Mission to the Unknown was a recreation of the missing second serial of season 3 of Doctor Who. The story was notable for being the only Doctor Who television story not to feature the Doctor, any of their companions, or the TARDIS. Carefully remade by students, graduates and staff at the University of Central Lancashire on the basis of whatever scripts and production photos from the original lost version could be located, with original production values of the 1960s. It was released as a webcast on YouTube on 9 October 2019, exactly 54 years after the original Mission to the Unknown first aired.
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.
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 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 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 Lowery slips and his hand is impaled on a Varga thorn.
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.
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. As he lies dead, 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...
Listed as "Doctor Who - Mission to the Unknown (2019 Remake)"
- Marc Cory - Marco Simioni
- Gordon Lowery - Dan Gilligan
- Jeff Garvey - Jacob Marisson
- Malpha — Paul Stenton
- Alien Delegates - Adam Ian Barry Traill, Benjamin Clarke, Edward Kelly, Gary Tatham, Joseph Burke
- Dalek Voices - Nicholas Briggs
- Dalek Operators - James Burgess, Mike Burgess, Sean Wilson, Timothy McDonagh
- Varga Plant Operators - Amina Gurjee, Laura Down
Listed as "Doctor Who- Mission to the Unknown (2019 Remake)"
- Senior Costume Designer - Christopher Molloy
- Costume Designers - Audrey Hindle, Susie Thorpe
- Varga Costumes - Amanda Odlin-Bates, April Unsworth, Christian Partington, Jacob Connolly, Jade Armstrong, Joseph Meadows, Mel Eccleston
- Sentreal Costume - Francis Neale, Sarah Parker
- MAKE-UP & PROSTHETICS
- Make-Up & Prosthetics Design - Janette Rawstron
- Make-Up & Prosthetics Team - Caitlyn McConnachie, Joanne Todd, Lewis Taylor, Meghan Sledden, Olivia Helm, Paul Coppack
- SET DESIGN
- Senior Set Designer - Nigel Simpkins
- Set Designer - Ben Hunter
- Set Design Assistants - Amina Gurjee, Charlotte Dempster, Gemma Fairclough, Katie East, Katie Hendron, Laura Down, Mumtaz Kidi, Timothy Mcdonagh
- Set Design Construction - Jonnie Meadowcroft
- STUDIO CREW
- Runners - Andrew Deakin, Colin Ashcroft, Daniel Carver, James Richard Best, Oliver Kay
- Camera Supervisor/Camera 1 Operator - Rajat Darshan Shrestha
- Camera Operators - Abbie Bradshaw, Adrian Izquierdo
- Lighting Directors - Declan Shears, Jack Walton
- Sound Supervisor - Nkosana Tshuma
- Sound Assistant - Kayleigh Hall
- Boom Operators - Brad Vaughan, Thomas Williamson
- Floor Manager - Ryan Mallows
- Vision Mixer - Sam Moyle
- VT Operators/Edit Assist - Sophie Townend, Tom Daniels
- Production Assistants - Elizabeth Moore, Shi Yi Liu
- Production Manager - Gail Colville
- Production Coordinator - Chantelle Smith
- Technical Coordinator - Robert Collier
- Technical Assistant - Jonathan Charlton Jones
- Technical Set Assistant - William Finch
- Assistant to Director - Liam Kershaw-Calvert
- Props Master - Alison Wolstenholme
- Model Set Design & Construction - Jim Thompson
- Sound Design & Music - Josh Horsley, Phil Bush, Phil Holmes
- Technical Support - Leon Hardman, Paul Critchley, Rob Griffiths, Simon Lovell, Stephen Cooke, Toby Gregory
- Researcher - Paul Stenton
- BEHIND THE SCENES UNIT
- Photography - Jessica Briggs, David Schofield, Karl Hopkinson
- Sound - Scott Jackson
- Social Media - Euan Holden
- Director - Amy Blyth
- Special Thanks To - Adam Robson, Andrew Pixley, Dan Collins, Edward de Souza, Jodie Whittaker, Lynne Livesey, Mandip Gill, Marcus Hearn, Mario Kkounnous, Mark Wright, Mike & James Burgess, Nicholas Briggs, Paul Agustine, Peter Hill, Peter Purves, Tim Hancock
- Project Advisor - Emma Speed
- Academic Researcher - Phil Braithwaite
- Studio & Wardrobe Manager - Tania Gallagher
- Casting Director - Terence Chapman (Mann)
- Head of Production - Robbie Sandison
- Production Manager - Debbie Dearnley
- Directed and Produced by - Andrew Ireland
The crew of the broadcast were credited twice, the first only included the costume supervisor, make-up supervisor, lighting, sound, producer and director credits. Plus it also credited Donald Tosh, Richard Hunt and Raymond Cusick; the script editor and designers respectively on the original production.
- This one-episode recreation was made because the original story does not exist in the BBC Archives.
- In a Q&A session during filming of this remake, Edward de Souza stated that when they shot the original episode "None of us thought that it would mean anything at all. It was just another episode of Doctor Who… it didn't really impinge on us at the time; it wasn't much more than a week's work". He also remarked that he watched the original episode with his son sitting on his knee and that "when it came to the moment when the Dalek zapped me, he stiffened and spun round to make quite sure I was still alive." (DWM 537)
- A difference between the webcast and the original TV story comes with the end credits, which feature a James Bond-esque statement that "THE DALEKS WILL RETURN".
- Another difference was the Dalek control room. In the original production, it was a full sized set whereas in the webcast it is a model set. In the original production, the set was later used again in The Daleks' Master Plan and, for the webcast, building a full sized set proved to be too expensive. This meant that model Daleks had to be used as well though full sized ones were used for the close-up shots.
- For this remake, UCLAN employed a 1960's style production schedule and they used the original camera script that was drawn up by Derek Martinus, the director of the original episode.
- The cast list is credited twice, one without the "Alien Delegates" and "Varga Plant Operators", the other without "Dr. Who - William Hartnell".
- Two line fluffs of the original 1965 production were intentionally retained in this remake:
- When the Dalek Supreme asks for an update from Space Monitor Control, the Dalek replies that "the emissaries from the seven planets will arrive as arranged". However at the conference, there are six emissaries present.
- When Marc Cory starts to record his SOS message, Edward de Souza fluffs his line, announcing himself as "Marc Cory, Special Security Service" instead of "Space Security Service".
- UCLan Media Factory, Preston
- As Cory finishes explaining to Lowery about the Vargas, the thorn inside the case is shown to be upright on the left-hand side. But when the camera switches angles, it is now at the top of the case.
- The creases in Malpha's mask are clearly visible whenever he is on-screen.
Home video and audio releases
- The story was recreated by The University of Central Lanchasire (UCLan), the Dalek voices were provided by Nicholas Briggs. It was released on the official Doctor Who YouTube channel on 9 October 2019.