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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Pirate Planet


Starring: Tom Baker
Narrated by John Leeson
BBC Audio
RRP: £13.25
ISBN: 978 1 4713 0144 5
Available 04 October 2012

As the Doctor and Romana continue their search for the Keys to Time, their journey takes them to the Planet Calufrax. But when they arrive they discover that it is not the barren planet they were expecting. Instead they find a society ruled over by a part cyborg Captain, who both promises and delivers times of prosperity for his people, the roads are literally strewn with wealth. But not all of the citizens see these boons as a good thing and the society is beset from without by the mysterious Mentiads. With their quest temporarily interrupted, the Doctor and Romana must understand the mystery of Zanak and why the inhabitants have hollowed out their own planet...

The Pirate Planet is a four part Tom Baker story, here presented as a two disc, two hour audio CD with additional narration by John Leeson (the voice of K9). The linking script was written by John Molyneux. Nothing against Mr Molyneux, but it’s a shame that there appears to have not been enough of Douglas Adams’s script to reconstruct the links with his writing alone.

That said, Molyneux provides an appropriately adequate level of description to piece the television's audio track together. One of the bonuses of audio presentations over that of the original television show is that the listener has licence to imagine anything they wish. So, an adequate level of description is exactly what should be provided, as anything more prescriptive would limit the listener, at which point you might as well watch the original, dodgy scenery and all.

The Pirate Planet works well as a standalone story, Adams was an accomplished comic writer and though I don’t think that anyone would consider this as good as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it still contains enough of his wit to remain amusing. Adams’s sense of the absurd is well complimented by Tom Baker's delivery of the lines, a man who is, himself, in touch with his inner surreal.

As well as the story the disc contains extras in the form of an interview with John Leeson about his time on the show and PDF scans of the original camera scripts. The set is dedicated to the late Mary Tamm (Romana).


Charles Packer

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