Audio Review: Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet
THESE days the late comedy-writer Douglas Adams is best-remembered for his work on the seminal Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently and Last Chance to See, with his tenure as script editor and writer for Doctor Who somewhat forgotten.
However, the recent release of a completed novel of his “lost” Who story Shada has provoked fresh interest in his short-lived time with the show, and has led to both of his two broadcast stories being selected to join the newly-revived soundtrack audios range.
With the acclaimed City of Death coming out shorlty, we’ll start our Adams-celebration with a look at his first Who story, the second serial in the season-long Key to Time arc, The Pirate Planet, starring Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and John Leeson.
Hunting the second segment of the Key, the Doctor and Romana attempt to land on the planet Calufrax, only to end up on the hollowed-out world Zanak, which has been materialising around other planets to plunder their resources under the instruction of the deranged cyborg Captain…
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It’s a typically bold concept by Adams, with the story populated by a host of bizarre characters of the sort who wouldn’t be out of place in the Hitchhiker’s book, and plenty of irreverent humour peppering the script.
With the complete story existing in the BBC Archives, the quality of the soundtrack used here is faultless, with supplementary narration provided with aplomb by K9 actor Leeson, who also appears in a bonus interview talking about his time as the metal mutt on the show.
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Perhaps not as highly-regarded as Douglas Adams’ other Who work, and overlooked by being caught up in the Key to Time story instead of being a self-contained adventure, there’s actually a great deal in The Pirate Planet to enjoy, something this single release actually encourages.