Doctor Who (2005– )
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Planet of the Dead 

A meeting in a London bus with jewel thief Lady Christina takes a turn for the worst for the Doctor when the bus takes a detour to a desert-like planet, where the deadly Swarm awaits.


James Strong

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Episode complete credited cast:
David Tennant ... The Doctor
Michelle Ryan ... Christina
Lee Evans ... Malcolm
Noma Dumezweni ... Capt Magambo
Adam James ... DI McMillan
Glenn Doherty Glenn Doherty ... Sgt Dennison
Victoria Alcock Victoria Alcock ... Angela
David Ames David Ames ... Nathan
Ellen Thomas ... Carmen
Reginald Tsiboe Reginald Tsiboe ... Lou
Daniel Kaluuya ... Barclay
Keith Parry Keith Parry ... Bus Driver
James Layton ... Sgt Ian Jenner
Paul Kasey ... Sorvin
Ruari Mears Ruari Mears ... Praygat


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | French

Release Date:

26 July 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Wales See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Although Lady Christina de Souza was a one-off companion, who could have been a full-time companion of The Doctor and could had been companion to Matt Smith and witnessed the regeneration of the 10th/11th Doctor. Bringing back Michelle Ryan in the role in a future episode cannot be ruled out. See more »


Although the desert planet has three suns, everything has one shadow. See more »


Malcolm: The Doctor! Cor blimey, I can't believe I'm actually speaking to you! I mean, I've read all the files!
The Doctor: Really? What was your favourite? The giant robot?
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Crazy Credits

Credit at the end of "Planet of the Dead": LATER THIS YEAR THE WATERS OF MARS See more »

Alternate Versions

An edited for US commercial 1-hour time-slot version excises many scenes, including almost all of Carmen's lines, notably her ESP and foreshadowing of the Doctor's fate in upcoming episodes, including "He will knock four times." See more »


References Doctor Who: Midnight (2008) See more »


Doctor Who Closing Credits
Written by Ron Grainer
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

Stop the bus
14 July 2014 | by LejinkSee all my reviews

This Dr Who Easter special from 2009 tantalisingly dangles a potential new companion before the viewer in the shape of feisty cat burglar Michelle Ryan's titled bored rich girl character only for the Doc to turn up his nose and continue to fly solo. Beforehand, they share a moderately exciting adventure when after daringly stealing a closely-guarded golden artifact Mission Impossible-style, they find themselves sat together on a red London bus just about to take a trans-dimensional trip to anther world, naturally, where they encounter another world-threatening species, ditto naturally, before saving said world yet again in the nick of time - naturally to the power 3!

Borrowing some ideas from Harry Potter (a flying bus, the Doctor's "parseltongue" type dialogue with the Dead Planet's initial batch of aliens) the story's okay if lacking somewhat in excitement or surprises. There's the odd smattering of humour and a nice frisson between Tennant and Ryanm but Lee Evans as a Doctor-adoring UNIT boffin gets too much screen-time.

With no single antagonist to act as a focal point, the story struggles to really create tension and thrills and by the end relies far too much on CaGen SFX as the flying menace targets earth for occupation in their millions.

Seasonal specials and Dr Who tend to go hand in hand, but this episode failed to really take for me.

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