Monday 5 March 2012

The Daleks' Master Plan

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
- Muriel Rukeyser


Me:  First of the epic adventures then.  Three months worth of Daleks.  It was supposed to be six parts and just written by Terry N, but then it got doubled and Dennis Spooner was commandeered into writing the other six.  And episode seven wasn’t offered for overseas sale either, despite Huw Wheldon’s mother-in-law insisting they’d love it.

Him:  So, I take it that six of them are good and that six of them…

Me:  Well.  Terry N’s not bad really, just a bit pulpy.  He always bangs out a ripping yarn.  John Wiles managed to negotiate some extra cash for these as well.  Still, turbulent times, but we’ll get to those in due course, I’m sure.  As for whether or not they’re good?  Well – let’s find out for ourselves.

Him:  Did they only have the money they would get on a regular four episode story?

Me:  No – this monster had been planned for ages – by Verity Lambert before she left, mostly – so there’s no stretching a budget taking place.  It’s costed for twelve episodes, with an increase in budget on top of that.  It was still a nightmare though.

Him:  Why’s there only one Nice biscuit left?

Me:  While you were out, there was a terrible accident and I’m afraid all the other Nice biscuits were lost.  Noble Sacrifices though.  Right…

We’re off!  On the TARDIS, Steven’s still ill.

Me:  The audio sounds like it’s been lifted from a record.

The Doctor tells Katarina that the poison’s spreading throughout Steven’s system.

Me:  Hang on.  ‘Poison’?

Him:  Steven hasn’t completed Hi-Fi’s bidding and he’s been poisoned.

Me:  Or maybe it’s an allergic reaction to swords.

Him:  “The only thing that’ll cure Steven is mercury.  Such a shame we don’t have any of that lying around.”

The TARDIS lands. Katarina is asked to keep Steven’s wound clean.  

In a jungle somewhere – bet it’s Kembel - there’s a sudden NOISE followed by an equally unexpected camera-pan that finishes up on a sweaty and unshaven Brian Cant.

Him:  Did you see that?

Me:  I did.  It- 

We’ve been introduced to two space security chaps: Kert Gantry and Bret Vyon.  Half of them are played by the wonderful Nicholas Courtney.

Him:  ‘Kert’ and ‘Bret’?

Me:  We must be on Geneva.

It seems that contact has yet to be made.

Bret Vyon:  Five-Zero-Alpha to Charlo Charlo Egan.

Me:  Yay!

Earth communications are down, which sounds a bit urgent – especially as something’s looking for these boys.  

Back on Earth, in a control room, there’s a flashing light on an important looking panel being ignored by a load of bald gentlemen.

Him: (whispered) Slapheads.

Me:  Oi!

The light continues blinking while Roald (a sports fan) and Lizan (a Mavic Chen fan) discuss stuff.  It seems that Mavic Chen – who’s revealed as the Guardian of the Solar System, which sounds like quite an important job - has just negotiated a tricky peace treaty and is about to deliver a speech about it before going on holiday.  In the background, the blinking light keeps on blinking.  The fact that ‘Five-Zero-Alpha’ is the call code of the group sent to look for missing agent Marc Cory on the planet Kembel is dropped casually into conversation.  The blinking light blinks on.

Me:  Oo.

Mavic Chen appears on the Channel 403 News.  He’s off on holiday in his Spar.

Me:  What do you think a ‘Spar’ is?

Him:  A taekwondo fight?  A shop?

Me:  Very good.  It’s actually a ‘Space Car’.

Him:  Mrrrgh.

Me:  Fair point.

The merits of various different models of Spar are discussed in lengthening depth, but no telephone number for credit-card orders appears on the screen.

Me:  It’s all gone a bit QVC.

A new dawn of peace is mentioned, as is the year 4000.  Blink blink blink repeats the light.  Roald continues to delivers some interesting lines.

Lizan:  Was that a flash?

Him:  It was.  Yes.

Annoyed, the blink ceases.  

Back on Kembel and Kert’s not happy.  Something’s getting closer.  There’s a noise.  Kert’s wounded leg mean he has to wait – he’s worried about wandering into an overly tactile Varga plant.  Perhaps that’s what happened to Marc Cory?  Bret Vyon doesn’t think so.

Bret Vyon:  We haven’t seen any Varga that look like him.

We arf at this.  Bret Vyon leaves Kert.  Kert moves off for real as surviving footage begins a brief trundle through the projector.  It doesn’t last long as Kert wanders almost instantly into a Dalek and is promptly exterminated.   

Elsewhere, Bret Vyon’s running – he trips, drops and breaks the transmitter.  Suddenly, he spots the TARDIS materialising.  Bret Vyon approaches the ship cautiously.  Seeing the doors open, he hides.  The Doctor and Katarina emerge.

Him:  Kataaaarinaaaaa…

The Doctor asks Katarina to keep looking after Steven.  He briefly explains how keys work.  Katarina nips back inside and the Doctor wanders off into the jungle for a wonder.  Bret Vyon follows him.  In the distance the Doctor spots glittering lights.  A city?  Bret Vyon confronts the Doctor and demands the key.  

In the TARDIS, Katarina is comforting Steven with talk of the underworld.  Steven passes out – this may be unconnected.  

Bret Vyon enters the TARDIS and is stunned.  Katarina seems to come from the time before lies and believes everything Bret Vyon tells her.  She closes the door.  Bret Vyon accidentally turns the scanner on.  Steven recovers a bit and sits up.  

Outside the TARDIS, the Doctor is indulging in furious pacing.  He notices that Bret Vyon’s left the key in the door.  

In the TARDIS, Steven hits Bret Vyon with a spanner.  

Near the city a ship lands, distracting the Doctor for a moment.  

In the city, Daleks chat.  It’s animated.

Him:  Ah.  Sweet Photoshopped movement.

Bret Vyon has been imprisoned in a magnetic chair.  

The Doctor, chuckling, makes his way through the jungle looking for help - just missing a Varga.  The Doctor stumbles across a body.

No comment.
Me:  That’s-

Him:  Why’s his left eye dripping out?  That’s not what I expected a Varga plant to do.

Me:  Must be Marc Cory.

Him:  Oh yeah.

Me:  Because he was exterminated.

Him:  But why the eye?

Me:  I don’t know.  It’s horrible.

The Doctor finds the message Marc Cory dropped.  

Another ship lands.  The Daleks are pleased by this.


Hidden in the jungle, the Doctor makes an observation.

The Doctor:  DALEKS!

Back on the TARDIS, Bret Vyon offers tablets to help Steven recover but as Katarina doesn’t know what tablets are this takes a while.  After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, Steven starts to recover.  A Dalek appears on the scanner.  

In the city, the Daleks are cock-a-hoop about the arrival of their new ally.  The Doctor watches as - Cor blimey – it’s Mavic Chen!

Me:  Quisling!  Traitor!

The Doctor returns through the jungle, only to find Daleks circling the TARDIS.


Him:  Do we have Day of Armageddon?  We do?  Yes!

Me:  That moved at a fair old pace.

Him:  Yes.  Yes it did.

Me:  We didn’t say much, I don’t think.

Him:  I thought it was okay.


Me:  Weirdly, this episode more than survives, because the original film inserts still exist.

Him:  Film?

Me:  Yeah, the bits that were pre-recorded and played in when the episode was being recorded.

Him:  That’s the bit that Babelcolour recoloured.

Me:  That’s right.  And the picture quality’s amazing. 


Me:  John Wiles was really put out by having this story dumped on him.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  And before it was finished, he’d handed in his resignation.  Donald Tosh went too.

Him:  Right.


Me:  Hartnell and Wiles didn’t hit it off and, according to scuttlebutt, Wiles was looking for ways of writing him out when they were preparing the story that became The Celestial Toymaker.

Him:  William Hartnell?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  But why?  He was the Doctor.

Me:  He was.  But he wasn’t very well and I think he’d become quite difficult for some people to work with.

Him:  So what was John Wiles planning on doing?  Cancelling the series?

Me:  I’m pretty sure it was just recasting.  Or making the Doctor into a gas or something.

Him:  Did he come up with the regeneration idea then?

Me:  Not entirely.  He was more of the ‘Please rid me of this troublesome Who’ idea.  But that’s a little while off.

Him:  Right.  Press play.

We recap.  The Doctor returns to the TARDIS.

Me:  Hang on a minute.  Notice anything different?

Him:  What do you mean?

Me:  The recap.

Him:  It’s moving.

Me:  Yeah.  And?

Him:  I don’t know.  William Hartnell’s ear blends in with his hair?

Me:  Well – no.  This episode was only recovered in 2004, so the recons had already been made.

Him:  Right.

It’s an interesting moment, for me if for no-one else, as it shows just how close the team who sweated out the recons managed to get to the original show.  It’s also interesting in that certain directorial decisions simply vanish.  There’s some lovely camerawork later on in this episode that even a camera script wouldn’t hint at.  I’ve read a review of Airlock, the recently recovered third episode of Galaxy 4, which reports that there’s a moment where Maaga delivers a chilling speech straight down the lens and into our souls.  Haven’t seen it yet myself, of course. Anyway, the Doctor’s returned to the TARDIS to find it being worshipped by Daleks.1

Me:  They don’t recognise the TARDIS.

Him:  Maybe these are different Daleks.

Me:  Interesting.



The Doctor shuffles off into the foliage.  

The worshipping Daleks receive a message from the Dalek Supreme that Operation Inferno is go go go - following an abbreviated countdown.

Him:  Foreshadowing.

Me:  ‘Inferno’?

Him:  Yeah.

Elsewhere, Mavic Chen’s busy composing his scurrilous muck-raking memoirs.

Him:  He’s just scribbling.

Me:  Oo- a delegate.

Zephon oozes into the room like a rock star.  According to my copy of Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Zephon was also the cherub dispatched by Gabriel to find Satan after his expulsion in Paradise Lost.  As to whether or not this counts as canon, I’ve no idea.  I suppose it’s possible that The Impossible Planet is a sequel to Milton.2

Me:  Bit Lovecraft.  He gives me the creeps.

Mavic Chen and Zephon exchange pleasantries and exposition.  It seems that the Daleks have had their eyestalks on taking over everything for a while now.  And greed’s still as prevalent in the year 4000 as it was in 1965. I guess Zephon doesn’t quite get this, even though he’s turned up at the conference as well, because he asks Mavic Chen why he’d become a traitor.

Mavic Chen:  Traitor?  Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!

Me:  Yes.

Greed, megalomania and just general wrong ‘un insanity revealed as his main interests, Mavic Chen thunders on with more exposition.  It’s entertaining stuff.  

Elsewhere, the Daleks are plotting a double-cross that should really come as a surprise to no-one except Katarina.  Speaking of Katarina: she’s looking after Steven in the jungle.

Me:  Steven’s looking better and Katarina’s moving.

The Doctor finds our chums.

Me:  I couldn’t work out if Steven had heard of the Daleks or not.

Following a recap, the Doctor gives Steven’s leg a solid pat.

Me:  Steven’s wooden leg.1 

The Him cracks up at this.  Suddenly – film occurs.  A Dalek deforestation team are preparing for a long night’s conflagration.

Me:  Big jump in picture quality there.

Him:  That one on the right’s got some difficulty getting his flame going.

The Doctor, Steven and Katarina continue their ramble.  Bret Vyon, having observed the Pyro-Daleks, catches up with the others.  The Doctor’s still being a bit cantankerous and wants to leave.  Some other members of the group are keen on being heroes.  Bret Vyon does something very brave here.

Me:  Has anyone dared tell the Doctor to shut up before?

Him:  No.

The Daleks burn and burn and burn and burn in a scene that seems to last forever.  

Bret Vyon still wants to warn Earth, and so our friends begin to make their way towards what passes for civilisation on Kembel.  The smoke from the burning jungle drifts across the Dalek city.  Mavic Chen and Zephon are having a Kemblelit chat about this and that.  

