‘The Pirate Planet’ (TV)

Bbcdvd-thepirate_planet The_Key_to_Time_DVD_cvr

‘THE PIRATE PLANET’

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“MOONS OF MADNESS!”

the pirate planet part 3

‘The Pirate Planet’ by Douglas Adams is the second story of ‘The Key to Time’ season. It’s a four-part adventure on 1 DVD disc. This is a wacky, bonkers and mind-boggling story from ‘The Key to Time’ season. It’s one of my favourite stories!

This is also 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’ radio series and the ‘Dirk Gently’ novels.

The Doctor, Romana and K-9 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.

the pirate planet part 1

Here Douglas delivers a story full of mad ideas and laugh-out-loud humour. I always enjoy Douglas Adams’ 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.

the pirate planet part 2

I really like Tom Baker’s Doctor and Mary Tamm’s Romana. Romana’s control of the TARDIS and giving out jelly babies to people in the streets with the Doctor getting annoyed were pretty amusing 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 and isn’t 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 tried 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 rest of the guest cast are also excellent in this story. There’s 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 unfolded with what’s with the pirate planet; the Pirate Captain and how the Key to Time is involved.

the pirate planet part 4

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the making-of documentary called ‘Parrot Fashion’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There are also some film inserts; deleted scenes & outtakes; a ‘Weird Science’ spoof starring David Graham and Mat Irvine, and continuity announcements for the story. There are two DVD audio commentaries for the story. The first is with Bruce Purchase and director Pennant Roberts. The second is with Tom Baker; Mary Tamm and script editor Anthony Read. There’s also an info-text commentary option to enjoy; a photo gallery of the story 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’s got Tom Baker and it has the Pirate Captain who is hilarious to watch.

‘The Pirate Planet’ rating – 10/10


‘THE PIRATE PLANET’ (TV SOUNDTRACK)

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“MOONS OF MADNESS!” on Audio

Originally published on the 6th of July 2017.

I love ‘The Pirate Planet’! It’s one of my favourite stories from the Tom Baker era of ‘Doctor Who’ as well as one of my favourites from ‘The Key To Time’ season (Season 16). It’s bonkers, it’s funny, has Tom Baker in it and it has the hilarious Pirate Captain, played wonderfully by Bruce Purchase. 😀

In October 2012, the TV Soundtrack of ‘The Pirate Planet’ was released on audio CD by the BBC. This has linking narration provided by John Leeson, who played K-9 in the TV series. Now I admit, I was surprised and wondered why ‘The Pirate Planet’ TV soundtrack was getting released on an audio CD.

‘The Pirate Planet’ isn’t one of the lost stories from the 1960s, so I didn’t know why they’d release the audio of the TV story on CD, as we can see it today on DVD. But I suppose the audio CD is something to enjoy whilst playing it in the car on holiday or when staying in a cottage in the middle of nowhere.

I purchased ‘The Pirate Planet’ TV soundtrack as a download via Audible and listened to the story on my tablet. I found the listening experience of ‘The Pirate Planet’ on audio very invigorating and refreshing. Knowing the story inside-out, I was able to know what was to come next and still enjoy it.

The linking narration provided by John Leeson is superb. John engages throughout the story with describing what goes on and being full of energy and enthusiasm. It was very interesting how John described certain scenes in the story compared to how I viewed ‘The Pirate Planet’ on the DVD.

At the end of ‘The Pirate Planet’ TV soundtrack, there is an interview with John Leeson. I love the tribute John made to Mary Tamm who played Romana in the TV series. It was also very lovely to hear him talk about his acting career as well as his ‘Doctor Who’ career with playing the loveable K-9.

‘The Pirate Planet’ TV soundtrack is a wonderful treat for me to listen to. I enjoyed listening to the download via Audible and hearing John Leeson provide the linking narration to one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories starring Tom Baker. It’s not necessary to have this TV soundtrack, but I did enjoy it!

‘The Pirate Planet’ (TV Soundtrack) rating – 9/10


the pirate planet novelization  the pirate planet audiobook

‘DOCTOR WHO – THE PIRATE PLANET’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

“BY THE SKY DEMON…!”

THIS ‘DOCTOR WHO’ BOOK IS AMAZING!!!

‘The Pirate Planet’ novelization/audiobook has been a worthwhile and engrossing experience! I was looking forward to reading and hearing this novelization of Douglas Adams’ first ‘Doctor Who’ story by James Goss. I wasn’t disappointed and it turned out to be more impressive than I ever imagined!

