This science fiction story is focused on the idea of not judging a book by its cover. The Tardis lands on a deserted, dying planet. They see a funny looking robot that Vicki calls a “Chumbley”. Then another one appears, and they investigate, but are rescued by three beautiful women who tell them they were in great danger, and take the three travellers back to their ship, where they meet the leader, Maaga, another beautiful woman. But somehow these women are odd and cold. They tell of how they met another ship from a evil race, the Rill, and that in a space battle the ships damaged each other and landed on this planet. Then later the travelers meet the Rill, who initially refuse to reveal their appearance because it would frighten the humans. Turns out they were very alien in appearance, but not at all evil, and it was the beautiful women who were evil.
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Mission to the Unknown
This short little story takes place on the planet Kembel, and agents from Earth realize that the Daleks are here, and up to no good. This is really a prequel to The Daleks’ Master Plan, and is notable as the only Doctor Who story in which none of the regular cast appears. The reason is that this is an extra episode slot given to the Doctor Who team late in the day, and the regular cast were already given vacation time off. So it is best to take this as Episode 0 of The Dalek’s Master Plan, not as a stand-alone story.
The Myth Makers
This is another “historical” story, though instead of verified history it is historical legends at play here, in the form of the Seige of Troy by the Greeks. So you have all of the Homeric cast here: Achilles, Priam, Hector, Odysseus. The Doctor is taken for a God by Achilles, though Odysseus has his doubts. Vicki is captured by the Trojans and taken to Troy, calls herself Cressida, and is taken for a Goddess. Steven goes to Troy to try and free her, but is seen as a Greek, and so Vicki is now suspect. She falls in love with a son of Priam named Troilus, and you think something might happen here. It does, but it is Vicki staying with Troilus instead going back to the Tardis. One more companion gone.
This marked the departure of Verity Lambert as producer, and she was replaced by John Wiles. Wiles tried to implement changes, such as making the show a bit darker, but ran into opposition from both Hartnell and BBC Management, and resigned after producing four stories ( The Myth Makers through The Ark). And the popularity of other SF shows on television made a move to more SF and less history desirable.
The Daleks’ Master Plan
This story arc takes twelve episodes, or thirteen if you add Mission to the Unknown, as you indeed should. The reason for such a long story arc is that Sir Huw Wheldon, the Director-General of the BBC at that time wanted a “monster length” Dalek story because his mother was a big Dalek fan. And this story has a lot going for it. The length means that you can do more character development.
The story starts out with Steven recovering from a sword-thrust during the fall of Troy, and being attended by Katarina, a Trojan maiden, who is now in the Tardis. They arrive on the planet Kembel, and meet with Space Special Security agent Bret Vyon, played by Nicholas Courtney, who in a few years would become the beloved Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Vyon tries to force the Doctor to take him to Earth so he can warn the planet, but the Doctor recognizes the Daleks and wants to find out more about their plans. And this brings us to one the most evil villains in Doctor Who, Mavic Chen. You see, the Daleks have assembled a group of villainous aliens to join together in conquering the Earth, and Mavic Chen is part of the group. He is also the idolized Guardian of the Solar System. So he is a traitor! Katarina, the Trojan maiden, sacrifices herself to save the others from a convict they meet on a prison planet. Another wonderful character is Sara Kingdom (played by Peggy Marsh), head of Space Special Security, who has been told by Mavic Chen that Vyon and the others are traitors, and who kills Vyon, who is in fact her brother! But they manage to convince her that Chen is the real traitor, and she joins them. In the middle of this story arc Christmas happened, and this resulted in the most absurd episode ever of Doctor Who, capped by the Doctor breaking the fourth wall. And there is a re-appearance of The Meddling Monk.
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve
And after that massive science fiction story, another historical story. This involves the true story of Protestants in France being massacred by the Catholics, and the main feature worth calling our here is that William Hartnell plays two roles in this story. He is the Doctor, of course, but also the Abbott of Amboise, a leader among the Catholics looking to rid France of the Protestants. This idea of playing two parts became even more nicely done by Patrick Troughton later in Enemy of the World. In any case, this leads to confusion by Steven who thinks the Abbott is actually the Doctor. In the story a servant girl named Anna Chaplette is rescued, and this opens up the interesting possibility that she is the ancestor of Dodo (i.e. Dorothea) Chaplet, a companion who appears at the end. She witnesses a car crash, and barges into the Tardis thinking she can call the police.
The Tardis materializes on a spaceship in the far future. It is carrying the future of the human race to a new planet, Refusis 2, because the Earth is falling into the sun. But it also has an odd race called the Monoids, who have one eye. They are an alien race who came to Earth when their own planet was dying, and now they serve the humans. Unfortunately, the Tardis crew carries germs for which humans and Monoids on the Ark have no immunity, and sickness breaks out. One faction wants to kill the Doctor and his companions, but instead the Doctor finds a cure for the disease, and they leave on the Tardis. Then the Tardis materializes back on the Ark, but they discover that hundreds of years have passed. The Monoids have rebelled and taken over, and now the humans serve them. As the old saying has it, be kind to those you meet on the way up, for you will meet them again on the way down.
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The Celestial Toymaker
This is a wonderful story, and the Toymaker is another foe many Doctor Who fans would like to see return. Played by Michael Gough in a Fu Manchu-like costume, he has great powers, but is bound by certain rules, which makes this interesting. When the Tardis lands in his world, he sets them games they have to survive to escape. They are games based on children’s games you might be familiar with, but they have a twist. The Doctor is told he must solve the Trilogic puzzle in excatly 1023 moves, and Steven and Dodo must win their games before the Doctor wins his. This story is pure entertainment but very well done.
This is another historical story, but is embarassingly bad. It takes the Tardis to Tombstone, Arizona at the time of the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. Steven Taylor is mostly silly trying to act out childish fantasies of cowboys. The set up comes from the end of the previous story when the Doctor bites into a candy and yells in pain. He needs to see a dentist, and Doc Holliday, aside from being a gunfighter, is a dentist. Mistaken identities happen all over. This is light fluff, but is enjoyable if you give in to the silliness.
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This is another story about who are the bad guys really, similar to Galaxy Four. In this case, Dodo and Steven are captured by what appear to be Stone Age savages. The Doctor, meanwhile, is taken to the city of the Elders, is greeted warmly. It seems they have been following his travels for some time and are great admirers of him. Steven and Dodo are rescued by soldiers from the City, and reunited with the Doctor. Then Dodo slips away and stumbles on experiments being conducted on human beings. So the Elders turn out to be the real Savages here. The lab is destroyed, the two groups decide to live together in peace, but they realize they need a leader who is from neither group and choose Steven to be their leader. So another companion goes. Only Dodo is left
The War Machines
This is an “AI gone bad” story. A professor has built a computer to help manage the communications in the new Post Office Tower, which in fact was a new building in London. But the computer turns out to be more than anyone realized. But Doctor gets it right away when the computer correctly gives the meaning of TARDIS. Then it turns out that the computer can hypnotize people and make them its slaves. It does this to several of the professors involved, and has them build the War Machines that will enable it to take over the world. Dodo is hypnotized and tries to trap the Doctor, but he figures it out and restores her, then she is sent away to recuperate. We won’t ever see her again. Meanwhile the secretary to one of the professors, by the name of Polly, and young sailor named Ben, join up with the Doctor, and they defeat the computer. At the end, they realize they have Dodo’s TARDIS key and enter just before it takes off. So now we have two new companions.
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