Monday 21 February 2011

091 The Daleks' Master Plan Part 1: The Nightmare Begins

EPISODE: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 1: The Nightmare Begins
TRANSMITTED: 13 November 1965
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2

The Tardis arrives on the Planet Kembel, which we saw in Mission to the Unknown, and the Doctor leaves the Tardis to seek medical for the wounded Steven whom he has left with Katarina. Nearby are two space Agents, Kurt Gantry and Bret Vyon seeking the missing Marc Cory. Gantry has been injured and Vyon tries in vain to contact their control. On Earth the communications staff watch a report about Mavic Chen, guardian of the solar system, who is leaving for a well deserved holiday and fail to see the communication light signalling. Gantry tells Vyon to leave him but is soon found by the Daleks and exterminated. Vyon finds the Doctor, knocking him out and taking the Tardis key. He demands Katarina and Steven take him off the planet but they can't work the Tardis and a briefly recovering Steven ends up knocking Vyon out. The Doctor returns and restrains Vyon before leaving again finding Cory's body and with it the tape that he made. He then witnesses the arrival of a Spaceship at the nearby city. The ship is bearing Mavic Chen who has come to join the Dalek's alliance. Returning to the Tardis he finds it surrounded by Daleks.

We always like to make a fuss over prominent members of the supporting cast and in Doctor Who terms they don't get bigger than this. Ladies and Gentlemen, a big hand please for the great Nicholas Courtney,on Doctor Who debut here as Bret Vyon. He was born William Nicholas Stone Courtney on 16 December 1929 in Cairo, Egypt, the son of a British Diplomat, and educated in France, Kenya & Egypt. He took up acting during National Service and afterwards trained as an acting and then acted in repertory theatre in Northampton before moving to London and cracking television. As we've seen Douglas Camfield has a habit for reusing actors and liking his performance in The Dalek's Master Plan decided to cast him as Captain Knight in Camfield's next directed story, The Web of Fear. Events transpired otherwise and Courtney ended up playing a different part instead.....

Given that it's Nicholas Courtney playing him it is somewhat appropriate and fitting that Bret Vyon becomes the first supporting character in Doctor Who to enter the Tardis during this episode!

Also featuring briefly playing Kurt Gantry at the start of the story is Brian Cant, shortly to find fame as the narrator of Camberwick Green, Trumpton & Chigley. By this point he was already appearing in Play School, the role that made him famous. He'll be back in Doctor Who a little later and he won't be the only member of the Play School team to guest star in the series..... (see also: Colin Jeavons, Chloe Ashcroft, Chris Tranchell and others) Brian's son Richard has appeared in the new series of Doctor Who as Malcolm Wainright in Blink.

Another of the Doctor Who greats makes a debut in this episode: Kevin Stoney, playing Mavic Chen. He'll be back in the Invasion (Camfield again) and Revenge of the Cybermen. His death was reported in 1985, but he appeared on stage at a Doctor Who convention in 1987, eventually passing away in 2008.

Brief clips survive from this episode including one of Gantry being exterminated, the Tardis materialising and Chen's Spaceship landing.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, The Daleks' Master Plan. It gets off to such a great start here. Courtney does a nice job of making Vyon less "good" or "evil" as mission driven - he has a job to do and he is prepared to do what he has to in doing it. I do wish more of this episode survived though - the surviving episode two makes me think that it might well have looked quite interesting. The arrival of Mavic Chen's spaceship is surprisingly effective certainly.