Slightly later, back in the conference room, the other delegates arrive, in various forms of non-musical movement.

Him:  What’s wrong with that guy?  It’s like he’s checking for landmines.

Me:  I think it’s to do with coming from a world with higher gravity.

The Daleks announce that after coffee, exterminating the traitor Zephon and reading the minutes from the previous meeting, the conference will get underway.  

The Doctor, Bret Vyon, Steven and Katarina have made their way to Eavesdropper Point.  Bret Vyon notices a familiar Spar.

Bret Vyon:  It’s Mavic Chen’s!

Our heroes decide to steal the Spar belonging to the Ultimate Head of the Solar System.

Me:  “Master of the Universe!"

Zephon lurks out of the dark.

Me:  Urgh.

Him:  What’s wrong with it?  Whoah – that’s cool!

As he prepares to haunt a doorstep or two, Zephon’s claw twists through and shifts some sawdust.

Me:  It reminds me of Dunwich.  And where we used to live.

Zephon gets jumped by Bret Vyon.  Rather him than me.

Me:  Douglas Camfield directed all of The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  I’ll keep trying.

The delegates have finished their coffee and are waiting patiently for the meeting to get underway.

Him:  It’s that guy again.

Me:  He had a freak accident playing squash.

A Dalek is sent to search for Zephon who’s having his robes removed elsewhere.  Katarina’s descent into lunacy isn’t being helped by this particular turn of events.

Me:  There’s a lot more going on with Katarina than I’d realised.

Him:  Yeah.  It’s showing how much she’s from the past.  I don’t like her as much as Vicki, but…

Me:  Well, she thinks she’s passing through the underworld – and it must seem like that.  Of course, she might have already gone mad at this point.

The Doctor plans to disguise himself and crash the conference.  He also hasn’t forgotten Bret Vyon telling him to shut up earlier.

Him:  The Doctor keeps prodding him.

Me:  It shows he trusts him.

The Doctor gives Bret Vyon Marc Cory’s final tape before disguising himself as an eldritch salad.  The Daleks, totally fooled, direct ‘Zephon’ to the conference chamber whilst our heroes prepare to twoc the Spar.  

Zephon wakes up and undulates against his viney restraints.

Me:  Uuurgh.

‘Zephon’ joins the conference, acting like he’s got concussion.

Him:  The Doctor isn’t convincing in the slightest.  And he’s wearing high heels.

Me:  Elf-kickers.

Mavic Chen:  Here’s your place - next to me.

Him:  Did that Dalek just hesitate there?

Me:  I don’t know. It doesn’t match the subtitles.

The Daleks reveal that the time destructor is almost ready.


Him:  The core of the Earth?

Me:   I think it’s a taranium core this time.  The whole, mine-Bedfordshire-in-order-to-hollow-out-the-core-of-the-Earth-and-take-it-for-a-quick-spin idea has been quietly dropped.

The delegates are so delighted that the meeting’s finally underway that they start some rhythmic pounding.

Him:  His hands look horrible.

Me:  That’s Malpha.

The Dalek Supreme calls the meeting to order.

Dalek Supreme:  MAAAA-VIC-CH-EN!

Me:  Magic.

The core of the time destructor is revealed.  It isn’t a tin of dog food.  Teeth are bared.

Him:  Whoah!

Mavic Chen:  I, Mavic Chen, give you the core of the time destructor!

PARP! goes the core of the time destructor.

Me:  Makes quite a noise when he puts it down.

Him:  Like iron in Look Around You.

Zephon struggles to free itself.

Me:  The salad’s almost escaped.

Whirr click goes the Spar.  Bret Vyon pops in and takes it over.

Me:  Nice.  No messing

Zephon raises alarums.

Him:  Did you see his head?

Me:  Hideous.

Him:  I know someone who looks like that.

In the confusion the Doctor grabs the taranium core and makes a hasty exit.

Me:  “I’ll have that!”

On the Spar, Katarina prays for the Doctor’s safety as Bret prepares to lift off…

Me:  So – she needs the Doctor to guide her…

Him:  To the place of perfection.

Me:  Yeah.

Me:  I enjoyed that episode.  It finally makes sense.

Him:  Yes.

1. I’d better offer my thanks to Tachyon TV who, to the best of my knowledge, first pointed this out. 

2. No, it isn’t.


Me:  So, John Wiles wanted to put his own stamp on the show and make it quite a serious drama.  He felt constrained by this story though – and didn’t have a great time.  All the paperwork that I’ve read that was written by him makes him sound alright but he’s got a bit of a reputation.

Him:  So, he was only there for three stories?

Me:  He’s responsible for a few more, but about that, yeah.

Him:  Steven Moffat’s the producer now, isn’t he?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  So, he’s got the same job that Verity Lambert and John Wiles had?

Me:  Um…  Yes.

Him:  Oh.  So, was he chosen?

Me:  Ummm…  Sort of.  Russell T Davies kind of asked him.

Him:  And Russell T Davies was the previous producer?

Me:  Yes.  To be fair though, The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace and the Vashta Nerada epic all act as a pretty good CV.  And if you throw in Blink as the covering letter then I think that’s a successful application package right there.

Him:  What does a producer actually do?

Me:  That’s a very good question.  I’ll explain later.

Him:  Tell me now!

Me:  It’s a bit different now to what it used to be.  After Doctors, the change of producer is often when an era shift becomes noticeable.  Letts to Hinchcliffe and-

Him:  Blue whales are heavy.  Blue whales are very heavy.

Me:  On to the Devil’s Planet then.

We recap. 

Me:  This’ll give you an idea of how hard the recons must’ve been to put together because we’ve seen what this bit actually looked like.  They’ve made a good go of it.  Impressive stuff.

Him:  This is where Katarina goes, isn’t it?  Episode three?

Me:  This is episode three, yes.

Him:  And this is where she goes?

Bret Vyon orders a countdown but then notices that someone’s forgotten to close the door.  The Doctor boards the Spar, fortuitously before take off.  There’s a sudden moment of animation as the Spar leaves Kembel, and then we’re watching Daleks glide around like they’re at the ballet.  Tradition is observed.

Him:  They’re watching Doctor Who again.

The Dalek Supreme is quite keen to track the Spar.


The Spar isn’t to be destroyed – mostly because it took ages to get the taranium core in the first place.

Him:  What’re those Daleks actually doing?  Do they have shifts?

Me:  I don’t think they get lunch breaks.

Bret Vyon, Steven, Katarina and the Doctor catch up on what they’ve missed.  The Doctor explains the Daleks’ master plan - Earth to be destroyed first (as always) and then all the other planets.  Katarina’s finding all this modern talk quite baffling.

Me:  Poor Katarina.

Finally we discover where taranium’s found.

Him:  ‘Uranus’?

Me:  That’s where taranium’s found: Uranus.  Bwah ha ha!  Ha!  Ha!  Boom!  Boom!

Him:  Such a stupid laugh.

Me:  Luckily, it’s not mine.

Him:  Such a mindless fox.

Mavic Chen and his Evil Funkers are playing a dangerous gig back on Kembel.

Me:  Boba Fett’s making a guest appearance as Zephon there.

"I really don't see what all the fuss is about."
Zephon’s unhappy with how his day’s gone.  It gets worse when the Daleks exterminate him.  More background information is supplied and the Evil Christmas Tree makes a reappearance.  

Our heroes are approaching the planet Desperus (more on this later) and checking the taranium.  Katarina looks and learns.  Perhaps the Spar could be used to play Marc Cory’s tape?

Him:  Why would it have a tape player?

Me:  Every classy Spar comes equipped with a quadraphonic 8-track player with walnut finish, so why wouldn’t it?

Him:  What about the future-telling octopus?  The one they used in the World Cup?  I recall there being a fortune-telling octopus at one point.

Me:  There was but he didn’t team up with the Daleks.  He was called Clever Hands or something.  I’m pretty sure he was a German octopus.

Him:  That’s right – maybe he changed the future.

Me:  So – you’re saying that the octopus policy of non-interference needs more rigorous reinforcing?

Him:  Uh-huh.  There’s one definite way to win a derby.

Me:  Ok.

Him:  You drug all the other horses.

Me:  ‘The Curious Incident of the Octopus in the Night-Time’.

Him:  What?

Me:  It’ll make sense when you’re older.  Or read Silver Blaze.

Him:  ‘Silver Blade’?

Me:  Silver Blaze.

The tape is played.

Him:  It’s different.

The Doctor:  The Daleks will stop at anything to prevent us!

Me:  Ummm…?  Should be quite easy then, shouldn’t it?  “OO-A-FLOW-ER!-AH!-A-CABB-AGE-WHITE!”

Him:  That’s only the Architect Dalek that collects butterflies.  I suppose if they were going to make a film of every Dalek story they’d have to make one of Mission to the Unknown.

Me:  It’d probably be an internet-only trailer.  Or released in Imax only, tacked on to the start of a useless sequel to boost audiences.

Him:  There are no weird museums in Scotland but there is a museum of the mouse trap in Wales.  Bedwas.  Where’s Kent?

Me:  Kent’s where the Daleks had reached according to Marc Cory’s improved maps.

Anyway…  The Spar’s approaching Desperus.  The Daleks operate their randomiser and suddenly there’s…

Me:  Movement.

Him:  No… no… no…

The Spar is being pulled into the gravitational point of Desperus, the penal planet of the solar system.  Bret Vyon reveals that they can’t land there as it’s full of criminals.  

Back on the Dalek control ship a soft landing for the Spar is engineered.  Pursuit ships are launched.  Mavic Chen congratulates the Dalek Supreme.


Mavic Chen:  You still haven’t recovered the taranium.

Me:  “SHUT-IT!”

Mavic Chen returns to Earth.  

The Spar is landing on Desperus and we meet some of the planet’s, rather horrid, inhabitants - Bors, Garge and Kirksen who are fighting over women and a knife.

Me:  Bit grim.  Again.

The sound of random geese fills the leaden Desperus landscape.  Whilst Bors is sleeping an unsuccessful knife grab is attempted by Kirksen.  The sound of a landing Spar is heard above the geese.  The convicts head off to the swamp to say hello.

Him:  How is a knife better than a point-ed stick?

Bret Vyon:  What’s the matter with Grandpa?

Me:  Nice.

Our heroes pop out for a look around the swamp.  In the distance – lights.

Me:  What’s the deal with the geese?

Him:  It’s music.

The Daleks' pursuit fleet is now on the way to collect their taranium.

Me:  Almost like a chase, you might say.

Him:  It’s not a chase; it’s a ‘follow’.

Me:  Hmmm….

On Desperus the noise continues.

Me:  Oh – they're bats!

There’s a sudden bat attack on Kirksen and then a roar!

Me:  What the hell was that?

The Doctor comes back inside the Spar and tells Katarina to prepare to hold a switch.

The Doctor:  Just do as you’re told.

The Doctor takes a cable out into the swamp.  Bors and Garge creep closer.

Katarina:  Something moved.

On the Doctor’s signal, Katarina pulls the switch and Bors and Garge are electrocuted into unconsciousness.  Katarina confides in the Doctor.

Katarina:  With you I know I’m safe.

All of a sudden there’s a lot of baffling noise.

Me:  What’s going on?

A manual take off is prepared and the Spar leaves just as the Dalek ships land.  The escape is mostly successful – right up to the point that Kirksen suddenly emerges and grabs Katarina…

Him:  Katarina doesn’t have a last name.

Me:  No, she doesn’t.


Me:  So.  We’re currently a quarter of the way through and after this episode we’ll be a third.  Anything you’d like to say?

Him:  Third?  Oh – The Daleks’ Master Plan.  I thought you meant William Hartnell.  It’s a really long one, isn’t it?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  What made them make it in twelve parts?

Me:  Right.  Basically, The Dalek Invasion of Earth was really successful and ran over Christmas in six parts.  Therefore, it followed that running a Dalek story over Christmas would be a successful thing to do.  And doubling the length of said Dalek adventure would make it twice as successful.  You with me?