This story is one of my favourites from ‘The Key To Time’ season with Tom Baker’s Doctor and Mary Tamm’s Romana. I wondered how this book was going to be novelized and what newness would be in it. I had faith in James Goss’ writing and was so convinced he would deliver a faithful novelization.

James Goss previously novelized Douglas Adams’ other TV story ‘City of Death’ which was released in 2015. Having enjoyed that as well as Gareth Roberts’ novelization of ‘Shada’, I was looking forward to purchasing both the book and the audiobook, which I did achieve whilst I was shopping in Cardiff.

The book and the audiobook were released in January 2017. I purchased both in April of that year, but eventually read/heard the book/audiobook from July to August. I took my time with reading/hearing the story. It turned out to be very engrossing when delving into ‘The Pirate Planet’ itself.

The audiobook is read by Jon Culshaw, not John Leeson as I was expecting. For those of you who don’t know, Jon Culshaw is an actor and a voice impressionist. In fact, he does a really good impersonation of Tom Baker’s Doctor in various productions, such as ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’.

I’ve had the audiobook cover of ‘Doctor Who – The Pirate Planet’ signed by Jon Culshaw himself when I met him at ‘The Capitol II’ convention at the Arora Hotel in Gatwick, May 2017. It was great to meet and chat to him. I also enjoyed his panel with writer Terrance Dicks whilst at the convention.

It was great to have the audiobook to listen to in the background whilst reading the novelization. By the way, ‘The Pirate Planet’ book is ginormous! Much like with the ‘City of Death’ and ‘Shada’ novelizations, BBC Books made a big meal out of the story by having the books be too long and so big!

Jon Culshaw reads the audiobook very well and does a superb variety of voices for the characters in the book, due to his expertise in voice work. As well as doing Tom Baker’s voice superbly as the Doctor, I was convinced and enjoyed Jon’s intepretation of Bruce Purchase’s booming Pirate Captain.

This is how the book works. The first title page bears the two following footnotes. They are ‘THE CHANING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO’ and ‘THE CHANGING FACE OF THE KEY OF TIME’. Not sure why these are supposed to be there, but this does make it feel like a Target novelization and feel amusing.

The second title page bears this footnote. ‘This novelisation is based on the first draft scripts by Douglas Adams. So it probably isn’t what you’re expecting.’ Now this surprised me before I actually started reading the story, but I was looking forward to reading it and finding out what differences there were.

I think it’s pretty clear to most people that Douglas Adams’ original TV scripts for ‘The Pirate Planet’ didn’t go through at first. This was because Graeme MacDonald, the Head of BBC Drama, said that the scripts ‘won’t do’. The scripts changed to accommodate the budget and make the story possible.

So it was nice to find out what could have been in the actual TV story had the original scripts been used. The ideas by Douglas Adams are ‘bonkers’ in the TV story and they’re even more ‘bonkers’ in the novelization. These included mostly technological and visual imagery featured throughout the story.

The story is divided into four episodes, much like what James Goss did for his ‘City of Death’ novelization as well as what Gareth Roberts did (albiet it was six episodes) for his ‘Shada’ novelization. The book is divided into 29 chapters with an epilogue at the end. I took my time reading the book for a duration of mostly 29 days.

The audiobook is a 10-disc CD set, matching to the ginormousness of ‘The Pirate Planet’ book. Much like with the ‘City of Death’ and ‘Shada’ novelizations, you’ll need plenty of hours to read and hear this ‘Doctor Who’ book. Thankfully I took one chapter at a time whilst reading and listening to the audio.

Like with the ‘City of Death’ novelization, each episode of ‘The Pirate Planet’ begins with a quotation in the book. These quotes range from texts and people such as Girls Aloud, William Shakespeare and William Blake. There’s even a quotation by the Pirate Captain himself when Jon Culshaw read it.

The first two chapters of the book act as a prologue to the story. In the first chapter, we have Mr. Fibuli working in his office under piles of paperwork. During the story, he wishes to be dead, especially when being shouted at by the Captain. This was interesting to discover as I read the novelization.

There are also moments in the book when it happens to be raining on the planet Zanak. But it turns out that it’s raining diamonds instead of raining ‘rain’. I wonder how that would have worked in the TV story. Also there seemed to be more people on the planet Zanak compared to the actual TV story.

