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Mission to the Unknown

Mission to the Unknown is the second story of Season 3 of Doctor Who, although it was recorded with Galaxy 4 as part of the series’ second recording block. It is a single-episode prologue to The Daleks’ Master Plan and is the last episode of Doctor Who for which Verity Lambert served as producer. It is the only Doctor Who story to feature neither the Doctor nor his companions.

Though the episode is missing from the BBC archives, it was reconstructed in animated format through a private project led by Ian Levine.



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.

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 Dalek’s home planet Skaro, so he believes that it is proof 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 becoming 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 realize 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, they 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 Lowery slips and his hand is impaled on a Varga thorn.

In the Dalek city, the representatives from the seven galaxies 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, firstly, Earth.

Lowery is in pain and is still trying to suck the Varga poison from his hand. He realizes 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 he realizes that Lowery is becoming a Varga plant, he kills Lowery, then picks up the rescue beacon and starts recording his message. However, as he is hastily recording a new message to reflect the new information, some Daleks advance upon him and exterminate him. As he lies dead, the Daleks leave, chanting, “Victory”. However, both the beacon and the message survive on the planet’s surface unscathed…