Wednesday 21 March 2012

485 The Pirate Planet Part Two

EPISODE: The Pirate Planet Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 07 October 1978
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

The Captain rages at his crew for their failure to find the rogue telepath and has Polyphaseavatron, his pet robot parrot, kill one as an example. The Doctor comes round and decides to track the Mentiads, but when he learns of Romana's arrest he has to rescue her. Romana is taken by aircar to the bridge, Mula & K-9 seek Pralix while the Doctor & Kimus hijack the Captain's aircar to follow Romana. Mr Fibuli reports the macromat field integrator has burnt out so Zanak has only one jump left. A particular mineral will do the job instead. The Captain is enraged, as Romana is bought in. Kimus tell The Doctor about the automated mines that fill up when empty when the Captain announces a new golden age and the light in the sky change. The Captain dismisses Romana's story and becomes enraged, but is ordered to calm down by his nurse who wants to hear more of Romana's story. The Doctor leaves Kimus guarding the aircar and breaks into the bridge, arriving as Romana tells the Captain he's needed to repair the field integrator. They are taken to the engine room bellow, a vast room filled with machinery. Taking a tracer reading Romana discovers the second segment appears to be everywhere. The guards are ordered to take the Doctor & Romana back to the Tardis for some equipment but they are freed by Kimus who takes them to the mines. Using an ancient lift they travel to the workings bellow. Detecting them, the Captain orders them obliterated. Three miles bellow the surface of Zanak, The Doctor, Kimus & Romana find themselves on icy frozen ground: the surface of the planet Calufrax. Zanak is a hollow shell that moves round the galaxy mining other planets. Bandragonus 5, the home of the rare Oolian previously suffered this fate. The guards find them, and they flee into the tunnels only to be found by the Mentiads!

Great stuff again, love it. I do wonder if the props department have an off day: that's a trail of liquorice allsorts that the Doctor is scattering for the guard to follow away from the Captain's Aircar. And why we're on the subject, what's the Captain's aircar doing in the city? He's up on the Bridge which overlooks it! Oh and on the subject of the Aircars in general, the words of Jim Bowen spring to mind: "Let's have a look at what we could of won...... Oooooh, it's the speedboat!" That's what they look like, a small speedboat dressed up with a few extra bits on! Also where did the gun in the Baladon's house come from? Kimus grabs it when you're busy looking elsewhere.... ah, got it, it belongs to one of the guards that K-9 stuns at the end of the previous episode. Having hinted at the what's going on in the previous episode they come out and reveal the big secret here: Zanak's a hollow shell materialising round planets and draining them dry. A genius concept and we're not done with it yet either.....

Lots of the locations for this story are featured in this episode: Gellifelen Railway Tunnels forms the entrance to the Bridge, while the interior of Berkeley Power Station is the Bridge's engine room. The Big Pit, now home to the National Coal Museum, forms the entrance to the mines while the mine interior is portrayed by the extensive cave system that now forms The National Showcaves Centre for Wales. For the nearby locations used in other episodes of the story see

Here's what I think is a first: None of the guest cast have been in any other episode of original Doctor Who (although one spoils it slightly by later appearing in the new series!) There is a lots of Blake's 7 on people's CVs. Bruce Purchase plays The Captain was in the Blake's 7 episode The Keeper as Gola as well as playing Ali Pashar in the last two episodes of the second series of The Tripods. Andrew Robertson, here playing Mr Fibuli was in Blake's 7: Hostage as the Space Commander. Primi Townsend, Mula, was in Blake's 7: Powerplay as Zee. Finally the actor playing Praxis, David Sibley, appears in Blake's 7:Death Watch as the Commentator. Wikipedia reckons that Ralph Michael, here playing Balaton, was in Blake's 7: Assassin but neither Wikipedia's Blake's 7 episode guide, Ralph Michael's IMDB entry or the end credits of the episode itself agree with this assertion. Depending on who you believe David Warwick, playing Kimus, is either the former partner (wikipedia) or Husband (Tardis Index File) of former companion Louise Jameson. Trying to assert which is correct (I didn't, so I've credited both contradictory sources) I also discovered that David Warwick's IMDB entry and The Daily Mail also seem to disagree as to who the Father of her Children is .....

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