The third chapter begins where the TV story starts with the Pirate Captain shouting for Mr. Fibuli. It was fun to read how the Captain developed from being a straight-forward space pirate captain on his own spaceship to becoming a cyborg when he was repaired by Queen Xanxia being his Nurse.

The Pirate Captain’s robot parrot, the Polyphase Avatron, also gets an enhancement in the book. It turns out the robot parrot can actually talk like a proper pirate’s parrot. This was surprising to read/hear in the story and a little disturbing, especially when the robot parrot wanted to kill people.

Queen Xanxia’s development as a character was interesting to read in the book. James Goss had the Nurse appear more in the background early on in ‘Part One’ rather than make her first appear in ‘Part Two’. It was interesting how she developed from being meek and mild to becoming so evil.

It was also fun to read how the Pirate Captain was plotting to destroy Queen Xanxia with the astronomical sources he had in the destroyed planets that Zanak had been harvesting. This was implied in the TV version of the story, but it’s made clearer in the novelization as the Doctor works it out.

There are also hints of the Black Guardian making an appearance in the story, through his contact with the Pirate Captain and Queen Xanxia. This was unusual but thrilling to read. It seems the Black Guardian is moving things forward to allow the Doctor to collect the six segments of the Key to Time.

In the epilogue, the Black Guardian’s appearance in the book is confirmed, although he’s simply referred to as ‘the Guardian’. This is based on Douglas Adams’ involvement in ‘The Armageddon Factor’. There are also glimpses of the Black Guardian seeing the Doctor’s future ‘Key To Time’ tales in the epilogue.

The relationship between the Doctor and Romana in the book was fun to read as well. It was interesting how the Doctor and Romana developed as a duo early on in ‘The Key To Time’ season and it’s nice how that’s touched upon with the two clearly disapproving each other to liking each other.

It also seems that Romana wants to impress the Doctor and not be ignored by him. This is clear when she attempts to do things by the book once piloting the TARDIS to Callufrax. It’s also explored when Romana works out the Nurse is Queen Xanxia and she’s determined to show off the Doctor that.

But the thing is, the Doctor has seen Queen Xanxia and worked it out himself. This is before Romana works it out, despite not seeing Queen Xanxia herself. Yet, when Romana tries to show off her deduction to the Doctor, he’s rather impressed. It was surprisingly refreshing and enjoyable to read.

I also liked how K-9 was developed in the book. I wish John Leeson voiced K-9 in the audiobook, but Jon Culshaw seems to do a fairly good voice impersonation of him anyway. It was funny reading how K-9 worked things out, especially when trying to escape out of an air-car as he arrived at the Citadel.

The supporting characters are well-handled in the novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’. First of all, Pralix develops well from being a Zanak citizen to becoming a leader of the Mourners. This is touched upon when Mula reflects on her brother’s change of behaviour once he’s become a Mourner leader.

Stop! Yes, you heard me! The Mentiads aren’t called Mentiads in this story. They’re called the Mourners. I’m not sure why James Goss decided to revert naming them Mourners instead of Mentiads, although that was what Douglas Adams originally named them. I suppose it sounds better.

Mula develops from being a meek mild-mannered woman in the story to being a gun-ho fighter during the story. I felt sorry for Kimus, since he seemed to be disregarded by the Doctor on his outspoken views for overthrowing the Pirate Captain. I wonder if James Goss didn’t like Kimus at all.

There’s also an extended appearance of Balaton, Mula and Pralix’s grandfather in the story. Balaton even appears when Mula, Pralix and Romana gather together the crowds of Zanak to listen to them in overthrowing the Captain. Balaton is also one of the victims influenced by the Captain’s goodness.

The scenes where Romana, Mula and Pralix are gathering the Zanak people together to form a rebellion was interesting to read and very different to the TV version. It seems everyone on Zanak is rebelling as they come to the Citadel, contrasting to with it being Romana, Mula and the ‘Mentiads’.

There are also some new scenes where the Doctor and Romana are being subject to a holographic chamber of torture by the Pirate Captain. This includes a sequence where the Doctor faces his fear of meeting a Dalek. Yes! That’s right! A Dalek appears in this story. Even Jon Culshaw voices the Dalek.

The Pirate Captain’s trophy room of planets is also different in the book compared to the TV version. When the Doctor’s in the trophy room, he sees the planets spiralling around him rather than just being encased in glass chambers. This would have been visually difficult to do had it been made for TV.

