Monday 28 February 2011

098 The Daleks' Master Plan Part 8: Volcano

EPISODE: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 8: Volcano
TRANSMITTED: 01 January 1966
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

The Daleks test their time destructor on Trantis, which fails due to the fake Taranium Core. So they exterminate Trantis anyway! (Having killed Trantis and Zephon that leaves Mavic Chen & Celation, both of whom witness the test, and Beaus, Malpha & Gearon). The Daleks summon a time machine from Skaro to pursue the Tardis and retrieve the Taranium. The Doctor is aware they're being pursued and briefly materialises on the pitch of the Kennington Oval in London interrupting an Ashes test match! The time machine arrives on Kembel and collects Mavic Chen to pursue the rime travellers. The Tardis arrives on a volcanic planet: the Doctor thinks their pursuer is already there. A short distance away his old adversary the Meddling Monk has materialised and is pleased to have found the Doctor. While the Doctor and friends are exploring the Monk damages the Tardis' lock. The Monk appears to the Doctor, and the Doctor congratulates him on escaping 1066 where the Doctor marooned him by removing his Tardis' dimension control. The Monk tells the Doctor he has now stranded them on this planet, Tigus. He uses the sunlight, filtered through his special ring to repair the lock which can then be opened. The Monk vows that the Doctor hasn't heard the last of him! The Daleks and Chen prepare leave Kembel in the time machine as a countdown starts. The Tardis materialises in Trafalgar Square on New Year's eve allowing the travellers to witness the celebrations as the Dalek's countdown finishes.

More fun in this episode, broadcast on New Year's Day 1966, hence the finale. The episode brings back The Monk, from the Time Meddler, who becomes the first non companion character to meet the Doctor in more than one story. We also get a return for the Dalek Time Machine, previously seen in the Chase. In fact the later middle episodes of the Masterplan with the Tardis switching locations are very similar to the structure of the Chase.

And the cricket match: I'm forced to ask was Douglas Adams watching? We know Terry Nation was fond of recycling and Malcolm Hulke believed "all you needed to work in television was an original idea, not necessarily your original idea." Well swap the Tardis for a Chesterfield Sofa and the sequence at the start of this episode is very similar to that at the start of Douglas Adam's Life, The Universe & Everything, itself recycled from a potential Adams Doctor Who story - Doctor Who and the Krikketman. when this story was transmitted Adams would have been nearly 14 so it's quite possible that he may have seen while home over the Christmas holidays from his boarding school at Brentwood. This is possibly the Doctor's first encounter with the game, though he may have been aware of it during his stay in 1963. He'll later take it up, claiming to have played for New South Wales and taking 5 wickets bowling Chinaman, a variety of Left Arm Wrist Spin, yet when we see him playing in Black Orchid he's a right arm batsman & bowler.

I have to comment that I feel that the story gets the location of the cricket match a bit wrong though: On the day this episode was broadcast England were playing Australia in the second Ashes test at the MCG in Melbourne and having the Tardis materialise at the game being played that very day would have been a nice little touch. Or, leaving the setting in South London, it might have been nice to have Ian & Barbara sitting in the crowd and seeing the Tardis materialise..... Which makes me think: although the Doctor & friends don't leave the Tardis, this visit is the first time the Tardis has returned to the same vague geographic location in a similar time: They were in London at the start of an Unearthly Child and now the Tardis is back in London again.

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