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.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Glenn Doherty ...
Sgt Dennison
Victoria Alcock ...
David Ames ...
Reginald Tsiboe ...
Keith Parry ...
Bus Driver
Sgt Ian Jenner
Ruari Mears ...


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 »

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Release Date:

26 July 2009 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


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 »


The Doctor: I need something non-corrosive. Something malleable. Something ductile. Something... gold.
Christina: Oh no you don't.
The Doctor: Christina, what is it worth now?
Barclay: Hey hey, use this.
[hands over watch]
The Doctor: I said gold.
Barclay: It is gold.
The Doctor: Oh, they saw you coming.
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Crazy Credits

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


References The Quatermass Experiment (2005) See more »


Propane Nightmares
Performed by Pendulum
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User Reviews

Stop the bus
14 July 2014 | by See 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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