Episode 086 – “Mission to the Unknown”/My Thoughts on Story 019 – “Mission to the Unknown”

There are a lot of odd, semi-experimental Doctor Who episodes. Historicals, pseudo-historicals, “Doctor Lite” stories, and others. But never before has there been one with no companions and no Doctor!

That…that helmet. I…I…good Lord!

This is an odd, one-part story. None of the video for it exists anymore, but thanks to Ian Levine, we do have an animated version of it. He made it in hopes to get the BBC to finance more animated versions of stories, but they declined. It’s now on YouTube. You should go check it out.

We start off with an astronaut waking up in an alien jungle muttering, “I must kill. I must kill!” Then we move on to another couple of astronauts busy doing some work on their spaceship.

The sound quality here isn’t excellent. It’s better than in “Galaxy 4”, but still could use some remastering. That said, the presence of video, even in animated form, really does more than make up for what’s gone.

The insane, murder-minded astronaut sneaks up on the other two with a gun drawn, only to be gunned down by one of the others. The one he saves then says, “You killed Jeff!” Oh, for this character to have been named Kenny.

Turns out the dead guy ain’t so dead. instead he’s sprouting spikes, as one does. The guy who shot him is apparently with the Space Security Service, and “licensed to kill”, so I shall now call him Astronaut Bond.

Astronaut Bond is here to destroy Daleks, something that Absolom Daak would later get off on doing.

I just realized this is the fourth Dalek story since the series launched. So in 19 total stories, we’ve had “The Daleks”, “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”, “The Chase”, and now this, followed soon by “The Dalek’s Master Plan”. Twenty-one stories at that point, five of which feature the Daleks. I think they’re overused now, but back then! Goodness.

The Daleks have attacked the astronauts’ ship, and Astronaut Bond and friend go running, only to have the friend run straight into a deadly cactus thingy that’s going to soon turn him into a homicidal maniac. But he gets killed pretty much right away, and soon after that, so does Astronaut Bond. So that’s fun.

I do wonder what people back in the day must have thought of this story. I mean, no Doctor. So weird!

This is a hard story to review. It’s not much for a stand-alone story, and, as it lacks anything really resembling Doctor Who, aside from the Daleks, it’s tough to have much to stay about it in the larger context of the series.

I will praise the people behind it, though, for trying this. It was a risky move, and yet another example of the show’s very high level of ambition.

Writer Terry Nation
Director Derek Martinus
Script editor Donald Tosh
Producer Verity Lambert
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Stock music by Trevor Duncan
Production code T/A, T Episode 5, or DC
Series Season 3
Length 1 episode, 25 minutes
Episode(s) missing 1 episode, 25 minutes
Originally broadcast 9 October 1965

Next episode: “Temple of Secrets”

Next story: “The Myth Makers”


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