The Daleks' Masterplan

Season 3, 1965-66; 12 episodes

The longest Doctor Who story at a mammoth 12 episodes, The Daleks' Masterplan formed the backbone of the programme's third season, and was inspired by the phenomenal success of the previous Dalek stories. It featured three companions, only one of whom lasted the whole story; an excellent megalomanic villain, superbly played by Kevin Stoney; the brief return of the Meddling Monk; and of course, the Daleks. The adventure is set on 5 different planets, and even has time for a one-off Christmas special in the middle!

The story was transmitted after 'The Myth Makers', in which the Doctor picked up a new companion, the Trojan Katarina, to join Steven Taylor. The first episode, though, recalls the events of 'Mission to the Unknown', broadcast 5 weeks earlier. Set in 4000AD, the story opens with two Space Security agents, Bret Vyon (Nicholas Courtney, later to play the Brigadier) and Kurt Gantry (Brian Cant), investigating the disappearance of Marc Cory's expedition. The script writing for the serial was shared between Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner because of the sheer length involved.

Episode 7 was scheduled to be broadcast on Christmas Day 1965, so as the story had by this point reached a natural break, a light-hearted special ('The Feast of Steven') was shown. Part 8, shown on New Years Day 1966, also had a more light-hearted feel to it.

Only episodes 5 and 10 of the story survive on video today, along with several clips of various lengths from the first four parts. Rumours abound about the existence of other episodes (see the article by Michael Phillips on the Missing Episodes), but none have yet surfaced. Parts 8-10 and 12 were the first to be recorded on 'crystal-clear audio', and the remaining episodes do exist on audio in reasonable quality.

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