Him:  Uh-huh.

Me:  That’s if it wasn’t actually extended because Huw Wheldon’s mother-in-law wanted to see more Daleks.  That’s the explanation I prefer, which is why I flailed at a hint to it earlier on.

Me:  BBC Dalek Supremo.

At this piece of information, the Him starts spelling Ode to Joy 
which, in fairness, I wasn’t expecting.

Me:  Lovely.

We recap.  Katarina’s in trouble.  Kirksen insists on heading to Kembel and not Earth.

The Doctor:  Kembel?!

I’m not expecting you to believe me, but this whole scene is really intense.  Even though it’s essentially a radio play with a slideshow it hooks us in and we’re really quiet.  Possibly because we know how it’s going to pan out, which of course the original viewers wouldn’t have.

And so, leaving Katarina in trouble, I hope you don’t mind if we detour for a moment.

Reading between the lines, it seems that The Traitors is the episode of The Daleks’ Master Plan that’s most likely to be recovered.  No-one seems willing to admit it, but it sounds like the full episode is the only one that can safely be said to have been ‘borrowed’ rather than destroyed.  Time will tell, I guess.

I really hope that more of the Wiles/Tosh episodes are recovered because I’ve personally been amazed by quite how thrilling they are.  I’m using that ‘thrilling’ in a very particular way there. 

I made an observation, on the page that no-one reads, about how childhood offers a different viewing experience of Doctor Who than you get when you become cobwebbed and jaded in your twenties.  Here’s a link.  You won’t follow it, and I don’t blame you.  

Anyway, it’s worth noting that a lot of Doctor Who is better than the rest of it is.  Which is a nice way of saying that we’ve started this journey at a point where it would be unfeasible to pretend that the Him’s watching these recons and stories in awestruck silence and not being rude.  Those days are gone the way of all flesh.  Consequently, the less we say, the more it’s grabbed us.  I’m also conscious that we’re expecting something from what’s essentially another culture to be able to play within today's televisual rules.  That’s only to a degree of course.  And now there’s an animated Dalek gliding across a control room.

Me:  That looked good.

The Dalek pursuit ships are back on the Spar’s trail.  On the Spar itself, Bret Vyon pretends to change course.  Kirksen doesn’t believe anyone.  He drags Katarina into the airlock and locks it.  The picture begins to move…

Him:  Oh…

I’ve said it before, and here you go again: this seems like a really weird choice of scene to highlight how Peter Purves used to be in Doctor Who for the Blue Peter audience.  There’s a struggle in the airlock.

The Doctor:  Take him back to Kembel!  Take him back to Kembel!

Katarina reaches for a switch – it's either desperation, or she's the bravest and most unselfish companion that the Doctor has ever had the honour of travelling with.  Of course, it's more likely she's barking by this point and it's a total accident, but let's go with the Noble Sacrifice theory, shall we?  It's a Terry N tale after all.  Katarina opens the airlock, sucking herself and Kirksen into the vacuum of space.  Katarina’s gone.  It’s really quiet.  Both on screen and here.

Me:  The Doctor’s losing people frequently now.

There’s a moment of quite tasteful animated drifting and William Hartnell knocks a speech out of the park.

Me:  That’s good.

Him:  Slowed down trampoline isn’t it?

Me:  That’s how they did it when they filmed it.  Really changes the mood of the story.  And seeing it in context makes a massive difference.  It’s quite powerful.

Him:  First of the TARDIS crew to be gone forever.  Maybe when the Doctor looked back on Katarina he did it before he met her.

Me:  Maybe.

The Daleks are quarrelling with Trantis, a runny-faced delegate, about the trustworthiness of Maaaaaaaavic Chen.  The Daleks are convinced they’ve got this one licked.


Bret Vyon has a friend on Earth he thinks will help our hero fugitives.  Meanwhile, Mavic Chen’s back on Earth, lying to anyone who’ll listen – especially his fan Lizan.  There’s a smug, bald, fellow named Karlton also in attendance.  Bret Vyon’s massive animated head floats around in the background.
Master of the Universe figure sold separately.

Me:  That’s pretty good as well.

Him:  The giant floating head?

Me:  That’s the one. 

Blinded by Mavic Chen’s way with political rhetoric, Lizan sets the quest for Bret Vyon in motion.  Karlton slides up to Mavic Chen and oozes obsequiousness into his ear.

Mavic Chen:  You must do better than that.  I would hate to have to lose you.

The Spar is approaching Earth.  Mavic Chen awaits reports whilst sitting behind a most curious piece of furniture.

Him:  ‘A large rotating desk’?
Mavic Chen reveals that he wants to govern the universe next to the Daleks.  His grasp of how this situation’s going to play out is not great.  The only thing in his way (apart from being power-crazed right round the bend) is Trantis.  But the Daleks “don’t like Trantis”, so they’re bound to exterminate him and then…

Mavic Chen:  It will be me, Mavic Chen, who will be next in line.

Karlton reveals that the quest for Bret Vyon is being led by one of his very best agents: Kingdom.

Mavic Chen:  Kingdom!

Me:  ‘Kingdom’.

A call comes through.  Karlton takes it so Mavic Chen doesn’t damage a nail.  It turns out that the ‘traitors’ have arrived.  Or rather, crashed at the experimental station Bret Vyon mentioned earlier.  

We join our chums as they slink around apparently deserted corridors.  I say ‘apparently’ on account of there being a shadowy figure watching them slink.  

Mavic Chen is delighted when Kingdom arrives to meet him.

Him:  Sara Kingdom.

Me:  Well spotted.

Sara Kingdom offers her report.  Our heroes are trapped and she’s off to go get them.  However…

Mavic Chen:  Before you do that, there is something you have to know...

Back in the experimental station, our heroes are hanging around waiting for Bret Vyon’s chum.

The Doctor:  I think we’re just wasting valuable time sitting around here waiting for this man Baxter or Daxtar or whatever he calls himself.

The Doctor points out that they’ve landed in a bit of rum situation that may very well be nothing more than the setting for an ambush.  At that moment, or thereabouts, Daxtar arrives.  

Mavic Chen and Sara Kingdom's briefing is wrapping up.  Sara has to recover the vital emm of taranium.  She leaves.

Mavic Chen:  A good security agent.

Back in the base.

Daxtar:  Mavic Chen?  The Daleks?  I can’t believe it!

Stuff happens and I notice that we’re both actually watching it again.  Suspicions aroused, the Doctor succeeds in exposing Daxtar (or Baxter, or whatever he calls himself) as a traitor.

The Doctor:  Long acquaintance is no guarantee for honesty.  Ask him!  Ask him how he came to know that the core of the time destructor was taranium!

Me:  Oh dear.

This exposure leads, as you might well imagine, to a tense confrontation and an odd observation, which you might well not imagine.

Me:  God, this is good.

Him:  “Tooooooby…”

Daxtar dies as a result of being shot by Bret Vyon.  This leads to another confrontation as the Doctor harangues Bret Vyon for cutting off their one line to finding out who can actually be trusted.  

Animated Daleks have a quick chat about how the story’s going for anyone who’d forgotten about them.  

Back on the experimental base things happen all at once.  Sara Kingdom arrives, demands the taranium and is attacked by Bret Vyon.  He tells the Doctor and Steven to run while he buys them time.  Bret Vyon and Sara Kingdom confront each other briefly, before she kills him with shooting.  That’s two companions in one episode failing basic ‘Escape to Danger’.  Tch.  It’s a bloodbath.

Him:  Oh.

Suddenly, there’s movement!  Sara Kingdom strides to the front of the frame and delivers a cliff-hanger line that’s almost as brilliant as ‘and there’s blood on it’, namely:

Sara:  The others must be killed as well.  They will be shot on sight – but aim for the head.

Me:  Blimey!

Him:  There’s not many left – don’t take them away.  What’s the one after The Massacre?

Me:  The Ark.

Him:  And after that?

Me:  The Celestial Toymaker.

Him:  Then The Gunfighters and then The

To be continued…


                                                                 Savages, then The War Machines.  Isn’t that the one where Dodo leaves?

Me:  It is.

Him:  They’re starting to leave quite quickly.  It’s just the Doctor and Steven at this point.  When do Ben and Polly leave?

Me:  The Faceless Ones.

Him:  That’s quite a ways in.  I thought The Underwater Menace had Victoria in it-  No.  That’s Fury The Deep.  Is that not the last one with Victoria?

Me:  ‘Fury The Deep’?

Him:  Fury The Deep.  See?

The Him shows me where on the Doctor Who: The Television Companion (3rd Ed., Howe & Walker, BBC Books, London, 1999) contents page this can be found.3

Me:  So it is.  And, yes, it is.

Him:  When Victoria leaves?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  Well, Victoria’ll remember the Doctor at least.  Even if Jamie and Zoe don’t.

Me:  Aye.

Him:  “Who was that horrible woman?!”

This makes me crack up.

Me:  What do you think of this opus so far?

Him:  I’m enjoying The Daleks’ Master Plan.  I prefer the old Daleks to the new ones.

Me:  That’s interesting.  Why the old ones?  Scarier?

Him:  No.  I hate the new Daleks.  Maybe they use them too much.

Me:  Do you mean the new colourful giant ones?

Him:  Yes.

Me:  Ah, right.  How about the copper beauty in Dalek?

Him:  I don’t remember much about Dalek.  I’ve only seen it once.

Me:  You’ve seen it more than that.

Him:  Doesn’t feel like it.

Me:  Well, we’ll sort that out soon enough.  For what it’s worth, I liked it.  Even with the Adric clone.

The Him sighs and the nightmare continues as we recap in glorious surviving episode motion.

Me:  Let’s see if the Brig gets a recap fee.

Sara Kingdom strides to the front of the frame.

Me:  Nope.

Borker, another agent, trots up and spots Bret Vyon off camera.  Sara Kingdom confirms this observation.

Sara:  Yes, he’s dead.

Me:  “So we won’t need to mention or look at him again.”

Sara Kingdom sends Borker off so she can finish off the cliff-hanger.

Sara:  -but aim for the head.

Me:  They’re not zombies.

Him:  I don’t think that Sara would have made that good a companion.  She’d just have been killing everyone.

Me:  Like a proto-Leela?

Him:  Well, Leela wasn’t killing everybody.  Just nearly that guy in The Robots of Death.

Me:  I meant other characters rather than camera crew.  I don’t think Jean Marsh built up a body count of technicians.  Also, she herself says that Sara wasn’t a companion.

Him:  Yeah, and I’m saying it again.

Me:  “Kill ‘em in the head.”

The Doctor and Steven take refuge in a very odd room.  It’s large and mostly empty except for an elaborate mouse cage containing mice and a constant beeping.

Me:  “Take his brain!”

Him:  It’d be pretty cool if mice had eight heads.


Me:  What?

Him:  We’ve had two-headed snakes before.  And six-legged ducks.

Me:  Now, when you say ‘we’?

Him:  You don’t keep them in the house anymore.

Me:  Ah.  Whimsy.

Him:  ‘Whimsy’?  “WIBBSEY!”

Me:  “VO-GA!”

Him:  “VO-GA!  Planet of GOLD!”

Me:  Back in the lab…

The Doctor:  Perhaps it’s some kind of experiment.

At this observation the beeping changes tempo and we’re in a swanky control room.  Two nervous chaps prepare to begin something that sounds very ominous.

Him:  What’s a dissemination?

Me:  Um… 


Me:  Keep watching and see if you can work it out.

Sara Kingdom bursts in on the Doctor and Steven at the moment of dissemination.
Iconic Moment #58

Me:  'Intense gurning', more like.

Him:  ‘Humming’.   

Iconic Moment #59
Him:  Oh, wait – is this not where William Hartnell looks really happy?

Me:  It is.

Iconic Moment #60

Him:  Why does he look so happy?

Me:  I’m not sure it’s ‘happy’.

