Mission to the Unknown


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Mission To The Unknown

Serial Code


First Transmitted

9 October 1965

Final Ratings





Mission To The Unknown
Mission To The Unknown
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Mission To The Unknown
Mission To The Unknown
Mission To The Unknown
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Barry Jackson (Jeff Garvey), Edward de Souza (Marc Cory), Jeremy Young (Gordon Lowery), Robert Cartland (Malpha), David Graham, Peter Hawkins (Dalek Voices), Robert Jewell, Kevin Manser, John Scott Martin, Gerald Taylor (Dalek Operators).

Uncredited Cast

Ronald Rich, Pat Gorman, Sam Mansary, Len Russell, Johnny Clayton (Alien Delegates) Leslie Weeks, Roy Reeves, Tony Starn (Varga plants) (all DWM 271)


Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Derek Martinus
Produced by Verity Lambert


1 “Mission to the Unknown” 24:42 9 October 1965 8.3m


On the planet Kembel, Space Security Service agent Marc Cory is investigating a recent sighting of a Dalek spaceship. His suspicion that the creatures may have established a base proves well-founded. He learns of a plot by The Daleks to invade and destroy the Solar System, but he is discovered and exterminated. The Daleks and their allies vow to conquer the universe, beginning with the planet Earth.


A man, Jeff Garvey, is lying on the ground in the jungle on Kembel. He wakes and sits up. His face twists in agony. When the pain passes he stands. He starts repeating, “Kill! Kill!”

Meanwhile, two men named Marc Cory and Gordon Lowery are trying to repair their ship from UN Deep Space Force Group 1 with little success. The two men are very hostile to one another, mainly because Lowery wonders why Cory landed on Kembel in the first place due to the fact that it is one of the most hostile planets in the galaxy. They speculate where the third member of their crew, Garvey, has gone. Little do they know that Garvey is hiding in the undergrowth watching them. When Cory goes into the ship for more tools, Garvey sneaks up behind Lowery, drawing his gun. Just before Garvey shoots, Cory returns and shoots Garvey dead. Lowery is initially shocked at Cory’s act, but Cory shows Lowery a long thorn from behind Garvey’s ear. Cory explains that it is a Varga thorn, one sting from which can render the victim into a homicidal killing machine and eventually themselves become a Varga plant.

Cory and Lowery go into the spaceship, leaving Garvey’s body. Once inside the ship, Cory reveals to Lowery that he is an agent from the Space Security Service and possesses a licence to kill. He explains they are all there on a mission to stop The Daleks. Lowery states that he is confused due to the fact that the Daleks have not been heard from for a thousand years. Cory reveals that the Daleks have started to seize planets in different galaxies and that a Dalek spaceship has recently been spotted in the Solar System. Cory also informs Lowery that Varga plants are indigenous to the Daleks’ home planet Skaro, so he believes that it is pro of positive that the Daleks have established a base on this planet.

Outside the ship, Garvey’s hand begins to twitch and hair starts to grow over his body, as well as Varga thorns; he is starting to turn into a Varga plant.

In The Dalek city on Kembel, The Dalek Supreme waits to be updated on the latest developments. He is told that the representatives from the seven planets will arrive soon and their meeting can start. The Dalek Supreme then sends out a troop of Daleks to destroy the human ship.

After reaching the conclusion that they will not fix the ship on time, especially now they suspect that the Daleks will be aware of their location, Cory takes drastic measures. He plans to use a small rocket containing a recorded message to report their position to any rescue vessels. They leave the ship only to see a large group of Varga plants slowly descending upon them. As they have this conversation the two men see a large spaceship looming above them. They realise it is nothing that can be seen in the Solar System and decide it must be something hostile. As they start to prepare the message, the Varga plants are the least of their worries — some Daleks start to descend upon them. Unseen, the men hide in the underbrush and watch as The Daleks destroy their ship completely. The two men slink away with their small rocket and their recording device but as they do so, Lowery slips and his hand is impaled on a Varga thorn.

Lowery is in pain and is still trying to suck the Varga poison from his hand. He realises that Varga spines are growing all over his body and quickly covers them when he hears Cory returning. Cory has heard what The Daleks said on the loudspeaker and knows of the plan to conquer the Solar System. When Cory realises that Lowery is becoming a Varga plant, he opens fire and kills him. Cory then picks up the rescue beacon and starts recording his SOS message. However, as he is hastily recounting the new information, some Daleks advance upon him and exterminate him. Assuming Cory’s information has died with him, The Daleks leave, chanting “Victory”. However, both the beacon and the message survive on the planet’s surface unscathed…

In The Dalek city, the representatives from the seven planets have gathered in a conference room. They are worried about the humans; they consider them hostile, but The Daleks assure them that the humans will be dealt with. The meeting is held and the seven delegates all agree to join forces in an alliance with The Daleks. The Daleks lay out the plan for seizing the Solar System by attacking Mars, Venus, Jupiter, the Moon Colonies and, finally, Earth…


  • This one-episode story does not exist in the BBC Archives, having been wiped as late as the early 1970s.
    This episode came about because the previous season’s Planet of Giants was shortened from its planned four instalments to just three.
  • An extra episode was slotted in to compensate. Possibly for contractual reasons, it was specified that the regular cast were not to appear.
  • The Doctor, Steven Taylor and Vicki Pallister do not appear and are not mentioned in this episode. Instead, its central character is Marc Cory. Despite this, William Hartnell is still credited on-screen because his contract specified that he would be credited for every episode — even those in which he appeared only in the reprise or did not feature at all. Peter Purves and Maureen O’Brien are not credited because, unlike Hartnell, their contracts did not guarantee an automatic credit. The programme listing in Radio Times credits “William Hartnell as Dr. Who, and Maureen O’Brien, Peter Purves”, but omits their characters from the actual cast list. While the revived series frequently would produce “Doctor-lite” episodes, to date these have all featured The Doctor in cameos. Discounting spin-off series and specials, the only later BBC productions to feature neither The Doctor nor a companion were assorted prequel minisodes produced in 2006 (a.k.a. The TARDISodes) and periodically since Series 6 in 2011.
  • The episode was made by the same production team as the previous four-part adventure, Galaxy 4, and was essentially treated as if it were a fifth instalment. Both stories shared pre-filming and possibly the same production code.
  • Lowery recalls that The Daleks had invaded Earth “a thousand years ago.” (The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
  • Varga plants are seen again in Purity, The Human Factor, Masters of Earth, City of the Daleks and the Only Good Dalek.
  • In the last five hundred years, The Daleks have gained control of over seventy planets in Ninth Galactic System and forty more in the constellation of Miros. Both areas are located millions of light-years away from Mutter’s Spiral.

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