CRRRaSh! 343 Doctor Who: Planet of Evil

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-11-23, at 23:00:53--23:26:21 GMT, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

The State of the Revisit

Happy Doctor Who Day! What a timely... er... time to welcome back this podcast. I'm sure they'll be stuff going on everywhere, but as far as this show is concerned, I can tell you that we began revisiting Old Who stories in chronological order back in 2014. We started with the Time Lord's first adventure, An Unearthy Child, first broadcast on Saturday the 23rd of November 1963, and that is why November the 23rd is Doctor Who Day. New Who's Day of the Doctor was also broadcasted on that day back in 2013. (It was unfortunate that the first Doctor Who broadcast took place the day after John F. Kennedy was assassinated).

Due to an inexcusable error, I have been calling Tom Baker the "Third Doctor" for quite a while. Sorry. The mistake occurred because I copied and pasted the last Jon Pertwee episode notes into the first Tom Baker episode notes and have been copying and pasting ever since. This is a solo podcast, so unless a listener says something, these errors can run until I catch them myself.

As is very usual for my show, apologies for the delays, which you'll hear more about in the next pod. Even this pod almost came a cropper when I burned my index finger and thumb today, hence impeding my typing of show notes, so it's a minor miracle that you are hearing this. Messing up your hands is the last thing a writer or musician needs. Though I'm sure anyone listening who knows me personally might say that an injury could actually improve my musicianship.

Cast and Production Notes

Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker
Companion(s) Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen
Director: David Maloney
Writer: Louis Marks
Producer: Philip Hinchcliffe
Story 2 of Season 13, following Terror of the Zygons covered in 336, 4 x 25 minute episodes, first broadcast from 27 September to 18 October 1975.

On this Day in the UK

As usual, with little of note on that day, we fall back to talking about the UK Singles Chart Top 50.

Whereas Ariana Grande's Positions is at number one today, back in 1975 it was the divine Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which of course I remember. Maybe.

What Happens

After leaving Harry, who wishes to take the train back, the Doctor and Sarah's trip back to London is diverted when the TARDIS answers a distress call from the planet Zeta Minor. The Doctor and Sarah find only Professor Sorenson, the leader of a human expedition researching a new source of energy for their energy starved civilisation. He is the sole survivor of attacks by an invisible foe who has been picking off the team.

A spaceship from Sorenson's home world (Morestra) arrives to investigate the distress call. At first they suspect the Doctor and Sarah and when they escape, track the pair using a sinister "occuloid tracker". Then we discover that the creature is from an antimatter universe, seeking revenge on the expedition for removing antimatter near a deep pit that joins the universes.

As the Morestran spaceship abandons the planet, it is dragged back because of the link between the stolen antimatter and the antimatter on the planet.

Sorenson becomes infected with the antimatter forcing him to prey on the crew, and leave desiccated corpses, to sustain himself.

Fighting the suspicion of the crew, and especially the martinet Captain, the Doctor eventually wins the second-in-command's trust, whereupon the captain escapes into the bowels of the ship to hunt down Sorenson. He attacks the Sorenson-creature with a ray gun, but instead of killing him, makes him multiply and swamp the ship with his duplicates.

The Doctor takes the first and original Sorenson back to the planet and throws him and the antimatter into the pit. To the Doctor's pleasure and surprise, Sorenson appears unharmed and the Doctor returns him to the ship, now free of the planet's magnetic force.

Before departing the Morestrans, the Doctor hints at a better source of energy to research, which Sorenson eagerly embraces. The Doctor and Sarah leave in the TARDIS for their "appointment in London" for which they are "thirty thousand years late."

What I Thought

The Philip Hinchcliffe horror quotient is high as the Sorensen creature leaches the lifeforce from the crew members.

Eyeball drones! I thought the surveillance drones, the "occuloid tracker", used by the Morestrans to hunt the Doctor and Sarah, with their big, organic Eye of Sauron eyeballs and mini-War of the World-style carapaces were striking and sinister. Well done, whichever prop-maker dreamt them up.

What little we see of the Morestran's highly militaristic and cold culture is reminiscent of Blake's Seven's Federation. However, I must have mentioned how close the two shows are a million times by now, so I'll stop.

It is absolutely clear, and I did not have to look this up, that this story steals from Forbidden Planet (1956) with that hulking invisible unstoppable monster.


No big surprise; this was a studio filmed story with filming locations at BBC Television Centre, Shepherd's Bush and Ealing Studios, but since I never mention the non-on-location shoots, I thought I'd do so today.

No Harry in this story! We already know the Brigadier isn't returning to the series for several years after Terror of the Zygons (he will return in Mawdryn Undead (1983)), but Harry deciding to stay behind after Terror of the Zygons was a surprise. In fact, there is only one adventure left, The Android Invasion (1975), before we wave goodbye to Harry forever. Shoes rejoice!

Next Time

Next time Pyramids of Mars, an adventure I absolutely do remember seeing the first time. Maybe.