Back in the control room the circuits register perfect dissemination, which is nice.  The scientists head to the room to see who just opened the door and come across the two agents who aren’t Sara Kingdom and an otherwise empty room.  Even the mice have scarpered.  This, naturally, leads to an obvious question.

Borker:  There were three people in here.  Where are they?

Me:  They’re on a trampoline.

The Him arfs at this.

Me:  That reminds me.  After watching Katarina’s Noble Sacrifice, Stanley Kubrick had a minion get in touch with the Doctor Who office to find out how they did the effect because he was planning something similar for 2001.

Him:  Ok.

Me:  Just saying.

In the most novel escape of the series so far, it turns out that the Doctor, Steven and Sara Kingdom (who I can start calling Sara next episode when she doesn’t become a proper companion) have been sent away to a “strange planet in a strange galaxy, the nature of which we can only guess at” as part of a (truly random) experiment.  One can only assume that the scientists in the abandoned experiment base have been forgotten about and just started messing around with the equipment as way of staving off terminal ennui.  Anyway. 

Him:  The walls should have been transmitted as well.

Me:  I guess we have to assume they’ve found a way of localising the field.  It’s just lucky that the experiment worked or they’d have an awful lot of cleaning up to do and we’d be about to run out of blog.

Him:  Aren’t we out of-

There’s sudden glitter.

Him:  Oh – it’s the Atraxi.

And now: a jungle.

Me:  Ok, I take it back.  That’s the jungle set that I accused Derek Martinus of spending all of Galaxy 4’s budget on.  Looks good, mind.

Daleks pop up, just in case we’d forgotten them.  They feel themselves to be somewhat out of the loop and want a report from Mavic Chen on where the hell their time destructor battery is.  

Back on Earth, the scientists reveal they’ve sent their mice to a planet called Mira.  Space Security isn’t happy about this.

Me:  Going on the Terry N planet-naming strategy, Mira must honk a bit.

We pan around the planet Mira and find that the mice seem to be alright, which is quite a relief.  It’s nice to know that no matter how much of a body count this story is building up, cruelty to animals remains a line it refuses to cross.  I mean, where would we be then?   

Back on Earth, Karlton informs Mavic Chen that the mice are fine.  Mavic Chen himself isn’t convinced that the Daleks are going to be quite as chuffed about this news as Karlton is.  This is mostly because the Daleks were expecting to be popping the taranium core he’d promised them into their time destructor and getting on with taking over the universe before Juke Box Jury. A taranium core that's now in the possession of a mad scientist’s pets on a far distant planet possessed of an atmosphere that could choke a horse.

Karlton:  Tell the Daleks that you trapped the fugitives in the cellular projector and sent them to Mira on purpose. It was a safety measure.  Unwelcome attention was being paid to the fugitives so you sent them to Mira on purpose.

Rather than shake Karlton until his head falls off, Mavic Chen takes this suggestion rather well.  A well manicured nail sneaks into frame and villainous beard-strokage commences.

Me:  Oh, nice.

Him:  I thought that was the other guy.  Giving him a prod.

This comment leaves me in stitches.  It takes some time to recover.

Me:  Kevin Stoney was really pleased with the nails and wanted to show them off.

Mineralogy is mentioned, but then, it usually comes down to some form of mining when you're dealing with the Daleks.  Mavic Chen rants about how he’s an essential component to the Daleks’ master plan.  He begins megalomaniacal monologuing.  We’ve all been there.

Me:  He’s making a slight error of judgement, isn’t he?

Mavic Chen:  Without me, they are but nothing.  Nothing!  When I am next to the Daleks only they stand between me and the highest position in the universe.  Then will be the time for me to take complete control!

"I'm a genius.  Yes, I am."

Me:  “Oh.  Did I just say that out loud?”

Meanwhile, on Mira, the Doctor awakes.

Me:  “What’s that terrible smell?”

After checking his wig’s still on, the Doctor counts his fingers and taranium cores - ten and one respectively.

The Doctor:  The mice couldn’t have done that.

Me:  “Insolence!  Take his brain!”

Him:  Mice are smarter than humans. 

Nearby, something is flapping Sara Kingdom’s unconscious limbs about, and it isn’t mice.

Me:  Do you think that’s Steven?

Him:  It’s Hi-Fi.

Steven recovers, awakened by the growls.  He disarms Sara Kingdom.  The Doctor has found the mice.

Me:  They still do the odd convention.

Him:  Who?

Me:  The mice.

Him:  I think the mice are probably dead by now.

Me:  Tch.  Realist.

Footprints begin to appear in the mire.

Him:  “Doctor Who in Another Exciting Adventure With Cutbacks.”

Me:  That’s quite a good effect.  And an invisible beast in a Terry N story.  I wonder if that’ll happen again?

Him:  Are you referring to when the Doctor graffitied a Dalek?

Me:  I am.

Him:  Ok.  Why is it spending so long in the air before it takes another step?  And sometimes it makes a little hop.

Me:  It's applied for developmental funding from the Ministry of Silly Walks and the decision hasn't come through yet.

The Doctor and Steven find each other.  Sara Kingdom slowly recovers.  The Daleks have discovered the location of their missing time destructor battery.

Him:  “MI-RA!”

With the subtitles on, the Him can join in with Dalek dialogue.  

The Doctor explains cellular dissemination.  It’s magnificent, especially as when Mr Hartnell starts the lengthy speech it looks an awful lot like he’s forgotten his lines.

Steven:  That’s fantastic.

Me:  I’ll say it was.  Go on, Bill.

The Daleks have landed on Mira.  Swiftly they capture the mice.  Interrogation takes place.  And the Architect Dalek makes an appearance.

Me:  Oh – he’s back!

Him:  Butterfly Dalek!

The brave mice refuse to answer the Dalek’s questions. 

Architect Dalek:  DE-STROY-IT!

Me:  What?

In a moment that cements precisely what swines the Daleks are, the mice are exterminated.  

We sit in a shocked silence for a moment.  A line has been crossed.  No-one is safe.

Me:  This is truly a dark tale.

The Architect Dalek senses movement in the foliage.  He shoots.



Him:  Why’s one of them high-pitched and one of them low-pitched?

Me:  Do you want the truth?

Him:  What?

Me:  One of them’s female and the other isn’t.  They make up a close-harmony quartet on days off.  It’s to tell them apart.

The Him sighs.  

Back on Earth, Karlton’s intimidating the disaffected scientists who haven’t really got a clue what’s going on.

Me:  “We could… send… more mice?”

The Doctor is attacked by one of the invisible creatures.  It must have a death wish.

Me:  Bill’ll kill it ‘til it’s dead.


Him:  He did.

The Doctor identifies the beasts as the counter-intuitively named ‘Visians’, and that means he must be on the planet Mira.  Elsewhere, Sara Kingdom and Steven aren’t hitting it off.  She’s not a bad ‘un really.  She was just following orders.  Hmmm…

Sara:  What do you want me to say?  That I believe your fantastic story?

Him:  People don’t use the word ‘fantastic’ in that context anymore.

Me:  It would put an intriguing spin on the Ninth Doctor if they did.

It turns out that Bret Vyon was Sara Kingdom’s brother.  

Jean Marsh has played this magnificently throughout.  This is another twist that repays a second viewing and, like I said in The Myth Makers, that’s something that the audience of December 1965 wouldn’t have been getting.  This does seem to suggest that the creators were expecting their audience to be paying attention – or has Doctor Who always been too complicated?  Ahem.

Sara:  Something… touched me.

Him:  "Was it a Thal?  They’re sneaky."

The Doctor explains about the vicious Visians, which sounds like a Horrible History to me.  Our chums are trapped.  

Mavic Chen has a bit of a gloat about things. 

Me:  See?  Nails.

Mavic Chen stops tapping his nails and drops his pen before pouncing on the scenery and chomping furiously.

Me:  Kevin Stoney’s having a fine old time.

Back on Mira for our appointment with a cliff-hanger.

The Doctor:  Remember, my boy, aim high.  These Visians are eight-feet tall.

Him:  How does he know?

Before our heroes can defend themselves, a disposable Dalek (I’ll explain later) emerges from the jungle.


The Doctor:  I’m afraid, my friends, the Daleks have won

The credits rock on by.

Me:  Oo.

Him:  They didn’t give the Brigadier a credit.

Me:  Saving appearance fees eh, Dougie?  Good man.

3. I appreciate this is rich coming from me.


The Him is listing vegetables that are actually fruits.

Me:  When we get through this episode we’re actually half-way there.

Him:  Ok.

We recap.  The Daleks have still won.

The credits gracefully inform us of things.

Him:  Ha!  ‘From an idea by Terry N’.

Me:  Yeah, that idea being: “Why not use the Daleks?  I’m almost out of champagne”.

The Daleks demand the taranium.  The Doctor refuses and in an unexpected moment of movement, there’s a rattle and shuffle of nettles and the Visians attack.


Me:  That’s a line that any accountant would rejoice to see in a script.

There’s a massive fight!  Probably.  Every so often the picture goes negative, which shows the Daleks are engaging the enemy.  This is often followed with shots of rattling jungle.

Him:  Movement!  Awesome movement!

Suddenly, a Visian is exterminated.  And:


Me:  Whoah!

The Doctor and chums run off.

Visian:  Ootini!

Me:  They’re Jawas!  Giant Jawas.

Him:  What’s a Jawa?


Me:  I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.

The flapping foliage continues dancing like it’s at a Harrison Chase recital.  Eventually, the leafy disco is done.  Evil has triumphed.  Go on evil.


Me:  And that line, used in conjunction with the former, could earn a scriptwriter a big kiss from the producer.

The Daleks hunt for our heroes.

On the Daleks mothership an animated Dalek glides around.  The Dalek Supreme is given an update as to how badly the whole taranium recovery is going.

Back on Mira, the Doctor, Sara and Steven have made their way to the Dalek pursuit ship.  Steven tells Sara that she’ll have to trust the Doctor.  A Dalek slides down the ramp leading into the ship.

Me:  That’s a Sensorite chair.
As seen in television's Doctor Who.

Seeing as the images that can’t be cobbled together from stills or tele-snaps are made of composite images from other stories, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  I’m fairly sure I used to know someone who had a set of the same type of seat that would be produced at mealtimes for younger guests to perch on.  They were orange. The seats, that is.

Back in the real world, the Doctor ‘surrenders’ to the Dalek.

Sara and Steven sneak up on the Dalek who’s obviously got excited about recovering the taranium all by himself and the promotion that will no doubt follow.  He’s already planned how he’s going to spend his bonus when he becomes the victim of a cowardly attack from behind.  It’s odd that I mentioned the Sensorites earlier as the method of Dalek incapacitation appears to be the same as that used by Barbara Who

Me:  There’s mud in your eye.

Him:  Yes.  ‘Mud’.

The Dalek flaps around, exterminating weeds.  Our heroes board the ship and prepare to escape.

Easily to assemble and clean.  Will stack for storage.
Me:  There’s the chair again.

The door closes and our heroes take off.

Him:  Did you hear the noise the door made?  ‘Chungk’!

Mavic Chen has been called before the Dalek Supreme for a telling off.  Unfortunately, as we’ve already noticed, his power-madness is leading to careless decision-making.  And rubbish excuses.  Worryingly, he’s also failed to notice that the Dalek Supreme is being sarcastic.

Me:  Don’t try reasoning with them.  They’re worse than toddlers.   Do you recognise the actor playing Mavic Chen?

Him:  No.

Me:  He appeared in two other Doctor Who stories.

Him:  No.

Me:  The Invasion and Revenge of the Cybermen.

Him:  How was I supposed to remember that?

Me:  Well, he’s unrecognisable in Revenge of the Cybermen, so I’ll let you off that one.

A report from Mira comes through.  The prisoners have escaped and the stranded Daleks are being kicked to bits by invisible attackers.  Someone uses this as an opportunity to dig himself a little deeper into his hole.

Mavic Chen:  And you have the audacity to accuse me, Mavic Chen, of incompetence?

