Mission to the Unknown
|019 – "Mission to the Unknown"|
|Doctor Who episode|
The Daleks collude with the masters of the Fifth Galaxy on a diabolical scheme
|Script editor||Donald Tosh|
|Incidental music composer||Stock music by Trevor Duncan|
|Production code||T/A or DC|
|Length||1 episode, 25 minutes|
|Episode(s) missing||1 episode, 25 minutes|
|Originally broadcast||9 October 1965|
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2010)|
"Mission to the Unknown" is a missing episode of the third season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, first broadcast on 9 October 1965. The sole standalone episode of the show's original run (besides the 1983 feature-length anniversary special The Five Doctors, which was later shown in a multi-episode form) it serves as an introduction to the 12 part story The Daleks' Master Plan. It is also notable for the complete absence of the regular cast, including the Doctor (although William Hartnell is still credited on-screen). The story focuses on Space Security Agent Marc Cory (Edward de Souza) and his attempts to warn Earth of the Daleks' latest plan. Although audio recordings of the episode exist, no footage is known to have survived.
On the planet Kembel, Marc Cory and Gordon Lowery are trying to repair their spaceship, while another crewmember, Jeff Garvey, is lying on the ground, out of their sight. He awakes, in pain and in a violent state of mind. He keeps behind the ship to make sure that neither of the men sees him. He raises his gun to fire at Lowery, but Cory sees Garvey and shoots him, rendering him unconscious. Cory pulls a long thorn out of Garvey from behind the ear. He warns Lowery that if he stung himself on it he would have to kill him too.
The two men go into the spaceship, leaving Garvey's body. Garvey’s hand begins to twitch and hair and thorns start to grow all over his body. He is becoming a Varga plant. Cory has a licence to kill from the Space Security Service and enlists Lowery to help him. Cory explains that the Daleks have been gaining control of many planets and that a Dalek spaceship has been spotted in this solar system.
Cory tries to contact their rendezvous ship, but cannot get through, and their own ship is beyond repair. Cory believes the Daleks have a base on Kembel and that is why he and Lowery are there. He explains that the Varga plant is native to the Daleks' home planet Skaro and that you become a Varga plant if you prick yourself on it. This is further evidence that the Daleks could be on Kembel.
In the Dalek city on Kembel, the Dalek Supreme waits to be updated on the latest developments. He is told that the representatives from the seven planets will be arriving for a meeting. He tells a Dalek to destroy Cory and Lowery.
Elsewhere in the Kembel jungle, the Daleks are discussing how to exterminate the humans. Lowery (who is building a rescue beacon) and Cory are more concerned with the Varga plants than the Daleks. A spaceship flies above them and they realise the Daleks are planning something big.
Lowery finishes the rescue beacon and is about to record a message when they notice something moving in the jungle. They duck behind some bushes as four Daleks enter the landing area and destroy the ship. Cory and Lowery head deeper into the jungle and Lowery discovers a Varga thorn in his hand.
In the Dalek city, the representatives from the seven galaxies have gathered in a conference room. They are worried about the humans, who they believe are hostile, but the Daleks assure them that the humans will be dealt with. The representatives all approve the Dalek plans to conquer Earth.
Cory discovers that Lowery is becoming a Varga plant and kills him. Cory then picks up the rescue beacon and starts recording his message. The Daleks find and exterminate him, but the beacon and the message survive. All the representatives pledge an alliance with the Dalek cause and start to repeat "Victory."
This story serves as a prequel to the upcoming twelve-part serial The Dalek's Master Plan. Essentially, this story, and The Dalek's Master Plan, forms a rough thirteen-part epic, although they are separated by the four-episode storyline The Myth Makers.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2012)|
|Episode||Broadcast date||Run time||Viewers
|"Mission to the Unknown"||9 October 1965||24:42||8.3||Only stills and/or fragments exist|
The episode came about because the earlier story Planet of Giants was cut from four episodes to three during post production, creating a gap in the schedule. Although the cast contracts had not yet been signed, it was difficult to add a single episode to a planned run of four and six episode stories and so it was decided to make a one-off story introducing elements of the forthcoming story The Daleks' Master Plan (Serial V).
Terry Nation wrote this episode partially as an attempt to create a story about the Daleks that did not involve the Doctor or his companions, so that he could eventually develop and sell the idea of a Dalek series, divorced from the Doctor Who universe. In the proposed series, the Space Security Service was tasked with hunting Daleks, and it would follow their adventures — an approach that can be seen in short stories and comic strips written for the 1965 Dalek Outer Space Book (cover dated 1966). An unmade pilot titled The Destroyers was written, but the series concept was never sold.