In ‘Part Four’, the resolution of how the Doctor survived his ‘death’ by walking the plank is very different in the book compared to the TV version. In the book, we have the first chapter of ‘Part Four’ where the Doctor is falling through into the heart of Zanak. He seems to be falling forever here.

But it turns out that the Doctor was rescued by Romana, who pilots the TARDIS and eventually decides to not do it by the book. This was intriguing to read and provides a whole new interpretation of how the Doctor managed to escape death and meet up with the Captain and everyone else again.

Also in the book, when Zanak is attempting to smother itself around the Earth and crush it, we get to have the Earth people’s point of view of this occurring. This is reminiscent of when the Earth was being destroyed by the Vogans from ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, also by Douglas Adams.

The story ends with the Doctor and Romana defeating Queen Xanxia by having them hold the Key to Time Tracer and bringing the planet Callufrax to full-size at the end. This was interesting to read and would have been more difficult to film had it been made for TV. It also made the ending less rushed.

It also allows the Doctor and Romana to pick up the second segment of the Key to Time easily on Zanak compared to us not seeing it happen during the TV story. As with the TV story, the story ends with the Zanak people overjoyed. Pralix and the Mourners use the detonator to blow up the Citadel.

The book ends with an epilogue that provides a whole new conclusion to the story. As well as paying their respects to the planet Callufrax before it gets gobbled up by Zanak, the Doctor and Romana also re-enter the TARDIS, which has now been re-designed and become a lush garden console room.

This was…interesting. As I read in the afterword by James Goss and the notes by Douglas Adams, it seems that Douglas was coming up with a brand-new TARDIS console room after it got wrecked from stopping Zanak gobbling Earth. This was thankfully abandoned as I prefer the original console room.

At the end of the book, there’s an afterword by James Goss which was interesting and enjoyable to read about the making of the book. There’s also ‘Doctor Who Blanket Theme: The Six Keys’ notes by Douglas Adams and ‘Doctor Who and the Perfect Planet’, the original treatment by Douglas Adams.

One thing I must mention about ‘The Pirate Planet’ novelization is the atmosphere of humour and wit by Douglas Adams in the story. I could pick this up in the chapter titles as well as some of the humorous dialogue, especially between Romana and the Pirate Captain when they meet on the Bridge.

I’m pleased that James Goss went to great lengths in adapting plenty of original materials for ‘The Pirate Planet’ from the first draft scripts to the final TV scripts. He maintains the witty atmosphere of the story as well as embellishing new scenes and elements to make the story exciting and enjoyable.

‘Doctor Who – The Pirate Planet’ has been a great novelization/audiobook for me to read/listen to. I enjoyed every chapter of the book and every minute of the audiobook. I’m pleased with how James Goss novelized the story with Douglas Adams’ wit and Jon Culshaw’s reading of the story was great!

I’m sure I’ve more to say about ‘The Pirate Planet’ novelization, but this is the best place to stop.

‘Doctor Who – The Pirate Planet’ rating – 9/10


‘DOCTOR WHO AND THE PIRATE PLANET’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

“BY THE SKY DEMON…!” (Again)

Here we are at it again with ‘The Pirate Planet’!

So, in 2019, it was announced that some new Target novelizations of ‘Doctor Who’ would be released in 2020. This included the new Target novelizations of ‘Dalek’, ‘The Crimson Horror’ and ‘The Witchfinders’. There were also going to be reprint editions of already published novelizations. 🙂

This included Target versions of the Eric Saward novelizations of ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ and ‘Revelation of the Daleks’, an updated Target version of ‘The TV Movie’ novelization, and of course a junior novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’ by Douglas Adams and James Goss. It was all pretty exciting.

Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the publication of the new Target books with some having audiobook readings to accompany them were pushed back from a June 2020 date to a March 2021 date. It was then that I decided to pre-order some of the Target novelizations from Amazon. 😀

I pre-ordered my copies of ‘The TV Movie’, ‘Dalek’, ‘The Crimson Horror’ and ‘The Witchfinders’ novelizations. As I already had the two novelizations of the Dalek stories by Eric Saward in hardback form, I didn’t need the Target versions of them. I did purchase the junior ‘Pirate Planet’ book though.

‘Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet’ is fascinating as a Target novelization. For the simple reason that it didn’t need to be made! This is reoccurring pattern in James Goss’ novelizations of Douglas Adams ‘Doctor Who’ stories as a junior novelization gets made after a bigger, chunkier novelization is made.

