Something - Fun

Science FICTION Reviews
Merry Christmas and welcome to Doctor Who day, well, for 13 consecutive Christmases the highlight of television was Doctor Who, today we will focus on 2005, 2010 and 2015, ironically no Doctor Who episode today, the third year without one. However, first let us start a long, long time ago, 55 years to be precise and The Daleks’ Master Plan.
The Daleks’ Master Plan, we have mentioned it several times in the past, (links at the end), it is to me the greatest of the missing serials and presents the Daleks at their worst. It’s odd when reviewing the first Doctor because Doctor Who was the Daleks, they were there almost at the beginning and they returned multiple times a year, to the point where it could feel that the none Dalek episodes although excellent in story, was just a pause to the next Dalek story. Davros is one of my favourite characters, a real evil genius that can match the Doctor in many areas, he gave the Dalek’s a face an identity to focus on, but when reviewing the first Doctor it is clear that Davros took some of the ruthlessness from the Daleks, prior to Davros we were treated to the Dalek evil through descriptions, actions and the Daleks themselves, specifically within the Daleks’ Master Plan the Black Dalek.
The year was 1965, Doctor Who was shown every Saturday night, prime time television and as happens every so often Christmas landed on Saturday. Doctor Who was extremely popular, so there was no way it was going to be removed from the schedule just because it was Christmas. However, it was Christmas and offscreen the people behind Doctor Who knew the story they were telling was dark, they had just killed off Katarina, she had one trip in the Tardis, came from Troy to this scary future and ends up being blown out into space to suffocate. Later in the same episode Bret was shot and killed, by his own sister, he never travelled in the TARDIS, but did spend four episodes alongside the Doctor and Steven. So, they decided to take the latest Tardis team of the Doctor, Steven and now Sara (the sister of Bret, the same sister that had shot and killed him) on a diversion with The Daleks’ Master Plan – The Feast of Steven.
Originally this diversion was meant to cross over with a show called Z-Cars, a successful British Police drama, but that cross-over fell through, so what we are left with is an episode in two parts.
The first part takes place at a police station at Christmas in 1965, but not Z-Cars, with an odd adventure of trying to fix the Tardis scanner, while the police mistake the TARDIS for one of their own police boxes. There is a man complaining that the rebels have stolen his greenhouse, but what the connection of this is with anything is unknown. Offscreen the actor playing the man complaining also played Ben Daheer in The Crusades, something the Doctor mentions, but I can’t link the disappearing greenhouse to The Crusades or The Dalek Master Plan.
The second half of the episode takes them to a film studio in 1921, the silent era of film and allows the Tardis team to get into all sorts of unique situations, a physical fight in a sawmill, being tied to railway tracks and almost becoming members of a harem. It is a chaotic set of scenes but does allow them to mix with Charlie Chaplin and Bing Crosby (well it is Christmas).
If I’m painting this picture correctly you should be getting the impression that this is light-hearted, sometime slapstick fun, very little story. In terms of Christmas, we have a police station decked out for Christmas and the Doctor addressing the audience directly with “And incidentally – a happy Christmas, to all of you at home.” but it is not a Christmas story, just a pause in The Dalek Master Plan. It was such a distinctive pause that it didn’t get shipped overseas with the rest of The Master Plan and that led to the inevitable ‘lost’ status of the episode.
Yes, this was the first Christmas episode, much more by chance than design and would remain the only Doctor Who Christmas episode until the show returned in 2005, but more on that later.

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