The episode was made by the same team as Galaxy 4 (Serial T), with both stories sharing pre-filming and, possibly, the same production code (see below). It was also the final Doctor Who episode on which Verity Lambert served as producer.
Perhaps more than any other Doctor Who story, "Mission to the Unknown" generates confusion and debate over both the title used and the serial/production code allocated. All Doctor Who stories from this period have no overall on-screen title, with the story referred to either by a production code or an internal title by the production team. (For example the early 1965 story featuring Nero was Serial M or The Romans.) The two were confusingly used interchangeably in many production and overseas sales documents. "Mission to the Unknown" generates further confusion because some documents do not refer to it as a serial but rather as a "cutaway episode". As the story was produced alongside Galaxy 4 the two appear to have been referred to together. Several of the production codes offered are either Serial T or Serial T +, an appendage.
Early in 1965 the term "Dalek Cutaway" started to be used to describe the episode in the production office. The on-screen title "Mission to the Unknown" came later but both continued in circulation, with "Dalek Cutaway" seemingly being used in places as both a story title and and a production term. The abbreviation "DC" also appears on a few early production documents. Design documents successively refer to the episode as "'Serial T/A" and later "Serial T Episode 5". The episode's camera script gives "Dalek Cutaway" as a description and a handwritten addition states "Serial T Episode 4" (which is the wrong number). Later when the videotape of the episode was wiped the relevant paperwork referred to "Serial Ta Episode 1/1".
When it came to offering the story for sale overseas, the synopsis sent by BBC Enterprises gave the title as "Mission to the Unknown (Dalek Cutaway)". The 1974 Enterprises document A Quick Guide to Doctor Who, which listed the stories produced so far for potential overseas buyers, gave the title as "Dalek Cutaway (Mission to the Unknown)" and did not offer any production code at all. When fans started compiling reference books in the mid-1970s, it was this latter document which formed the basis of many lists. The story was referred to alternatively as "Dalek Cutaway" and "Mission to the Unknown" on many occasions, whilst the production code went vacant until the discovery of the design documents stating T/A. In more recent years the exploration of the BBC's written archives has exposed the problems of the title and production code.
This is the only Doctor Who story that does not feature the character of the Doctor or the TARDIS at all. Despite this, William Hartnell is still credited as "Dr. Who" — this was because his contract specified he would be credited for all episodes, including those in which he appeared only in the reprise or did not feature at all. The Doctor's companions Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) and Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) do not appear either. Unlike Hartnell, their contracts did not guarantee they would be credited, though they were in the BBC listings magazine Radio Times (and episode guides taking their information from there). O'Brien would actually leave the series at the conclusion of the following story, The Myth Makers and not appear in the Master Plan serial.
The alien delegates seen at the Daleks' HQ on Kembel would return in The Daleks' Master Plan, but recast with some make-up and costume changes and with a notably different line-up including some speaking characters, leading to some confusion over which is which. The disparity only came to light when the Master Plan episode "Day of Armageddon" was returned to the BBC archives.
Barry Jackson had previously appeared as Ascaris in The Romans and would appear as Drax in The Armageddon Factor. Jeremy Young had previously played Kal in An Unearthly Child. Edward de Souza would later play Mortimer Davey in the audio play The Roof of the World.
|Doctor Who book|
|Mission to the Unknown|
|Cover artist||Alister Pearson|
|Release date||21 September 1989|
The story was novelised as part of The Daleks' Master Plan I: Mission to the Unknown by John Peel (published in September 1989). The rest of the book contained an adaptation of the first six episodes of The Daleks' Master Plan.
In May 2010 an unabridged reading of the book by Peter Purves and Jean Marsh, with Dalek voices supplied by Nicholas Briggs, was released by BBC Audiobooks. The title was slightly modified to Daleks - Mission to the Unknown.
This story is one of three (the others being Marco Polo and The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve) to survive in audio form only, with no broadcast footage of any form currently known to exist. The audio was released as part of the soundtrack CD The Daleks' Master Plan.
- Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "Mission to the Unknown". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- "Dalek Cutaway". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- Sullivan, Shannon (2007-11-23). "Mission To The Unknowns". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- By Any Other Name - Article by Andrew Pixley detailing the problems of early Doctor Who story titles.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: First Doctor|
- "Mission to the Unknown" at BBC Online
- "Mission to the Unknown" at Doctor Who: A Brief History Of Time (Travel)
- "Dalek Cutaway" at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- "Mission to the Unknown" at TV.com
- "Mission to the Unknown" reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
- Mission to the Unknown reviews at Outpost Gallifrey
- "Mission to the Unknown" novelisation reviews at The Doctor Who Ratings Guide
- On Target — Mission to the Unknown