Mission to the Unknown

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Story Code: T/A / Season 3 UK Airdate: 9 Oct 1965 Doctor: William Hartnell
First airings by location UK Repeats / Foreign Cable and Satellite Previous Story / Next Story
Mission Delegates; Australian newspaper, 21 August 1965
Mission Delegates; Australian newspaper, 21 August 1965
  • The serial was offered to Australia in March 1966 along with Galaxy 4, The Myth Makers and The Daleks' Master Plan.
  • It was viewed by the Australian censors on 13 September 1966 - and rejected due to its horror content. The ABC was legally not able to screen it.
  • Since the ABC did not purchase the episode, it did not make any clearance payments to the BBC. Accordingly, the other countries that were still buying the series at this time were not able to purchase the episode, as they relied on Australia to cover the bulk of the rights clearance costs.
  • And what became of the film print? In all likelihood it would have been returned to the BBC's Sydney office soon after it was rejected. But what happened to it after that is unknown...
  • When the sale moratorium on all Daleks stories was lifted at the end of 1967, the episode was back on the catalogue (perhaps for a seven year sales rights period, which expired in 1974 -- or perhaps not; see below).
  • Interestingly, Singapore appears to have an 'extra' airdate in the late 1972 / early 1973 run of episodes during which the first half of season three aired - so it is remotely possible that they did screen this single episode in November 1972 in its correct slot between Galaxy 4 and The Myth Makers... However none of the surviving BBC sales documentation -- particularly in regards to payments for clearance of the stock music (which Singapore would have to pay) -- records such a sale.
  • In mid-1974 BBC Enterprises released a sales summary which itemised which stories were available and which were "not available" -- Mission, Galaxy 4 and The War Machines were the only season 3 stories not marked "not available". It is possible that this was an administration oversight, and that none of the season 3 stories were available in 1974. But if the list was indeed correct, and Mission was still on offer in 1974, the only candidate that would have the option to buy the series that late in the game would have been Nigeria, but it's clear that they didn't, presumably due to the high cost associated with being the first (and only?) purchaser (which therefore precludes Singapore from being the first to purchase the story as well!)
  • See also Hartnell Junkings


  • At the time the offer was made to Australia, both Singapore and Gibraltar were coming to the end of their transmissions of season two; the BBC may have struck prints of this story in anticipation of a sale to those two countries. As it turned out, neither country picked up the option to continue with the series after The Time Meddler.
  • Even if the serial had been accepted and broadcast in Australia in 1966, the two other countries screening season three at the time - Barbados and Zambia - would probably have been denied broadcast rights anyway, because by the end of that year, the BBC had withdrawn the sale of all Dalek serials as part of their agreement with Terry Nation.
  • By the time the moratorium had been lifted at the end of 1967, only New Zealand and Sierra Leone, which were still lagging behind with screening the series, would have been in a position to include and schedule the episode with the rest of season three, but since neither country did buy this (and The Daleks' Master Plan) it must have been the cost that prevented them from doing so...
  • Both Barbados and Zambia had screened as far as The Smugglers by the end of 1968, and probably wouldn't have been interested in buying and screening this single episode 'out of sequence'.