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"It came from Uranus! I know it did!"
―Mavic Chen
The Daleks' Master Plan
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 3
Story Number: 21
Doctor: First Doctor
Writer: Terry Nation (episodes 1-5,7)
Dennis Spooner (episodes 6, 8-12)
Director: Douglas Camfield
Broadcast: 13th November -
29th January 1966
Format: 12 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Myth Makers
Following Story: The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve

The Daleks' Master Plan was the fourth story of Season 3 of Doctor Who, and at twelve episodes, was the longest story of the 1960s. New companion Katarina, only introduced in the previous serial, became the first companion to die while travelling with the Doctor, and later in the story Sara Kingdom, played by Jean Marsh, became the second.



In the year 4000, the Daleks conspire to conquer the Solar System. Their scheme involves treachery at the highest levels, and a weapon capable of destroying the very fabric of time. Only the Doctor and his friends have the means to prevent catastrophe — and there is no guarantee they will escape with their lives...



The Nightmare Begins (1)

Space security agent Kert Gantry

Some six months after the events of Mission to the Unknown, the TARDIS arrives on the planet Kembel, and the Doctor leaves the TARDIS to try and find medical aid for the wounded Steven, leaving him with the Trojan servant girl Katarina. Meanwhile, two Space Agents, Bret Vyon and the injured Kert Gantry, are also on the planet trying to find out what happened to their agent, Marc Cory. Eventually Gantry tells Vyon to go on without him, as he will slow Vyon down. Seconds after Vyon leaves, a Dalek finds Gantry and kills him. Vyon then spots the Doctor leaving the TARDIS, and takes the key from him at gunpoint before knocking him out. Eventually finding the TARDIS, Vyon demands that the occupants take him off the planet, but Katarina barely understands what's going on, much less how to work the ship. Steven then briefly recovers and knocks Vyon out after seeing him threaten Katarina. The Doctor returns and places Vyon in a restraining chair, then goes back outside. On Earth, Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System, announces to the people that he will be going on a break. However, in reality he is joining the alliance that has been formed by the Daleks, and arrives on the planet Kembel soon afterwards. Seeing Chen's spaceship (termed a "spar") arrive, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS, only to find it surrounded by Daleks.

Day of Armageddon (2)

Mavic Chen meets with the troublesome Zephon

Katarina had released Vyon, who cured Steven with some field medicine, and they meet up with the Doctor soon after, just as the Daleks set fire to the jungle in order to drive out any further intruders. While the alliance prepares for a meeting of its leaders, Chen and another leader, Zephon, watch the jungle burn. Chen goes to the meeting, but Zephon refuses to go with him, saying that he will go when he feels like it. The Doctor and his companions infiltrate the city, and spot Zephon going to the meeting. They knock Zephon out, tie him up, dress the Doctor up in Zephon's large cloak and send him to the meeting while the other three break into Chen's spar. Arriving at the meeting, the other leaders express irritation at the lateness of "Zephon." The meeting begins, and the Dalek Supreme reports that their ultimate weapon, the Time Destructor, is now complete. Chen reveals that he has procured a sample of the extremely rare element taranium, necessary to operate the Time Destructor. Meanwhile, the real Zephon has managed to untie himself and sounds the alarm. In the resulting confusion, the Doctor steals the taranium and flees. However, Vyon hears the alarm and prepares to take off in the spar without him.