On the stolen pursuit ship, the Doctor is examining the taranium.  He is planning to make a copy of it good enough to fool the Daleks. There’s buzzing from the console.  Turns out they’re being taken back to Kembel.

The Doctor:  Y'know, I’m very much afraid that we’re under the Dalek influence!

Me:  Under the ‘fluence, eh, Bill?

Steven breaks a bit of the console and the pursuit ship’s free.

By this point the Daleks are getting quite brassed off.  A magnetised beam is activated.  Mavic Chen offers some back-seat driving tips.

Me:  It’s a dangerous game that boy’s playing.

A cut-out of the pursuit ship meanders across the screen.  The Doctor’s copy of the taranium is finished, so I’m guessing a fair whack of time’s gone by, or he’s just photocopied it.  Sara isn’t sure that the Daleks’ll fall for it.  Steven believes it could be activated with the gravity force outlet he’s found.  The Doctor gently says that would be too dangerous.  Sara’s a little bit rude about Steven’s primitive ideas (she’d have loved Katarina).  Steven ponders whether or not his idea would work.

Me:  That’s a nice moment for Steven.

The ship’s changing course.  They're being taken back to Kembel.  Again.  Smarting from the earlier criticism, and wanting to prove that he can act out of character if he wants to, Steven’s attached the fake taranium core to some jump leads or something.  There’s a ZAP! and Steven’s on the floor.

Me:  Dropping like Menoptra…

The Doctor and Sara rush and check on Steven.  He’s still breathing.  Sara makes an interesting discovery.

The Doctor:  Isn’t that wonderful? That’s wonderful!  Steven’s theory has proved successful!

Me:  “What a shame he’s lost his face.”

The Daleks and Mavic Chen are winding each other up in-between filling in the plot.  The pursuit ship’s under Dalek control and on the way to Kembel.  Mavic Chen offers to take the soon-to-be-prisoners back to Earth for a quick fixed trial.  The Daleks would rather just exterminate them, if it’s all the same.  But what about the mice-loving scientists?  The Dalek Supreme – still trying to pretend he’s a nice guy – offers Mavic Chen another chance.

Suddenly, the first sign of fatigue setting in occurs.


The Doctor and Sara have propped Steven into a chair.  Steven’s been ‘fluenced and paralysed.  Hopefully, this will only be temporary, or he’ll become about as much use as a companion as Kamelion was.  And we all know how that experiment turned out, don’t we?  Sara points out that Steven is, in fact, enclosed in a force-field.

The Doctor:  Sara, bring me that fake taranium.

Him:  “It’s a shame that the only way we could make it convincing was to make it out of taranium.”  Is this the first time you’ve watched this?

Me:  It is.

Him:  Ok.

Me:  That it?

Him:  Yup.

Me:  Where’re these coronas then?

The Daleks await our chums on Kembel.  Mavic Chen’s still taking the mick.

The pursuit ship lands.  The Doctor is nervous, but has a plan.  Steven – who can now walk – leads the way.

Me:  I don’t see how this going to get to Z-Cars in six minutes.

Our heroes approach the waiting Daleks, again there’s a bit of a stalemate going on because the taranium is so unstable no extermination can take place.  The Dalek Supreme must have a shooting gallery full of model TARDISes to take his frustration out on when he finally finishes each day’s shift.  At the sight of the taranium, Mavic Chen gets a little excited.  He demands that Steven hands it over.   Sara steps out and confrontation (and musical emphasis) fills the air.

Mavic Chen:  KINGDOM!


Music:  PARP!

Us:  ARF!

Kembel must be tiny – not much bigger than a television studio or something – because the TARDIS is only a recording break away.

Him:  We’re pretty close to the end of Hartnell, aren’t we?

Me:  Nearer the end than the start.  Not long now.

Steven is left holding the fake taranium while the Doctor and Sara pop into the TARDIS.  The Doctor shouts through the doors.

The Doctor:  Steven, hand the box over to Chen then come inside the TARDIS.

Me:  “Really, really quickly.”

Steven does and then zombie walks TARDISward.  Mavic Chen checks the core.  It looks fine.  The Dalek Supreme tries to work off some pent-up frustrated aggression on Steven.

Dalek Supreme:  EX-TER-MIN-ATE-HIM!!!

Despite being exterminated, Steven continues his shambling ramble up to the TARDIS and shuffles inside.

Us:  What?

Him:  They must miss-

Me:  Hang on - isn’t the ‘fluence a forcefield?

Him:  Oh, yeah.

Me:  Z-Cars it is then.

Him:  Why do you keep saying ‘Z-Cars’?

Me:  I’m afraid that’ll become clear soon enough.

The TARDIS leaves the Daleks and Mavic Chen to their victory party.

Mavic Chen:  The universe will be ours!

The TARDIS console moves for a moment, which is strange.  Steven’s ok – an explanation is offered but it’s not great.  I mean, if the Doctor didn’t realise that the ‘fluence would protect Steven from the Daleks extermination then wasn’t he offering up yet another chum as a sacrifice?

Before you know it, they’ve landed.  The scanner’s not working so dials are consulted.

The Doctor:  The whole atmosphere is entirely poisonous.

Must be Christmas.

Me:  Um…  Odd cliff-hanger.

Him:  I want a rest from Daleks.

Me:  No problem.  Just a couple of things to run by you.

Him:  Yeah?  I think I might be finding it boring because it’s Daleks.

Me:  I think it’s more fundamental than that.  Don’t give up though.  The next episode-

Him:  The Feast of Steven, broadcast on Christmas Day.

Me:  Yeah.  It was never offered as part of the overseas sales package for this story.  I’ve mentioned that earlier, but it was so long ago now that I’d be surprised if it stuck in anyone’s memory.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Well, because it’s more of a Chrimbo panto.  At least that’s my understanding.

Him:  What did Z-Cars have to do with it?

Me:  It was almost a cross-over.

Him:  With a taxi service?

Me:  Ha!  No, it was a show that was bit like The Bill of the day.  It was a cop show.

Him:  Right.  Every time you said ‘Z-Cars’ I thought it was an advertisement for the taxi company.

Me:  No.

Him:  I wish they’d released the Doctor Who DVDs in order.

Me:  It wouldn’t have been financially viable.

Him:  It would have been useful.  We’d have had The Sensorites, Planet of Giants and Reign of Terror.

Me:  Yeah.  Well, we’ve got The Sensorites now – and the extras on it call for a reappraisal of the story that I’ll make some other time.  The others’ll be out soon enough.

Him:  That’s a good cliff-hanger.

Me:  And there’s blood on it.


Oddly enough, this entry on what might well be the most bizarre episode of Doctor Who ever is going up on February 29th, a day which the very fabric of everything that makes sense is turn’d ‘pon its head.  Or something.

Sufferin’ sulphane – needless to say, it’s (sic) throughout…

Me:  I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time.  Well, ‘anticipating’ is probably closer to the truth.  It might be crap.

Him:  (shocked) You can’t say that – not on the blog!  Why not just say ‘rubbish’?

Me:  Because it may very well turn out to be a lot worse than ‘rubbish’.

And we’re off on the 1965 Christmas Number.

We recap.  This time round I notice that someone’s taken the proto-Leela comment to heart…

Sara:  Something’s gone wrong.

The Doctor:  What’s the matter, my dear?

Sara:  It’s stopped going up and down.

Steven:  It’s alright.  It means we’ve landed.

The scanner’s still on the blink, there are still dials and the atmosphere’s still poisonous.

We’re presented with a shot of a police station.  And then comes the title card.

Him:  Why did they call it The Feast of Steven?

Me:  Christmas, innit?

It certainly is.  We’re now greeted with drunken policemen singing carols.  It’s like L.A. Confidential is trying to be born – as though some future echo chamber of a televisual Hadron Collider is – Alright, I'll shut up. Sorry.  No it isn’t.  Although, of all the episodes of Doctor Who, this is the one that’s most similar to a James Ellroy story.  Wait and see.

A Sergeant peruses the TARDIS.  Someone’s dumping police boxes now.  Must be Banksy’s grandfather.

Inside the TARDIS the talk has returned to pollution.  The Doctor has decided that he’s by far the best equipped to go outside – probably something to do with the pipe.  Anyway, if he ends up in trouble the others have his permission to pitch in and save him.

Steven:  And how are we to know that something has happened to you?

Me:  “I’ll scream coquettishly.”

The Doctor leaves the TARDIS and meets a policeman.  Disappointingly, he fails to ask the time before popping back inside.  The startled copper and his pal exchange banter, whilst back inside the TARDIS, Sara and the Doctor do likewise.

After a few moments the Doctor leaves again and promptly gets nicked.

Policeman:  Alright, lad – it’s a fair cop.

Me:  “But society’s to blame.”

Inside, the police station is more Trumpton than Sun Hill.  A gentleman is complaining about ruffians “Moving me house”.  After a painful few moments, it turns out it’s actually his greenhouse. 

The Doctor is dragged kicking and screaming into the police station (he isn’t) and immediately recognises the Complaining Gardener (he does).

The Doctor:  Haven’t I seen your face somewhere before somewhere?  Yes, of course, I remember now: the marketplace at Jaffa!

Me:  He did.

Him:  Who did?

Me:  The Doctor did.

Him:  See him at Jaffa?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  In The Crusade?

Me:  Spot on.

Him:  Was he playing someone else or is he just a really old guy?

Me:  Superb.

Steven leaves the TARDIS sneakily.

Deep in the bowels of Newtown Station, chaps with moustaches quiz the Doctor.  Must be C.I.D.  With Wiles and Tosh at the helm there's always the possibility that things'll go all Red Riding any second...

First Moustache:  You mean you’re not English?

The Doctor:  No, good gracious, no.

First Moustache:  Scottish?

The Doctor:  No.

Second Moustache:  Are you Welsh then?

The Doctor:  Ahflflflfflflf – far bigger wave than all that!  Your ideas are too narrow!  Too small!  Too crippled!

First Moustache:  Alright, alright.  What are you then?
"The wind of time is flowing through me.  Hmmm?

The Doctor:  I suppose you might say that I am a citizen of the universe.  And a gentleman to boot. 

Steven grabs a spare uniform and impersonates a Scouse police officer.  He finds the room in which the Doctor is being questioned.  After the Doctor has explained what the TARDIS is and how it works a, very sensible, verdict is reached.

PC:  He’s a nutter.

Me:  Barbara’s obviously had some dodgy cheese before retiring.

PC:  I told you, he’s a nutter.

Sara also leaves the TARDIS and bumps straight into a laughing policeman.  Luckily, she refrains from killing him.

Inside the station, Steven wangles the Doctor’s release using the ‘he’s a funny fella’ defence.

Sara manages to assault an officer before dragging the gents into the TARDIS.  It dematerialises, leaving a befuddled policeman in its wake.

Him:  “Too much coffee.  Too much coffee.”

There’s a quick debrief on the TARDIS.  Sara’s fixed the scanner and the Doctor’s managed not to drop the taranium (remember that?).  Steven’s face hasn’t been blown off and he isn’t in a coma either, so that’s good.

Within moments they’ve landed somewhere else.  There’s a scream and everything goes mental.

Him:  They’re in the World of Fiction again.

Me:  You might speak truer than you know.

Our heroes rush from the ship to save Douglas Camfield’s wife who’s about to be sawn in two by a cad with a ‘tache.  Steven starts punching everyone.  Somewhere, a pianist wakes up and tinkling commences.

Him:  What’s with the happy music?

Me:  It’s supposed to be a silent film being filmed.

Him:  Reminds me of Buster Keaton.

Me:  It’s supposed to.

Having spoiled one scene, our heroes scurry to another set, failing to thump Charlie Chaplin on the way.

Original Carry On Ship of the Desert lobby card.

Inside a tent there’s a Sheikh who seems oddly familiar. 

Me:  Tch.  Crowley again.

The scene is interrupted when Al starts mentioning camels without the right amount of chutzpah.  People shout at each other, because that’s always funny.

