Sunday, 7 October 2018

485 The Pirate Planet: Part Two

EPISODE: The Pirate Planet: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 07 October 1978
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"I save planets, mostly, but this time I think I've arrived far, far too late!"

The Captain rages at his crew for their failure to find the rogue telepath and has Polyphaseavatron, his pet robot parrot, kill one as an example. The Doctor comes round and decides to track the Mentiads, but when he learns of Romana's arrest he has to rescue her. Romana is taken by aircar to the bridge, Mula & K-9 seek Pralix while the Doctor & Kimus hijack the Captain's aircar to follow Romana. Mr Fibuli reports the macromat field integrator has burnt out so Zanak has only one jump left. A particular mineral will do the job instead. The Captain is enraged, as Romana is bought in. Kimus tell The Doctor about the automated mines that fill up when empty when the Captain announces a new golden age and the light in the sky change. The Captain dismisses Romana's story and becomes enraged, but is ordered to calm down by his nurse who wants to hear more of Romana's story. The Doctor leaves Kimus guarding the aircar and breaks into the bridge, arriving as Romana tells the Captain he's needed to repair the field integrator.

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They are taken to the engine room bellow, a vast room filled with machinery. Taking a tracer reading Romana discovers the second segment appears to be everywhere. The guards are ordered to take the Doctor & Romana back to the Tardis for some equipment but they are freed by Kimus who takes them to the mines. Using an ancient lift they travel to the workings bellow. Detecting them, the Captain orders them obliterated. Three miles bellow the surface of Zanak, The Doctor, Kimus & Romana find themselves on icy frozen ground: the surface of the planet Calufrax. Zanak is a hollow shell that moves round the galaxy mining other planets. Bandragonus 5, the home of the rare Oolian previously suffered this fate. The guards find them, and they flee into the tunnels only to be found by the Mentiads!

Great stuff again, love it.

There's been a hint at what's really going on here in the previous episode but the theme is developed here, with the Doctor reaching a startling conclusion quite early which he keeps to himself:

KIMUS: Hey, this is marvellous. Freedom at last!
DOCTOR: You're not free yet.
KIMUS: Free to think. It's amazing. The city looks so pretty from up here. Yes, even the mines do. You know, that's our entire life.
DOCTOR: Tell me about those mines.
KIMUS: Well, we extract all the raw material that we need from them.
DOCTOR: Who goes down them? Do you go down?
DOCTOR: Mentiads?
DOCTOR: No one?
KIMUS: No. They're automated, you see. We just run the equipment.
DOCTOR: What happens when they run out?
KIMUS: The Captain announces a new golden age of prosperity. They just fill up again.
DOCTOR: What, just like that?
KIMUS: Yeah. Well, you don't think that's wrong, do you?
DOCTOR: Wrong? It's an economic miracle. Of course it's wrong.
KIMUS: Oh. Oh then, of course, the lights change.
DOCTOR: What lights?
KIMUS: You know, the lights. The ones on the sky at night. Little points of light.
DOCTOR: Do you mean the stars?
KIMUS: Look down there. I think there's some sort of entrance into the mountain.
DOCTOR: Might be the way to the Bridge.
KIMUS: Say, you're very good at this. Do you drive these things for a living?
DOCTOR: No. I save planets, mostly, but this time I think I've arrived far, far too late.
Romana meanwhile makes a discovery but not even she goes far enough with her thinking
ROMANA: Well, whatever it is, it's obviously burnt out.
CAPTAIN: A whining infant could tell me that. Your time is running out.
ROMANA: I'm sorry. I was never any good at antiques. It's probably just an old macromat field integrator or something.
FIBULI: Captain, she does know.
CAPTAIN: By the beard of the sky demon, the jaws of death were hot about your neck.
ROMANA: That must be part of a massive dematerialisation circuit.
CAPTAIN: It is part of a system that transports us instantly through space.
ROMANA: You mean the whole mountain? You take this whole mountain with you through space? Amazing.
Although, once reunited with the Doctor, she wants to get on with the task in hand.
ROMANA: The reason why we've come here is to find the second segment of the key, in case you'd forgotten. Getting involved in all this
DOCTOR: Is the only way to find it. What does the tracer say?
ROMANA: I just don't understand it. It seems to give out a continuous signal wherever we go.
DOCTOR: What? That's it, then.
DOCTOR: The answer. Romana, we've stumbled on one of the most heinous crimes ever committed in this galaxy.
The confirmation of the Doctor's suspicions is found in the mines:
ROMANA: Where are we, Doctor?
DOCTOR: About three miles beneath the surface of Zanak, I'd say.
ROMANA: Three miles?
ROMANA: But it's so cold.
DOCTOR: Yes. And wet and icy. Ah! Romana, this entire planet's hollow.
ROMANA: Hollow?
DOCTOR: Yes, hollow. Hollow! Can't you work it out? Go on, take a look. Go on, look. Look! You all right?
KIMUS: It's all beyond me, Doctor. I don't know where I am.
ROMANA: It's frozen ground, Doctor. I don't understand. Cold, wet.
DOCTOR: Come here and listen. Now listen, Kimus. The reason the stars in your sky change is because they don't.
KIMUS: They don't?
DOCTOR: No. Your entire planet jumps through space
ROMANA: Those engines!
DOCTOR: Yes, those engines. Huge enough to dematerialise an entire hollow planet, flip it halfway across the galaxy and rematerialise it round its chosen prey.
ROMANA: You mean other planets?
DOCTOR: Yes, like a huge fist. It's one huge mining machine that mines planets, extracts all the valuable minerals and leaves the rubble behind.
ROMANA: Then what we're standing on now
DOCTOR: Is the planet we originally came looking for.
DOCTOR + ROMANA: Calufrax.
ROMANA: Buried inside Zanak?
DOCTOR: Buried inside Zanak, the pirate planet, and having the goodness sucked out of it.
KIMUS: Do you mean that whole other worlds have died to make us rich? Whole other worlds like ours?
DOCTOR: Whole other worlds.
ROMANA: Some of them inhabited.
DOCTOR: The oolian stone I picked up in the street. Bandraginus Five! I knew I'd heard that name somewhere before. I remember now. About a hundred years ago it disappeared without trace. A planet of a thousand million souls, Captain fodder.
KIMUS: Bandraginus Five, by every last breath in my body, you'll be avenged.
ROMANA: Doctor?
ROMANA: The tracer, it's gone mad. The second segment must be down here somewhere.
DOCTOR: Yes, I thought so.
The big secret is revealed here: Zanak's a hollow shell materialising round planets and draining them dry. A genius concept and we're not done with it yet either.....

