The Daleks' Master Plan (TV story)

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The Daleks' Master Plan was the fourth serial of season 3 of Doctor Who.

At twelve episodes, running five hours in total, it remains the longest undisputed Doctor Who story to date (the 14-episode Season 23 was broadcast under the single title The Trial of a Time Lord, but there is debate as to whether this should be considered one story or four interconnected stories). Currently, only episodes two, five and ten exist in the BBC Archives, plus brief sequences from episodes one, three and four. Among the surviving clips include the scene of Katarina’s death that survived due to it being shown on an episode of Blue Peter in 1973 that was not junked.

As episode seven was to air on Christmas Day, it was decided that it should be a comedic episode with little to do with the overall plot, based on the assumption that viewers would either not be watching or would not want to watch the continuation of a grim Dalek tale on this festive occasion. Notably, this episode saw the Doctor break the fourth wall by turning to the camera in the closing moments and wish the viewer "a Merry Christmas to all of you at home!"

This story was intertwined with Mission to the Unknown, which acted as a prologue by setting the scene and introducing characters necessary to the plot of The Daleks' Master Plan.

Katarina, only introduced in the previous serial, became the first companion to die while travelling with the Doctor. Later in the story, Sara Kingdom, who was introduced during this story and was played by Jean Marsh, became the second. They would be the last companion deaths until Adric in Earthshock. This story saw the first appearance of Nicholas Courtney in Doctor Who. It also saw the First Monk make a return, the first individual antagonist to get a rematch with the Doctor.


In the year 4000, the Daleks conspire to conquer the Solar System. Their scheme involves treachery at the highest levels and a weapon capable of destroying the very fabric of time. Only the Doctor and his friends can prevent catastrophe — and there is no guarantee they will escape with their lives...


The Nightmare Begins (1)[[edit]]

The Doctor's TARDIS arrives on the planet Kembel in hope that the Doctor will be able to find medicine to cure Steven's blood poisoning. He leaves the TARDIS to seek out civilisation, leaving Steven with the Trojan servant girl Katarina.

Having arrived before them, two Space Agents, Bret Vyon and the injured Kert Gantry, are also on the planet, trying to find out what happened to their agent, Marc Cory; however, they have been waylaid by an, as of yet, unidentified enemy. They are trying to contact Earth, but their attempts to contact them are fruitless.

On Earth at the Space Security Service headquarters, Roald and Lizan are watching the broadcast of Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System, who is explaining to the universe that he is going to go on holiday to get away from the hassle of being a space politician, but preaches a message of peace and harmony — celebrating 25 years since the last war in the universe.

Eventually giving up on reaching Earth, Gantry tells Vyon to go on without him, as he will slow Vyon down. Seconds after Vyon leaves, a Dalek finds Gantry and kills him.

In the undergrowth, Vyon trips and breaks the transmitter, leaving him desperate, stranded, and alone. It is at this point the TARDIS materalises directly in front of him. Vyon waits in the bushes and sees the Doctor emerge from the TARDIS. Vyon sneaks after the Doctor and takes the key from him at gunpoint before knocking him out. On returning to the TARDIS, Vyon demands that Katarina take him off the planet, but Katarina barely understands what's going on, much less how to work the ship. In his desperation to try to get the TARDIS working, he switches on the scanner revealing to Steven, who has just come to, a very irate looking Doctor. Steven briefly gathers his strength and knocks Vyon out. The Doctor returns and places Vyon in a restraining chair then goes back outside.

Meanwhile, the Daleks are preparing for the arrival of Spaceship 1-11 with a great deal of pomp and ceremony. Emerging from the TARDIS, the Doctor hears the oncoming spaceship and begins to make his way towards its point of destination — curious as to whether it will have medicine for Steven.

Back on the TARDIS, Vyon convinces an untrusting Katarina that he is of no harm to them and his violence towards the Doctor was only borne out of desperation. He tells Katarina that he has medicine for Steven in his bag. She gives Steven the medicine and he seems to rally.

By this time the Doctor has arrived at the landing pad just as Spaceship 1-11 lands. Chen emerges from the spaceship and is met by the Daleks. The Doctor is horrified to see his foes again and hurries off before Chen subjugates himself to the Daleks — wishing them success and help with the plans for the annihilation of the universe. By the time the Doctor returns to the TARDIS, he sees the door wide open and Daleks milling around preparing to board his machine.

Day of Armageddon (2)[[edit]]

Mavic Chen meets with the troublesome Zephon.

Outside the TARDIS, the Doctor overhears the Daleks' plans for his spaceship. The two Daleks refer to the imminent beginning of Operation Inferno. The Doctor slinks off into the jungle leaving the two Daleks guarding his ship.

Inside the Dalek city, Chen meets the ruler of the Fifth Galaxy, Zephon. Zephon and Chen, although having never met before, seem to be at political loggerheads. Zephon appears to be somewhat intimidated by the Daleks drafting in Chen to their alliance. During their confrontation, Chen mentions how the temptation to rule over larger swathes of the universe than just the Solar System tempted him to join forces with the Daleks. The Daleks overhear this and note the human's grand aspirations. The Dalek Supreme explains that as soon as Chen has served his purpose he will be disposed of "like the rest of them."

Whilst roaming the jungle the Doctor stumbles across Steven and Katarina. Katarina explains how Bret helped them out of the TARDIS as soon as the Daleks were seen in the distance, therefore saving their lives. While the companions speak, Bret is elsewhere in the jungle, where he observes the Daleks using their "pyro-flames" in order to torch the jungle. Bret goes back to warn the others, wherein an argument soon breaks out. The Doctor wants to go back to the TARDIS, but Steven argues that this is playing into the Daleks' hands. Bret weighs in angrily only for the Doctor to react with hostility towards him. The decision is made to move towards the Dalek city so as to be safe from incineration.

Back in the Dalek city, Chen and Zephon watch the jungle burn. Chen goes to the meeting, but Zephon refuses to go with him, saying that he will go when he feels like it. This is clearly in order to show off to Chen the power he holds amongst the Daleks.

Outside the Dalek city, the Doctor and his companions reach the landing strip for the visiting dignitaries. Bret notices Chen's spaceship and is shocked that their leader would be embroiled with the Daleks. The Doctor sees this as a positive thing and says that Bret can hijack the ship and warn Earth of the Daleks' oncoming invasion personally. While they are talking, Zephon approaches them but does not see them. Thinking quickly, Bret grabs Zephon from behind and immobilises him. It is decided that the Doctor will wear Zephon's robe and attend the Dalek meeting to ascertain the Dalek master plan while Bret goes on to hijack the ship. The Doctor takes Bret to one side and says that if he hasn't returned by the time the ship is ready, they should go on without him. Before leaving, the Doctor gives Bret a small reel of tape that he found earlier in the jungle, saying that it may be of use later.

The Daleks have noticed Zephon's absence and they, as well as the other dignitaries, are annoyed with the leader. The Daleks fan out to look for him and soon find the Doctor in disguise as Zephon and escort him towards the meeting. Arriving at the meeting, the other leaders express irritation at the tardiness of "Zephon". The meeting begins, and the Dalek Supreme reports their ultimate weapon, the Time Destructor, is now complete. Chen reveals he has procured a sample of the extremely rare element taranium, necessary to operate the Time Destructor.