Devil's Planet (3)

The Doctor, Steven, Katarina and Bret Vyon aboard the spar

The Doctor manages to get to Chen's spar just in time for take-off. The Daleks blame Zephon for the situation, saying that his tardiness caused the Doctor and companions to find him, but Zephon defends his actions and accuses Chen of arranging to have the taranium stolen back. Chen says that Zephon's accusation is nonsensical and the Daleks agree, concluding that Zephon is the one who's responsible. Zephon tells the Daleks that two of the other leaders will also leave if he does, only to have the leaders in question to swear allegiance to the Daleks. Finally, Zephon announces that he is leaving the alliance. He does not get the chance — a Dalek kills him as he goes to leave. On course for Earth, the Doctor reveals that he found a tape while he was in the jungle. The group plays it back, and it turns out to be from Agent Cory, whose brief statements confirm what they already know. As they near the prison planet Desperus — where convicts are simply left, without having any guards or means of escape — the Daleks use a randomiser to disable the controls of the spar. The spar crashes down towards the planet below, causing minor damage to the ship upon landing. Realising that the impact should have totally destroyed the spar, the four conclude that the Daleks want them alive and quickly begin repairing the ship. Upon seeing the landing, a group of prisoners attempts to get on-board, but the Doctor electrifies the ship entrance and the prisoners are killed. A Dalek ship arrives, but misjudges its landing and suffers a crippling crash. The spar manages to take off again, and Katarina goes to check the airlock but finds a convict who managed to get onboard just before take-off, the other prisoners having discharged the electricity in the ship's entrance.

The Traitors (4)

Kirksen struggles with Katarina

The convict, Kirksen, holds Katarina at knifepoint and threatens to kill her unless the travellers take him to the nearest planet — Kembel. The group eventually decides to comply, but their decision soon proves irrelevant as Katarina activates the airlock, blowing her and Kirksen into space. Stunned, Steven suggests that she must have done it accidentally, but the Doctor thinks that it was deliberate. Upon seeing the events, the Daleks remotely destroy the pursuit ship for their failure to land properly, but seem satisfied that the delay caused by the crash will allow Chen enough time to get to Earth and have the trio arrested when they arrive. Arriving on Earth, the three evade detection, and go to see Vyon's old friend, Daxtar. Daxtar initially seems co-operative, but the Doctor realises he's allied with Chen when he mentions the taranium before anyone else does. Vyon quickly kills Daxtar, much to the Doctor's annoyance, but there's little time to dwell on this as Chen's security agents, led by Sara Kingdom, arrive. Vyon allows the Doctor and Steven to get away by throwing himself at Kingdom, She orders Borkar, her colleague, to "shoot on sight" at the intruders.

Counter Plot (5)


Sara Kingdom chases the Doctor and Steven to a laboratory, where they are all accidentally caught up in a molecular dissemination experiment and are transported to the planet Mira. Chen pretends that he planned this accident, and tells the Daleks where to find the Doctor and Steven. On Mira, Kingdom (who turns out to be Vyon's sister) is forced to join forces with the Doctor and Steven as they are attacked by savage invisible creatures. Meanwhile Vyon has escaped a Dalek and heads back to the spar but soon transports himself to Mira and tries to reason with his sister. The Doctor and Steven manage to convince Sara of Chen and the Daleks' true intentions, just as a Dalek ship arrives. The Daleks fend off an attack from the invisible creatures, and demand that the four surrender. The Doctor reluctantly announces that "the Daleks have won."

Coronas of the Sun (6)

The Daleks finally catch the Doctor - but not for long

Fortunately for the Doctor and his companions, more invisible creatures attack, allowing the four to escape and steal the Dalek ship. They try to return to Earth, but the Daleks take control of the ship remotely, then use a magnetic beam to draw it to Kembel. Realising that they don't have much time, the Doctor decides to build a fake taranium core, which he can give to the Daleks while keeping the real one. Steven then gets the idea to charge up the fake core with gravitic energy, but in the process encloses himself in a force field and is left barely conscious.

Upon landing, the three negotiate with Chen (who has since returned to Kembel) to be allowed to conduct the handover of the (fake) taranium core at the TARDIS. The Daleks refuse, but Chen persuades the Daleks that they don't have anything to lose, thinking that the Doctor will be unable to stop them after the core has been handed over. The Doctor and Sara return to the TARDIS, while Steven hands over the core. The Daleks try to kill him, but the forcefield manages to protect him, though it is exhausted in the process.