The first time this happened was with ‘City of Death’. A junior novelization of the story was published in 2018 shortly after the bigger novelization was published in 2016. The junior novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’ got published in 2021 after the chunkier novelization was published in 2017. 😐

I admit it’s been a while since I’ve checked out the chunkier novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’ by James Goss, but I’m pretty sure the junior novelization is a slimmer version of the chunkier novelization. There’ll come a point where ‘Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen’ will be treated similarly.

I’m glad though that the book at least acknowledges that there is a longer and very different version of ‘The Pirate Planet’ novelization based on the first draft scripts by Douglas Adams. This is at the beginning and at the end of the book. This junior novelization is based on the TV version of the story.

As you’re probably aware, ‘The Pirate Planet’ is one of my favourite stories from ‘The Key to Time’ season of ‘Doctor Who’. I even listened to the TV soundtrack audiobook read by John Leeson whilst reading the junior novelization. But I felt ‘The Pirate Planet’ junior novelization was a bit pointless. 😦

I suppose it is handy to have a version of ‘The Pirate Planet’ novelization where you can read through a chapter quickly and it sticks more or less to what was in the actual TV story. But I like novelizations to be more in-depth which is why I prefer the chunkier novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’. 🙂

Peter David did the same thing with his movie novelizations of the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy, the 2005 ‘Fantastic Four’ film and ‘Batman Forever’. I found those books as well as the longer ‘Pirate Planet’ novelization really engrossing compared to what is found in the junior ‘Pirate Planet’ book. 😐

Now that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy reading ‘The Pirate Planet’ junior novelization. James Goss does a fine job compressing what he originally wrote in the bigger 2017 novelization to matching what Terrance Dicks would have written in a Target novelization. But it wasn’t that awe-inspiring for me.

Before checking out ‘The Pirate Planet’ junior novelization, I read a sample of the book in the ‘Doctor Who and the Library of Time’ sampler book from ‘Doctor Who Magazine’. I enjoyed checking out the sampler book since it gave me an idea of what to expect once it came to the new Target books. 🙂

I can’t really say there’s much difference in the junior novelization compared to the TV story as the junior novelization matches to what’s in the TV story already. However, like what I did in reviewing the ‘City of Death’ junior book, I will identify what not to expect in ‘The Pirate Planet’ junior book. 😀

This is to compare and contrast what’s not in the junior novelization as opposed to the bigger, chunkier novelization which I prefer. Speaking on a personal side note, I feel that the Pirate Captain should have been in the centre of the 2021 Target novelization and not the Polyphase Avatron here.

Whereas the bigger ‘Pirate Planet’ book was divided into 29 chapters with an epilogue at the end, the junior book is divided into 12 chapters. This is to match the chapter style featured in many Target novelizations by Terrance Dicks and match each episode ending to their cliffhangers on TV. 😐

There isn’t an audiobook to accompany the junior novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’ as opposed to the bigger, chunkier novelization which has an audiobook read by Jon Culshaw. Perhaps I should do audiobook readings of ‘The Pirate Planet’ and ‘City of Death’ junior books for my YouTube channel. 🙂

Here are examples of what’s not in the junior novelization as opposed to what’s in the bigger book. The quotations at the beginning of each episode like one from William Shakespeare aren’t included. There’s also not a lot of indication of there being raining diamonds featured in the story throughout. 😦

The Polyphase Avatron doesn’t talk in the junior novelization as opposed to in the bigger novelization. There’s less of the richer expansion of the Nurse/Queen Xanxia’s character being developed in the junior book and the Pirate Captain’s plan to destroy Xanxia isn’t explored as much as in the big book.

The hints of the Black Guardian making contact with the Pirate Captain and Xanxia in the story also aren’t included in the junior book. The Mentaids are called Mentaids in the junior novelization as opposed to Mourners in the other book. And yes, I do prefer the Mentaids as opposed to Mourners.

There is still the sense that James Goss doesn’t seem to like Kimus when he writes him in the junior novelization as well as in the longer book, as he gives praise to Mula being better as a leader than Kimus. Balaton, Mula and Pralix’s grandfather doesn’t appear at the end of the junior novelization. 😦

He did appear at the end of the longer novelization when Mula, Kimus and the Mentiads/Mourners gathered the crowds of Zanak. The scenes of the Doctor and Romana subjected to holographic torture by the Pirate Captain in the longer book aren’t included in the junior novelization of the tale.

