures in time and space. She finds the TARDIS a wonder, calling it the Doctor’s temple.
Katarina calls the Doctor a god, but he tells her he’s not. Sadly Katarina’s time in the TARDIS is short-lived, as the writers realised the problems of writing for her and decided to quickly write her out during the Dalek story. This is a shame as she’s this sweet character who’s curious about the TARDIS.
Nicholas Courtney guest stars in the first four episodes as Bret Vyon, a Space Security Agent. This is Nick’s first association with ‘Doctor Who’, as he would later go on to play the Brigadier in the U.N.I.T. stories with Patrick Troughton; Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. Here he plays an action man in the tale.
Bret threatens the Doctor at first to give him the TARDIS key at gunpoint. But he soon turns out to be trustworthy as Bret manages to get everyone aboard Mavic Chen’s Spar (space car) and off Kembel to reach Earth. Bret unfortunately has a sticky end by the time the fourth episode concludes.
Kevin Stoney guest stars as the human villain Mavic Chen, who works for the Daleks. Kevin would later go on to play the equally villainous Tobias Vaughn in ‘The Invasion’ with the Cybermen. His character in ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ is not too dissimilar to the one he would play in ‘The Invasion’.
Mavic Chen is the Guardian of the Solar System who betrays Earth and joins the Daleks in their alliance with the Outer Galaxies. Chen gives the Daleks the taranium core of the Time Destructor. Chen however wants to be more powerful and control the Daleks as he really thinks he is their ruler.
The Daleks are terrific in this 12-part story of theirs. They’re at their most evil, cunning and sinister best. The Daleks in the surviving TV episodes are truly spectacular and look beautiful, especially in the second episode when they are burning down the jungles of Kembel with their flame-throwers.
The Daleks have invented their most deadly weapon yet called the Time Destructor. This is almost similar to the ‘reality bomb’ Davros uses in ‘The Stolen Earth’/’Journey’s End’. The Daleks are pretty ruthless, especially when ordering a pursuit ship to be destroyed after failing to capture the Doctor.
In the second episode, the Doctor discovers the Daleks are holding a conference for all the delegates of the Outer Galaxies. He decides to go to this conference to find out what they’re up to. With the help of his friends, they knock out one of the delegates and the Doctor takes his clothes in disguise.
The Doctor learns of the Daleks’ weapon and of Mavic Chen giving the taranium core. When the alarm goes off and everyone evacuates, the Doctor manages to steal the taranium core and gets away to return to his friends. I found that cliff-hanger gripping when Bret sets the ship for take-off.
The surviving footage of the third episode includes the Doctor, Bret, Steven and Katarina escaping in Chen’s Spar and on their way to Earth. They’re soon diverted off course by the Daleks’ directional beam and are on route to the planet Desparus. Bret doesn’t want to go there as it’s a bad prison planet.
As I mentioned, Katarina’s death scene is the surviving footage of the fourth episode, thanks to ‘Blue Peter’. It’s a dramatic scene where Steven shouts at Kirksen, one of the prisoners from Desparus, calling him ‘an animal’ as he holds Katarina hostage in the airlock after he stowed away aboard the Spar.
Katarina makes a noble sacrifice as she pushes the button of the airlock that sucks her and Kirksen into outer space. I was gut-wrenched as the moment of realisation was shocking. Katarina was the first ‘Doctor Who’ companion to die before Adric came. It was so deeply effective and moving to listen to.
In the same episode, we also get to meet another new companion – Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom. Jean appeared in ‘Doctor Who’ before in ‘The Crusade’. Jean plays a Space Security Agent who seems rather cold and unfeeling. She answers to Mavic Chen and is ordered to recover the taranium core.
In the process, Sara kills Bret Vyon who turns out to be her brother. She joins the Doctor and Steven in the fifth episode when they’re sent to Mira by matter dissemination. Sara gradually comes out of her cold demeanour and becomes a nicer person to help the Doctor and Steven and stop the Daleks.
The Daleks soon come to Mira and eventually the Doctor, Steven and Sara are captured. It seems that ‘the Daleks have won’. But the Doctor, Steven and Sara manage to escape and return to Kembel in the sixth episode. They come up with a fake taranium core as they give it to the Daleks and Chen.
The Doctor, Steven and Sara soon get away and escape into the TARDIS. No sooner after they escape, they then land. They wonder where they are, but the Doctor warns them not to go outside. According to the TARDIS, the atmosphere is poisonous. But it’s actually Christmas Day on Earth 1965.