Some might say it bears a resemblance to the ideas behind Magrathea in Douglas Adams' work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy whose The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was being written at around the same time. The difference is Zanak is eating the planets inside it while Magrathea is making them!

Having got the sweets right last episode the props department have an off day this episode: that's a trail of liquorice allsorts that the Doctor is scattering for the guard to follow away from the Captain's Aircar! And why we're on the subject, what's the Captain's aircar doing in the city? He's up on the Bridge which overlooks it!

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Oh and on the subject of the Aircars in general, the words of Jim Bowen spring to mind: "Let's have a look at what we could of won...... Oooooh, it's the speedboat!" That's what they look like, a small speedboat dressed up with a few extra bits on!

Also where did the gun in Balaton's house come from? Kimus grabs it when you're busy looking elsewhere and has it for the rest of the episode....

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Ah, got it, it belongs to one of the guards that K-9 stuns at the end of the previous episode. You can see him tying the guards up in the background earlier in the scene he first picks the gun up.

And speaking of things seemingly appearing from nowhere, The Nurse as played by Rosalind Lloyd.

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She's not in episode one at at all but there she is in the background at the start of the episode and gains prominence as the episode goes on, even interfering with the interrogation of Romana!

CAPTAIN: What is your function?
ROMANA: Well, as a Time Lord, I can travel about in space and, of course
CAPTAIN: Pah! Common space urchin. Pah! You shall die.
ROMANA: And of course, time. Hence Time Lord.
CAPTAIN: Time travel? You expect me to believe such nonsense?
ROMANA: Yes, it is a difficult concept.
CAPTAIN: The insolent breath of idle fantasy! Death comes now!
NURSE: Captain? Captain? The excitement of more than one execution in a day is bad for your blood pressure. Perhaps you should postpone it till tomorrow.
CAPTAIN: Postpone?
NURSE: Yes. I think her story sounds quite interesting, even if it is idle fantasy. Why don't you ask her how this machine she mentions travels.
ROMANA: Well, roughly speaking, and putting it terribly simply, it dematerialises in one location, passes through a space time vortex and then rematerialises again in a new location.
NURSE: I think that sounds terribly interesting. Don't you?
More to her than meets the eye.

Lots of the locations for this story are featured in this episode: First K-9 and Mula, seeking the Mentiads, are seen walking on Monmouthshire Golf Course.

