Saturday 26 February 2011

096 The Daleks' Master Plan Part 6: Coronas of the Sun

EPISODE: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 6: Coronas of the Sun
TRANSMITTED: 18 December 1965
WRITER: Dennis Spooner, from an idea by Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2

We're back to CD for the next 4 episodes.

The Visians attack the Daleks allowing the Doctor, Steven & Sara to escape. They attack the lone Dalek sentry blinding it with mud and steal the Dalek ship. Mavic Chen returns to Kembel and receives a hostile reception from the Daleks who blame him for the non recovery of the Taranium Core. The Doctor plans to make a copy of the core to deceive the Daleks when they discover that the Daleks have taken control of the ship and are steering them to Kembel. Steven uses the gravity force power on the ship to activate the fake Taranium and make it glow but is injured in the process and trapped within a forcefield. Chen wants to take the Doctor and friends back to Earth for a show trial but the Daleks convince him to let them deal with the travellers. The ship returns to Kembel and Steven emerges first carrying the fake Taranium. The Doctor demands to hand the Taranium over outside the Tardis. Sara accuses Chen of being a traitor. Reaching the Tardis Sara & the Doctor go inside leaving Steven to hand the box over to Chen. The Daleks fire on Steven but the dying forcefield protects him allowing him to escape with the Doctor, Sara and the genuine Taranium in the Tardis. When the Tardis lands the scanner malfunctions and the readings indicate a poisonous atmosphere.

Hurrah, Dennis Spooner's back and with him writing the story picks up somewhat from it's lull in the last episode. Much more Daleks and much more action this episode. It effectively closes the first half of the story, indeed it's where the first of the two novels that make up The Dalek Masterplan end. The Doctor has escaped from the Daleks and without the Taranium Core their plans are useless.

Initially the Dalek Masterplan was conceived as a six part series and Nation was contracted to write six episodes. However plans changed, and twelve episodes it became. Reasons are slightly unclear as to why the decision was taken for Terry Nation to write half of it, although he was at this time busy script supervising the new ITC series The Baron. So Dennis Spooner, outgoing script editor, was commissioned to write the remaining six episodes. I've seen it claimed that Donald Tosh, the current Script Editor, had to do some work on Nation's episodes to bring them up to scratch. Anecdotal evidence exists from several script editors about the length of Terry Nation's script up to and including Ken Grieve's claim that Douglas Adams wrote 98% of Destiny of the Daleks. Having checked, there's a story repeated in print in About Time: 1963-1966 Seasons 1 to 3 (so if it's inaccurate sue them not me !) of Terry Nation turning up in a Taxi at Donald Tosh's flat and delivering 24 pages of notes for his six episodes before fleeing into the night to catch a plane to Heathrow airport and leaving Donald Tosh to tidy them up into the scripts for the first five and the seventh episode. The author of about time intimates that Tosh is the source of the story but doesn't note where he was meant to have said this. Donald Tosh interviews are a little thin on the ground so you may have to take this story with a small pinch of salt. However if you put it together with Grieve's claim and the distinct Robert Holmesian feel of Genesis of the Daleks..... I will leave it as exercise to the reader to draw conclusions.

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