The Daleks' Master Plan

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Story Code: V / Season 3 UK Airdate: 13 Nov 1965 to 29 Jan 1966
Doctor: William Hartnell Previous Story / Next Story


  • The serial was planned as a 12-parter. However, from the stage directions in the rehearsal and camera scripts for parts six and seven, particularly with regards to the "NEXT EPISODE" captions, it would seem that by the time the serial was made, it was being treated as an 11-parter (and would be sold as such to foreign broadcasters), but with an additional episode screened at Christmas, but only for consumption in the UK. In other words, The Daleks' Master Plan should really be regarded as an 11-parter with a special Christmas episode added for UK viewers, rather than as a 12-parter, with an episode removed from foreign sale. Put another way, it's an 11-parter which, after its sixth episode on 18 December 1965, took a fortnight's break before resuming on New Years Day 1966; meanwhile its replacement on 25 December 1965 was a one-off episode of Doctor Who...
  • The 11-part serial (minus the Christmas 'special') was offered to Australia in March 1966, along with Galaxy 4, Mission to the Unknown, and The Myth Makers.
  • It was viewed by the Australian censors on 13 September 1966 - and rated with a mixture of "G" and "A" classifications, with and without cuts.
  • The ABC had already started screening season 3 at that stage, so after The Myth Makers they filled the schedule with a run of repeats, while they awaited a final decision. But by the end of November 1966 the ABC had ultimately decided against attempting to "reconstruct" the films, since the "A" classifications on some of the episodes that didn't have cuts would prevent them from screening the serial in their preferred early evening timeslot anyway. They recommenced screening season 3 starting with The Massacre in mid-December...
  • While all this was happening, Terry Nation withdrew all the Dalek stories from sale.
  • After lodging an unsuccessful appeal to the censorship board, BBC Sydney officially "wrote off" selling the serial to the ABC in March 1967. And since the ABC did not purchase the rights to screen it, they did not make any clearance payments to the BBC.
  • A few months later, Barbados purchased Season 3 (see October 1967 newspaper clipping on that page); Mission to the Unknown and The Daleks' Master Plan were not available because of the Australian rejection and moratorium. It's therefore highly unlikely that the BBC would have struck any further prints of the serial in 1966 while they were awaiting word on whether a sale had been made to Australia, and certainly not during 1967 when the Dalek serials were off the catalogue.
  • It is not known what happened to the Australian prints. The ABC did not 'own' the prints -- in fact they never had them in their possession at all during the processes described above. In all likelihood, they'd have been returned to the BBC's Sydney office, and were subsequently shipped back to London.
  • The 25 October 1971 edition of Blue Peter used an extract from part 3, so it's clear that the BBC had or struck a print of that episode (at least) in 1971.
    • NOTE: What is particularly curious about this clip is the clip itself. Blue Peter wanted to show-case the appearance by one of its presenters in Doctor Who, so what clip do they choose to show? One with the Daleks in their spaceship that leads directly into one of Peter Purves in the SPAR. It wasn't one with the Daleks and Steven in the same scene together, which you'd think would be what they would go for if such a scene was available to them (and such scenes do occur in parts ten and twelve). Could it be, therefore, that by late 1971 the BBC did not actually have that many prints featuring Purves and the Daleks (not even part 6 of The Chase?), so the clip from part 3 was the best from what was already a poor selection?
  • BBC Enterprises had junked all 11 telerecording master negatives at some point between 1972 and 1974.
  • By mid-1973, the BBC still retained prints of episodes 2,3, and 4 (at least), although these copies were sited at different locations around London: episode two had been taken to the BBC's film studios in Ealing (from which it was "stolen" in 1973, and subsequently returned in 2004), whereas part three was at BBC Enterprises and four was kept in the film library. Part 4 was borrowed by the Blue Peter producers for use in their tenth anniversary clip montage (broadcast on 5 November 1973), but was never returned to its place of origin. At some point between 1978 and 1983, parts five and ten ended up in the basement of a Mormon church. Where they had been prior to 1978 is unknown. Whether these five prints were all part of the same set of 11 is unknown; nor is it known how they came to be separated in the first place.
  • In all likelihood these were all from the set that had been sent to Australia in 1966 (and if so, had been returned to London years earlier than the 1975 bulk shipment of returns by the ABC), as it is difficult to comprehend why the BBC would have struck a second set of films for a story it could not sell. (It is a remote possibility that Enterprises had struck two sets in early 1966: one went to and remained in Australia, the other sat on the shelf in readiness for a second sale, but by 1971 only a couple of these were still held, otherwise you'd think Blue Peter would have used a far better choice of clips in 1971...)
  • See also Hartnell Junkings


  • At the time the offer was made to Australia in early 1966, both Singapore and Gibraltar were coming to the end of their transmissions of season two; the BBC may have struck additional prints of this story in anticipation of a sale to those two countries. As it turned out, neither country picked up the option to continue with the series after The Time Meddler. (The two episodes found in 1983 may have been from a set of these unused 'additional' copies.)
  • Even if the serial had been accepted and broadcast in Australia in 1966, the two other countries screening season three at the time - Barbados and Zambia - would probably have been denied broadcast rights anyway, because by the end of that year, the BBC had withdrawn the sale of all Dalek serials as part of their agreement with Terry Nation.
  • By the time the moratorium had been lifted at the end of 1967, only New Zealand and Sierra Leone, which were still lagging behind with screening the series, would have been in a position to include and schedule the serial with the rest of season three, but since neither country did buy this (and Mission to the Unknown) it must have been the cost that prevented them from doing so...
  • Both Barbados and Zambia had screened as far as The Smugglers by the end of 1968, and probably wouldn't have been interested in buying and screening a story out of sequence.
  • And because Singapore did not purchase season three until 1972 (as a "back-catalogue" package), it's likely that the sales rights to the 11-parter (usually five or seven years from first UK broadcast) had already lapsed and not been renewed, which would have prevented Singapore from buying the serial with the rest of the season.