‘THE PIRATE PLANET’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
“MOONS OF MADNESS!”
‘The Pirate Planet’ by Douglas Adams is the second story of ‘The Key to Time’ series. It is a four-part adventure on 1 disc. This is a wacky, bonkers and mind-boggling story from ‘The Key to Time’ season. This is one of my favourite stories!
This is Douglas Adams’ first contribution to ‘Doctor Who’ before he became script-editor of the series. Douglas is also the author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and of the ‘Dirk Gently’ novels.
The Doctor; Romana and K9 head for the planet Calufrax to collect the second segment of the Key to Time. But they end up on Zanak and soon come up against the menace of the very loud Pirate Captain.
Here Douglas delivers a story full of mad ideas and laugh-out-loud humour. I always enjoy Douglas Adams’s stories in ‘Doctor Who’. I love his humour and he does come up with some fantastic ideas.
I liked the ideas in this story about a planet devouring other planets and mining for its minerals. The effects are impressive, including the particle acceleration corridors; the air cars and holo-projection.
This story almost never got made as Graeme MacDonald, the Head of BBC Drama, said this ‘won’t do’. But director Pennant Roberts was determined to make this work and it was very brave of him.
I really like Tom Baker’s Doctor and Mary Tamm’s Romana. Romana control of the TARDIS and giving out jelly babies to people in the streets and the Doctor getting annoyed were very hilarious to see.
Tom Baker clearly loves Douglas Adams’ lines. I enjoyed watching Tom’s Doctor in this adventure, as he’s so bonkers and funny. That scene where he’s angry with the Pirate Captain was so mesmerizing.
Mary Tamm does well as Romana too. I loved it when she’s not bothered by the guards threatening her or being intimidated by the Pirate Captain. Romana gets to explain things as well as the Doctor.
K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) shines here. I liked it when K-9 tries to tell the Doctor that Romana has been arrested but the Doctor doesn’t listen to him. K-9’s fight with the robot parrot was so defining.
Bruce Purchase guest stars as the Pirate Captain. The Captain is funny to watch as he shouts out loud a lot. He insults people and has his own robot parrot. But the Captain’s shouting isn’t what it seems.
The guest cast are all so excellent in this story. There’s also Andrew Robertson as Mr Fibuli; Rosalind Lloyd as the Nurse; David Warwick as Kimus; David Sibley as Pralix and Primi Townsend as Mula.
It turns out that the planet Calufrax happens to be the second segment of the Key to Time. I like how the plot unfolds with what’s with the pirate planet; the Pirate Captain and how the Key is involved.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the making-of documentary called ‘Parrot Fashion’ with cast and crew interviews. There’s also some film inserts; deleted scenes & outtakes; there’s a ‘Weird Science’ spoof starring David Graham and Mat Irvine and there are ‘continuities’ of the story.
There are two commentaries on this story. The first is with Bruce Purchase and director Pennant Roberts and the second is with Tom Baker; Mary Tamm and script editor Anthony Read. There’s an info-text commentary option to enjoy; a photo gallery and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.
There’s a coming soon trailer for ‘Planet of Evil’ with Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen.
‘The Pirate Planet’ quickly became one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories from ‘The Key to Time’ season. It’s funny; it’s bonkers; it got Tom Baker and it has a Pirate Captain who is hilarious to watch.
‘The Pirate Planet’ rating – 10/10
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