Whilst this meeting is taking place, the Doctor's companions take over Chen's ship with very little resistance and leave the fleet on the landing bay, but as they do Zephon regains consciousness and raises the alarm. The Dalek meeting breaks up in panic. Amongst the chaos the Doctor steals the taranium, only to be confronted by Zephon. With no other choice to evade capture, Bret begins to prepare the ship for departure despite the pleas of Steven and Katarina.

Devil's Planet (3)[[edit]]

The Doctor gets to Chen's Spar, the type of ship Bret has hijacked, just in time for take-off, with the Doctor in possession of the Dalek's taranium.

The Daleks do not want to destroy Chen's spar because they need the taranium for their weapon, so they decide to employ a randomiser, a means of externally controlling a ship, and a pursuit team to try to regain their taranium. Zephon tries to place Chen in the middle of a conspiracy, saying that, due to the fact the assailants are humanoid and must come from the Solar System, it means they must be in cahoots with Chen. Chen turns this back on Zephon and says that Zephon was absent at the time of the theft. The Daleks agree, concluding that Zephon is the one who's responsible. Zephon tells the Daleks that two of the other leaders will also leave if he does. Finally, Zephon announces that he is leaving the alliance. He does not get the chance — a Dalek kills him.

On course for Earth, the Doctor asks Bret for the tape he found while in the jungle. The group plays it back. It turns out to be from Agent Cory, whose brief statements confirm what they already know — Earth and the Solar System are doomed. Bret discusses what he should do with this information, speculating that if Chen is involved any number of political figures could also be. As they near the prison planet Desperus — where convicts are simply left, without any guards or means of escape — the Daleks use the randomiser to disable the controls of the spar and eventually force land it on Desperus with the Dalek ship in hot pursuit.

The spar crashes on the planet, causing minor damage to the ship. This disturbs three of the convicts who call Desperus home: the leader, Bors, his lackey, Garge and a weak and subservient member of the group, Kirksen. The trio decide to hijack the ship and escape from the planet.

Realising that the impact should have totally destroyed the spar, the four conclude the Daleks want them alive, and Bret and Steven set about repairing the ship. Katarina and the Doctor notice the three convicts approaching the ship and begin to defend themselves by placing a live wire within the swamp in which they have landed. Sure enough, the convicts attempt to board the ship, and Bors and Garge are shocked unconscious. Just after this Bret and Steven fix the ship and take off. The Dalek pursuit ship lands heavily, allowing the Doctor and his companions a further head start. In his haste earlier, the Doctor realises he hadn't closed the airlock door of the spar and sends Katarina to do so. As she does, Kirksen, who has stowed aboard, holds her at knifepoint.

The Traitors (4)[[edit]]

You may wish to consult The Traitors for other, similarly-named pages.

Kirksen threatens to kill Katarina unless the travellers take him to the nearest planet — Kembel. The group try to argue that this is a hostile planet populated by Daleks but Kirksen is insistent. The group seemingly concur with the convict's wishes, but just pretend to readjust the controls.

Back on Kembel the pursuit fleet has fixed their ship and report back to the Dalek city for orders — they are told that the spar is headed for Earth where Chen can intercept it and that they are to return to Kembel. The Dalek Supreme gives orders for the pursuit fleet to be killed for their failure.

In order to stop the impasse between Kirksen and Katarina, Bret tilts the spar in such a way that the hostage and the hostage taker are knocked into the airlock. Steven and the Doctor attempt a mediation but Katarina opens the airlock, blowing herself and Kirksen into space. Stunned, Steven suggests that she must have done it accidentally, but the Doctor thinks it was deliberate in order to allow the Doctor and his companions to return to Earth and warn of the coming invasion.

Back on Kembel, the Daleks are upbraided by another representative from the largest galaxy of their alliance, Trantis. Trantis is worried about the trust that the Daleks have placed in Chen. The Daleks are insistent that their way is correct.

Back on the spar the Doctor and his companions are in a quandary as to where to land the vehicle — knowing that if they land it anywhere public they will be accosted. Bret says he will land it at an experimental station just outside the Central City in order to evade detection. There he will contact his friend, Daxtar, who will help them. On leaving the ship, unbeknownst to the travellers, they are spied on by a woman.

In the Central City, Chen is being briefed on the traitors that stole his spar. He is told by Lizan, one of his security team, that the identities of the traitors are Bret Vyon and Kurt Gantry. He orders their assassination on sight. When left alone, Chen conspires with the head of his security service Karlton on his worries with regard to the taranium. He also informs Karlton that he is worried that if he hampers the Daleks' plans, Trantis will usurp his power in the alliance. Karlton informs him he needn't worry in that regard as he has assigned Sara Kingdom, the toughest security agent they have, on the case. When Sara reports to Chen, she informs him she saw Bret with two unidentified men. Chen sends her back to kill them and take the taranium back.

The Doctor is growing impatient waiting for Daxtar to arrive, but when he does they unburden their story to him. Daxtar responds to this by saying that they should immediately return to the Central City and alert the forces and return the taranium. The Doctor explains to Bret that he never mentioned taranium to Daxtar and he must be a traitor to have that information. Furious at this betrayal, Bret kills Daxtar. The Doctor berates Bret for his speed to kill, explaining the information they could have learnt would have been far more useful. The Doctor and his companions decide what to do. Bret suggests that he should infiltrate the security service and alert the authorities himself rather than risk further betrayals. As the travellers set off to do this, Sara enters and holds the men at gun point. Bret manages to cause enough of a distraction to allow the Doctor and Steven to escape but he is shot and killed by Sara, who begins her pursuit. She meets up with her partner, Borkar, and tells him to shoot the traitors on sight and to aim for the head...

Counter Plot (5)[[edit]]

In an effort to avoid capture, the Doctor and Steven take refuge in a room wherein an experiment in molecular dissemination is taking place. The experiment reaches its climax as Sara enters the room, and the three of them are transported to the distant planet Mira, much to the annoyance of Karlton, who has been sent to regain the taranium. Karlton orders the scientists to keep an eye out for signs of life on Mira and goes to report to Chen. Karlton suggests to Chen that he should pretend that this was all part of Chen's plan and he purposely transported the taranium to Mira as it is closer to Kembel and the Daleks could get it more easily.

On Mira, Sara is forced to join forces with the Doctor, only after being disarmed by Steven. She is reluctant to believe their story and refuses to see Chen as anything other than a diligent leader. As they begin to tease at her conscience she reveals that Bret was her brother.

On another part of Mira, the Dalek salvage team have landed and begin to seek out the Doctor; as they do they discover an invisible creature indigenous to Mira that they can detect with their sensors. The Doctor soon discovers these creatures also and identifies them as Visians, invisible, savage creatures eight feet in height. As he goes back to explain this to Steven and Sara, he soon discovers that they are surrounded by these creatures.

