Doctor Who – Planet of Evil

Oh fun. This one, first shown in 1975, stars Tom Baker as the Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.

This was the period in which the series was borrowing a lot from horror movies, but in this case the most obvious source was Forbidden Planet. And if you’re going to borrow ideas, you might as well borrow from the best.

The Tardis picks up a distress call from Zeta Minor, a planet “on the edge of the known universe”[1], where we find the ever-popular base under siege. Some unseen thing is killing members of the expedition one by one. The Doctor and Sarah arrive at the same time as the rescue team, and quite naturally fall under suspicion. It seems that Zeta Minor is on a boundary between our universe and one of, yes, it’s anti-matter again! Maybe someone should have told Omega about it, it would have saved him a lot of bother with the Time Lords…

As with most Tom Baker stories, it’s lots of fun, and well-worth watching. The jungle sets are particularly well done, especially when you consider the minimal budget…

Special features include:

  • A Darker Side: A “making of” documentary, featuring most of the usual suspects.
  • Planetary Performance: Another look at the making of the story, from the actors’ point of view
  • Those lovely production subtitles
Note: observant readers may have noticed what it took me nine years to spot: I already wrote about this in January.

[1] Yes, this is a silly notion, but never mind..