Planet Of Evil
The Doctor and Sarah land on Zeta Minor, at the very edge of the universe.
A scientific team led by Professor Sorenson is being terrified by an
anti-matter monster, a situation which deteriorates when Sorenson takes a
sample of anti-matter off-planet. The Doctor must stop Sorenson, who has
begun mutating into a Jekyll-and-Hyde-like anti-man, and restore the
balance on Zeta Minor before death comes calling for them all.
In developing ideas for Doctor Who's thirteenth season, producer
Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes agreed that the
programme had spent too much time on Earth in recent years. To this end,
they entered into discussions with designer Roger Murray-Leach about
creating a truly alien environment within the confines of the Ealing
Television Film Studios. For the story which would make use of the
proposed sets, Hinchcliffe suggested taking inspiration from the 1956
science-fiction classic Forbidden Planet, which he had enjoyed in
his youth. Unlike Forbidden Planet, in which a monster was revealed
to be embodiment of the dark side of a scientist's mind, Hinchcliffe
suggested that the monster could actually represent the dark side of a
planet. Holmes, for his part, was interested in an adventure which drew
upon Robert Louis Stevenson's seminal 1886 novel The Strange Case Of Dr
Jekyll And Mr Hyde.
To write such a serial, Holmes approached Louis Marks, with whom he had
worked in the mid-Sixties. Marks had twice contributed to Doctor
Who over the course of the past decade, most recently scribing Day Of The Daleks three years earlier. It was
decided that Marks' scripts would be set in a jungle environment, in
contrast to the barren world of Forbidden Planet. Marks, who was
under contract to the BBC as a script editor, received staff clearance for
his scripts on May 19th, 1975; in reality, he had been working on them
since much earlier in the year.
Originally, Sorenson did not reappear after plunging into
the black pool, but Philip Hinchcliffe deemed this an unsuitable
Serial 4H came to be called Planet Of Evil, although the slightly
lengthier “The Planet Of Evil” was also employed on
occasion. While scheduled for production after Pyramids Of Mars, it was planned to transmit
Planet Of Evil first to maintain a better balance between stories
set on Earth and in space, and between those recorded on location and in
studio, over the course of Season Thirteen. Shortly before production
began, Hinchcliffe requested an amendment to the closing moments of
Planet Of Evil. In Marks' original version, Sorenson did not
reappear after plunging into the black pool. Hinchcliffe felt that this
was not a suitable fate for a well-intentioned character, and so asked
Holmes to adjust the ending to have Sorenson survive.
Assigned to direct Planet Of Evil (designated Serial 4H) was David
Maloney, who had recently completed work on Genesis
Of The Daleks. Having been an important part of the initial
discussions about the story, Murray-Leach was brought aboard the crew as
well. With no location filming allocated to the production, Murray-Leach
was given the freedom to design a fabulously detailed, exotic and alien
jungle set at Ealing, for filming on June 11th and 12th. This set proved
so successful that it was extensively photographed by the BBC Educational
Service, which would use it as an example of design excellence for years
afterward. Nonetheless, the jungle set did cause some problems, in
particular making it virtually impossible to position sound booms; this
forced most of the dialogue to be dubbed in postproduction.
Work at Ealing continued on June 13th, filming scenes in the void. Model
shots were also completed there on the 14th. As usual, studio recording
for Planet Of Evil took place in fortnightly blocks on Mondays and
Tuesdays. The first of these, in BBC Television Centre Studio 6,
encompassed June 30th and July 1st, for material from episodes one and
two, respectively. The second session occurred on July 14th and 15th, this
time in TC3. In addition to recording scenes from episode three on the
14th, the TARDIS sequences for part one were also taped. The second day
was devoted entirely to the serial's concluding installment.
- Doctor Who: The Handbook: The Fourth Doctor by David J Howe,
Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1992), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0
426 20369 8.
- Doctor Who: The Seventies by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and
Stephen James Walker (1994), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 444 1.
- Doctor Who Magazine #183, 19th February 1992, “Archive:
Planet Of Evil” by Andrew Pixley, Marvel Comics UK Ltd.
- Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #8, 1st September 2004,
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing
- In-Vision #8, September 1988, “Production” edited
by Justin Richards and Peter Anghelides, Cybermark Services.
||27th Sep 1975
||4th Oct 1975
||11th Oct 1975
||18th Oct 1975
|Sarah Jane Smith|
|Malachy Shaw Jones|
|Production Unit Manager|
|Title Music by|
|Ron Grainer &|
|BBC Radiophonic Workshop|
|Incidental Music by|
|Visual Effects Designer|
|The Planet Of Evil|