The Doctor is in present-day London and hops on a number 200 bus that suddenly travels through a wormhole. He and the other passengers find themselves in the middle of the desert which he later determines to be on a planet in a galaxy clear across the universe. Aboard the bus one of the passengers is Lady Christina de Souza, a rather accomplished thief who was on the run after having successfully stolen a very valuable piece from a museum. She's quite enthusiastic and proves to be quite helpful as The Doctor tries to unravel what has happened to them and most importantly, devise a means of returning, given that the bus is firmly stuck in the sand and heavily damaged. Back in London, Captain Erisa Magambo has taken charge of the situation and faces the prospect of having to permanently close the wormhole before the travelers can return. Written by
This story went through several drafts. These included a space opera about a giant war (possibly featuring the Chelonians); a bizarre story about time-freezing centaurs in a deserted hotel; a Star Trek (1966) pastiche; and a story about an outer space hotel where guests were disappearing - taken down to the planet below in order to be implanted with alien eggs. See more »
When the burglar is descending the hole in the roof is open. When going back up, the hole is closed. See more »
As the first of four one hour specials being aired this year, Planet of the Dead marks the first Easter special Writer's Russell T. Davies and Gareth Robert's offer up an episode which has a rather interesting premise and a morally dubious character in Michelle Ryan's Lady Christina Da Souza. An attractive young thief who as the story opens is seen to steal a priceless gold artifact from a museum. Having to make a hasty getaway when she accidentally triggers an alarm and is pursued by the authorities. She jumps on to a double decker bus. It would seem she has made her escape and that her problems are over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Especially when the Doctor boards the bus as well and sits right next to her and as you well know. Wherever the Doctor goes, trouble is not far behind him. Before you know it, the buses passengers find them self being sucked through a wormhole and trapped on an alien dessert planet on the other side of the universe.
What follow's is an inoffensive, passable time waster. Nothing spectacular. Which although not bad, you can't help but feel it could have been so much more. The episodes first half get's off to a cracking start with the museum robbery which instantly grabs out interest and contains an elaborate well choreographed scene. But once the action shifts to the bus then the pace begins to slow down and what we're left with is a leaden bit of exposition as we're introduced to a number of throw away characters who offer little to the plot.
Tennant once again is as wonderful as ever as the heroic Time Lord. At least offering something of interest to proceedings and he's adequately enough supported by Michelle Ryan who although fine as the feisty, flirtation Lady Da Souza, Isn't totally convincing in the role. It doesn't help however that she is lumbered with a two dimensional character who's sole purpose is to flirt with Tennant. Not to mention some of the cheesy dialogue she has forced upon her. Da Souza is so irritating post feminist. An attempt by Davies and Robert's it seems to foist a 21st century proactive heroine on us. Independent, confident. When all she comes across as is a reject from 'The Avengers'.
Once the action shifts and see's Tennant and Ryan venturing in to the planet's dessert plains then the pace really begins to get moving again and the story begins to unfold. Which although not entirely original and seems to borrow much from the Stepehn King mini-series, 'The Langoliers' as well as 'Pitch Black'. But never the less, there's still something to enjoy here. Lee Evan's manages to elevate things with his performance as the comically eccentric Prof. Malcolm Turner. Effecting a welsh accent and having some inspired moments with Tennant's Doctor who seems to have met someone more quirky than himself.
The overall result is a passable runaround which sadly is a bit of an anti-climax. While Davies and Roberts inclusion of a middle aged black woman who has psychic powers as a way to hint at what's to come is a unsubtle contrivance which has already been done to death through the series.
I wouldn't expect too much from 'Planet of the Dead'. It's an undemanding, fun and serves as nothing more than filler before the upcoming 'Waters of Mars' and Decembers Christmas specials which will see Tennant bow out of the show. But if this outing is anything to go by. Then Tennant's swan song may be something of an anti-climax. But who know's. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.
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