Sara is spotted and – for no reason that I can fathom – hides in a box.

Steven, still dressed a policeman, is press-ganged into the Keystone Kops.

Him:  It looks like Monty Python!

Me:  With a bit of Marx.


Him:  ‘Inside the tent…’

Me:  Brilliant!

Sheikh Crowley announces he’s coming!  He’s coming!  He’s coming on his camel!

Me:  Terry N used to write for Hancock, but he could certainly hide that when he needed to.

The Doctor is cornered by a Director and introduced to an Arabian princess.

The Doctor:  Nonsense, you put some more clothes on child.  Go on!

Him:  Why’s Sara in the box?

Me:  It’s the one thing we’ll never truly understand.

Meanwhile, there’s more shouting.  It’s hilarious.

Him:  Some of these pictures aren’t the best.

Me:  I’m impressed.

The Doctor and Sara are reunited and flee to Wardrobe where they find Steven.

Steven:  Where’ve you been?

Sara:  I don’t know.  But a strange man kept telling me to take my clothes off.

According to a caption, the chase is on.

Him:  Wrong story.

There’s another bad picture4 and then the Doctor meets a comedian

Him:  Does this episode have anything to do with anything?  Because if it has a storyline then I’m certainly not following it.

Me:  It’s just daft filler – it doesn’t count.  Like the new Christmas ones.

Him:  Don’t be mean.  You’ve never made a TV show.

Me:  I have, actually.

Him:  No, you haven’t.

Me:  I have.

Him:  Ok.  What was it?

Me:  Cancelled at the idea stage.  But that still counts.

Him:  Well, then.  I’ve made dozens of TV shows.

Me:  Good lad.

Him:  Was it the planet Mira they were on earlier?  Does that mean ‘mire’?  Oh, of course: Terry Nation wrote it.

Me:  I did crack a gag about that at the time.

Him:  Did you?

Me:  Almost.  I hid it in the words.

Him:  Which ones?

Me:  The ones that were funny in my head.

Him:  So, you didn’t say it?

Me:  If you like.
Thash ennertainm'nt...

Him:  Can you just press play?

Me:  Oh – it’s paused.

Not for long.  The comedian turns out to be Bing Crosby (but, of course) and then the TARDIS escapes.

Me:  That’s a weird photo.
Sara:  Whatever was that place?

Never mind, Sara, it’s Christmas.  Why not have some of Terry N’s champagne?

Steven:  Way-hey!

The Doctor:  Incidentally, a happy Christmas to all of you at home!

Him:  It wasn’t his fault.  It was scripted.

Me:  It’s no worse than David Tennant giving it, “Are you my mummy”.

Him:  Huh?

Me:  Or the Doctor being able to breathe in space because it’s Christmas.

Him:  When was that?

Me:  Last Christmas.

The Him then insists on watching Jedi Kittens Striking Back for some reason.  Seeing as he can’t stand Star Wars (I know) this never fails to tickle me.  Haven’t seen it?  Here you go:

And, speaking of Buster Keaton…

Me:  Sherlock Junior?

Him:  One Week.

Me:  One Week.  Right, I’ll see if I can find it.

4.  Robert Jewell, the actor playing the clown, took twenty photos of this episode off the telly according to Richard Molesworth’s Wiped!  Seeing as it was broadcast at twenty-five to seven on Christmas Day (cont. page 94)


Me:  Right.  We’re over the halfway point and we’re rested.  Final push over the next couple of days?

Him:  I’m fed up with Daleks.  But then, I reckon everyone was at this stage in time.

Me:  There weren’t any in the last one.

Him:  There are always Daleks.

Me:  Hokay.  Let’s give it a shot.

Him:  Can I just sit in the corner?

Me:  No. 

Following last episode’s lunacy, it’s almost a treat to be greeted with Daleks watching Doctor Who.  Because The Feast of Steven was never intended to be anything more light-Christmas flummery filler and not a real part of the story as a whole, there’s no recap.  As a result of this there’s no way of telling how much time has passed.  And as a result of that, it’s my understanding that there’ve been an awful lot of stories concerning the unseen adventures of the Doctor, Steven and Sara – most of them audio.  I may well be wrong.  Whatever, it can’t be canon.  Ahem.

Anyhoo, the Daleks are delighted to announce that the time destructor is finally ready for testing.  Cue musical sting.

Musical Sting:  PARP!

Me:  I guess this one’s from the Dalek point of view then.  There’ll be a senseless waste of many Kaled lives when the fake taranium goes off.

Him:  Barbara’ll walk in on them in a minute.  Don’t forget that she’s working for the Daleks.

Me:  In her sleep too.

In the Kembel Conference Hospitality Suite (otherwise known as the Davros Room), Mavic Chen and some Evil Chums are debriefing.  Celation (who sounds a bit like a gas leak) is criticising the slowly-unravelling Guardian of the Solar System.  They’re all getting paranoid.

Him:  Could these guys replace the Daleks?

Me:  I wouldn’t have thought so.

Talk turns to the Doctor and his friends.  At this stage in his career, not much is known about him, other than that:

Mavic Chen:  He is some kind of time and space traveller.

Well, says Celation, can’t be (hiss) anything to do with (hiss) my lot then – we can only (hiss) travel forward in time (hiss) by walking.  Mavic Chen directs his accusations at Trantis.  You remember – the runny-faced one.

Trantis:  We have not yet succeeded.  Only the Daleks know how to break the time barrier.

Me:  That raises a few questions.

Celation:  Hisssss.

With the fires of paranoia successfully stoked, Mavic Chen probably twirls his moustache with a lengthy nail as he then says:

Mavic Chen:  After all, we are here to witness the testing of the time destructor.  Are we not?

Him:  “This never happened when we had Daleks.”

That bizarre aside from the Him is in reference to the Mad UK parody ‘Doctor Ooh’,5 but you already knew that.

The Daleks are prepared to test the time destructor, but require a subject.  Unluckily for Trantis, they haven’t got any mice.

Meanwhile, in the TARDIS, the Doctor, Steven and Sara have noticed that they’re being followed.  Sara’s convinced it’s Daleks, but the Doctor’s not so sure.

Back on Kembel, Trantis is preparing to be tested.  Seems quite altruistic of him.  The time destructor is activated and begins pinging.  Trantis appears to have changed his mind.

Mavic Chen:  So that’s what’s supposed to happen: a kind of abject insanity.

Celation gets in a quick, final criticism.

Celation:  I (hiss) do not know, though (hiss) I always thought (hiss) Trantis (hiss) was a little (hiss) unstable (hiss) anyway.

Us:  Arf!

The seconds ping by.  Nothing happens.  The Daleks work it out and Mavic Chen’s in trouble.


Mavic Chen:  No!  No, it can’t be!  It came from Uranus!

This comment causes childish hooting from us.  After a few hours we calm down and have another go.  

"Well, I guess that the joke is on me, Mavic Chen."
Mavic Chen, working well under pressure it has to be said, works out what’s really happened. 

Mavic Chen:  The old man fooled us!

Celation isn’t helping matters.

Him:  I can’t understand a word Spotty’s saying.

Me:  Played by Jon Pertwee in Superted, of course.

Him:  He’s not the Spotty Man – he’s a spotty man.  What was Superted?

The Him sighs.

The Daleks request a DARDIS from Skaro.  Celation gets let off, but Mavic Chen’s on a written warning now.


The Supreme Dalek finally gets to work off some frustration by calling for the extermination of Trantis, which is gleefully carried out straightaway.

The Doctor and friends are still being followed when, suddenly – cricket happens.

Me: What?  Eh?

Him:  This isn’t The Daleks’ Master Plan any more.

Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen lobby card.
The TARDIS lands in Douglas Adams’ head for a while-

Commentator Trev:  There’s a police telephone box on the pitch.

Commentator Scott:  My word, yes.

-and then leaves.

Me:  What a weird scene.

Despite the comedy stop-off, our heroes are still being followed. 

Mavic Chen and the Daleks observe the arrival of a shiny new DARDIS.  Mavic Chen is given a final chance and sent to accompany the hastily cobbled together Pursuit of the Time-Travellers Task Force.

Me:  Oh.  I guess I was wrong about there not being another DARDIS.

Musical Sting:  PARP!

All of sudden there’s familiar lava footage.

Me:  Oo.  That’s from Inferno.

Him:  No: Volcano.
The TARDIS materialises on the side of a volcano on the planet Tigus; Dennis Spooner wrote this episode which is probably why the planet isn’t called ‘Vulcanus’.  The ship that’s been chasing the TARDIS has also landed.  This calls for more stock footage from the opening titles of Inferno

A large lump of pumice opens up, revealing the Monk!

Me:  Oh – Whoah!

Him:  Yeah.  The Meddling Monk.  Didn’t you know he was in this one?

Me:  Not this episode.

The Monk spies the TARDIS and chuckles, preparing for Monkery. 

Our heroes leave the TARDIS.  The Doctor has an idea. 

Amidst all this heroic rumination, the Monk sneaks up to the TARDIS on tiptoe and sabotages it.

The Doctor calls out, suggesting a meeting.  Sara spots the Monk and there’s a delicious confrontation between the Doctor and our first returning character who isn’t from Skaro.

Me:  Nice.

The Monk explains how he escaped from 1066.  The banter’s wonderful.

Sara:  What’s he talking about?  1066?

Steven:  It’s alright; we’ve met the Monk before.  I’ll explain later.

The Him hoots at this.

The Monk and the Doctor chuckle their way to the end of the conversation.  The Monk reveals that – turn-about being fair play - he’s marooned them. The Monk leaves and our friends trudge back to the TARDIS.  True to his word, the Monk’s knackered it.  The Doctor’s not happy but has a sudden thought.  Using the light from the sun and his ring he manages to open the door.  Our friends enter and the TARDIS leaves.

The Monk’s been watching this carry on.

The Monk:  Ah.  No.  No.  Don’t think I’m going to leave it at this.  You haven’t heard the last of me, Doctor!  You haven’t heard the last of me!

On the TARDIS.

Steven:  If you ask me, we haven’t heard the last of the Monk.

The Doctor ‘explains’ how he was able to pick apart the lock-Monkery.

The Doctor:  Oh, that’s all very simple, dear boy.  You see, the sun in that particular galaxy has very unusual powers.  I merely reflected its powers through that ring.

"Alright, alright!  I keep a spare key in it.  Happy now, hmmmm?"
Sara:  Is there something special about it?

The Doctor:  It has… uh… certain properties.  The combined forces of that sun together with the stone in that ring was sufficient enough to correct the Monk’s interference.

Me:  Hmmmmm….

In fairness, Steven doesn’t sound convinced either.

Back with the Daleks.  The DARDIS is loaded up with Mavic Chen and Daleks.  Launch is prepared.

Me:  The Countdown Dalek’s back.

Him:  The Countdown Dalek’s always with us.

The Daleks locate the TARDIS as materialising in London, New Year’s Eve 1966.

Me:  It’s got very disjointed here, but I like the idea of the Countdown Dalek counting down New Year.  And this would’ve been New Year’s Day, wouldn’t it?

Him:  Yeah – week after Christmas.

The DARDIS is launched to the flashing blossom of fireworks and the drunken slurring of Auld Land Syne.  ’65 is dead.  Long live ’66!



And… it’s the credits.

Me:  Bit of an odd one that.  What did you think?

Him:  I wish the Daleks would shut up.

5. Written and illustrated by Steve Parkhouse, who, oddly enough, later went on to write possibly the greatest Doctor Who comic strips ever.  “Voss not dock anyvay, voss poodle.”


We recap.  Following the Dalek Choir there are pyramids.

Me:  I love the title of this one.

Him:  ‘Golden Death’?

Me:  Yeah.

We’re shown a selection of holiday snaps and then the TARDIS lands in what appears to be a building site.

In the DARDIS control room, a Dalek is doing a final check to make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing.  Mavic Chen is invigorated by the change of scenery.  The change of tasty scenery… 

Him:  It’s the swirligig again, back from The Chase.