After leaving Kembel, the TARDIS lands, but the Doctor warns that "the atmosphere outside is entirely poisonous."

The Feast of Steven (7)

Incidentally a happy Christmas to all of you at home!

The group has actually landed in a polluted area of 1960s England, outside a police station. They get themselves arrested, but later manage to escape. The TARDIS next lands on the set of a 1920s silent film, causing many problems for the film crew (such as the Doctor being mistaken for a cultural advisor and the lead actress nearly quitting because she thinks the director wants to replace her with Sara) before escaping. After that they have a toast to Christmas, and the Doctor wishes a happy Christmas to the viewers.

Volcano (8)

Meanwhile, back on Kembel, the fake taranium core is fitted to the Time Destructor, which is then tested on another representative, Trantis, who has proven useless to the Daleks. However, there is no effect and the fake core quickly exhausts itself, leaving Trantis totally unharmed. The Daleks accuse Chen of lying about the taranium, when Chen realises that it was the Doctor that switched the cores. They send a request for a time machine, in order to pursue the Doctor. Trantis is then killed by a Dalek. The TARDIS briefly lands back on Earth during a cricket match, then on a volcanic planet. The three travellers have been followed by the Meddling Monk, who damages the TARDIS's door lock, then mockingly informs the Doctor and companions that they are stranded on the planet for the rest of their lives. Not to be deterred, the Doctor performs makeshift repairs to the lock, and gets back inside the TARDIS. The Monk is surprised by this, but follows the Doctor to his next destination. Meanwhile, the Daleks' time machine has arrived on Kembel. The task force leaves in it and the rest of the Daleks join the Supreme in a victory chant.

Golden Death (9)

The Doctor and his companions, along with the Monk, explore outside, but the Monk's spacesuit capacity loses control and he forces the TARDIS to arrive in ancient Egypt, along with Mavic Chen and the Daleks, who begin their search for the taranium. Realising that the Monk and someone else has arrived, Steven and Sara go to find out who it is while the Doctor repairs the lock; but they are arrested as looters and accused of being in league with the Daleks (who have killed a number of other guards) by the guards of the nearby pyramid. While the two make their escape the Monk tries to find the Doctor, but is instead found by Chen who offers him an ultimatum — help them find the taranium or the Daleks will kill him. Unsurprisingly, the Monk accepts. The Doctor sees the Monk and follows him back to the TARDIS, where he attacks him before leaving. Soon, Steven and Sara return, looking for the Doctor, but instead see a Roman soldier who attacks them. Steven then spots the bandage-wrapped hand of a mummy reaching out from a large box.

Escape Switch (10)

The Doctor listens to Mavic Chen's offer

It is the Monk, wrapped up by the Doctor. Steven and Sara take him to go and find the Doctor. However, they don't get far before being caught by the Daleks and Chen, who demands the taranium. In desperation, the Monk suggests using Steven and Sara as hostages. Chen accepts this, and tells the Daleks that the Doctor will not allow the two to be killed. As the Doctor breaks into the Monk's TARDIS and steals something, Chen announces over a loudspeaker that unless he hands over the taranium, Sara and Steven will be killed. The Doctor is dismayed, but has little choice but to comply. When he hands over the core, the Daleks try to kill them and the Monk but they all escape, helped by an attack by the Egyptian guards. While the guards disable some of the Daleks, most of them escape and return to their time machine with Chen. Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor admits that he did not have time to build another fake, and had to hand over the real taranium. But he's stolen the Monk's directional controller — evidenced when the Monk lands on an ice planet and realises that without having any control over the direction of his TARDIS he now has little chance of ever catching the Doctor. The Doctor fits the control and takes off, but the console room is engulfed in a flash of white light.