Back on Earth, Chen reveals the true depth of his plan to Karlton. He plans to return to Kembel as soon as the taranium is returned; in the meantime, Karlton is to take a fleet to Venus and from there they will destroy Kembel with the help of a dissident army of followers that Chen will summon up from within. Karlton seems unhappy with this, saying it will only mean they will rule the galaxy; however, Chen insists that this will just be the start.

Back on Mira, the Daleks have found the Doctor. They destroy a few Visians to create an entrance and state that the Doctor is surrounded either by Daleks or Visians. Unsure of what to do the Doctor explains to his friends that "the Daleks have won."

Coronas of the Sun (6)[[edit]]

Fortunately for the Doctor and his companions, the invisible creatures attack the Daleks, allowing them to escape. The Daleks set about exterminating the Visians. They send a message back to Kembel that they may need more reinforcements but this is denied them.

The Doctor and his companions are forming a plan to steal the Daleks' ship whilst evading the Daleks and the Visians. Seeing that the Dalek ship is only guarded by one Dalek, the Doctor decides that now is the moment. He reveals himself and says he wishes to surrender himself and the taranium to the Daleks in exchange for safe passage home. Whilst the Doctor keeps the Dalek talking, Steven sneaks up behind him and splatters mud on the Dalek's eyestalk. Using this brief period of blindness, the Doctor and his companions hijack the ship, closing the door just in time before the rest of the Daleks arrive.

By this time Chen has arrived back on Kembel. The Daleks are furious that he has not fulfilled his duty of returning the taranium to them but he says that this whole episode reflects worse on the Daleks and their abilities than it does on him.

On the Dalek ship, the Doctor is going about making an exact replica of the taranium in order to trick the Daleks and Chen. As he is doing this the ship begins to pilot itself back to Kembel. Steven finds the device controlling this and rips it out of the controls. Sara teases Steven on his technological prowess, mocking his primitive understanding of science.

On hearing that their autopilot unit has been destroyed, the Daleks employ a magnetised beam which will pull the ship back to Kembel. The Daleks intend to murder the traitors as soon as they have the taranium, but Chen states they should be put on trial on Earth so as to appease curious minds on that planet.

As the magnetised beam starts to affect the ship, the Doctor seems relatively calm as he has finished his copy of the taranium; the only thing left is to give it its distinctive glow. Steven suggests using the gravity force from the ship's power centre, but he is mocked by Sara again. The Doctor warns that this is an outdated practice. Whilst the Doctor and Sara are distracted, Steven, refusing to believe that his science is that flawed, attaches wires from the ship's gravity force to the taranium. This knocks him off his feet and renders him unconscious. Despite the Doctor and Sara's anger with him, it has given the taranium the effect that was required, but a side effect is that Steven is in a vegetative state and furthermore has a force field around him because of gravity force and reliance power. By this time the ship is about to land on Kembel, where Chen and the Daleks are waiting for it. The Doctor decides to use Steven's force field to their advantage. He gives Steven the fake taranium and says that when they emerge from the ship that Sara is to stand behind Steven, and the Doctor is to do all the talking.

As they emerge from the ship the Doctor states that he will only give back the taranium at the doors of his TARDIS. The Daleks are reluctant to do this but Chen persuades them that it seems the only way that the Doctor will return the mineral. The Daleks lead the traitors to the TARDIS. The Doctor says that he and Sara will go in and Steven will hand over the mineral to them. This is carried out. As Steven tries to leave and goes back into the TARDIS, the Daleks try to exterminate him, but the force field renders their efforts futile. Chen is delighted that he has the main core to the weapon back again.

In the TARDIS Steven is being filled in on what happened as the force field has now worn off. Steven states that he may have discovered a way of making themselves invulnerable to all enemies and wants to experiment with it more, but the Doctor refuses, stating it is too dangerous. As they argue, Sara points out the TARDIS has landed. The Doctor tries to discover where they are but the visualiser is broken; however, the gauges reveal that the air outside is poisonous.

The Feast of Steven (7)[[edit]]

"Incidentally, a merry Christmas to all of you at home!"

Worried about the polluted atmosphere, the Doctor — whose lungs are used to pollution — says he will go outside to fix the scanner while Sara and Steven remain inside.

The group has actually landed in a polluted area of 1960s England outside a police station, where the TARDIS is being watched by a group of policemen suspicious of its sudden appearance. When the Doctor emerges he comes face to face with these policemen and immediately returns to his TARDIS, locking the door behind him.

The Doctor explains to Sara and Steven that they are actually on Earth and informs them that he intends on keeping the policemen talking which will allow them to fix the scanner. No sooner is the Doctor outside the TARDIS than he is arrested and taken into the police station. There he encounters a number of policemen and a man who is there to make a complaint about a vanishing greenhouse. The Doctor observes that he has met this man before in a marketplace in Jaffa, much to the bemusement of the man.

Steven sneaks out of the TARDIS and hides behind a police car whilst one of the police guards is distracted. He spots a police uniform in the car, and steals it in order to pass himself off as one of their own. As soon as Steven enters the police station, they greet him as "the new recruit from G division" — a disguise with which Steven is happy to continue.

Meanwhile, in an interrogation room, the Doctor is being very open about his real identity. When asked where he's from, he says that he is from the universe. When asked why he was in a police box, he says that it is where he lives and that it is no mere police box but a "means of experimenting with time". The policemen judge that he is mentally unsound and go to take him elsewhere. Here he is intercepted by Steven, who claims that he is a well-known figure in G division and that he will look after him. As they emerge from the police station, they see Sara in the process of being arrested. She was spotted trying to fix the scanner and ordered to move on by a policeman; she went to go but then returned. The Doctor and Steven rush into the TARDIS and Sara extricates herself from her policeman and joins them.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor brings the situation back to more serious matters and explains that he will destroy the taranium as soon as they reach a suitable place where they can do so. The TARDIS lands again and they look at the newly fixed scanner to see where they are. To their horror, they see a villainous-looking man tying a woman to a plank to be cut in two by a circular saw in a sawmill. The travellers rush out and stop the assailant, with Steven punching the villain in the face. It is only after this has happened that they realise that they have materialised on a film set. The travellers run off, pursued by the angry director, Steinberger P. Green, as well as Darcy Tranton, the star of his film. As they run through the studios they encounter Charlie Chaplin. Little does Steven know but the director is seeking him out because he was impressed with his display of physicality and wants him to replace his injured star, which upsets his female lead, Blossom Lefavre, as she is worried that she will be replaced by Sara.

The travellers are soon split up. Sara stumbles across an Arab-style film set and hides in a trunk which is one of the props. The Doctor finds himself on the same set and is mistaken for Professor Webster, an expert of Arabic culture, a part he is happy to play. Meanwhile, Steven is being pursued by assistants trying to get him into a Keystone Cops costume. They soon meet up again and make their way back to the TARDIS, though not before the Doctor engages in conversation with a comedian and aspiring singer who is worried he'll never make it in showbiz because of his stupid name, Bing Crosby. Eventually, the travellers make their way back to the TARDIS and dematerialise, leaving the stunned film crew desperate to know how the trick was executed. The real Professor Webster then arrives. Safely aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor produces a tray with a bottle of champagne and three glasses so he and his companions can have a toast to Christmas. The Doctor turns to face us, wishing us "a Merry Christmas to all of you at home!"

