Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

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Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 26th January 2009, 00:44

The BBC have confirmed the casting of Michelle Ryan in the Planet of the Dead, the first of four Doctor Who specials which will air in 2009.

Ryan, who is best known for her roles as Zoe Slater in EastEnders and Jaime Sommers in the recent remake of Bionic Woman, will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza, who joins David Tennant, as the Doctor, on a bus trip which takes a very unexpected detour into danger. She said "I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team. It is such a fantastic show and I can’t wait to get started!"

British comedy star Lee Evans will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor's under extraordinary circumstances.

Noma Dumezweni returns to the series as Captain Erisa Magambo, last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in "Turn Left".

Executive Producer and writer Russell T Davies said "Michelle is one of the most sought after young actors in the country and we are delighted to announce that she will be joining the team. As always the script is being kept strictly under wraps however we can reveal that Lady Christina is a woman with a mysterious past who's going to have a huge impact on the Doctor! "

The episode will be screened at Easter. Very Happy


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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 26th January 2009, 04:30

I've now added a publicity photo of the Doctor and the Lady Christina de Souza (aka Michelle Ryan) to the public-gallery. Smile
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Renny on 26th January 2009, 08:31

Nice one Chris. I saw this news and was encouraged by the casting.

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Mykilus on 26th January 2009, 08:47

and when she opens the door to the Tardis her arm will go Nanananananana.............

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 29th January 2009, 05:11

Further news to confirm that this Easter Special is being filmed on location in Dubai.

The BBC posted a news-item today about the filming of the special which you can read via the web-link below. It would appear that some hasty script changes were required following damage to the double-decker bus that they were supposed to be filming in!!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7856405.stm
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Renny on 29th January 2009, 08:58

On an unrelated night, tonight's Come Dine With Me on C4 had a great Dr Who themed kid's bedroom where the door into the room had been turned into a Tardis door, complete with blue paint and police box notice and flashing light at the top. Tres cool.

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 29th January 2009, 10:53

The BBC's Doctor Who website have posted a video-diary from David Tennant in which we follow him on his first day back in Cardiff for the read-through of Planet of the Dead:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/misc/thetennanttapes/

Very Happy
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 17th February 2009, 09:18

The BBC's Doctor Who website have now posted the 2nd of David Tennant's video-diaries, which feature the film-crew at work in Cardiff Bay during the first day of filming on Planet of the Dead:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/misc/thetennanttapes/tape_2


Very Happy
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 27th March 2009, 06:00

AIRDATE CONFIRMATION:-

The BBC Press Office has confirmed that Planet of the Dead will be broadcast on the week-beginning 11th April. The exact date is not set although it is pretty much a dead-cert to be broadcast on Easter Saturday. The final airdate and time slot will be confirmed when the listings are sent to the various TV-guide magazines at the end of next week.

The Press Office also gave a brief-description of the episode which is re-produced below:-

"When a London bus takes a detour to an alien world, the Doctor must join forces with the extraordinary Lady Christina, in this one-off seasonal special. But the mysterious planet holds terrifying secrets, hidden in the sand. And time is running out, as the deadly Swarm gets closer.

Planet Of The Dead features David Tennant as the Doctor, Michelle Ryan as Lady Christina and Lee Evans as Malcolm and is written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts."

Cant Wait!!!! Very Happy
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 2nd April 2009, 04:14

Further to my previous message, I can now confirm that Planet of the Dead will be broadcast on Saturday 11th April at 18:45 - 19:45 (BBC1).

If you would like to see a trailer for the special, then tune into BBC1 tonight at 21:00 as it will debut just before the latest episode of the Apprentice.
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 3rd April 2009, 05:12

For those of you who missed the Planet of the Dead trailer last night (or wish to see it again), this is now available to view on the BBC's Doctor Who website at:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/misc/media/
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by scarab on 3rd April 2009, 08:12

cant believe it has come round so quickly , cant wait really , ill be letting the kids know tomorrow and they will be counting the days thats for certain.

trailer looks good !

