99) THE PIRATE PLANET

30 September - 21 October 1978

Average Viewing Figure: 8.3M

Plot

76) THE ARK IN SPACE

Heading to the planet Calufrax, The Doctor and Romana land on Zanak ruled by a Cyborg Captain

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9 Voice), Bruce Purchase (The Captain), Andrew Robertson (Mr Fibuli)

Rosalind Lloyd (Nurse), Ralph Michael (Balaton), David Sibley (Pralix), David Warwick (Kimus), Primi Townsend (Mula)

Clive Bennett (Citizen), Bernard Finch (Mentiad), Adam Kurakin (Guard)

Uncredited Cast

Clinton Morris, Gus Roy, John Cannon, Reg Turner, John Moore (Technicians), Bill Hughes, Barry Hayes, Gary Dean (Guards)

Juli La Rousse, Barbara Hampshire, Annette Peters (Citizens), Ray Knight, Brychan Powell, Colin Thomas, Clive Rogers, Peter Whittaker

Derek Suthern, Tony Hayes, James Charlton, Jeff Wayne (Mentiad), Vi Delmar (Queen Xanxia)

Crew

Douglas Adams (Writer), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sound), Michael Owen Morris (Production Assistant)

John Nathan-Turner (Production Unit Manager), Elmer Cossey (Film Cameraman), Doug Mawson (Film Recordist), John Dunstan (Film Editor)

Colin Mapson (Visual Effects Designer), Dave Chapman (Electronic Effects Operator), Rod Waldron (Video Tape Editor)

L Rowland-Warne (Costume Designer), Janis Gould (Make-Up Artist), Mike Jefferies (Studio Lighting), Mike Jones (Studio Sound),

Anthony Head (Script Editor), Jon Pusey (Designer), Graham Williams (Producer), Pennant Roberts (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Chris Lawson, John Brace, Charlie Lumm, Peter Wragg (Visual Effects Assistants), Hazel Marriott (Director's Assistant)

Ian Brindle (Films Ops Manager), Ruth Mayorcas (Assistant Floor Manager), Peter Leslie (Floor Assistant), Tony Bate (Technical Manager)

Ian Tomlin (Grams Operator), Linda Burr, Miranda Davidson, Sally Millican, Catherine Whitfield (Make-Up Assistants)

Norman Johnstone (Assistant Sound Recordist), Spencer Payne (Senior Cameraman), Brian Hall (Assistant Film Cameraman)

Peter Higgins (Design Assistant), Sue Thorne (Vision Mixer)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Berkeley Nuclear Power Station, Berkeley, Glos

  • Big Pit, Blaenavon, Gwent

  • Coity Mountain, Gwent

  • Bwlch-y-Garn, Ebbw Vale, Gwent

  • Clydach Railway Tunnel, Darenfelen, Gwent

  • Cathedral Cave, Abercrave Caves, Dan-yr-Ogof, Powys

  • Monmouthshire Golf Club, Llanfoist, Gwent

  • Television Centre: Studio 6

  • Shepperton Studios: Stage K

Deaths

  • The Captain [killed by Xanxia]

  • Mr Fibuli [killed during an explosion on the bridge]

  • Guard [killed by the ployphrase avatron]

  • Xanxia [killed in an explosion]

Number of Production Days: 5

Production Days

  • 11 Days between Monday 1 May - Monday 5 June 1978

Production Errors

  1. When The Doctor tears out a page from the Tardis instruction manual, it is clear that its just a piece of white A4 with black pen on it - however the book is of a cream colour and has a golden trim 

  2. How exactly did K9 get into the hover vehicle when he himself can't leviate above the ground?

Working Titles

  • The Perfect Planet - (storyline)

Verdict

The Pirate Planet is a bit of a mixed bag. Douglas Adams provides some great moments of ingenious writing, but his overall active imagination causes moments of stupidity. It can be quite hard to takes things seriously when it is so overtly bizarre. Just watch the moment K-9 operates the hovercar and the Captain’s line ‘by the great parrot of Hades’ – likeable nonsense in a good way. The visuals tend to be poor because the budget evidently would not stretch far enough to accommodate the requirements of Douglas' big world ideas he had. The story is all over the place concentrating on multiple plotlines without any focus and attention. The story jumps about episode by episode and goes through long periods forgetting about the others. Adams clearly spend time creating a true alien world and he must be admired for that, but his ideas were never truly polished off nor were they edited in such away to bring out his full potential. The trophy room of the destroyed planets is a moment of genius and genuine intelligence. The Pirate Planet is enjoyable, Purchase provides a fitting booming voice a bit akin to Brian Blessed and can switch between emotions at will. Just look at how he towers over his workers like a big bully and then he is cradling his deactivated Avitron like a baby. The finished product does work and is very enjoyable. ***​