Tuesday 22 February 2011

092 The Daleks' Master Plan Part 2: Day of Armageddon

EPISODE: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 2: Day of Armageddon
TRANSMITTED: 20 November 1965
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time

Informing their base that more intruders have been found, the Supreme Dalek orders the patrol to start Operation Inferno. The final delegate Zephon, the master of the fifth galaxy arrives and greets Mavic Chen. The Daleks are observing Chen and plan to eliminate him when his usefulness is at an end. Steven & Katarina are sheltering in the Jungle - Bret led them out of the Tardis not realising they were safe from the Daleks in there. Steven is shocked to learn the Daleks are here having met them previously on Mechanus. The Daleks use their Pyro-flame attachments to set fire to the jungle so the Tardis travellers and Vyon seek shelter in the Daleks city. Chen and Zephon argue over their importance leading to Zephon delaying his arrival at a meeting of the Dalek. The Doctor's party find the spaceport and Vyon identifies Chen's spaceship which they decide to take to warn Earth. Zephon appears and is knocked out by Vyon allowing the Doctor to steel his heavy cloak and pretend to be him. After being found by Daleks seeking the missing Zephon he infiltrates the Dalek's conference learning their plans. The Dalek Time Destructor has been completed and now only needs the core which Chen has provided, an emm of Taranium, which has taken 50 years to be mined on a world in the Solar System, the only place that ore can be found. Vyon seizes Chen's ship tying up it's crew. Zephon sounds the alarm causing confusion allowing the Doctor to steel the Taranium. Vyon, needing to warn Earth, prepares to leave without the Doctor.

Oh that was good. Daleks being Daleks, lots of aliens, a fantastic looking jungle and the set being torched. I'm pretty sure I spotted broken neck ring in the council chamber but Douglas Camfield is shooting the Daleks from some different angles which is hiding the damage. I'd seen the other two surviving episodes of this story years before this one and this beat them hands down at the time.

In November 2003, tying in with Doctor Who's 40th anniversary, the BBC released a boxset of Doctor Who episodes on VHS mopping up the last of the orphaned episodes form the 1960s that hadn't previously been released: All four surviving episodes of the Reign of Terror, the two episodes of the Faceless Ones and the first episode of the Web of Fear. Because the Secret of Comedy is Timing, you could almost predict what happened next: In January 2004 another episode was returned to the BBC. So The Daleks' Master Plan 2: Day of Armageddon is the only known existing episode of Doctor Who not to be released on VHS!

While working as an Engineer for the BBC, Francis Watson was given orders to dispose of a room full of junk. In it he found a copy of The Daleks part 5: The Expedition and The Daleks' Masterplan 2: Day of Armageddon. Watson was a member of a local film club, Filmsoc (connected to the University of London) and loathe to dispose of them, "removed them for safe keeping". Over the years they were shown several times at Filmsoc and on one occasion the film and it's labelled can parted company. Watson left London to work for Yorkshire television in Leeds. The films spent many years in cupboards in Watson's home before being taken into work and hung in a bag on a coat hook. At some point in the late 80s the film can was discovered at Filmsoc who were disappointed that the contents didn't match the label. In 2003 he used the films as a training exercise in conversion of film to D3 tape. When they were returned to him he searched for the contents on the internet and, via the Restoration Team Website discovered it was missing. Contacting Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team, the film was swiftly transported to London where it brought the number of missing episodes of Doctor Who down to 108 (so far we've listened to 21 of them). This is the last episode of Doctor Who to be recovered to date (although later episodes of Doctor Who were found before this) and is considered to be a major find because for the first time we can see the Daleks allies and companion Katarina. It's also probably responsible for the release of Doctor Who - Lost In Time in January 2004 placing this and most of the other Orphaned episodes on DVD (Episodes of Reign of Terror, Tenth Planet, Ice Warriors and The Invasion, for which more than 50% of the episodes exist are not included in this set).

Prior to this find the only surviving footage was of the scenes of the Dalek's burning down the jungle, which like the episode 1 clips was found on 35mm film at the BBC. That's why these scenes look noticeably better than the rest of the episode on DVD: they been reinstated into the footage from the inferior 16mm recording from the superior 35mm originals.

We mention that the film can for this episode was found. Over the years cans for Marco Polo Episode 7 & The Moonbase Part 3 have been found in New Zealand, The Ice Warriors part 2 (containing a film of the then missing Ice Warriors Part 1!) and Fury from the Deep 6 (containing something completely different that wasn't Doctor Who) have been found. Film cans are more durable than their contents and as we've seen it's easy for them to be separated from what they should have in them and then reused. Of course there could well be a film can out there labeled as something completely different with a missing episode of Doctor Who in it! We can but hope.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin Stoney really shines in this episode. There is something a little bit playful in his performance at times, as he hints at a level of realism about the level of esteem in which the Daleks hold their "allies" and manages to restrain his own dismissive view of the various alien delegates. For a space monster story Hartnell is on quite good form here as well - he seems to relish the infiltration of the conference somewhat.

    The recovery of this episode does make me wonder what the remaining missing parts of the story might have been like. It isn't a bad story with just the audio, but this episode looks so much better than I would expect from the way it sounds that it makes me wonder about some of the others.