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 4th April 2009, 04:56

From looking at the trailer it looks like they've used the Dubai desert filming to good effect and it makes for a classy change to the usual quarries or studio-sets. The swarms of creatures flying over the desert kind of reminded me of Pitch Black - albeit set in the day-time rather then night. As I understand, there should be a trailer at the end of Planet of the Dead for the next Special which is set for transmission sometime in the Autumn.
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Renny on 13th April 2009, 08:42

Sorry chaps, but i was distinctly underwhelmed by this offering. I though Tennant was on good form and Michelle Ryan made a nice change of pace as the companion. The story was quite weak, though, I thought. We kept waiting for the Doctor to simply have UNIT send an APC through the wormhole to pick everyone up but that thought hadn't occurred to him apparently. The plot also relied a lot on coincidence with the only means of getting the bus conveniently having no petrol and the only means of getting it back through the wormhole a gadget which just happens to be at the bottom of an implausible shaft which only be reached by a winch which a character just happens to have in her backpack. Wasn't crazy about Lee Evans. I also thought the CGI looked a bit ropey in places. So only a 6/10 for me.

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Mykilus on 13th April 2009, 10:50

As a speacial it certainly lacked in that department, From the trailers the only thing missing from it was Vin Diesal,Very weak. One can only hope the next three have more clout.It would have been a major disapointment
had i not seen Red Dwarf.


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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 13th April 2009, 14:17

I'm sorry to read that Mike and Steve didnt enjoy this. I on the otherhand had a very good time watching this which I found to be thoroughly entertaining.

With regard to the APC issue which Mike and Steve have raised today, I personally don’t think this sort of plot-logic is really an issue unless there was an APC vehicle to hand for UNIT to use - which I don’t recall seeing?

Assuming however that UNIT were able to get hold of an APC in time – would this really prove to be an easy solution though or is this oversimplifying their predicament? I think the assumption here is that an APC would be structurally impervious to the wormhole (with its driver enclosed within metal) and able to drive back-and-forth without enduring damage or risk of death/injury to its’ passengers?

I would counter this assumption by reminding you that the faraday-cage explanation was only given as a rough analogy (as admitted by the Doctor) as the wormhole dynamics weren’t exact, and this is further evidenced by the fact that the top-deck of the bus was nearly ripped-off when they drove through it. Clearly their survival was due to an element of good-fortune which was not guaranteed simply by sitting securely within a metal container. If there had been an APC was to hand, then driving it through the wormhole would surely subject it to the same structural problems faced by the bus with the risk that it too would be damaged (crew possibly killed if the roof is ripped-off) and if it got through to the otherside relatively intact then would it not be just as likely to become stuck-fast in the desert sands of the alien planet too?

Perhaps this UNIT rescue argument is beside the point at any rate, as within the context of the episode Captain Magambo was clearly working to a specific agenda that was purely concerned with identifying the threat level posed by the ‘anomaly’ and protecting the Earth from any hostile alien incursion it presented. Mounting a dangerous rescue operation didn’t seem to be within her remit, especially once she realized that the anomaly was a rapidly growing wormhole that was to act as a gateway to an alien swarm intent on devouring all life on our planet. I think we can all empathize with UNIT when they understandably made the decision to hold-fast and focus on closing the wormhole rather then assisting the Doctor to escape from it!

Overall I thought the SFX here were pretty good considering the ambition of the episode and the short-turnaround time between filming this at the end of Jan-and early February, which only gave them barely two-months of post-production. Usually these specials are filmed at least 6 months ahead of transmission, which is something that will no doubt benefit the final 3 specials which will not be broadcast until later this year.

The plot was admittedly slight and much lighter in tone to previous offerings but that is not always a bad thing in contrast to some of the darker material broadcast last year (and what is still to come later in 2009), and also in comparison to the previous Xmas Specials which can sometimes feel a little overdone. The threat level posed to the Earth in Planet of the Dead was certainly world-threatening, and so not completely inconsequential, and the fact that they filmed abroad in Dubai gives this episode arguably its most convincing alien-landscape ever (as opposed to a quarry), and visually stunning enough to ensure that this is memorable and special in context to other Doctor Who episodes.