Volcano (8)[[edit]]

Meanwhile, back on Kembel, the fake taranium core is fitted to the Time Destructor. Chen is trying to ingratiate himself with the other delegates brought to Kembel, but they are hostile to him. He introduces two of these delegates, Trantis and Celation, to the idea of the Doctor — a "creature from another galaxy". It would appear that the Doctor's galaxy is unknown to both of these races as they have not mastered this technology yet. The Daleks enter into this conversation and say that the time destructor is ready for its test run and that the subject has been selected. It is revealed that Trantis is to be the test subject due to the fact he has proven no use to the Daleks. Trantis is placed in a cell with the machine and the machine is switched on, but it has no effect on Trantis. The Daleks check their readings and state that everything in the machine is working properly and that it must be the taranium. The Daleks accuse Chen of lying to them and supplying them fake taranium, but Chen says it must be the Doctor who switched the mineral. The Daleks send to Skaro for a Dalek time machine in which to pursue the Doctor. They inform Chen that he is to accompany the pursuers. Before they leave they exterminate Trantis.

On the TARDIS, the travellers are concerned to see another ship in pursuit of them. They are surprised by how quickly the Daleks have discovered their duplicity and begun their pursuit. In order to try to shake the ship off, the TARDIS briefly materialises in the Oval back on Earth during a cricket match, but this doesn't work and the ship is gaining on them. The Doctor now lands on a volcanic planet, initially unknown to the Doctor. As soon as they land the time path indicator stops detecting the other ship. Sara thinks this means they have lost their pursuer but the Doctor informs her this only means that the other ship has landed with them.

On another part of this planet the Monk emerges from his own TARDIS, camouflaged to look like a boulder, and begins to look for the Doctor.

The Doctor, Sara and Steven begin to seek their pursuer across what the Doctor describes as the newly formed planet. The Monk sneaks up to the TARDIS and disables the lock with a device he has brought with him. He then tries to harm the travellers by throwing a large rock at them but is spotted by the Doctor. The Doctor congratulates the Monk for escaping from 1066. The Monk explains that he managed to bypass the dimensional controller and begin his pursuit of the Doctor. He explains that in order to gain revenge on the Doctor for sabotaging his ship he has now sabotaged the Doctor's TARDIS and says that he will now leave them stranded on this planet, which he identifies as Tigus, then runs away. The Doctor returns to his ship and finds that the lock has been retarded by the Monk. Sara starts to panic whilst Steven attempts to pick the lock. The Doctor asks Steven to step aside and shield his eyes, and he uses his ring to bounce off the sunlight onto the lock which causes it to spring open. As the ship dematerialises the Monk watches in disbelief. He vows to not let the Doctor get away that easily.

Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor explains that the sun in Tigus's galaxy possesses certain qualities that when filtered through the gem in his ring reversed the process of the Monk's device. Fully aware of their danger, the Doctor positions Steven by the time path indicator and tells him to inform him of any pursuers as soon as they arrive on screen. He lands again and sees a London street in raptures. He speculates that the people outside may be experiencing an outcry of joy to do with the end of a war. In fact, it is 20th century Londoners celebrating New Year's Eve.

Back on Kembel the Dalek time machine has arrived and is staffed by a fleet of Daleks and Chen. As the ship dematerialises, the Daleks are led in a chant stating that the destruction of the universe is now within their grasp.

Golden Death (9)[[edit]]

The TARDIS arrives in ancient Egypt at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza with Mavic Chen and the Daleks a mere four minutes behind. The Daleks and Chen monitor the TARDIS after it has landed and puzzle over why it isn't attempting to take off again.

Outside the TARDIS the reason is revealed — the Doctor is attempting to fix the lock. Steven is worrying about the Monk's pursuit of the TARDIS and says he is going to move to higher ground to keep watch. No sooner does he do this but he sees the Daleks' time machine materialise and mistakes it for the Monk's. He runs back to the Doctor to inform him. Steven wants to go and meet the Monk, but the Doctor states that he should come to them and he has no intention of leaving his TARDIS unguarded. Sara and Steven decide that they should go and talk to him. As they leave the Doctor alone, it is revealed he is being watched by an Egyptian boy who goes to report to others that there are strangers around. They immediately arm themselves.

As Steven and Sara approach the time machine, to their surprise they see the Daleks and Chen emerge, but as they turn to go they are met by a hostile army of Egyptians who think that the Doctor and his companions are looters. The Egyptians catch Steven and Sara and, thinking that the Daleks are with them, begin to fight them too but are soon exterminated with no damage sustained to the Daleks.

With his repairs to the TARDIS complete, the Doctor goes out to find Sara and Steven. As he looks for them he witnesses the materialisation of the Monk's TARDIS in the form of a stone pillar and hides. The Monk emerges and sets off in pursuit of the Doctor. The Doctor realises that if the Monk has just arrived then the ship that Sara and Steven must have seen was the Dalek one. He sets off in pursuit of the Monk.

Sara and Steven are taken back to the hut of the Egyptians. The chief Egyptian orders that all the treasure be put in the pyramid straight away — including the blue box. Sara and Steven try to convince them that the TARDIS is theirs and not treasure but this falls on deaf ears. They are left tied up in the hut. Sara managed to grab a piece of broken pottery while they were being dragged in and begins to cut through their ropes.

It is not long before the Monk encounters the Daleks. When they meet it is obvious by the Monk's reaction that he is aware of the Daleks as a race. The Daleks want to exterminate him, but Chen uses this to their advantage. He eventually extracts from the Monk that he knows the Doctor and that he is seeking him for revenge too. Chen says that if he manages to get the taranium back to the Daleks within the hour they will spare his life; if not, he will be killed. The Monk agrees to this. This transaction is all watched over by the Doctor. The Monk returns to his TARDIS and retrieves an energy counter to help trace the Doctor. As he sets off the Doctor sees his opportunity for retribution against the Monk and sneaks aboard his TARDIS, changing the appearance of the machine from a pillar to a motorbike, a carriage, a wagon, a tank and then finally to a police box before emerging holding the TARDIS' directional unit.

By this time Sara and Steven have freed themselves and disable the guards — mainly through the combat skills of Sara, which impress Steven. They set off to find the Doctor.

The energy counter leads the Monk to the landing site of the TARDIS, but it has been removed by the Egyptians. However, the Monk follows the trail into the pyramid. The Doctor follows. The Monk soon uncovers the TARDIS and tries to enter it but is confronted by the Doctor. The Monk tries to befriend the Doctor in order to gain access to the TARDIS and the taranium, but the Doctor sees through this and moves towards the Monk as if to attack him.

Back at the Dalek time machine the Daleks are impatient with the Monk and issue the order that all "humans" are to be killed on sight.

Sara and Steven return to the landing site of the TARDIS and assume that the TARDIS has been taken as treasure and go into the pyramid. There they find the TARDIS but no sign of the Doctor. As they search a sarcophagus begins to open and a bandaged hand emerges.

