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Doctor's Dilemma

By Jon Preddle

The return of the long-running column, in which our very own Doctor Who Mastermind investigates those tricky trivia questions that keep fans awake at night.

Peter Adamson has two questions regarding the Daleks. Firstly, according to The Completely Useless Encyclopedia, the identities of the alien delegates from Mission to the Unknown are apparently the subject of fierce debate. The script names the delegates as Gearon, Trantis, Sentreal, Malpha, Beaus, Celation and an unnamed Black Dalek. However, the names that were seen on screen were reputedly Malpha, Desmir, Stifka, Hjbuj, Pteron, Leemon and Dbremen, and the Dalek. What's going on? And secondly, what do these delegates look like?

In answer to Peter's first question, in Mission to the Unknown the conference on Kembel was held by "the seven great powers of the outer galaxies". Of these seven, only three are actually named on screen: the Daleks, Malpha and Trantis. The script names the other four as Beaus, Gearon, Warrien and Sentreal. However, the number of delegates grew to ten in The Daleks Master Plan, with the addition of Mavic Chen, Zephon and Celation.

Regarding the mystery of the names given in The Completely Useless Encyclopedia, I have a feeling that the lads who put the book together had access to the novelisation of The Daleks Master Plan that was published by the Australasian Doctor Who Fan Club in 1980. Written by Rosemary Howe, the novelisation was adapted direct from a transcript that British fan Ian Levine had made in 1966, based on his audio recordings of the story. According to that 'novelisation' the delegates were: Desmir, Stifka, Hjbuj, Pteron, Leemon, and Dbremen!

The only photo I have seen of the conference room, in Doctor Who - The Early Years, shows a table with high backed chairs, there is no evidence of nameplates or such like. I would hazard a guess and say that the names were fabricated by either Levine or Howe.

[Dalek Master Plan delegates]

As for what the delegates look like, the lack of photographs from these two serials makes this task difficult but not impossible. The cover artwork of the Target novelisation of The Daleks' Masterplan: Mission to the Unknown features six alien figures: Malpha (spotted face), Beaus (black cone head), Warrien (white cowl with stripes), Sentreal (black face with helmet), Gearon (egg-head with visor), and Trantis (green face with spikes). The photo of Zephon in the book Doctor Who - The Sixties (p.123) shows him to be a sea-weedy creature wearing a black robe. In his Target novelisation, John Peel describes Celation as being "a tall creature". A great help!

Jon notes: When the second episode of The Daleks' Master Plan was found, further debate has risen as to the identities of the delegates. It seems that many of the accepted names are in fact 'wrong'; the delegates thought to be named Beaus and Sentreal could actually be the other way around!

What is the origin of Professor X that keeps popping up in the New Adventures books?

Professor X was the creation of script-writer and novelist Ben Aaronovitch. In the scene from Remembrance Of The Daleks in which Ace misses catching the beginning of "an adventure in the new science fiction series Do-", it was Aaronovitch's intention that this was Professor X, a series that is the equivalent of Doctor Who in Ace's universe; the idea being that in our universe we watch a television show called Doctor Who, whereas in Ace's universe in which the good Doctor is a 'real' person, there is a cult television show about a time-traveller and it's called Professor X.

Several New Adventures contain a reference to the Professor's exploits, the ones that I know of being Conundrum (p.211), No Future (p.54, 56), Return of the Living Dad (p.65) and Decalog 2 (p.346). The Professor and his time machine the TASID actually make an appearance on pages 124-126 of No Future!

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).

Index nodes: Doctor's Dilemma, Mission to the Unknown, The Daleks' Master Plan