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Then Gellifelen Railway Tunnels forms the entrance to the Bridge. One of the tunnels was capped with a flat piece of scenery while the other is just out of shot to the left.

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The guard approaching the entrance who fires on Kimus is filmed looking away from the tunnel entrance.

The interior of Berkeley Power Station is the Bridge's engine room.

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The mine exterior was filmed at The Big Pit, now home to the National Coal Museum.

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The lift working interior scenes were shot at the same site.

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It's the second Welsh mine to feature in Doctor Who after Ogilvie Colliery was used in The Green Death.

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The mine interior is portrayed by the extensive cave system that now forms The National Showcaves Centre for Wales.

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For the nearby locations used in other episodes of the story see

We move onto the thorny issue of the Technicians. IMDB lists TWO for this episode, there's SIX in the line up! One of the names they have is John Cannon, who played the credited part of Elgin in Hand of Fear so I know what he look like! The other is James Muir and thanks to his Aveleyman page I'm pretty sure that's him standing next to Mr Fibuli.

James Muir had previously been, if IMDB is to be believed, a Soldier in The Time Monster, a UNIT Soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Muto in Genesis of the Daleks, a Soldier in Terror of the Zygons, a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora and a Worker/Technician in The Sun Makers. He'll be back in the next story The Stones of Blood as a Druid, then as a Louvre Detective in City of Death, a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden, a Krarg in Shada (giving him appearances in all three of Douglas Adams' Doctor Who stories), a Foamasi in The Leisure Hive, a Gaztak in Meglos, a Tharil in Warriors' Gate and the Police Driver in Black Orchid. He was in Moonbase 3 as a Technician in Castor and Pollux, Rentaghost as a Party Guest in the third series fourth episode and, somewhat appropriately, the television version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as the Vl'Hurg Leader!

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So there's four faces I don't know. M'learned colleagues on Roobarb's DVD forum suggest that, according to the paperwork, the technicians in episodes 1 & 3-4 were Clinton Morris, Gus Roy and John Cannon while for episodes 3-4 Reg Turner and John Moore also featured. This being episode 2 is accounted for by some out of order studio recording. So.....

We think the second face is John Moore: his Aveleyman page shows a good picture of him in Out of the Unknown: Thirteen to Centaurus where he plays Matthias Granger and you can see that on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He'd also been in that series' predecessor Out of This World when he played Dr. Kendal in The Dark Star. IMDB think he was in two Doctor Whos: The Myth Makers as a Trojan Man and Frontier in Space as a Prisoner. He's another Prisoner in Porridge where he plays Spider in the opening episode of the third series, A Storm in a Teacup.

Similarly his Aveleyman page lets us identify the third technician as Clinton Morris. He'd been in Frontier in Space as a Presidential Guard and The Masque of Mandragora as a Brother/Peasant villager. He'd also been in Moonbase 3 as a Technician in Outsiders and plays Wallace, the ill fated crewman sent to board The Liberator in Blake's 7 episode Space Fall.

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I think the fourth technician is Reg Turner and here's his Aveleyman page. He was previously a Thal in Genesis of the Daleks. He'd been in three episodes of Doomwatch playing a man in You Killed Toby Wren, The Inquest & The Logicians. He's in six episodes of Blake's 7 as a Prisoner in The Way Back & Space Fall, a Federation Trooper in Weapon, Voice from the Past & The Harvest of Kairos and a Rebel in Rumours of Death.

The fifth man is obviously John Cannon. He'd been a Miner in The Monster of Peladon, Elgin in The Hand of Fear, a Passer by in The Talons of Weng-Chiang and a Trog in Underworld. He'll be back as a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, another Guard in The Creature from the Pit, an Extra in Time-Flight, a Striker's Helmsman in Enlightenment and Sir Raulf Fitzwilliam's 1st Servant in The King's Demons. He was a Moonbase 3 Technician in Castor and Pollux and is a Prison Inmate in the Porridge episode A Night In. He was in The Sweeney twice as a Constable in Supersnout and a Policeman in Thou Shalt Not Kill, in which he's directed by Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield . In I, Claudius he's a Cake Ship slave in A Touch of Murder. His Blake's 7 are a Federation Trooper in Project Avalon, Cevedic's Heavy in Gambit, a Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and a Federation Trooper in Children of Auron. He's in The Professionals as Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture and the same year plays a Holographic Imperial Officer in The Empire Strikes Back. Camfield uses him again as a Legionnaire in Beau Geste.

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Which leaves technician number six who, by process of elimination, must be Gus Roy!

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