The swirling image fades to reveal pyramids.  Arrival is imminent.

The sun beats down on the TARDIS.  The Doctor is repairing the lock while Steven looks on.  Both of them are certain that the Monk’ll turn up quite soon and Steven’s impressed by the pyramids.  The Doctor coughs a reply.

The Doctor:  Hurm!  Well the Pyramids are the seventh wonder of this ancient world. I’d say the word ‘impressive’ is rather an understatement.

Me:  Bit croaky there, Bill?

There’s some business with tools.  Steven gets the wrong one, then the right one and then the Doctor becomes annoyed.  William Hartnell’s definitely got a sore throat.

Steven wanders off into the deserted pyramid workings to see if he can spot the Monk.

The DARDIS materialises next to the pyramid.  Steven sees this and warns the Doctor.  Sara emerges from the TARDIS – she’s noticed it too. At this point no-one realises it isn’t the Monk’s TARDIS (which I’ll call the MARDIS from now on to avoid any further confusion).  The Doctor is reluctant to leave the TARDIS unlocked and so Sara and Steven leave to greet the Monk and keep an eye on him.

The Doctor is being watched by Tuthmos (Derek Ware) who runs off and reports to his boss, Hyksos (Walter Randall) that there are strangers at the tomb.  Professor Stahlman and Henry Gordon Jago’ll be in the next episode the way this is going.6

Steven and Sara look down on the DARDIS.  Steven’s confused that it hasn’t blended in yet - their first sign that something is amiss.  The emergence of Daleks and Mavic Chen is the next clue.

Steven:  Daleks!

Turning to warn the Doctor, our chums are jumped by Hyksos and his gang.  It’s at this point that a Dalek appears, terrifying the Egyptians.  Extermination commences – it’s a right mess.

The Doctor experiences a sudden hankering for celery.
The repairs to the TARDIS complete, the Doctor has popped on his Fifth Doctor’s hat and gone for a wander – dodging guards as he does so.
There’s a familiar wheezing, groaning sound and another TARDIS lands. Sorry – the MARDIS lands.

At this point, I should really apologise for this episode’s lack of banter, but we’re both totally caught up with what’s going on, so I won’t.

The Monk (in shades) emerges from the MARDIS and strides purposefully off.  The Doctor’s observed all this.  Slowly, because it does feel as though this episode might’ve been under-running a little, realisation dawns.

The Doctor:  Who was it landed here before then?

Wait for it…

The Doctor:  The Daleks!

Sara and Steven have been imprisoned in a hut.  The plan is to pop them and the Pharaoh’s treasures into the pyramid itself.  Tuthmos reveals that, due to an ancient charter or something, everything that lands in the desert belongs to Pharaoh, including the TARDIS.  And the Daleks, presumably.

And at this point, I should reveal that the lack of banter isn’t really down to absorption, but exhaustion.  A mixture of Dalek/recon fatigue is setting in.  But, “We must go on.  We have to go on.”7

Sara’s found the traditional piece of broken pottery and started sawing through their bonds.  Why does no-one ever guard prisoners properly?  Oh, yeah: because then they wouldn’t escape.  Sorry, got it now.

The Monk is being followed by the Doctor.  He wanders into the party of Daleks and Mavic Chen.  

Mavic Chen:  Three time machines in one infinitesimal speck of space and time? Of course, a coincidence is possible but hardly likely.  You would agree?

In an attempt to avoid going negative, the Monk bluffs desperately that the Doctor is his greatest enemy.  Mavic Chen strikes a bargain with the Monk.  The Doctor has in his possession something the Daleks would really rather like to get back.

Mavic Chen:  A full emm of taranium.

The Monk:  A full emm of taranium?

Him:  “A full emm of taranium.”

The Monk’s got an hour to obtain the taranium (the full emm).  The Doctor watches all of this unfold with considerable interest.

The Monk returns to his MARDIS and removes an energy counter.  The Doctor, chuckling, breaks into the MARDIS and changes the appearance until it looks like the TARDIS. 

Me:  So, that’s what a working chameleon circuit in action would look like.

Sara and Steven make their escape.  There’s a fight, but it's nothing our heroes can’t handle.

Him:  What’s after this?

Me:  The Massacre.

Him:  When can we have one that moves?

Me:  The next episode moves.

Him:  A story that moves.

Me:  The Ark moves.

The Monk has managed to track the TARDIS down to the tomb.  He enters and the Doctor sneaks after him.

As the Monk attempts to open the TARDIS the Doctor confronts him.  The two of them spark off each other again.  The Monk attempts a double, double-cross.  I suppose there’s a case to be made to suggest that he could turn out to be an ally eventually – Cap’n Jack started off as a conman after all – but we don’t get the chance to see that as, before you know it, the two time-travellers are tussling.  Our hero swiftly gains the upper hand and…
"This is going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts me, my boy."

Me:  “The Doctor picks up a shovel and advances menacingly on the Monk”.

The Him sighs.

The Daleks are passing the time playing ‘reports’.  They decide enough’s enough – they’ll just kill everyone.

Sara and Steven enter the tomb properly, signalling we’re into the confusing moments of the cliff-hanger recap.  They find the TARDIS but can’t get it open.  There’s no sign of either the Doctor or the Monk’s battered corpse.

Sara:  Steven.  Look…

A stone casket creaks open and a bandaged hand slowly emerges…

Him:  “Steeeven…  Steeeeeeeeeeeeeven….”  Oh no, I know what it is!  “I’m the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.”

Me:  “And so am I.”

Him:  “And so is he.”  And that’s what’s coming out of the treasure chest.

Me:  The sarcophagus?

Him:  No.  The treasure chest.

6. The Joy of Rep.7

7.  Okay, that’s pretty obscure.


The Him’s bored of Daleks and as a consequence, to the tune of the Doctor Who theme, I’m listening to:

Him:  Da-Daleks/Da-Daleks/ Da-Daleks/Da-Daleks/ Da-Daleks/Da-Daleks/

And then:

Him:  Are bor-ing/Are bor-ing/Here they are/In twelve parts/In-twelve-parts

We recap.  The Doctor (and the Monk’s mutilated remains) can’t be found anywhere.  Sara tries the TARDIS door.

Me:  Careful or you’ll open it by accident.

Monk from the Mummy's Tomb lobby card.
The crypt again creaks and the hand of a Mummy reaches out – followed by the moaning monster itself.  Steven dives across and begins unwrapping.  Turns out it’s the Monk.

The Daleks have noticed that the time’s up and once again their taranium battery isn’t to hand.  Mavic Chen is getting a bit annoyed at their constant moaning. 

Dalek:  SI-LENCE!

The rest of the Daleks are ordered to leave the ship and kill every damn thing.  Mavic Chen strikes a Boba Fett pose and shouts down the Dalek’s eyestalk before shoving it out of the way.

Me:  Ooops.

I like the idea that, after this moment of idiocy on the Guardian of the Solar System’s part, the Countdown Dalek commences a new job quietly in the background.  After all, it can only be a matter of time now.

In the tomb, Sara, Steven and the Monk are talking over each other.  It’s ace.  The surviving episodes lift the story, giving it a real sense of what it might be like if we had the missing episodes.  Way stations in a desert of recons.

Me:  Do you like the Monk?

Him:  He’s odd.

Me:  ‘He’s odd’?

Him:  Yeah.

Almost everyone’s trying to find the Doctor.  Steven and Sara holler at the top of their lungs.  The Monk offers a muffled shout. 

Me:  Amusing though.

The Monk’s almost the only thing in the whole story (The Feast of Steven doesn’t count, remember?)8 that’s played less than deadly serious, it makes a big difference. 

Having followed the shouting, Mavic Chen and the Daleks are reunited.  This is unfortunate for Sara and Steven, but at least this time they aren’t tied up.  And in fairness, the Monk saves them both from extermination.  Mavic Chen suggests (with a bit of Monkish prodding) that they could swap the companions for the taranium.

Mavic Chen:  Yes…  That could work.  The Doctor’s loyalty to his friends is beyond question.

Me:  Susan being family, and Katarina arriving pre-doomed and therefore being more of an acquaintance.

Him:  I feel really ill.

Me:  I think it’s boredom.

Him:  No – really.

Me:  It’s just Dalek Fatigue.

It was Dalek Fatigue.


Disposable Dalek:  I-O-BEY!

Him:  Do you think that’s the Obeying Dalek?

Me:  Almost certainly.

The Daleks have really started to take charge of the situation now.  The Monk is ordered to return with them.  He gives Mavic Chen a desperate look – it’s another wonderful moment.

Our Egyptian friends are awaiting the return of Hyksos.

The sun beats down and, in a moment that you’d never guess happened from the audio, there’s a cross-fade to the reflection of a Dalek dome.  Magnificent.

Me:  That was clever.

Him:  Why is there a massive Dalek in the sky?

My turn for a sigh.

The Daleks have brought a PA system with them – range “SE-VEN-EARTH-MI-LES!”


Him:  I thought they were after taranium?

The Obeying Dalek’s really getting some job satisfaction.

Steven, Sara and the Monk have been stood together (but not tied up).  The Daleks, obviously having had enough of all this footling about, are actually guarding their prisoners.  The Monk tries to lift everyone’s spirits with a song.

Steven:  Don’t you think you’ve done enough?

The Monk’s upset by this.

The Monk:  You actually think I meant what I said to the Daleks?  My dear fellow, this was a desperate gamble, risking my own life to save yours.

Steven:  We can trust him about as much as we can trust the Daleks.

The Monk:  You mean my performance was that good?  I knew I had to fool the Daleks, but I thought that you would see through it.

Sara:  He could be telling the truth, Steven.


Taking the microphone, Mavic Chen addresses Egypt.

Him:  Where’s the Doctor?  Is he on holiday?

The Doctor, somewhere nearby, listens to the announcement. 

Him:  No.  He’s quite obvious really.

Our Egyptian friends hear the Voice of the Gods as well, but can’t make head nor tail of it.
Me:  So they couldn’t understand what Mavic Chen was saying?

Him:  No.

Me:  Oh, he’s a wrong ‘un.

The Doctor greets the Daleks and Mavic Chen.

The Doctor:  Where are they?  WHERE ARE THEY?


The Doctor is shown his friends and agrees to hand over the taranium core – but only on his terms.  It’s a great showdown.


Him:  So, why don’t you?

The Doctor:  But then you would never get back the taranium core, would you, now?

Him:  Yes, they would.

The Him’s getting quite annoyed.

The Doctor bargains.  He’ll return the taranium, if his friends (and the Monk) are released unharmed - Mavic Chen and one Dalek are to come to the west angle of the Great Pyramid where the exchange will take place.  The Dalek considers.
In memory of Cuddles.


After the Doctor has gone, the Daleks hatch a plan.


Musical sting:  PARP!

Him:  Not Abslom Daak.

The Egyptian resistance are preparing to strike.

The Doctor takes the taranium core from the TARDIS, sighs and leaves.


Following this comment, I’m in fits to the point where I have to pause the DVD.

Me:  Superb.  ‘The Dalek Dances’.

Steven warns the Monk not to try any funny business.

The Monk:  Funny business?  Me?

Him:  Breaking the fourth wall again.

Me:  Well spotted.

The resistance gather.

Next to the pyramid the Daleks bring their prisoners forward.

Him:  There’s only supposed to be one Dalek.  They’re breaking the rules here.

Me:  They are the most evil species in the galaxy.  They probably cheat at Monopoly as well.

The Doctor is furious.

The Doctor:  I said ONE Dalek!

Him:  I thought that was an error.

The release of the hostages goes ahead.  Mavic Chen joins the Doctor and waits for the core.  The Doctor hands over the core and legs it just as, coincidentally, the Egyptians attack the Daleks.

Him:  I don’t think that their point-ed sticks will do much damage.

Me:  Famous part of Egyptian history this.

Back in the tomb our heroes are reunited.  The Doctor isn’t happy.

