Wednesday 16 February 2011

086 Mission to the Unknown

EPISODE: Mission to the Unknown
TRANSMITTED: 09 October 1965
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2 (1965-1966)

In a jungle a man lies on a jungle floor and wakes remembering that he must kill! Nearby Marc Cory and Gordon Lowery are attempting to repair their damaged rocket ship. They wonder where Jeff Garvey, the third member of their party is. Garvey arrives and threatens them but Cory shoots him and pulls a thorn from his body: He has been infected by a Vaaga plant. They enter the spaceship, not seeing Garvey's body begin to twitch, grow hair and Vaaga thorn spines. Cory is a member of the Space Security Services who is on Kemble because the Daleks are believed to have established a base here - the Vaaga plants are proof as they grow on Skaro, the Dalek's home planet. In the city on Kemble the Dalek Supreme waits for representatives of the seven planets. He instructs the Daleks to exterminate the humans. Lowery is constructing a rescue beacon, but Vaaga plants are moving towards the ship. Noticing a disturbance they hide as the Daleks arrive and destroy the ship, but in the process Lowery pricks himself on a Vaaga thorn. The Dalek Supreme meets with his allies, who fear the humans and announce that they have agreed to invade Earth. Cory overhears this but is forced to kill Lowery who is transforming into a Vaaga plant. He records a message but is found and exterminated by the Daleks. His message survives on the jungle floor however.... The Dalek's allies pledge allegiance to the Dalek cause and chant Victory.

As Frankie Howard's Lurcio would say: The Prologue. Essentially a trailer for the forthcoming epic the Dalek Masterplan. One episode, without Doctor or Companions which instead showcases the Daleks. Made to fill the gap left by the merging of episodes 3 & 4 of Planet of Giants the usual cast are absent as a measure to save the cost of paying them for an extra week's work. The production team for Galaxy 4 mind this episode using several of the background cast from that story and our old friend Barry Jackson (The Romans) is back as Garvey. But does Mission to the Unknown work as an episode? Well ..... hmmmm. I suspect with the visuals of the city, jungle and alien delegates it would work better. We know what they look like from publicity photos, but there are some differences between here and the surviving episodes of Masterplan so looking at Dalek Masterplan 2 isn't 100% reliable.

Here we officially bid farewell top Verity Lambert who has been withdrawing from operational command of Doctor Who for a while now. She goes on to a long and glorious career in television including heading Euston films and being responsible for Jonathan Creek (surely the longest ever audition for the role of Doctor Who). Verity Lambert died on the 22nd November 2007, a day before Doctor Who's 44th anniversary.

Novelised by John Peel as part of the first of two Dalek Masterplan novels, Mission to the Unknown was released on CD on 22nd October 2001 as part of Doctor Who - The Daleks' Master Plan. These CD were re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2 (1965-1966) on 3rd February 2011.

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