The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
- Muriel Rukeyser
THE DALEKS’ MASTER PLAN: THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS
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 Weldon’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.
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.
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.
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’.
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. 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.
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.
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.
NEXT: DAY OF ARMAGEDDON
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.