Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



Mission to the Unknown was a novelisation of the 1965 standalone episode Mission to the Unknown and episodes 1-6 of the 1965 serial The Daleks' Master Plan. The second volume, The Mutation of Time, adapted episodes 7-12. Not counting the four novelisations based on The Trial of a Time Lord, this marks the only instance of Target Books publishing an adaptation of a Doctor Who story in more than one volume. Mission to the Unknown, although linked to the main story, is officially considered a separate, standalone story by the BBC, making this volume the only occasion in which a Target novelisation actually adapted more than one serial.

Publisher's summary[]

Stranded in the jungles of Kembel, the most hostile planet in the Galaxy, Space Security agent Marc Cory has stumbled across the most deadly plot ever hatched - the Daleks are about to invade and destroy the Universe. Cory has to get a warning back to Earth before it's too late-but the Daleks find him first.

Months later the Doctor and his companions arrive on Kembel and find Cory's message. But it may already be too late for Earth - the Daleks' Masterplan has already begun...

Chapter titles[]

  1. The Toppled Towers of Ilium
  2. The Screaming Jungle
  3. Extermination!
  4. The Nightmare Begins ...
  5. No Ordinary Ship
  6. The Day of Armageddon
  7. The Face of the Enemy
  8. Devil's Planet
  9. Dangers in the Night
  10. The Sacrifice
  11. The Traitors
  12. Counter-plot
  13. Allies
  14. Desperate Measures
  15. Out of Time
  16. Interlude

Deviations from televised story[]

Mission to the Unknown[]

  • Much of the dialogue is slightly different from the original version but the information delivered is still the same - the wording is simply altered.
  • When Cory asks Lowery what he knows of the Daleks, he mentions that he hasn't heard anything from them since the Movellan War and that the Daleks have invaded Earth a couple of times. The whole concept of the Movellans and their war with the Daleks was not part of the TV series until Destiny of the Daleks during the Fourth Doctor's era. The reference to the conflict here approximately dates it 1000 years before the 41st century although, in AUDIO: Neverland, the Matrix contained information about the Daleks and Movellans being engaged in 4-X-Alpha-4 in 4949.
  • Peel mentions the Dalek Prime, an alternative of the Dalek Emperor for the never-produced War of the Daleks TV serial, also proposed by Peel. The Dalek Prime appeared briefly for the first time in Peel's previous novelisation, The Chase and would later do so again in his novelisation of The Evil of the Daleks (as the Dalek Emperor) and finally in the War of the Daleks novel and a mention in Legacy of the Daleks. Although the Dalek Prime is mentioned here, its second appearance would not happen until the second volume of the Master Plan novelisation.
  • Some of the descriptions of the delegates are apparently different from how they appeared on-screen. For example, Trantis is described as "a somewhat faceless creature with an egg-shaped head", even though on TV he has a fairly human appearance, save for his jagged teeth and eventual tendrils. Beaus and Sentreal are identified the wrong way round, in line with fan thinking prior to the recovery of the second episode of the The Daleks' Master Plan.
  • The final scene of the episode, in which the Daleks and the alliance chant "Victory!", is omitted and this part of the novelisation ends on the Daleks leaving Cory and Lowery's bodies. Instead, the next chapter return the action to the Doctor and Katarina as the TARDIS lands on Kembel, transitioning into the beginning of The Daleks' Master Plan.

The Daleks' Master Plan[]

  • More references are made to the Draconians. Lizan had expected working for the SSS to involve working in an embassy on Draconia and Chen mentiones complicated "mineral agreements" with their empire during his interview. Another of Lizan's expectations included working in an embassy on Alpha Centauri, mentioned in TV: The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon.
  • The interviewer is given the name Jim Grant.
  • Bret initially refers to the Doctor as 'Doc', much to the latter's annoyance.
  • The Black Dalek is described as being second in the Dalek hierarchy and apparently doesn't normally leave Skaro.
  • Reference is made to the Daleks using taranium to power their time machines, something stated in Peel's novelisation of The Chase. It took the Daleks almost a century to acquire enough to power the time machine they sent after the Doctor and its destruction by Ian and Barbara crippled the Dalek Empire's time researches. By 4000 they needed Mavic Chen's help to acquire more for the Time Destructor.
  • Bors and Garge are eaten by the Screamers, a fact not made clear in the televised serial.
  • Katarina is released from Kirksen's grip while trapped in the airlock of the Spar although she still remains a hostage. Kirksen also cuts off some locks of Katarina's hair with his knife to admire it.
  • Karlton is said to have grey hair. Originally, he was bald.
  • The scene where Lizan briefs Chen about Vyon and Gantry is removed. A similar scene takes place, with Lizan's place being taken by Karlton.
  • Bret injures his leg when he crashes the Spar on Earth.
  • Bret clings to life for a few moments longer after being shot by Sara, allowing for a few last words on Sara's allegiance to Mavic Chen.
  • The scene where Sara orders Borkar to shoot the Doctor and Steven is removed.
  • Mavic Chen meets with Rhynmal and Froyn in person. In the televised serial, Karlton questions the two scientists and reports back to Chen.
  • The purpose of the molecular dissemination experiment, worked on by the scientists Rhynaml and Froyn in Episode 5, is intended to improve the T-Mat system, a concept not introduced on television until The Seeds of Death starring the Second Doctor.
  • The scene where Steven confronts Sara about Bret's death is quite different. It takes place in a cave on Mira instead of out in the open. Sara is also more emotional than she is on television and it is because of this that the Doctor leaves to collect wood for a fire as he is made "most uncomfortable" by crying women.
  • The Visians are explored in much more detail. They are shown to be capable of speech and their confrontations between the Doctor, Steven and Sara are much more heated. When one is covered in mud, Peel describes its appearance as: "thin, bony, with two long, clawed arms, feet like birds' claws, and a narrow head with a beak."
  • The Daleks on Mira suffer some casualties when the Visians attack them. The televised version of Master Plan featured no on-screen Dalek casualties until the story's climax in Episode 12. The only Dalek deaths before then happened off-screen, under the orders of the Supreme Dalek after they failed to recover the taranium core.
  • In addition to the above point, the Black Dalek leaves the Daleks on Mira to die after they fail to stop the Doctor, Steven and Sara from stealing their ship. In the TV version, the Supreme Dalek orders the organisation of a relief effort to rescue the survivors. The fate of the pursuit ships sent to Desperus is unchanged.
  • The Black Dalek apparently hasn't met the Doctor.
  • Towards the end, the Daleks come to recognise who the Doctor is.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Features advert: “Are You buying Doctor Who Magazine?”
  • The story opens in Troy, picking up from the end of The Myth Makers. Since it also novelises Mission to the Unknown and the first half of The Daleks' Master Plan, the book includes the novelisation or partial novelisation of three different stories.
  • John Peel referenced earlier versions of Terry Nation's original scripts while working on this story. Most authors of Doctor Who novelisations (other than the writers of the original stories) did not have access to earlier version of the scripts.
  • The cover for the original Target Books edition featured the artwork of Alister Pearson.

Additional cover images[]

to be added

British publication history[]

First publication: Paperback (September 1989)

  • Target / W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. One single paperback edition, estimated print run: 22,000, priced £1.99 (UK).

Re-issues: (September 1990)

  • Target / W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd., estimated print run: 6,000, priced £2.50 (UK).


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 6 May 2010 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Peter Purves and Jean Marsh, with Dalek voices by Nicholas Briggs.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

The audiobook version was re-released in June 2020 as part of The Dalek Collection box set.

External links[]

External links[]

to be added