061 – Planet of the Dead

We’re finally back to normal episodes. We’re talking about the second Tennant Special “Planet of the Dead”.

Welcome to Episode 61 covering the 2009 Easter Special: Planet of the Dead.

Super-short Recap

This is the one where the Doctor takes a double-decker bus to Jakku.

A cat burglar makes a narrow escape onto a bus, just ahead of an Easter-candy-munching Doctor. He’s using a thing to hunt a something when suddenly he finds it! He yells “hang on!” as the bus goes through a wormhole and ends up on a desert planet.

After assessing the damage, it’s time for someone to take charge, so the cat burglar does! Christina gives an inspiring speech to rally the troops. But something strange is happening. The sand isn’t quite right, and one of the bus passengers says they’re surrounded by the dead, and something worse is coming.

The Doctor and Christina go on the best companion audition ever, meet some fly people, and discover that the coming sandstorm is actually billions of metal stingrays. Turns out, the desert planet was teeming with life and over 100 billion inhabitants just last year. Some of those sand particles are dead people, IT’S PEOPLLLEEEEE! They grab part of the ship to help get them home and make a run for it.

Back on earth, my favorite scientist in recent memory, Malcolm, has figured out how to jiggery pokery the wormhole closed at the last possible second. The Doctor jiggery pokeries the fly-people tech onto the bus and flies it through the wormhole.

Now it’s time for the Doctor to show Christina the stars, but he says no. He’s had people travel with him before and he’s lost everyone of them… sort of. Christina makes a fantastic escape just in time for the psychic lady to tell the Doctor to be careful because his song is ending. He will knock four times.

The end.

Production notes

  • Story # 200!!!!
  • Originally aired April 11, 2009 to 9.54 million viewers
  • Written by: Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts
  • Directed by: James Strong
  • Awards: nominated for a 2010 Hugo Award in the category of “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form,”
    • Along with The Next Doctor and Waters of Mars

Misc Trivia

  • The bus wasn’t supposed to look like that. It was horribly damaged in transit. They actually had a hard time making the bus back in the UK match the damage.

Cast

  • Lady Christina de Souza – Michelle Ryan
    • Boys, did you recognize her?
    • She was Nimueh in Merlin!
  • Malcolm – Lee Evans
    • He was a stand up comedian and actor
    • He played Fog in The Fifth Element
    • This episode is his last film/tv credit on IMDb
    • He announced his retirement from standup in 2014 after the sudden death of his manager
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Checklist

  • Creature of the week
    • Stingrays
    • Tritovores – RTD said they should look man-sized flies. Nailed it!
  • Allons-y! Count
    • Episode count: 1
    • Running count: 12
  • Jiberty Jaberty
    • Photafine steel. Turns cold when it’s hot. 
    • The crash knocked the mainline crystallography out of sync, but if I can jiggle it back…
    • How does a crystal power a bus? In a super-clever outer-spacey way!
  • Jiggery Pokery
    • Psychic paper –
      • RFID, It’ll pay for your bus fare! 
    • Sonic –
      • He used it to tint his glasses into sunglasses
      • Long-distance handcuff unlocking
    • TARDIS – 
    • Random
      • Roentgen particle detector

Who’s Who?

  • Who is The Doctor?
    • The Doctor says he rarely visits Easters cuz they’re so hard to find. They’re always moving. 
    • He was at the original Easter
    • He was tracking a hole in the fabric of reality, call it a hobby!
    • Humans on buses, always blaming me!
    • He’s the lord of a big estate
    • He speaks every language
    • He’s got an honest face
    • The worse it gets, the more he loves it
    • Mentions (again?) that he stole the TARDIS
  • Who is Christina?
    • Natural leader, she took charge before the Doctor could
    • She looks Time Lord
      • There were rumors based on a statement about how much she would impact the Doctor that she would turn out to be a Time Lord

Other stuff we noticed

  • In reference to the trinary suns, they talked about when the earth was moved

Can we talk about canon?

  • We had a brief discussion on our take on how the comics, books, audio, and TV all fit into canon.

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Classic Who Connection

  • Superphone
    • In the serial The Three Doctors we see the Second Doctor modify Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s radio so it would have a much better range, this somewhat like when the 9th Doctor modified Rose’s phone to work anywhere in the universe and again in Planet of the Dead with Barclay’s phone.
  • Bernard Quatermass – Quatermass and the British Rocket Group
    • In the 1950s there were these Quatermass Science Fiction serials about The British Rocket group and Bernard Quatermass. These serials were very influential in early Doctor Who and there are a few Easter Eggs throughout Classic and NuWho referring to Quatermass or the British Rocket group. Most of these references are in Doctor Who novels and audio adventures, but we do have a couple on TV. Obviously, we have the reference to Bernard (as a unit of measurement) in Planet of the Dead, and the British Rocket Group launched the Geinevere One satellite back in The Christmas Invasion.
    • In Classic Who a man named Jensen remarks that the British Rocket Group is having problems in Remembrance of the Daleks. There is also a man named Bernard in that serial, and even though his last name is never said, it is presumed that this is Quatermass. And the group is renamed the British Space Center and runs the Mars Probe in the serial the Ambassadors of Death.
  • DI McMillan
    • The detective who wanted to catch de Souza is Jon Pertwee’s Godson (Third Doctor)
  • Flying Bus
    • There was also a flying bus in the Seventh Doctor serial Delta and the Bannermen
  • The Robot
    • Having found out that Malcom has read all of UNIT’s files on him, The Doctor asks what his favorite adventure was, then mentions he thinks it’s the robot. He’s referring to the K1 Robot from the serial called Robot. This is the first serial of the 12th season and it is also Tom Baker’s (the Fourth Doctor’s) first serial.
    • I think they brought up this serial to bring further emphasis to the joke in the end when the bullets actually work on the swarm of stingrays. Bullets don’t work on many of the enemies that UNIT has faced as was the case of the K1 Robot.
  • Theft
    • The Doctor compared de Souza’s theft of the cup to his own theft of the TARDIS

Overall impressions

  • Overall rating out of 10 – 
    • Austin – 0.07 Bernards
    • Corbin – 7.5 Malcoms
    • Tripp – 8 crunched buses 
    • Jared -7 smashed buses
  • Creep Level – out of 500
    • Austin – 225
    • Corbin – 125 
    • Tripp – 183.000324 – that’s 183 for the episode, and .000324 for spite
    • Jared – 150-175

The Game Plan 

Next Time…

Join us next time for the Autumn David Tennant Special, The Waters of Mars.

Closing

Noobs and the Whovian is a production of Master Closet Studios, where it’s always smaller on the inside. Your Senior Producer is Austin Reason. Our Audio Engineer is Tripp Reason. Corbin Reason is our Production Editor. Special thanks to tardis.wikia.com for the trivia, Jared for the Classic Who Connection

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