Thursday, 27 September 2012

Story 19 - Mission To The Unknown

In which Earth's Space Security Service sends a mission to the remote planet Kembel, to investigate the recent sighting of a Dalek spaceship. In command is Marc Cory. His mission has encountered various difficulties - from spaceship damage to crewman Jeff Garvey becoming infected by the thorn of a Varga Plant. These ambulatory creatures are native to Skaro, where they were created by the Daleks. Cory is forced to shoot Garvey dead, as the toxin drives a victim dangerously insane before transforming them into a plant themselves. The third member of the crew - Gordon Lowery - also succumbs and has to be killed. The Daleks find the ship and destroy it. Cory discovers that they have allied themselves with representatives of the six outer galaxies. They are planning to attack and destroy the Solar System. Cory records his findings and is about to launch a message beacon when he is found and exterminated.

This single episode story was written by Terry Nation and broadcast on the 9th of October, 1965. It is significant for being the only story not to include the Doctor, his companions, and the TARDIS. BBC paperwork referred to this episode as Dalek Cutaway - in that it was a brief detour from the Doctor's ongoing adventures. It serves as a prequel of sorts to the massive 12 part Dalek story which was only a few more weeks away. When first broadcast, it would have taken the viewing public by surprise - as would the following episode which suddenly had no sign of the Daleks. The episode is sadly lost, though the soundtrack does exist.

Cory is played by Edward de Souza, Garvey by Barry Jackson (who had played the mute assassin Ascarius in The Romans), and Lowery is Jeremy Young (who had played Kal in the first ever story).
Nation had been influenced by James Bond in creating the SSS - they even claim to be "licensed to kill".
After their rather comedic performance in their last outing (The Chase) the Daleks are back to being intelligent and ruthless. Guest monsters are the Varga Plants, and the alien representatives. Only two of these are named - Malpha and Gearon. Malpha is the white uniformed being with the mottled skin. He was the only credited alien character apart from the Daleks - played by Robert Cartland.

The episode ending is:

  1. Malpha vows to destroy the planets and peoples of the Solar System - beginning with Earth.
A tense, exciting little story in which all the good guys get killed. It is best viewed in the wider context of The Daleks' Master Plan - though it was made by the production team of the previous story (Galaxy 4).
Things you might like to know:
  • This episode marks the swansong for original producer Verity Lambert.
  • I mentioned above that the Daleks were not as dim as the ones in The Chase. There is a rather stupid moment, however, when they decide to broadcast their top secret plans over the base tannoy.
  • William Hartnell gets a credit despite his non-appearance. His agent had struck a deal whereby he was credited on every episode - even those ones in which he didn't appear due to holidays or illness.
The aliens show Verity their script for a new soap opera called Eldorado...

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