The Daleks’ Master Plan: Day of Armageddon

First Broadcast November 20th, 1965 @ 5.50pm (9.8m viewers)

‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ is an absolutely epic adventure. Totalling 12 episodes it is the longest single story of Doctor Who. This is of course, considering that ‘The Trial of the Time Lord’ consists of 4 otherwise unconnected segments. A unique prelude to this tale was also presented in the form of ‘Mission to the Unknown’. Prior to that, the previous Dalek story, ‘The Chase’ had also been of epic proportions as the villains pursued the heroes across space and time. This adventure, however, took epic to a whole new level. Thankfully this episode was returned to the BBC in 2004 and brought the total to three episodes which still survive. Although only 25% of the visual story remains it is better than nothing and this episode provides a tantalising glimpse of the story.

Doctor Who - The Daleks' Master Plan: Day of Armageddon
Doctor Who – The Daleks’ Master Plan: Day of Armageddon

As ‘Day of Armageddon’ is only the second instalment of the story and therefore things are still in the early stages of development. However, there are a number of notable appearances within it. Firstly, it is also the only complete episode to feature Adrienne Hill as short-lived companion Katarina. A handmaid from the City of Troy around the year 1200BC proved problematic for the writers, with even basic concepts having to be spelt out for her. Nicholas Courtney also appears in Doctor Who for the first time but certainly not the last. However, on this occasion, he is not The Brigadier but Space Agent Bret Vyon. Other appearances include Peter Purves as Steven, Kevin Stoney as Magic Chen and a wonderful cavalcade of alien creatures. All of this is helmed by skilful director Douglas Camfield.

Doctor Who - The Daleks' Master Plan: Day of Armageddon
Doctor Who – The Daleks’ Master Plan: Day of Armageddon
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

As the Daleks carry out ‘Operation: Inferno’, we see three Daleks begin the process of burning down the forest of Kembel. Recorded at Ealing the sequence, like some of the other film material, still existed prior to 2004. The use of film means that there is also great clarity and therefore some stunning visual imagery. Replacing the much-ridiculed sink plunger attachment is a flame thrower. Still armed with its energy weapon the ability to also shoot fire is a terrifying prospect. Curiously the intention was for the Daleks in the first Peter Cushing movie to shoot fire but this was deemed too frightening for younger audience members. In this episode, however, they are armed with fire. The trio of Daleks congregate around trees and they crumple under the flames. Never before or since has a Dalek looked more beautiful and deadly.

Cast:

Doctor Who – William Hartnell
Steven Taylor – Peter Purves
Katrina – Adrienne Hill
Mavic – Chen Kevin Stoney
Bret Vyon – Nicholas Courtney

Crew

Director – Douglas Camfield
Producer – John Wiles
Writer – Terry Nation

Also First Aired On This Day…
  • The Deadly Assassin: Part Four
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Gift: Episode Two

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