The elongated version of the Doctor surviving his fall at the end of ‘Part Three’ to be rescued by Romana later on in ‘Part Four’ in the longer novelization isn’t included in the junior novelization. The Doctor appearing after he just fell from the plank by the Captain matches to what’s in the TV tale. 😐

I did get a sense of the echoes of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ in the junior novelization and the bigger novelization where Earth and its people sense Zanak and the Doctor’s TARDIS were trying to materialise around the planet at the same time. I think it’s more effective in the longer book though.

The epilogue that features in the longer novelization where the Doctor and Romana are in their TARDIS which has now become a lush garden console room isn’t included in the junior novelization. The additional Douglas Adams notes by James Goss in the longer novelization also aren’t included. 😐

In many ways, ‘Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet’ (the junior book) is a faithful novelization of the actual TV story. But it’s not as impressive as the bigger, juicer book James Goss wrote based on Douglas Adams’ original draft scripts. I don’t see the point of the junior novelization being made. 😐

I’m sure for some ‘Doctor Who’ fans, there is some value to have the junior version of ‘The Pirate Planet’ novelization to keep on bookshelves. Speaking personally, I’m currently looking forward to getting onto ‘The TV Movie’, ‘Dalek’, ‘The Crimson Horror’ and ‘The Witchfinders’ novelizations next.

‘Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet’ rating – 7/10


The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

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For Romana was

  • ‘Tomb of Valdemar’ (Book)

For K-9 Mk II was

  • ‘Tomb of Valdemar’ (Book)
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For the Fourth Doctor is

For Romana is

For K-9 Mk II is

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4 thoughts on “‘The Pirate Planet’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Pirate Planet’s bloody bonkers but i love bonkers & this is a cracking tale sparkling with humorous dialogue.

    Tom Baker as the Doctor when he berates the pirate captain still gives me goosebumps & the story has a great twist that i didn’t see coming.

    Did you notice Tom’s lip in this & Ribos is scarred, he had been tormenting a friends dog on one of his weekend Soho pub crawls & the dog bit his lip lol.

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  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Yes ‘Pirate Planet’ is bonkers! I began showing ‘The Key to Time’ season to my best mate Stephen last weekend. He wanted to see ‘Pirate Planet’ immediately after seeing ‘Ribos’. He enjoyed it very much and it’s a great first contribution by Douglas Adams with sparkling, witty dialogue and great humour.

    ‘The Pirate Planet’ inspired me with the writing style I used in ‘The Space Hotel’ didn’t you know? 😀

    Yes that scene where the Doctor angrily shouts at the Pirate Captain was inspired and dramatic to watch. I liked the tension in that scene and it’s something Tom Baker does well when acting in those scenes.

    No I didn’t see the twist coming either in that story. I love that cliff-hanger moment in ‘Part Four’ and the moment when it’s revealed who Queen Xanxia actually is.

    Yes I did notice that Tom’s lip has been scared from his dog-bite. I liked it when he banged his lip on the console to establish he got that scar in the story. I laugh every time I see that moment. There are variations of the dog biting Tom story in the audio commentary for ‘The Pirate Planet’ by Tom Baker and in ‘The Ribos Operation’ making-of documentary.

    I’m looking forward to when the novelization of ‘The Pirate Planet’ will be released by the BBC, both in book and on audio. It’ll be very exciting to discover more about this amazing story.

    Many thanks Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

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  3. Timelord 007

    Great review Tim, i agree the Goss adaption is far more detailed (Goss does brilliant adaptation of Pirate Planet but drops the ball completely with Masterful) but this adaption does the job well enough & would be the one for new Who fans I’d recommend they read first.

    The Pirate Planet battles Shada for most adaptations of a Doctor Who adventure Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      James Goss does do well when it comes to novelizing Douglas Adams’ ‘Doctor Who’ stories like ‘The Pirate Planet’, ‘City of Death’ and ‘The Krikkitmen’. It’s a shame that ‘Masterful’ wasn’t as impressive as it could have been since James Goss can be a good writer at times. I enjoyed the episodes he wrote in ‘The War Master’ box sets recently. I hope his episodes for ‘Killing Time’ will be good.

      The junior novelizations of ‘The Pirate Planet’ and ‘City of Death’ do seem unnecessary, but I agree with you. At least it helps younger new ‘Doctor Who’ fans to get into the novelizations.

      After doing junior novelizations of ‘The Pirate Planet’ and ‘City of Death’, ‘The Krikkitmen’ or ‘Shada’ are bound to be next up on the list. 😀

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

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