Escape Switch (10)[[edit]]

Steven and Sara discover that it is the Monk, wrapped up by the Doctor, who has scared them. He claims the Doctor did it out of malice and tries to access the TARDIS again, claiming that he has a headache and wants some medicine that the Doctor is likely to carry with him. Steven refuses, so he and Sara take the Monk to go and find the Doctor.

Meanwhile, the Daleks have lost patience with the Monk and go out to seek the Doctor themselves. Chen is becoming evermore frustrated with the Daleks' lack of patience and flexibility.

Steven, Sara and the Monk don't get far before being caught by the Daleks and Chen, who demands the taranium. In desperation, the Monk pretends he was bringing Steven and Sara as hostages. Chen accepts this and tells the Daleks that the Doctor will not allow the two to be killed. The Monk seems pleased with himself until he is told that he is to be a hostage too. The three are taken to the ship.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians have discovered Sara and Steven's escape. The chief Egyptian sends for reinforcements, aware that they do not stand a chance against the "war machines."

When Chen and the Daleks get back to the Dalek time machine Chen announces over a loudspeaker with a range of seven Earth miles that unless the Doctor hands over the taranium, Sara and Steven will be killed. The Doctor is dismayed but has no choice but to comply. Some Egyptians also hear this. Tuthmos thinks it is the voice of a god, but Khepren says gods would speak in words they understand and states that it is a trick to lure them out.

The Doctor negotiates with Mavic Chen for the Daleks' hostages.

The Doctor presents himself to the time machine and states that he will hand over the taranium only on his terms. He explains he wants to meet at a neutral location where Chen will come with Sara, Steven and the Monk accompanied by only one Dalek. Chen and the Daleks agree to this. As the Doctor leaves the Daleks say that one Dalek can still destroy all four of them.

As the Doctor goes back to the TARDIS the Egyptians have mustered together their army and are also making their way to the rendezvous point at the same time as the Doctor, Chen and the Daleks are. The Doctor arrives late to the meeting and uses a large slab of stone to protect him from Dalek fire. He is initially irate that Chen brought two Daleks but Chen protests he has no power over the Daleks. The Doctor orders that his friends be let go. The Daleks comply. The Doctor tells Chen to come and join him behind the rock and he will give him the taranium. As this happens the Egyptians attack and Chen snatches the mineral away from the Doctor. A large battle ensues between the Egyptians and the Daleks. Large swathes of Egyptians are killed but some Dalek casualties are sustained by the Egyptians using rocks to hem them in.

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS where Sara and Steven are waiting for him. His companions are happy to see him, but he is cross that he had to hand over the real taranium. Sara is distraught, but the Doctor reveals there is still hope, in the form of the directional unit he obtained from the Monk's TARDIS. This means that the Doctor can control where his TARDIS is headed and he can transport them to Kembel. The Doctor and his companions go to fit this to the TARDIS.

Meanwhile, the Monk is pursued by the Daleks back to his police box-shaped TARDIS, and he manages to dematerialise unscathed by the Daleks. However, when the Monk arrives on a planet of ice (his TARDIS taking the form of a large block of ice), he realises the directional unit is missing from the control console and he is now resigned to wander space and time nomadically, just like the Doctor. The Monk vows to meet the Doctor again one day and get his revenge.

On the TARDIS the Doctor fits the directional unit but warns his companions that if it doesn't work it could destroy the central unit of the TARDIS and render it immobile. Steven states that they have no choice. Reluctantly the Doctor agrees and Steven pulls the lever. A large flash of light and smoke billow from the unit as the TARDIS veers dramatically to one side.

The Abandoned Planet (11)[[edit]]

Chen returns to Kembel in the Dalek time machine and begins to show off to the Daleks, elaborating that he got back the taranium that they lost. As Chen makes his way back towards the meeting to the Galactic Council, the Daleks plot what to do with him. The Dalek Supreme states that he should be kept alive as his "arrogance and greed" will prove useful.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor reveals that thankfully the main console has been unaffected by the explosion and it was the directional unit that suffered, but this still means that they cannot go to Kembel. The Doctor and Steven hatch a plan whereby they could steal the Monk's TARDIS, but the Doctor worries they are surrounded by Egyptians and he uses his scanner to check. He is delighted to find they are on Kembel after all and that the directional unit must have broken after the trip. Steven fetches the Doctor's power impulse compass and emerges into the jungle.

In the Dalek city news of Chen's arrival back in Kembel has spread. The rest of the delegates conspire against Chen, saying that now they have the taranium back he serves no purpose to them. They decide to vote him out. Their deviousness is interrupted by Chen and the Daleks. Chen gives a speech explaining how it has been decided by the Daleks and him that he is to be the leader of the Galactic Council because of his success with the taranium and his superiority to the rest of them. This disgruntles the other delegates, who move towards Chen to attack him; in the scuffle, Chen shoots Gearon, one of the delegates, and says that they have to yield to his power. After the dust has settled from this dispute, the delegates realise that they have been left alone in the room and that bars have been put up around the doors. Soon the Daleks come and break up the meeting and start to herd the delegates towards an unknown destination.

It is not long before the Doctor is separated from his companions in the dense undergrowth of Kembel. Unsure of what to do they return to the TARDIS and find it locked. They decide to head towards the Dalek city as that would have been the likely destination for the Doctor.

In the Dalek control centre, the Daleks decide to leave the delegates in their incarceration for its destruction. They then give orders to begin the invasion.

By this time, Steven and Sara find themselves on the outskirts of the city. They sneak in through an unguarded entrance by the landing strip and find that the city is strangely deserted. Sara begins to worry that this is a trap luring them deeper and deeper into the city, but Steven insists they have no option other than to press on, speculating that the Daleks might have the Doctor captive. Eventually, they find themselves in the control centre. They decide to use the Dalek loud hailer system to say that they have control of the control room and the Dalek time machine and will not yield it up until the Doctor is delivered to them. Instead of having Daleks respond to them, they are replied to by the delegates, who explain they have been imprisoned by the Daleks and implore that they are set free. Steven decides to try speculating that the Doctor may be with them. Whilst the delegates wait to be rescued, they decide they will unite their forces in an effort to stop the Dalek invasion. When Steven and Sara arrive and discover the Doctor is not with them, Steven is reluctant to let the delegates out, but Sara convinces him that they are the only means by which the Daleks can be stopped. Eventually, he relents and frees them.

Sara and Steven rush out into the jungle again and watch the delegates board their ships and return to their systems to warn them of the oncoming invasion. Chen's is the last ship to take off, and Steven and Sara are shocked when they see it explode on take-off. They realise that this means that Earth will not be warned of the invasion. They decide they need to find the Doctor. As they search for him in the jungle, much to their surprise, they come across a Dalek. They watch from a distance and see the Dalek head off towards an underground bunker. The two speculate that this is where the Doctor may have been taken. As they discuss what to do next they are surprised by the figure of Chen behind them pointing a gun at them. When Sara seems shocked that Chen is still alive, he alludes to the fact that he purposely faked his own death, then forces them to descend into the Dalek bunker at gunpoint.

