Doctor Who - The Daleks' Master Plan Audio CD – Audiobook, 22 Oct 2001
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William Hartnell is the original Doctor in the most epic Doctor Who story ever made, in which his arch-enemies, the Daleks, threaten to destroy the fabric of Time itself!
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'The year is 4000 A.D., the planet is Kembel and the Daleks have created the ultimate weapon of destruction.' This is the basis of the longest and most exciting Dalek serial to date; twelve weeks of narrow escapes for humanity, with the evil machines at their most menacing and the Doctor and his companions at their most heroic and ingenious.' (BBC promotional document for The Daleks' Master Plan). Received wisdom has it that when Huw Wheldon was Managing Director of BBC television in the 1960s, he viewed his mother-in-law's tastes as a barometer for those of the general public at large. Her fondness for the Daleks, therefore, led him in 1965 to call for their increased presence in Doctor Who. Wheldon's relative was indeed not alone. As soon as they first glided onto the nation's television screens, the Daleks captured the imagination of children everywhere - and within two years the shops were filled with Dalek soap, slippers, toys, games and playsuits. Their fourth serial was already in commission, but Wheldon's influence ensured that its episode count doubled from six to twelve. With Terry Nation working as script supervisor on the ITV series The Baron, the writing duties for Master Plan would be split between himself and Dennis Spooner (who had recently stepped down as Doctor Who's regular editor.) The two collaborated on the overall storyline, with Nation then scripting episodes 1-5 and 7 and Spooner tackling episodes 6 and 8-12. The fact that episode 7 was scheduled to be transmitted on Christmas Day 1965 was noted at the early stage of planning, and for one week only the continuing plot was put on hold whilst the Doctor and friends visited present-day Earth. In a highly unusual move, the Doctor would turn to address the viewers at home at the episode's conclusion. Director Douglas Camfield was enthusiastic about the project, and in a letter dated 7 September 1965 producer John Wiles put some of Camfield's script suggestions to Terry Nation. These included variations on commonplace names to make them more futuristic - thus Ronald would become Roald and Walton became Vyon. The name Spar (space car) was story editor Donald Tosh's idea. Nation's response was positive, although he was keen to retain the names Sara Kingdom and Mavick Chen (sic), for which he said he had 'the greatest affection'. Taranium was originally to be called vitaranium, but Wiles' comment that 'Bill Hartnell will certainly have great difficulty in saying it' saw that it was shortened. A publicity document created for the serial gave a brief story synopsis, a list of episode titles, and biographies of the main actors and production staff. Of 'the beautiful Space Agent Sara Kingdom' it said, 'Sara is a new kind of character for Dr. Who, strong, dangerous, but capable of warmth and sincerity.' With Maureen O'Brien having departed as Vicki in the previous serial, and Katarina's stay in the TARDIS destined to be brief, the female companion's place was vacant. It is possible, therefore, that Kingdom was initially viewed as a long-running character. Filming for special effects sequences began at Ealing studios in September, and during the course of the next two months the serial would be recorded at BBC Television Centre. For Camfield the undertaking was colossal, and his frenetic schedule led to complaints from the design department that they weren't being briefed properly on each episode's requirements. Meanwhile tensions were running high between the producer and the show's star; William Hartnell's health was poor for many of the sessions, and Verity Lambert's recent departure had left him ill at ease. During the production period for The Daleks' Master Plan, both John Wiles and Donald Tosh resigned from the programme. Two years later Nicholas Courtney would return to become one of the series' most popular recurring characters, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Kevin Stoney and Jean Marsh would also make one-off return appearances. On 13 November 1965 Radio Times warned its readers to 'stand by, then, for twelve weeks of narrow squeaks for humanity...' If anything could test the Daleks' dominion over Saturday teatimes, this would be it.
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Top Customer Reviews
Released now as a soundtrack with a linking narration by Peter Purves - who played the Doctor's companion Steven in the original production - this is a highly enjoyable way to experience Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner's superbly written adventure. Not only do you get the full 12 episodes, but also the bonus episode: MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN; which was broadcast a few weeks previous to the start of MASTER PLAN as a prologue to the events of the story. This unusual episode has the distinction of being the only TV episode in the history of the show not to feature either the Doctor, the TARDIS or any of his companions.
Essentially the plot consists of the attempts by the Daleks and their allies to gain possession of a rare element (known as the Tarranium Core) which will power the Time Destructor - a device enabling them to conquer the Universe. The Doctor gains possession of the Tarranium, and there then follows a game of cat-and-mouse around time and space.
This is an improved version of the formula used in a previous Dalek story - THE CHASE (1965). Here we have a similar plot with the Daleks chasing our heroes around steamimg swamps,lush jungles, futuristic cities, historical settings and harsh alien deserts. What makes MASTER PLAN so successful is the way that these whizz-bang, boy's own absurdities are taken so seriously by director,cast and writers. There is an added poignancy to proceedings in that many of the good guys die, including 2 of the Doctor's travelling companions.Read more ›
Like "The Chase" before it, Master Plan is too much of a compilation show, with an eclectic mixture of locations visited for one or two episodes at a time. The supporting characters specific to these locations are given token roles, and the actors concerned must have wondered exactly what they were doing there. It's the overarching plot that's the most interesting, and frankly it could have been dealt with in half as many episodes as this.
The story thread with the Varga plants, set up well in Mission to the Unknown, disappears at an early stage, as does the somewhat pointless character of Katarina. Sara Kingdom, who appears for the remaining eight episodes, is a far more effective addition to the cast. Sara might have made a good companion if allowed to continue for longer.
I'm glad to have experienced The Daleks' Master Plan, even if in an incomplete audio format, and I'm sure that I shall listen to it again in the future (maybe as part of a trawl through the stories in timeline order). Despite its flaws it is worth a listen - except perhaps for the extraneous Christmas episode, The Feast of Steven (what on earth were the producers up to with that one?).
This release also includes Mission to the Unknown, the one-episode "teaser" story broadcast before "The Myth Makers", the previous serial.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first Doctor who was portrayed by William Hartnell appered in 134 episodes of "Doctor Who" from 1963 to 1966. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mrs. Marilyn A. Rice
An amazing episode with several effective moments and many great actors (Kevin Stoney especially). Mission To The Unknown is good and The Feast Of Steven is charmingly pointless. Read morePublished 21 months ago by soggy
Back for a 4th story, the Daleks are considerably more Daleky than in their 3rd one-The Chase, They even exterminate small mammals at one point! Read morePublished on 26 Jun. 2014 by Bob Marlowe
Another great story amn listening to it at the moment good story line a Hartnell classic what mlore can I sayPublished on 25 July 2013 by Diane Armstrong
Only three episodes of this story exist on film, with several other random clips, due to the BBC's unfortunately 1960s/1970s junking policy of its old film for space and re-use... Read morePublished on 16 Oct. 2010 by bigbradwolf
I've known about this story for some time, and have seen some of the surviving clips. Listening to the full thing however was great, and made the plot a lot easier to understand... Read morePublished on 31 Aug. 2009 by M. Pye
This Cd set is a must for any Doctor Who fan. I'm Spanish, and most of my friends say that I must be a freak to enjoy this series, in English, and only in audio in the case of the... Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2006 by Enrique Ovidio Carro Rey
The Dalek`s Master Plan is a true classic. The story is absorbing and is a great addition to any Doctor Who collection. Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2004