Doctor Who – Mission To The Unknown, 1965
It’s perhaps a testament to just how good British TV output has been over the years. Here we are talking about a story from a show that is still running over fifty years after it was first broadcast.
Mission To The Unknown was a one episode story, the second of season three first shown in 1965. Sometimes referred to as “Dalek Cutaway” or “Dalek Cutaway-Mission to the Unknown.” It was alongside The Five Doctors the show’s only standalone episode until the revived series in 2005 when most episodes were standalone stories.
The episode is also notable for being the only Doctor Who story without the regular cast. Neither The Doctor or his companions appear
The idea for the episode came about when producer Verity Lambert wanted to give the cast regulars an extra week’s holiday between the second and third production recording blocks, extending their break from five weeks to six. As a result the decision was made to make a one off story.
The idea behind Mission To The Unknown’s story was to introduce viewers to elements of the story that was to follow later in the season: The Daleks’ Master Plan. It was also the final Doctor Who episode on which Verity Lambert served as producer.
No footage from this story exists in the BBC archives, although the original soundtrack has survived. In 2019 Students at the University of Central Lancashire are recreating a film of the episode helped by Peter Purves, Edward De Souza and Nicholas Briggs.
As it was written by Terry Nation it was bound to have a Dalek connection. It also has a comedy connection: Terry Nation before he found fame for creating The Daleks was a comedy writer.
On the planet Kembel, Space Security Service agent Marc Cory is investigating a recent sighting of a Dalek spaceship. His suspicion that the creatures may have established a base here proves well-founded.
His two companions, Jeff Garvey and Gordon Lowery, both fall victim to the poisonous thorns of Varga plants – ambulatory flora indigenous to the Daleks’ home world, Skaro – and he has no choice but to shoot them before they are themselves transformed into Vargas.
Having overheard the Daleks plotting with representatives of the six outer galaxies to overthrow the solar system, Cory records a warning message and prepares to send it into orbit with a rocket launcher. Before he can do so, however, he is discovered and exterminated.
Barry Jackson – Jeff Garvey
Edward de Souza – Marc Cory
Jeremy Young – Gordon Lowery
Robert Cartland – Malpha
Written By: Terry Nation
Producer: Verity Lambert
Script Editor: Donald Tosh
Original Transmission Dare: 9th October 1965