Friday 25 February 2011

095 The Daleks' Master Plan Part 5: Counterpoint

EPISODE: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 5: Counterpoint
TRANSMITTED: 11 December 1965
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time

Back to DVD a mere two episodes after the last one.

Steven & The Doctor are hunted in the experimental complex and stray into an odd shaped room containing a cage of mice. Elsewhere in the complex the countdown to start the experiment is underway. Sara Kingdom finds Steven and The Doctor just as the experiment activates transporting them, via a very trippy effects sequence, to the planet Mira many light years away. The Daleks want to know what's happened to the Taranium Core (hurrah, there's broken neck ring talking to the Supreme) and Mavic Chen tells them that he planned to send the travellers to Mira. The travellers have materialised in a swamp. The Daleks send a pursuit ship to Mira (broken neck ring is back again fitted with a detector) whose crew exterminate the mice before being attacked by the invisible Visians. Sara, who believes Brett was a traitor, confesses to the Doctor and Steven that Brett was her brother. She is forced to ally herself with the Doctor & Steven against the Visians, but the Daleks find and capture them.

I've never been that keen on Dalek Masterplan episode 5. I first saw it in 1991 when it was released on VHS in Daleks: The Early Years with Dalek's Masterplan 10 and Evil of the Daleks 2. At the start we've just missed seeing Nicholas Courtney, Mavic Chen the supposedly great villain spends most of the episode being bossed around by Karlton, the space security chief, who appears more evil than he is, there's no sign of the Dalek's alien allies, the Dalek's themselves are hardly in it, there's a big chunk of the episode missing the Doctor & Steve and there's some scientists who spends the whole episode wittering on about "What's happened to my mice" ! Repeated veiwings, even in the context didn't improve it. About the only plus point it had to the 18 year old me was that you got to see (briefly) the Black Dalek Supreme. But this time round, having got here via 94 other Hartnell episodes, it sort of worked. Yes it's a bit slow. Yes, it's probably the weakest of the 12 (effectively 13) parts of this story. But finally, nearly twenty years after I first saw it, I've sort of liked this episode.

For years the BBC believed they held one episode of this story: 4: The Traitors. Then, in 1978, that turned out to be awol from the film and vt library. One day in 1983 the BBC took a call from a Mormon church, now using an old BBC building. They had found a number of cans of film that had been left in the building and wondered if the BBC would like them back. In what was otherwise a pile of junk were 2 episodes of Doctor Who: the fifth and tenth parts of the Dalek's Masterplan. The story has grown and been distorted in the telling and even Richard's Molesworth's Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes isn't 100% definitive as to which church at what location found the material. If you think it unlikely that the BBC would just leave films lying around then come back for the Ice Warriors for more of the same! A nasty thought did occur to me: Given the previous fun with swapped film cans I hope that pile of junk was searched properly and the films checked to make sure they weren't anything interesting in the wrong box! However given that the man who searched through them, Steve Bryant, is now high up at the BFI I think we can be confident a thorough job was done.

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