The seventh episode is the most unusual of the story. It breaks away from the main story as this is the first episode to be considered a Christmas special in ‘Doctor Who’. It was shown on Christmas Day 1965 before ‘The Christmas Invasion’. It does not have Daleks, but has the Doctor, Steven and Sara in it.
The episode is deliberately meant for comic relief and is pretty bizarre. I was slightly disappointed the Daleks weren’t in the episode. In the last scene, the Doctor, Steven and Sara have glasses of champagne to celebrate Christmas. The Doctor then wishes everyone at home a “Merry Christmas!”
The main story continues in the eighth episode with Mavic Chen and the Daleks. They discover that the Doctor and his friends have given them a fake taranium core. They set out in a time machine to pursue the Doctor and friends in the TARDIS. But they’re not the only ones pursuing the Doctor.
The eighth episode features the return of Peter Butterworth as the Meddling Monk. The Monk first appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Time Meddler’. He appears in three episodes of the story to provide comic relief. The Monk first attempts to immobilise the Doctor’s TARDIS on the volcano planet Tigus.
But the Doctor manages to free the TARDIS of the Monk’s meddling and he, Steven and Sara escape. But the Monk hasn’t finished with the Doctor yet and chases after him in his own TARDIS. By the way, the eighth episode marks it for being the first New Year’s Day special for ‘Doctor Who’ in 1966.
In the ninth and tenth episodes, we have another adventure in ancient Egypt where not one or two, but three time machines are present. These include the Doctor’s TARDIS, the Monk’s TARDIS and the Daleks’ time machine. The Doctor makes repairs to his ship as the Daleks and the Monk hunt for him.
The tenth episode is the third surviving episode of the 12-part story. I enjoyed this episode very much, as it features not only the Daleks, but also the second appearance of the Monk. Although the first two episodes of his second ‘Doctor Who’ appearance are missing, it was great to see him in this.
The last two episodes of ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ are set on Kembel. The final showdown with the Daleks takes place as the Doctor, Steven and Sara hope to find them at their base on Kembel with Chen and the other delegates of the Outer Galaxies. But when they get there, they face trouble.
By the last episode, the Daleks have placed their Time Destructor in the lead ship of their invasion fleet. Chen completely loses it as his sanity wanes and his ambition for glory and power overwhelms him. Chen becomes mad, believing he is going to be the Daleks’ master and that they will obey him.
Even after delivering Steven and Sara to them, the Daleks still disregard Chen. As the Daleks close in on him, Chen rants and raves about him being ‘first ruler of the universe and immortal’. But the Daleks eventually kill him on the spot. Chen dies, completely astonished by this outcome at the end.
The Doctor meanwhile turns up and rescues Steven and Sara. He also manages to activate the Time Destructor before the Daleks can. The Daleks dare not risk firing in their underground base. The Daleks have been outwitted by the Doctor. He manages to escape with Steven and Sara joining him.
But the story ends on a tragic note. When Sara helps the Doctor to escape to the TARDIS, she starts to age to death from the effects of the Time Destructor. This is a horrible moment as with everything dying on Kembel, Sara withers away too and making her the second ‘Doctor Who’ companion to ‘die’. Or is she? 😀
The scenes with time withering Kembel away into dust were very chilling to listen to, especially when Steven helps the Doctor back into the TARDIS through the harsh winds. The Daleks also get destroyed as they’re affected by their own terrible weapon. Eventually, the Time Destructor stops.
The Doctor and Steven come out of the TARDIS and see Kembel as a withered desert. Although triumphant, the Doctor and Steven know that too many of their friends have died in the process. With heavy hearts, the Doctor and Steven leave Kembel behind them and they go off in the TARDIS.
‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ has been a tremendous and enjoyable listening experience of a TV soundtrack. I enjoyed Peter Purves’ narration as it helped me to keep up with what went on in the story. I also enjoyed watching the three surviving episodes of the story from the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD.
I hope that more episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ will be found and that they will include ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’. At least from this 5-disc audio CD of the story, you get to have the enjoyment and experience of what ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ was like and get captivated into this mammoth epic tale!
The DVD special features on this story are as follows. On the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD, there’s a commentary on the second episode of ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ by Peter Purves, Keven Stoney and designer Raymond Cusick, moderated by Gary Russell.
‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ is now available as part of ‘The Lost TV Episodes: Collection Two’ CD box set.
‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ rating – 10/10
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