On a far off alien world, an outpost of Special Space Security is attacked by a squad of Daleks. Responding are three officers; Sara Kingdom, Jason Corey and an android named Mark Seven. Sara is deeply concerned about her brother David whom she believes has survived the attack. The trio investigate the destroyed base and find Dalek tracks leading into a jungle rife with terrifying danger. Leaving an overwrought Sara behind, Mark Seven and Corey attempt to follow the Daleks to their base, unapproachable due to a hidden device that permits passage over a yawning chasm. On her own Sara is attacked by a living shadow spraying adhesive webbing. The creature stops short of killing her as a Dalek patrol approaches.
Cutting herself loose, Sara makes a mad dash from the mysterious threat and nearly falls headlong into the pit but is saved by Mark Seven. Reunited the heroes manage to overpower the Daleks and hurl them into the gap. Finally locating the hidden base, they find that they have missed the Daleks themselves who have escaped in a spacecraft.
Sifting through the evidence left behind, Mark Seven deduces that the Daleks have made precise battle plans with their prime target cited as Earth.
Using Nation’s shooting script as a guide, Dorney made a very inspired decision to add the stage directions and other notes as narration. This creates a superbly unique feel by way of telling the story via the descriptive prose that would have been interpreted by the director and designers on screen. The result is an homage to Nation’s writing style that holds up so well that you can easily picture how this aborted project would have looked.
Fan-made animation by Bargie57
The plot is incredibly similar in ways to Mission to the Unknown (stranded officers encounter a Dalek plot, carnivorous plants populate a hostile alien world). I commend the voice actors for breathing life into what are admittedly cardboard characters. From the first time I had read about the pilot in the Doctor Who and the Daleks Book, I knew of the perception that Mark Seven was an ersatz Mr. Spock. However, actor Alan Cox does a commendable job transforming the wooden observational dialog with his lively performance. Likewise actor Chris Porter takes the one-note Jason Corey and makes him into a brave and tough space soldier with nerves of steel (and a regional accent).
Sadly, Sara Kingdom gets the dog’s dinner of the lot as her otherwise tough demeanor is bent into a pathetic personification of the stock concerned/weeping woman character. It’s surprising to witness Kingdom moan on about her brother and crumble into hysterics after listening to her brave all manner of obstacles in the Big Finish audio productions such as The Anachronoauts.’
When Nation withdrew the use of the Daleks back in the late 1960’s, his intention was to take them to America where they would be the focus of a new ongoing TV series, divorced from the world of Doctor Who. It’s difficult to tell exactly how this would have been produced had it been optioned, but this Radio Times mock-up (casting UFO’s Ed Bishop as Jason Corey) is intriguing.
The hard lesson that Nation learned was that while he owned the rights to the Daleks, they were useless outside of Doctor Who. That has since been proven wrong in the multi-part Dalek Empire series, but in 1966, the world was not ready for a drama in which the heroes fought against an unending wave of armored xenophobic killer aliens screaming their credo to the stars. I wonder how it would fare today, or more importantly if there would be a call for it.