Destruction of Time (12)[[edit]]

Chen leads Sara and Steven through the underground city. Chen is convinced that the Doctor and his companions intend on usurping Chen's place as leader of the solar system by allying with the Daleks. Steven finds this ludicrous but Chen insists it must be what is happening. He continues to lead the pair deeper and deeper into the city.

Meanwhile, at the main control centre of the city, the Daleks are assembling an army five thousand strong to make its way through the galaxy with the time destructor at its head. Their preparations are interrupted by a guard Dalek reporting that Chen is presenting prisoners to the city. The Supreme Dalek tells them to escort them to the control centre.

Chen reacts very strongly to Daleks supervising him with his prisoners and demands they ask the Dalek Supreme to change his orders. He seemingly relents but the Daleks follow at a close distance. When Chen and his hostages get to the control centre Chen becomes angry that his hostages are being taken away from him and begins to talk about taking power away from the Daleks. The Daleks threaten to exterminate him but Chen reacts wildly, saying that he is immortal. The Daleks ignore his orders, which further irritates him and he tries to shoot the Dalek Supreme. The rest of the Daleks chase him down a corridor and kill him.

During this distraction, the Doctor emerges from the shadows and presents himself to Sara and Steven. He gives Steven the TARDIS key and says that he and Sara should go back to the TARDIS when he says. Steven asks what he intends to do, and the Doctor informs him that he will activate the Time Destructor. The Doctor waits for the Daleks to come back from the killing of Chen and activates the Time Destructor, using it as a shield to stop the Daleks from shooting. He positions himself in front of Sara and Steven and engineers their escape. As soon as he is out of the door he destroys the circuit to make the door close on him. He tells Steven and Sara to leave, but Sara doubles back to aid the Doctor without telling Steven.

The Doctor and Sara make their way through the jungles of Kembel, weighed down by the Time Destructor. The Doctor is shocked when he turns and sees Sara a good twenty years older than her actual age, an effect of the Time Destructor. As they reach the TARDIS, Steven turns on the scanner; realising there is nothing he can do, he takes out his frustration on the TARDIS console.

Not only is the time destructor ageing the Doctor and Sara, but also Kembel itself, which has turned into an arid wasteland. Unfortunately, the Time Destructor is now taking a heavy toll on both Sara and the Doctor. Frail and weak, the old man stumbles onwards, knowing full well that time is running out for his companion. At last, they can see the TARDIS ahead, but the Doctor can only manage a few more steps before he falls to his knees, unable to go on. In a final desperate effort, Sara helps the Doctor up and they both stumble a few more paces further before the Doctor falls again. The Time Destructor falls from his numb fingers and rolls away just inches from his outstretched hand. Beside him, Sara pitches forward in the dust, unable to remain upright. She barely has the strength to open her eyes but somehow finds the will.

Sara tries to claw her way to the TARDIS, but it's too late. The last of her strength gone, she collapses and dies. Meanwhile, Steven's delight at seeing his friends on the scanner turns to shock as they sprawl in the sand. Steven opens the doors and walks out and is surprised to see that Kembel is now a harsh desert with gale-force winds. He looks around to find his friends but can hardly see in the sandstorm. He stumbles over to where Sara is lying unmoving, but before he can reach her a gust of wind seems to lift her up. He watches in horror as her skin and hair fade away. 

After trying to destroy the time destructor, Steven grabs the Doctor and with an effort manages to get him back to the safety of the TARDIS. Steven and the Doctor watch as the Dalek patrol comes into sight, this time moving much more slowly than normal. After they try to destroy the weapon they fought so hard to acquire, the Time Destructor rots away their casings, turning them into dust. 

After a time, the Doctor and Steven emerge from the TARDIS. The landscape of Kembel has been devastated and reshaped beyond recognition by the power of the Time Destructor. Steven notices a piece of rusting metal in the sand — it's the remnants of what was the Time Destructor. The Doctor shows Steven a tiny dead Dalek embryo. The Doctor rejoices that he and Steven have finally defeated the Daleks, but Steven reminds him of the losses they have suffered. The Doctor remarks, "It's a waste... What a terrible waste..." before he follows Steven to the TARDIS and takes off for another adventure. 


Uncredited cast[[edit]]



  • The planet Fisar is mentioned.




  • Chen states that there has been continuous peace in the solar system since 3975.


  • Taranium is a mineral only found on Uranus.


Story notes[[edit]]

