The Daleks’ Master Plan – Story #021

DW19 + 21

Jael’s Judgment:

We have some video for this story, after the drought of the last couple stories! This means I finally get to see the haircut that Vicki gave Steven. I have been waiting for this moment for days! And let me tell you, it was a massive disappointment. I do not see much difference at all. At most she cut, like, 3 hairs and then maybe re-styled the rest. If you haven’t caught on yet, I am really a hair person.

And with the video, we find ourselves with perhaps more questions than only the audio brings.

Actual discourse:

Tony: “What is that guy doing?”
Jael: “He’s walking, man!”
(And, man, was he walking with style in his skin tight, chocolate whoopie pie covered, total body suit.)

I didn’t realize while listening to the audio, but during the first video episode of this story, I finally put it together. Bret is the Brigadier! Well not the character the Brigadier, but the same actual person.

There is too much testosterone with Bret, Steven, and the Doctor. Yuck. I wish they would all stop yelling. I miss Barbara.

  • Story Grade: C


Tony’s Take:

Wow, that was a LONG 12 part story.  After hearing the intro story, “Mission to the Unknown”, I had a terribly different look going on for this story in my head.  The weird tribunal of galactic powers were interesting looking to say the least; the man that Jael spoke of was definitely a high (or was it low) point to the production.  Terry Nation really made a great living off of the Daleks, and his stories really cemented themselves in this long serial, with one exception, he decided to have them much less “KILL” and much more political.

Now let’s focus on someone, a character that would not recur, but the actor who played him would… Nicholas Courtney!  His defining role in Doctor Who is Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.  It’s funny how incredibly recognizable his voice is, but how shocking it is to see him not a UNIT uniform.

For those of you who do are not well-versed in Doctor Who history, Nicholas Courtney was the only Doctor to act with all of the Classic Series Doctors (1-8, including the substitute for William Hartnell, Richard Hurndall).  He even came back for The Sarah Jane Adventures!  The man is a legend, a fixture you could rely on, almost more so than the ever changing Doctor.

Here is an interesting fact about Nicholas Courtney, and how it was with a little bit of luck that he became so synonymous with Doctor Who:

Director Douglas Camfield originally considered Courtney for the role of Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade (1965), a role that ultimately went to Julian Glover. Though Camfield made sure to keep Courtney in mind for future casting. Courtney would make his first appearance in the series, when Camfield cast him in the 1965 serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, where he played Space Security Agent Bret Vyon opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor.

Camfield liked Courtney’s performance, and when the director was assigned the 1968 serial The Web of Fear, he cast Courtney as Captain Knight. However, when David Langton gave up the role of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart to work elsewhere, Camfield recast Captain Knight and gave the part to Courtney instead. The Lethbridge-Stewart character returned in the next season in The Invasion, promoted to the rank of Brigadier and in charge of British contingent of UNIT. The organisation had been charged with protecting the Earth from alien invasion.

I must also mention that it was very touching that after Nicholas Courtney’s passing, Steven Moffat and the writing team included it in an 11th Doctor story – The Wedding of River Song.

Well, that about wraps up my “intro to Nicholas Courtney”.  As for the rest of the story, it’s always fun to see the Daleks, but couldn’t we have either shortened it to 4 episodes or split the idea in two?

  • Story Grade: C
  • The introduction of such a legendary actor in the Who-niverse makes this a must watch/listen for a true fan.


Thank you, Nicholas Courtney and Doug Camfield.  The performance that Nicholas gave throughout the entirety of Doctor Who was always wonderful, never just phoning it in.  Mr. Camfield deserves all the credit for casting Nick and then offering more roles int he future.  Thanks to David Langton, too, his unfortunate bow-out gave us a great constant.


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