Friday, 4 December 2015

094 The Daleks' Master Plan Episode 4: The Traitors

EPISODE: The Daleks' Master Plan Episode 4: The Traitors
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 04 December 1965
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
PRODUCER: John Wiles
RATINGS: 9.5 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2

"Nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of our plan to conquer the Universe!"

Katarina struggles with Kirksen in the airlock. He demands to be taken to Kembel but Katarina releases the airlock door killing both of them.

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The Doctor, Steven & Bret Vyon head towards Earth making for a experimental facility run by Bret Vyon's friend Daxtar. Chen dispatches a squad of Special Space Services personnel to catch them led by Sara Kingdom. Daxtar betrays them and is killed by Bret. Chen files a report with the Daleks implicating Trantis in the theft of the Taranium. While trying to escape the building Bret Vyon is killed by Sara Kingdom who orders her agents hunt the Doctor and Steven and to "shoot on sight" and "aim for the head".

Separated from the Tardis and pursued by the Daleks, the Doctor looses a companion, Katarina, and then Bret Vyon, his only ally in this time, is also killed. This episode really ups the stakes now you feel the Doctor's friends and companions have been killed. There's a real feeling of desperation at the episodes end, and it feels less like a Children's program that at any time in the show's history so far.

So Katarina becomes the show's shortest serving companion at 5 episodes (Myth Makers 4 & Daleks Masterplan 1-4) and the first companion to die. Indeed there's some argument that she shouldn't even be counted as a companion. But she travels in the Tardis and is in more than one story so that counts for me. Adrienne Hill later worked as a teacher and died, aged 60, in 1997.

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Her replacement is introduced this episode with the return of Jean Marsh, who hasd previously appeared in The Crusade, as the King's sister Joanna, which was also directed by Douglas Camfield. She plays Sara Kingdom in the remainder of this story and, like Katerina, there's some argument as if she should count as a companion too. Her introduction is a particularly aggressive one: One of her first acts is to gun down Bret Vyon, removing Nicholas Courtney from the action. He too would be brought back by Camfield, in his next directed story, 1968's Web of Fear where he was initially cast as Captain Knight. Events however transpired otherwise and he ends up playing a different role in the series....

Jean Marsh and Nicholas Courtney are reunited in the opening story of Doctor Who's 26th Season, 1989's Battlefield.

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This episode features Roger Avon as Daxtar. Another Camfield Crusade returnee, he appeared in the first three episodes of that story, The Lion, The Knight of Jaffa & The Wheel of Fortune as Saphadin. He also appears in the second Doctor Who film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. as Wells. Space Security agent Borkar is played by
James Hall who was in The Reign of Terror episode 1: A Land of Fear as a Soldier.

The episode also brings back two characters from earlier episodes who we've not seen since Pamela Greer's Lizan was in episode 1 wanting to watch the report in Mavic Chen while Trantis, played by Roy Evans, was one of the delegates seen in episode 2.

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Both are in just one scene: Trantis talking to the Dalek Supreme and Lizan with Chen and his assistant Karlton, played by Maurice Browning whose his bald head would seem to indicate he's one of the Technix seen throughout the serial. But there's no reason for Lizan to be there: she says nothing that Karlton couldn't have said and it's odd bringing her back just for this one scene.

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When Ian Levene first visited the BBC Film & Video library they had records of 48 episodes of Doctor Who. 47 were present in the library, one was missing: this one. Loaned to Blue Peter for us in a 1973 edition, The Traitors was never returned and is missing to this day. The only surviving footage from the episode comes from the edition of Blue Peter that it was borrowed for: that of Katarina's death.

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