  • This story had the working titles of The Daleks (Part IV) (meaning, the fourth Doctor Who story to feature the Daleks) and Battle Of Wits.
  • Only the second, fifth and tenth episodes of this twelve-part story — "Day of Armageddon", "Counter Plot" and "Escape Switch" — exist in the BBC Archives as 16mm black & white film telerecordings. "Day of Armageddon" was recovered in 2004 when a former Head of Engineering at Yorkshire Television returned it to the BBC. This is the only recovered episode to feature footage of Katarina.
    • "Counter Plot" and "Escape Switch" were both recovered in 1983 from the basement of a Mormon church in South London among other BBC film cans. There have been numerous theories but, to this day, no one knows exactly how or why the episodes came to be there.
    • It is strongly believed that the three episodes came from the BBC's original film copies, despite having been junked as late as 1976.
  • In 1973, the 16mm black & white film telerecording of "The Traitors" (episode four) was loaned by the BBC Film Library to the children's magazine programme Blue Peter for use in a Doctor Who 10th anniversary feature that they were compiling for the Monday 5 November edition, which used a 58" extract of the scene leading up to Katarina's death. However, for some unknown reason, "The Traitors" was never returned to the Film Library afterwards and remains missing to this day. It is believed to have been stolen or junked by mistake; if the former is the case, then the episode could still turn up again one day.
  • The fate of the Australian prints is unknown. It is believed they were either junked by the ABC, returned to the BBC and junked, or remain locked away in a television vault, long since forgotten.
  • When Terry Nation wrote the serial, he was under the impression that Vicki was still part of the main cast. If she were, she would have been killed off in "The Traitors" and not Katarina.
  • A planet with invisible monsters and a scene in Ancient Egypt were leftover ideas from Terry Nation's The Chase.
  • Although it is widely believed that the Christmas Day 1965 episode "The Feast of Steven" was never telerecorded, and lost forever when the master 405 line black & white videotape was erased for reuse, this is not the case. A 16mm black & white film telerecording of "The Feast of Steven" was made on 3 December 1965 (listed in the existing production notes as telerecording 23/1/5/8196), but never made available for overseas sales as its transmission would have to coincide with Christmas, and overseas television stations would be screening the story any time of the year. The Daleks' Master Plan was instead offered for overseas sales as an eleven-parter.
  • Although "The Feast of Steven" is lost, it is the only episode of the serial to have off-air photographs. But, rather than coming from regular telesnap provider John Cura, these photos were taken by Robert Jewell, who played Bing Crosby in that episode. These are not officially classed as telesnaps as Jewell did not employ the same professional methods that Cura used and, as a result, the images are mostly low quality and blurry. However, most of them are still viewable to a point where one can make out the action.
  • "The Feast of Steven" was also the first episode to feature characters "breaking the fourth wall" with the Doctor addressing the camera: "Incidentally, a Happy Christmas to all of you at home." It is one of a rare few cases in which the characters explicitly display awareness of existing within the medium in which the story is being told, in this case, on television.
  • There were no plans to make Katarina a main companion, as it was felt that a character from the past who needed everything explained to her would be a burden. Ironically, the first scene that Adrienne Hill filmed for the series was her death scene. There were plans to make Sara a companion, but Jean Marsh (who was unaware of such plans) didn't want to commit to a series.
  • The series' soon-to-be regular composer, Dudley Simpson, did not work on this serial owing to a serious dispute with the director, Douglas Camfield. Sometime after the production of The Crusade, the two had a small falling out. On the next serial that Camfield directed (The Time Meddler), Camfield elected to use percussion music, feeling that it lent to the story's atmosphere. However, Simpson interpreted this as a snub by Camfield, causing the dispute to escalate. By the time this serial had entered production, relations between the two had grown so bad that Camfield refused to even consider Simpson, instead, hiring Tristram Cary. The dispute was still unresolved at the time of Camfield's death in 1984.
  • Donald Tosh suggested that the police station segment be a parody of Z-Cars, as writer Keith Dewhurst had declined to write for the series. Douglas Camfield approached the show's producer David Rose for permission to use the police station set and to hire Colin Welland, Joseph Brady, James Ellis and Brian Blessed. Rose refused, however, expressing discomfort with the notion of his serious drama being associated with such light-hearted farce; the castmembers in question would also be busy with the show's twelfth season. The Liverpool-area location of the police station survived in the transmitted episode. John Peel's novelisation of this story references this plan by using the cast names of the Z-Cars actors for the police characters' names.
  • In "The Feast of Steven", an episode strong with post-modernist references, the Doctor approaches the "Man in Mackintosh" in the police station and states that he has met him before in the marketplace in Jaffa. This was an in-joke: the actor portraying this character was Reg Pritchard, who had previously played Ben Daheer in The Crusade.
  • The lead actress of the film seen in "The Feast of Steven" was played by Sheila Dunn, who was Douglas Camfield's fiancée at the time the episode was in production. The two married just before the serial completed production. Camfield later cast her in a minor voice role in The Invasion and a major screen role in Inferno. Sheila was also the daughter of Bill Dunn, who designed the bulletproof engines that would be used in Spitfires, which were seen in Victory of the Daleks.
  • The already fragile relationship between William Hartnell and John Wiles was also degenerating further, not helped by the deteriorating state of the star's health. Wiles was becoming increasingly exasperated by Hartnell's tendency to deviate from his scripted lines and had to deal with a brief crew strike arising from a dispute between Hartnell and his dresser. Things got so bad that The Manchester Evening News reported that Hartnell would be quitting the series, although this did not transpire.
  • The mineral taranium, which powered the Daleks' ultimate weapon, the Time Destructor, was originally named vitaranium. However, there were concerns that William Hartnell would be unable to pronounce it. The alternative names VX2 and vita were rejected, the latter because it was felt to sound too much like "vitamin".
  • The Daleks' Master Plan and Mission to the Unknown were the only 1960s Doctor Who stories offered for overseas sale but never purchased.
  • Unless one chooses to count The Trial of a Time Lord, which can be considered four different stories, this is the longest single story in the series' history.
  • Sara was originally conceived as Bret's lover, but this was later amended to make them siblings.
  • Terry Nation's original, untitled outline differed from the finished product in numerous respects. The setting was the year AD 1,000,000 and the Daleks had set up shop on the planet Varga. The "007 of space" met by the Doctor was called Brett Walton, the President of the Solar System was Banhoong, and Brett's traitorous friend on Earth was simply named Tom. It was the arrival of the Daleks on the "Devils Planet" (later christened Desperus) which distracted the convicts enough to allow the Doctor and his friends to escape, and there was no mention of any criminals stealing on board the spaceship. Tom elected not to betray the Doctor's party and was murdered by the Daleks for helping them to escape to "the Planet of Mists" (later called Mira). The return of the Doctor and company to Varga happened at the start of episode ten.
  • Roald was originally named Reinaml; Lizan was originally a man named Gilson; Kirksen was originally named Kirkland; Karlton was originally named Cartlon; Borkar was originally named Barker; Daxtar was originally named Tom and then Dexter; Froyn was originally named Frayn and Rhynmal was originally named Bosworth.
  • Communications Centre Earth was originally named New Washington.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for "Golden Death" in certain regions did not have a synopsis, and was accompanied by a black-and-white full-length publicity shot of Sara standing at the TARDIS console, aiming her ray-gun at the camera, with the accompanying caption "Space Agent Sara (Jean Marsh) is involved in a fight in this afternoon's episode of Dr. Who at 5.50". (original published text)
  • The Radio Times programme listing for "Destruction of Time" was accompanied by a black-and-white head-and-shoulders shot of the Doctor at the controls of the Spar, with the accompanying caption "Dr. Who (William Hartnell) continues his adventure through space and time at 5.50". (original published text)
  • Throughout this serial many more suggestions to the Doctor being not human are laced through the dialogue. In "The Feast of Steven" the Doctor says he has stronger lungs than Steven and Sara and then refers to himself as a "citizen of the universe" to the policemen. Later on Kembel, the Time Destructor does not affect the Doctor as quickly or as severely as it does Sara.
  • Home Truths, The Drowned World, The Guardian of the Solar System, The Anachronauts, The Little Drummer Boy, An Ordinary Life, Men of War and The Sontarans take place between "The Feast of Steven" and "Volcano".
  • Legacy features Mavic Chen prior to the events in this story.
  • The short story Katarina in the Underworld tells what became of Katarina's soul after her death. It is one of the few officially licensed Doctor Who stories to deal with the concept of the afterlife.
  • The audio story Daughter of the Gods from Series 6 of The Early Adventures is set in an alternate timeline in which the Daleks' plans in this story succeed, without the Doctor's interference. The title of the audio story is derived from the Doctor's monologue in Master Plan concerning the death of Katarina. Daughter of the Gods explores her character in more depth.
  • The comic strip The Only Good Dalek features the Eleventh Doctor referencing his friendships with Bret and Sara on a research station conducting experiments on captured Daleks; this prompts the station's commander to comment that the Doctor's credentials are impressive but that he must have started fighting Daleks at a young age, suggesting that the story takes place within a decade or so of the Daleks' defeat here given the Eleventh Doctor's apparent youth.
  • The tenth episode, "Escape Switch", is the 100th episode of Doctor Who.
  • The novelisation of Twice Upon a Time reveals the Twelfth Doctor owns a VHS recording of "the Daleks' master plan" in-universe, which he notes relevant parties would love to have back after the loss of their original copy some centuries prior.
  • The scenes in Ancient Egypt take place in "approximately 2200 BC" according to PROSE: The Astounding Untold History of the Greatest Enemies of the Universe.
  • Mavic Chen's having trouble using the loudspeaker on the Dalek time machine was ad-libbed by Kevin Stoney.
  • Peter Purves was reportedly less than impressed with the story, declaring, "the big twelve-parter was tosh".
  • Katarina's death scene was filmed using a trampoline. It was the first time that Adrienne Hill had been on one.
  • The reason the story is twelve episodes long is because there was pressure from the "higher-ups" for more of the Daleks. Rumour has it that Head of Drama Huw Wheldon wanted to see them more because his mother-in-law loved them. Director of Television Kenneth Adam suggested making it thirteen episodes. John Wiles described it as "a rock in the middle of the ocean".
  • It is speculated that the bottle of champagne used in "The Feast of Steven" was store-bought rather than specifically created for the production. When asked, Peter Purves suggested it was Asti Spumante which, while popular at the time, "would have tasted terrible".
  • Terry Nation's original version of "The Feast of Steven" had the Doctor inventing the cream-pie-in-the-face routine.
  • For unknown reasons, the Doctor was removed from a large portion of "The Abandoned Planet", with his lines going to Steven, whose own lines were split between him and Sara.
  • No fewer than three of the episodes underran their allotted timeslot. John Wiles claimed that "The Nightmare Begins" was short because of the difficulty encountered in accurately timing the special effects shots. He indicated that "Escape Switch" was abbreviated because “a cast member” had omitted some of his dialogue, although this claim is not borne out by the camera scripts. Finally, he noted that "Destruction Of Time" had to be trimmed when portions of Sara's death scene were deemed unsuitable for the programme's audience.
  • Several days after "Counter Plot" aired, Douglas Camfield was contacted by the production office for 2001: A Space Odyssey. The filmmakers' enquiries involved effects sequences for the episode, notably the processes Camfield had employed to achieve both the bodies floating in space and the “molecular dissemination” effect.
  • Mark Ross' name was corrected as Mark Rose in Toby Hadoke's 2022 obituaries.[2]
  • "Golden Death" aired on William Hartnell's birthday.
  • John Wiles and Donald Tosh hoped that this epic serial would be the end of the Daleks.
  • Terry Nation was originally supposed to write "Coronas of the Sun", while Dennis Spooner was supposed to write "The Feast of Steven". They swapped episodes.
  • Neither John Wiles nor Donald Tosh were pleased with inheriting a twelve-part Dalek serial. Wiles felt that it was out of line with his vision for the series and Tosh was disappointed that it would prevent him from working with writers like Hugh Whitemore and Alex Miller. Both men would later resign from the series.
  • John Wiles managed to secure an extra £3000 for the serial after complaining that the epic would be very costly to make; this effectively doubled the budget of the first two episodes.
  • The reason Terry Nation only wrote half of this serial is because he was also working on The Baron. Donald Tosh later claimed that Nation's scripts came in underlength as a result. "The Feast of Steven" originally clocked in at less than half the length of a typical Doctor Who script.
  • Dennis Spooner sought inspiration in history for the names of his Egyptian characters - Khepren for Chephren or Khafre, builder of the second of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Hyksos for a Semitic-Asiatic tribe which invaded Egypt around the seventeenth century BC, and Tuthmos for Tuthmosis or Thutmose, a name shared by four Egyptian kings.
  • Hyksos was originally called Cerinus.
  • There was consideration to hiring two directors for the serial.
  • Douglas Camfield cast Nicholas Courtney having remembered his audition for King Richard in The Crusade. Jean Marsh played Joana in the same story. They would later reunite for Battlefield.
  • Filming at Ealing endured a variety of delays, often due to problems with the props and models constructed by Shawcraft Models. Shawcraft informed John Wiles that they could no longer handle all of the work associated with Doctor Who, and indicated that they would not be averse to Wiles dividing it up between several companies. The volcano sequences were particuarly troublesome, as the volcano model was out of scale with the miniature TARDIS.
  • John Wiles was admonished by the Chief Designer for Drama, Barry Learoyd, who felt that insufficient time was being allotted for consultation between the director and the designer. As a means of averting this problem in the future, Learoyd suggested that no director should be permitted to handle more than six episodes at a time. In his reply, Wiles was sympathetic and extended his gratitude to the design team.
  • Barring Mission to the Unknown, which contained none of the regular cast, this is the first Dalek story not to feature Ian and Barbara, and is the only Dalek story produced during the First Doctor's tenure not to do so.