The Abandoned Planet (11)

The directional control has burnt itself out almost instantly (due to the Monk's TARDIS being a later model than the Doctor's), but it's enough to get them back to Kembel. The three leave the TARDIS, but Sara and Steven lose the Doctor in the jungle and proceed to the city alone. Upon arrival they find the Dalek city deserted, and the alliance leaders imprisoned. They agree to turn on the Daleks, and in exchange are released from the prison cell. They take off in their ships — apart from Chen, who is apparently killed when his spar explodes just after take-off. Searching the jungle, they find the entrance to a second, underground city which the Daleks are now using. As they prepare to enter, Vyon returns and tells them roman soldiers and robbers are looking for him as he traveled through time and accidentally brought them back to Kembel they have all been killed by the Daleks though just then Chen returns, having faked his death, and takes the three prisoner. He leads them into the underground city.

The Destruction of Time (12)

They go through the underground city and Chen leads them into the control room in grandiose fashion. Thinking that he was still imprisoned in the first city, the Dalek leader announces that their alliance is over. Chen refuses to accept this, and proclaims himself the leader of the alliance. He tries to kill the Dalek leader, but his blast simply diffuses off the Dalek's shield. The Dalek orders Chen taken outside and killed, causing Chen to flee boasting that he is immortal. He's quickly proven wrong when a Dalek patrol corners him and guns him down. Taking advantage of the distraction, the Doctor enters the control room and activates the Time Destructor. The Daleks return, but are powerless to do anything due to the danger of the Doctor increasing the Destructor's power. He orders Sara and Steven back to the TARDIS, but Sara refuses to go. The two flee with the Time Destructor through the jungle, but begin to rapidly age and deteriorate. The Daleks pursue them, but seem immune to the effects. The Doctor and Sara reach the TARDIS but have been aged massively by the Destructor, the two collapse and Sara disintegrates. Steven rushes outside and tries to deactivate the Destructor, but cannot do anything. As he begins to rapidly age, he tries to help the Doctor, but is ordered to get back into the TARDIS. Fortunately, when trying to deactivate the destructor he managed to reverse it, thus causing the two to revert to approximately their previous ages. The pursuing Daleks try to destroy the Destructor with their weapons but instead cause it to run uncontrollably fast, destroying the Daleks and reducing the planet to a lifeless, barely habitable wasteland. The Doctor and Steven emerge from the TARDIS some time later, the Destructor having burnt itself out. "What a terrible waste..." mutters the Doctor, referring to the death and destruction that has taken place.






  • Earth is developing long distance teleportation technology.
  • The Doctor places Bret Vyon in a force field that works on an 'electromagnetic principle'.
  • The Doctor steals the Monk's directional unit for his TARDIS to enable a return to Kembel.
  • The Doctor fiddles with the Monk's TARDIS chameleon circuit, changing his TARDIS from a block of stone to a motor cycle, a stage coach, a Western wagon, a tank and a police box.


  • Chen states that there has been continuous peace in the solar system since 3975.

Time travel


Story Notes

  • This story had the working titles of; The Daleks (Part IV), Battle Of Wits, The Daleks Master Plan, The Dalek Master Plan, The Dalek's Master Plan.
  • Only Day of Armageddon (Episode 2), Counter Plot (Episode 5) and Escape Switch (Episode 10) survive on 16mm film telerecordings.
  • Because the videotape masters were wiped, and no film telerecording was made for international distribution, The Feast of Steven became the first episode of Doctor Who to be seemingly lost forever.
  • The Feast of Steven became the first episode to let one of the main characters 'break the fourth wall' with the Doctor addressing the camera "Oh and incidentally, a very merry Christmas to all of you at home."
  • This story debuts the appearance of Nicholas Courtney as Bret Vyon, who would go on to appear as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.
  • Nicholas Courtney and Jean Marsh later appeared in the Seventh Doctor story Battlefield.
  • Unless one counts The Trial of a Time Lord, which was actually four different stories, this is the longest single story in the whole series.


