Saturday, July 12, 2008

Review: Doctor Who, "The Pirate Planet"

I re-watched the 1978 Doctor Who serial "The Pirate Planet" tonight.

Written by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy creator Douglas Adams, his first contribution to Who prior to being named script editor for the 1979 season, it's a fun little story filled with Adams' characteristic brand of absurdist humor. There's quite a bit of clever banter between the Fourth Doctor and Romana I, and at one point the Doctor utters the Hitchhiker's tagline "Don't panic!"

Tom Baker is in top form as the Fourth Doctor, Mary Tamm is settling in quite nicely as Romana I (this was only her second serial), K-9 has a lot of screen time, and Shakespearean actor Bruce Purchase is wonderfully over the top as the Pirate Captain.

It's also clearly an influence on the just completed fourth season of New Who with the theme of disappearing planets. One of the planets here is Calufrax, while a Calufrax Minor is mentioned as one of the missing planets in an episode New Who.

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