  • "The Nightmare Begins" - 9.1 million viewers
  • "Day of Armageddon" - 9.8 million viewers
  • "Devil's Planet" - 10.3 million viewers
  • "The Traitors" - 9.5 million viewers
  • "Counter Plot" - 9.9 million viewers
  • "Coronas of the Sun" - 9.1 million viewers
  • "The Feast of Steven" - 7.9 million viewers
  • "Volcano" - 9.6 million viewers
  • "Golden Death" - 9.2 million viewers
  • "Escape Switch" - 9.5 million viewers
  • "The Abandoned Planet" - 9.8 million viewers
  • "Destruction of Time" - 8.6 million viewers


  • Sara Kingdom was going to be a replacement companion for Katarina. (Not quite true. When it was thought that the character of Katarina would not work as a regular, Nation was asked to write her out as soon as he could. It doesn't appear likely that Marsh, who at the time was much in demand for film and TV appearances, would have signed on for an ongoing role.)
  • The incident at the end of "The Feast of Steven" when the Doctor looks directly into the camera and proposes a toast to everyone at home was an unscripted ad-lib on William Hartnell's part and outraged the production team. (This action was scripted and rehearsed, and is in the script that exists today. It was, in fact, a tradition in the 1960s for scenes of this kind to be included in special Christmas editions and specials of popular series. Besides which, if the production team had really disliked it they could simply have edited it out. As indicated above, the episode was considered "disposable" by the BBC as well.)
  • The Monk's TARDIS was stuck with the appearance of a police box. (It clearly takes on the form of a block of ice on the ice planet)
  • The Monk was stuck on the ice planet. (There is no reason to believe this — the directional unit was taken, not the means to travel.)
  • The episodes on which Terry Nation is credited as the sole writer were actually written mostly by Donald Tosh, from a brief outline by Nation. (While Tosh himself claimed this during an interview in Doctor Who Magazine #191, research by others does not bear this out. Though it appears Tosh did rewrite "The Feast of Steven" substantially, Nation's scripts for the other five episodes are largely the same as what was transmitted, with any rewrites by Tosh being comparatively minor.)

Filming locations[[edit]]

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Marc Cory's tape message heard in Devil's Planet, is different from the one he left in Mission to the Unknown.
  • In Coronas of the Sun, when the Doctor orders Steven, from inside the TARDIS, to give up the taranium, his voice is briefly "Dalekised."
  • At the very beginning of "Volcano", the grams operator accidentally plays the TARDIS background "hum" rather than the Daleks' control room sounds; the one is quickly cross-faded to the other.


Home video and audio releases[[edit]]

Video release[[edit]]

  • Counter Plot and Escape Switch were released as part of Daleks: The Early Years video in 1992. These were at the time the only episodes of the story known to exist.

DVD releases[[edit]]

  • All surviving episodes and clips have been released on DVD as part of the Lost in Time collection in 2004. Editing of the surviving episodes for DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.

Audio releases[[edit]]

External links[[edit]]