  • The Nightmare Begins - 9.1 million viewers
  • Day Of Armageddon - 9.8 million viewers
  • Devil's Planet - 10.3 million viewers
  • The Traitors - 9.5 million viewers
  • Counter Plot - 9.9 million viewers
  • Coronas Of The Sun - 9.1 million viewers
  • The Feast Of Steven - 7.9 million viewers
  • Volcano 9.6 million - viewers
  • Golden Death - 9.2 million viewers
  • Escape Switch - 9.5 million viewers
  • The Abandoned Planet - 9.8 million viewers
  • Destruction Of Time - 8.6 million viewers


  • Sara Kingdom was going to be a replacement companion for Katarina. (Not quite true. When it was realized that the character of Katarina would not work as a regular, Nation was asked to write her out as soon as he could. A replacement 'companion' character was then requested for the remainder of this story. There was never any intention for Sara to continue past the end of The Daleks' Master Plan.)
  • The incident at the end of the seventh episode when the Doctor looks directly into camera and proposes a toast to everyone at home was an unscripted ad lib on William Hartnell's part and outraged the production team. (This action was scripted and rehearsed. It was in fact a tradition in the sixties for scenes of this kind to be included in special Christmas editions of popular series. Besides which, if the production team had really disliked it they could simply have edited it out.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Marc Cory's tape message is different from the one he left in Mission to the Unknown. Although a great deal of time has passed as evidenced by  Corey's body having decayed to a skeleton. The Message Tape was presumably damaged in the time between stories and is thus different
  • If the Grand Alliance is so expendable, why have it in the first place? Mass manipulation by the Daleks, to acquire the materials needed to build the Time Destructor. Several lines of dialogue referring to the Delegates making contributions to the weapon support this. Also the Daleks only turn on them after the Time Destructor is complete. In addition, the militaries of the Alliance worlds would be expecting the Daleks as Allies. So they would be open to Dalek attack .
  • The Doctor's sudden address to the viewing audience in "The Feast of Steven" is almost impossible to rationalize.It is not necessary to rationalise. It obviously belongs to the 'real world', not to the Whouniverse. There are times when characters of popular TV shows step out of the show to acknowledge their fans.



DVD, Video and Other Releases

  • DVD Release - All surviving episodes have been released on DVD as part of the Lost in Time collection in 2004.
  • Video Release - Counter Plot and Escape Switch were released as part of Daleks: The Early Years video in 1992. These were at the time the only episodes of the story known to exist.
  • The audio soundtrack was released in October, 2001.


Main article No. 1: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 1: Mission to the Unknown
Main article No. 2: The Daleks' Master Plan Part 2: The Mutation of Time
  • Novelised as The Daleks' Master Plan Part 1: Mission to the Unknown and The Daleks' Master Plan Part 2: The Mutation of Time by John Peel in 1989. Not counting the four separate books published adapting The Trial of a Time Lord, this was the only two-volume Target Books novelisation.

See also

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Daleks' Master Plan (including photonovel Episode Guide: {{{2}}}
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Daleks' Master Plan
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Daleks' Master Plan
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Daleks' Master Plan
  • 20 telesnap photos of The Feast of Steven
Season 3
Galaxy 4  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Myth Makers  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve  • The Ark  • The Celestial Toymaker  • The Gunfighters  • The Savages  • The War Machines
Dalek television stories
Major appearances: The Daleks  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth  • The Chase  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Power of the Daleks  • The Evil of the Daleks  • Day of the Daleks  • Planet of the Daleks  • Death to the Daleks  • Genesis of the Daleks  • Destiny of the Daleks  • Resurrection of the Daleks  • Revelation of the Daleks  • Remembrance of the Daleks  • Dalek • Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways  • Army of Ghosts/Doomsday  • Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks  • The Stolen Earth / Journey's End
Minor appearances: The Space Museum  • The Wheel in Space  • The War Games  • The Mind of Evil  • Frontier in Space  • Logopolis  • The Five Doctors  • The TV Movie  • Human Nature  • The Waters of Mars
Non-canonical: The Curse of Fatal Death
 • Complete List of Appearances •

This article uses material from the "The Daleks' Master Plan" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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