The Doctor:  I had to hand the real taranium core over to Magic Mavic Chen.

Him:  Why was he not called ‘Magic Chen’?  It’s a much better name.

Me:  I think Terry N was fond of 'Mavic Chen'.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Because it’s one of the names that he specifically requested not be changed.

Him:  I prefer ‘Magic Chen’.


Me:  They’re in trouble now.

The Doctor reveals he’s lifted the directional unit from the MARDIS, and with it they can finally steer the TARDIS.  The Doctor reveals that the MARDIS/is now disguised as the TARDIS/and so the Daleks/will be after the Monk instead.

The Monk returns to his MARDIS and panics a little.  Pursuit Daleks arrive and the Monk dives inside and dematerialises.


Him:  It’s not done anything in the past.

Mavic Chen and the Daleks are having a little party.

Mavic Chen:  The operation was a complete success.  I have the taranium here.


Me:  One of them needs oiling.

Him:  It’s a door

On the TARDIS our friends prepare for the final push.

Him:  Is Sara flying the TARDIS?

Me:  While Steven auditions for Boba Fett.

Him:  “Take us back to Kembel!”

The Doctor admits that he might have miscalculated the compatibility of the directional unit.  There’s a possibility it’ll blow up.

The Daleks have set course for Kembel. 

The Monk has found himself trapped in stock footage of a polar region.

Me:  Ooo.

Him:  Must be Oceanus.

Me:  Frigidus.

The Monk appears doomed to have to wander the universe (like the Doctor used to).  He’s fuming.

The Monk:  I’ll get you for this, Doctor!  I'LL GET YOU ONE DAY!

On the TARDIS a cliff-hanger approaches.

Him:  "Pull ze svitch!"

Steven does.


Him:  That’s a weird ending.

Me:  You were quite vocal in that one.

8.  Oh, alright.  And the Test Match.


Me:  Right. 

Him:  Fed up with Daleks. 

Me:  Nearly there. 

Following a deep breath, we recap.  The switch is pulled and it’s on with the whiteout.  It all goes a bit strange here – the picture comes back and everyone’s looking at each other while swirly music drifts around the TARDIS.

The DARDIS returns to the Dalek base on Kembel.  Mavic Chen emerges and flashes the taranium (obtained “with guile and cunning”) in the general direction of the Dalek Supreme. 


Mavic Chen:  Of course. 

Me:  “It’s from Uranus.” 

A final conference has been arranged, the delegates await Mavic Chen’s victory speech. 

Mavic Chen:  I shall go and address them.  Presently. 

Me:  “But first, some tea.” 

After Mavic Chen struts off, the Dalek Supreme, impatient to get going, arranges for the taranium core to be fitted to the time destructor.  The Obeying Dalek has a quick, long overdue, query. 


The Dalek Supreme says no.  Mavic Chen’s still useful to them – blinded as he is to what’s actually going on. 

Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor has removed the, now burned-out, directional unit.  They can’t get back to Kembel after all. 

Steven:  That means the Daleks can invade the universe and conquer it. 

The Doctor:  Yeees… 

The question still remains though - where are they?  Now that the scanner’s been fixed, they can have a look.  Blimey!  Could it be… Kembel?  That would be a stroke of luck. 

There’s a quick argument about whether it was the Doctor or Sara who thought they’d failed (it was the Doctor).  Steven moderates and the door is opened. 

Sara:  That man!  He was as much in the dark as we were and now he has the gall to- 

Steven:  Very good.  You’re getting to know him quite well. 

In the Davros Room, disgruntled delegates await the arrival of Mavic Chen.  There are a few familiar faces: Malpha’s back, Celation’s hissing and- 

Me:  Christmas tree! 

A meaningless motion is passed (seeing as no-one seems aware of who’s really in charge) and the delegates celebrate by covering Adam and the Ants. 
Kings of the Final Frontier

Dalek Supreme:  SI-LENCE! 

Mavic Chen, finally, addresses the meeting.  Celation grumbles about being left in the dark and Mavic Chen uses this opportunity to score a point. 

Mavic Chen:  Though we are all equal partners with the Daleks on this great conquest, some of us… are more equal than others. 

Me:  That’s from Animal Farm. 

Trouble’s brewing.  Mavic Chen officially declares himself to be the best.  The other delegates don’t take this very well and call for Mavic Chen to be arrested.  There’s more drumming and then, as the delegates advance on Mavic Chen, a gun is fired and Gearon is killed. 
Ah, Gearon, we hardly knew ye.
Him:  ‘Gearon’?  I don’t remember him at all. 

Mavic Chen lowers the gun, his coup a success. 

Our heroes have landed on what appears to be an abandoned Kembel.  There aren’t any Varga around.  The Doctor’s vanished as well. 

The delegates continue bemoaning their lots. 

Celation:  We have all served (hiss) the common cause! (hiss)  All of us! 

Mavic Chen:  Indeed we have.  But I, Mavic Chen, was solely responsible for the recovery of the core of the time destructor. 

Celation points out that Mavic Chen is trapped as well.  Mavic Chen attempts to ignore this.  The Daleks come in and tell everyone to shut up and come with them. 

Sara and Steven can’t find the Doctor anywhere.  They decided to visit the city and see what’s going on. 

Steven:  Just a minute… 

Him:  “Just a minute!” 

Me:  There’s been plenty of repetition, hesitation and deviation in this epic. 

Sara and Steven come upon an unguarded entrance.  Something’s wrong – the whole city’s deserted.  After walking down many corridors they find the control room, and the DARDIS. 

Sara makes an announcement over the Dalek PA system and receives a reply. 

Mavic Chen:  KINGDOM! 

The delegates are arguing.  They ask to be rescued. 

Mavic Chen:  It’s not a trick! 

Sara and Steven – I keep forgetting to mention that Sara appears to have fallen in love with Steven – prepare to release the Galactic Council.  The scheming Galactic Council. 

Mavic Chen’s convinced that Sara’s come to save him.  Sara reckons they should let them out. 

Me:  “How could you not trust us?” 

The delegates agree to fight the Daleks and are released.  Off to their ships they scurry.  Mavic Chen offers to reward Sara but she’s having none of it. 

The delegate ships leave.  Suddenly, Mavic Chen’s ship explodes and ominous music starts. 

Steven and Sara suddenly spot a Dalek.  They’ve not left after all.  The two chums follow it to a tunnel that leads under a mountain.  In a sudden double-whammy nearly-at-the-story’s-final-cliff-hanger moment, Mavic Chen pops up and captures them. 

Mavic Chen:  I am alive!  And will soon be MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE!!


It’s hard to believe that this is the final episode of this monster.9  In the weeks from November 1965 to January 1966, it must’ve seemed to viewers that Terry N’s wish for a Dalek series had been granted as week after week (not including Christmas) they’d glide onto the screen, shout at Mavic Chen for leaving teeth marks on everything and then kill someone.  

We recap.  Daleks glide around and the time destructor spins.  A door opens.

Me:  That’s pretty good.

Mavic Chen forces Sara and Steven deeper into the secret Dalek base.  Mavic Chen’s losing it properly now, making massive, unsubstantiated leaps of ‘logic’.   Steven attempts reason.

Sara:  Save your breath, Steven – you’ll never convince him!  I tell you he’s mad!

In the control room, the Dalek Supreme is informed that an assault division of 5000 Daleks are awaiting their orders.  The plan is for the ship at the front to carry the time destructor, sweeping all before it, while the others mop up.

A group of Daleks meet Mavic Chen and his prisoners in the corridor.  They take control of the situation.  Mavic Chen complains about this.  Douglas Camfield drops a hint about how this is going to play out.

Me:  Oop.  I love that music cue.

The Dalek Supreme wants a word with Mavic Chen and his prisoners.  As he moves away, one Dalek whispers to the other. 

Me:  Aha!  Sneaky…

Mavic Chen, Steven and Sara stand before the Dalek Supreme.

Me:  Mavic Chen’s loving this.

Mavic Chen:  Once again I, Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System, have helped the Daleks with their conquest plan!

The Dalek Supreme chooses this moment to drop a bombshell.

Dalek Supreme:  OUR-al-liance-Has-end-ed!

Mavic Chen doesn’t take this at all well.

Mavic Chen:  I, Mavic Chen, will decide when our alliance is at an end!

The Daleks silently watch Mavic Chen bluster.  It’s actually quite unsettling.

Me:  Oh dear.

Mavic Chen levels a gun at the Dalek Supreme, which is never going to win him back, and then shoots him, which just makes matters worse.  The Daleks encircle Mavic Chen.


Mavic Chen:  I, Mavic Chen, first ruler of the universe, am immortal!

Exit Mavic Chen, pursued by Daleks.

Suddenly, the Doctor appears and gives a key to Steven, telling him to take Sara back to the TARDIS.  They’d better go quick though as the Doctor’s about to activate the time destructor.  Yes, you read that right.

The Dalek chase comes to a foregone conclusion and Mavic Chen is cornered.

Him:  “Not me, Mavic Chen!”

Mavic Chen is exterminated.

"I, Mavic Chen, was a genius!  Yes, I, Mavic Chen, was!"

Him:  “I, Mavic Chen, am now dead.”

The Doctor activates the time destructor. 

Me:  The recon boys and girls have done well here.

Following a showdown with the Dalek Supreme, our heroes use a Dalek as a shield.  The Doctor tells Sara and Steven to run back to the TARDIS. 

Leaving Steven to run ahead, Sara goes back to help the Doctor.

The Doctor traps the Daleks in their control room.  The time destructor pulses.  Sara rejoins the Doctor.  They run.

In the jungle, Steven notices that Sara is missing.

The Daleks escape and begin pursuit.

Steven reaches the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Sara continue to struggle forward.  The noise is rising and Sara is aging rapidly.

Sara:  Keep going!

The Daleks are getting closer.

The Doctor and Sara are finding it harder and harder to move.

In the TARDIS, Steven waits.  He turns on the scanner, but there’s nothing he can do.

Kembel is rotting away.

The Doctor and Sara are weakening still further.  The TARDIS comes into view, but the Doctor falls and drops the time destructor.

Iconic Moment #69

Sara dies.

Me:  That’s a bit rough.

Steven’s been watching this on the scanner.  He rushes from the TARDIS to find Kembel’s jungle is now just dust.  He tries to deactivate the time destructor.  Sara blows away.  Steven and the Doctor manage to get back into the TARDIS.

The Daleks reach the time destructor but can’t destroy it.  The Daleks begin to decay.

Him:  Are they becoming baby Daleks?

They are.
Me:  Whoah!

Him:  Uuurgh!

Outside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Steven examine the aftermath.  The time destructor is rusty and burned out.

Him:  Didn’t last very long. 

The Doctor picks up some Dalek remains.  The weight of the adventure hangs heavy on him.

Steven:  Bret!  Katarina…  Sara…

The Doctor:  What a waste…  What a terrible waste.

The TARDIS dematerialises and the credits roll.

Me:  Blimey.


Me:  Thoughts?

Him:  I don’t have any.  My head is full of Daleks.  I can’t ever do anything else.  I miss Katarina.

Me:  Quite a body-count of companions.  And mice.

Him:  Bret and Sara don’t count as companions.

Me:  Sara’s in more episodes than Katarina.

Him:  So?  She doesn’t count.  She didn’t travel from one story to the next.

Me:  Ok.

Him:  Wasn’t the second companion death Adric’s?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  And then Rory?

Me:  And then Rory.

Him:  And then Rory.

Me:  And then Rory.

Him:  And then Rory.

Me:  And then Rory.


9.  As I type this, The Daleks’ Master Plan master document stands at just over 16,500 words – which is a lot less than it looked like it was going to be a week ago.  Part of the reason for that is that when it came to the reconstructed episodes we didn’t say as much.  Partly, that’s because we were watching them and partly it’s due to a very real recon fatigue.  It’s been quite a journey, but I’m glad we haven’t got to climb back down it.

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