Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Daleks’ Master Plan
(2019 Vinyl Reissue)


Starring: William Hartnell

Publisher: Demon Music Group

RRP: £99.99

Release Date: 15 February 2019

The Daleks' Master Plan… a sprawling, labyrinthine epic; a masterpiece of plot stretching; a bloated, rambling, extravaganza. And quite simply brilliant despite itself. Sadly, like much old telly, the majority of the story doesn’t exist. Of the 13 episodes [if you include 'Mission to the Unknown'] just three remain in the BBC archive. However, as luck would have it, audio recordings were made by fans at the time.

These were combined with some narration from Peter Purvis, who played Steven, the Doctor’s travelling companion in the story, to recreate The Daleks' Master Plan as a radio-style adventure. And on the whole it worked. The resulting audio recreation was released on CD in 2001 much to the delight of Dalek fans the world over.

The CD set is now out of print, sadly, but the story is being released on vinyl, which, frankly, is about as daft an idea as it’s possible to imagine. Seven 12-inch discs retailing at £100 is utterly preposterous. Yes, I’m sure the release might become collectable… but so what? This is about enjoying the story, surely, not putting away a nest egg… isn’t it? Also, as we all rightly know, Doctor Who collectables are really only properly collectable if they’re made prior to the 1980s. Pretty much everything sold after that date is worth bugger all… because everything was made in such large numbers.

You disagree? Then fine – go spend £100 on a mighty slab of vinyl. But there’s a catch. And it’s a big one. The vinyl release is effectively the CD release, which was based on some pretty ropy audio recordings. A great deal of work went into patching and repairing them but there’s only so much that can be done with creaky old cassettes.
However, imagine what you could achieve if you were presented with high quality recordings – ones far in advance of what you’d used to create the CD release? Yes, you’re right… it would sound great and probably justify the £100 price tag. And that’s almost what’s happened. Almost…

The BBC was recently presented with a batch of off-air recordings of sparkling quality of pretty much all of The Daleks' Master Plan. Were these used for the vinyl release? No. Will they be released at some point in the future? Almost certainly yes. Does that make this seven-disc set a bit of a turkey? You can decide that.

I don’t doubt that a whole load of love went into creating this box set and I think Master Plan is a work of genius but this release reeks of fan exploitation… £100 for something that’s no better sounding than the 2001 CDs and worse sounding than the next audio release of the story will be. Would you buy this? In fairness, the set was being finalised when the new tapes were discovered but that doesn’t make it all ok.

Despite reservation I’m sure this release will sell. Fans of ‘60s Doctor Who will doubtless snap it up even if I can’t understand why. As far as I can see this is an expensive waste of space that is already redundant before you’ve played it. I therefore can’t recommend it, despite The Daleks' Master Plan being a truly great lost adventure.


Anthony Clark

Review image

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.