To say it was lacking is a bit unfair as there was plenty to enjoy here, both in the aforementioned overseas filming, sparkling dialogue, strong performances, some high profile casting (Lee Evans), and plenty of spectacle too. As for plot-coincidences, (aside from the ear-attachments procured from the Tritivores which are clearly for human use rather then flies), then I have to admit to have enjoyed myself far too much to care about this too much really. If you want to pick holes then I would say that Lady Christina was clearly established at the outset as a jewel thief who was geared up for a museum heist involving a winch (which we saw her use to steal the cup), and so it’s hardly a coincidence that she should have this to hand in her backpack during the alien-spacecraft sequence. And anyway, if you’re going to write an episode where your cast are stranded on an alien planet then there’s not much fun to be had if everything they need to repair the bus is within easy reach? I don’t know what sort of 'Doctor Who' you would prefer to watch, but if it means accommodating a few coincidences so that the jeopardy factor is ratcheted up to the point where our heroes must scavenge alternate parts at the bottom of a deep shaft (whilst avoiding death from an alien Swarm) then sign me up for this any-day, especially if it involves seeing Michelle Ryan running around and performing stunts in a tight catsuit . Very Happy

Performance wise, I thought that David Tennant was top of his game and it was nice to see his Doctor enjoy one final romp before he is really put through the ringer in his final two adventures. I also enjoyed seeing Michelle Ryan as Lady Christina, and it’s a real shame that she didn’t get to travel in the TARDIS with the Doctor as their entertaining banter would make for a great Doctor/Companion relationship. Lee Evans was fun too, aside from a dodgy Welsh accent. I am not particularly a fan of his standup shows but I warmed to his role as Malcolm during this episode and had a good chuckle at his fanboyish enthusiasm at working with the Doctor. I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him again with UNIT if he were willing to come back next year.

All said and done, I would give this installment a solid 8 out of 10
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Renny on 14th April 2009, 08:06

Chris

As usual, all of your points are valid and well argued, if a tad defensive. In regard to the APC vs bus argument, I would argue that the bus made two trips through the wormhole and survived both ways. Surely a military grade vehicle would fair at least as well. However, surely the point is that i'm feeling the need to point out such issues. Not something i've ever felt compelled to do with RTD who. Ultimately, for me, a letdown.

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Mykilus on 14th April 2009, 17:56

I don't want to widen this discussion about the Apc and weather it would survive 2 trips through the worm hole, But... Granted it would suffer from the same stress`s as the the bus but it would be off much tougher construction than the bus, Also it would be designed for off road travel and so would be unlikely to suffer the same fate as the bus.
However their is a much simpler option available to Magambo, She may/may not have had a spare apc to send through the worm hole, she did however have a truck with the Tardis on the back of it, if she sent that through it would not matter what happens to the truck as i very much doubt that the Tardis would be affected by the transit. This would then leave the Doctor with everything he needs to resolve the situation, close the wormhole and get the passengers home.
These points are however irrelevant, as if they had happened the entire second half of the story would not have happened and that is just bad story telling.
I don`t really have a problem with the story as such and i think it would have made a good mid season episode such as Fear Her and the Peter Kay one(can`t remember the name) The problem is that if you only have 4 episodes in a year they need to be event television and this clearly was not.

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Dr. Who

Post by Digger on 14th April 2009, 21:49

Well, as I am not normally a Dr. Who fan, I didn't think it was all that bad.

Agreed the Lee Evans character got on my tits, but the time passed okay watching it and I did put off going for a pee whilst it was on (mad rush during credits though).

Overall, I would give it a 7/10

Cheers

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Renny on 15th April 2009, 03:45

D. As always you cut to the heart of the matter :-)

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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by rogartheranger on 15th April 2009, 08:40

Yeah I recall Digger didnt like Lee Evans much but was pleased he was restrained enough not to scream at the TV everytime he popped up. Lol

I have enjoyed reading the feedback, observations and plot-suggestions made in the last couple of posts. Whilst we may all have different opinions I dont hold it against anyone....no really honest....As all good-Who fans know, if there is one thing we Doctor Who fans can agree on, it’s that we can’t agree on anything. Laughing

A few more thoughts below:-

“In regard to the APC vs bus argument, I would argue that the bus made two trips through the wormhole and survived both ways. Surely a military grade vehicle would fair at least as well.”

On further consideration I agree that since the bus made two successful trips through the wormhole, that you’re probably right that an APC would probably fair at least as well as the bus. But I think you will have to concede that you have made this observation with the benefit of hindsight of having seen the bus make two successful trips, (the latter of which occurs at the end of the episode when they escape). What you have to remember is that within the context of the episode, the Doctor is stuck on the alien-planet having made only 1 trip through the wormhole. The characters are without our later knowledge that a 2nd trip back in the bus will work out fine, and so any proposed rescue by another vehicle would be a calculated risk with the unknown variables of how the changing-mass of the wormhole may impact on their success.

Another issue is that we as viewers can see everything that occurs on both sides of the wormhole, which the other characters don’t benefit from, which I feel should be taken into consideration when pointing out suggestions or discrepancies. We as viewers learn about the Faraday cage theory when the Doctor explains their survival to the other bus-passengers, but crucially this information is not made available to UNIT who are arriving at the tunnel (17 mins into the episode) and mounting an exclusion zone due to a vanishing bus and materialised remains of a human corpse. Even after they make direct contact with the Doctor, (22mins) he does not tell them about how they survived their trip through the wormhole. Consequently UNIT have no intel on how to travel through the wormhole and so cannot mount a rescue attempt. Whether this is simply remiss of the Doctor, (or the writer), or understandable caution given the changing size of the wormhole (which he would prefer analysed first prior to a rescue) is up to you to decide?

In my opinion, the Doctor is simply being cautious and isnt prepared to take the faraday-cage theory as concrete proof until UNIT can analyse the wormhole and explain why it is increasing in size which might impact on whether they can drive through it safely. Also the full extent of their danger is not known to the Doctor when he first contacts UNIT. When he initially phones Magambo, (22 mins into episode), yes the bus is stuck, but it still has petrol, and he is unaware of the approaching Swarm (just a dust cloud on the distant horizon) and so there is no immediate requirement to mount an emergency evacuation that may risk more lives.

The key moment for me is 32 mins into the episode when the Doctor gets a phone call from the other passengers telling him that the bus has now run out of petrol. Seconds later he then discovers (via that probe) that the approaching dust-cloud is actually a deadly swarm of stingray creatures. He estimates that the Swarm is 100 miles away but will be upon them in about 20 minutes! If he were to phone UNIT at this point and request an APC rescue then 20 minutes doesn’t give them much time to russle one up and get it to the tunnel does it?

What follows over the next 15 minutes happens pretty close to real-time as the Doctor and Christina instead opt to get hold of those anti-gravity clamps and get back to the bus to fly back through the wormhole. When the stingrays arrive on the scene (47 mins), the Doctor has the bus levitated off the ground and takes it through the wormhole. However even at this stage he is not certain that they will make it back alive. Thankfully his fears were unfounded as the bus gets back without further damage, but that’s where hindisght is a wonderful thing. But ultimately, as he is successful getting them all back safely and without further loss of life, then I don’t think it fair to penalise the good Doctor on the APC issue.

Regarding the creative use of the TARDIS, suggested by Mykilus which is quite a neat option:

However their is a much simpler option available to Magambo, She may/may not have had a spare apc to send through the worm hole, she did however have a truck with the Tardis on the back of it, if she sent that through it would not matter what happens to the truck as i very much doubt that the Tardis would be affected by the transit. This would then leave the Doctor with everything he needs to resolve the situation, close the wormhole and get the passengers home.

This might be a good idea, but there is one crucial scene 22 mins into the episode which may explain why it does not occur to anyone:

Captain Magambo: “A body came through here, have you sustained any more fatalities?”
The Doctor: “No, and we’re not going to. But I’m stuck, I haven’t got the TARDIS, and I need to analyse that wormhole”.

So – there you have it. The Doctor tells Magambo that he doesn’t have the TARDIS. If she had it to hand surely she would have piped-up at this point and told him that they had found the police-box lying around the grounds of Buckingham Palace and perhaps offered to send it through the Wormhole to him. As she doesn’t say anything, then I think it is fair to assume that UNIT have not recovered it at this point, and that the Police Box is probably not returned to the tunnel until nearer the end of the episode (by which point it is no longer required).

I don`t really have a problem with the story as such and i think it would have made a good mid season episode such as Fear Her and the Peter Kay one(can`t remember the name) The problem is that if you only have 4 episodes in a year they need to be event television and this clearly was not.

Again I think whether this episode is an ‘event’ is a matter of opinion rather then fact. However Mykilus's point about this being a good mid-season episode, does lend further credence to my suspicions upon reading some of the other negative feedback on various messageboards. I believe that if this were transmitted as part of a normal 13-part-TV series, (or even as one of the Xmas Specials), then I don’t think many of its detractors would be so critical about some of the episode’s supposed failings. I think that you would probably just quietly shrug it off and look forward to next Saturday’s installment which might be more to your taste. But as this is a one-off installment isolated from the other Specials by at least 7 months then I feel that there is perhaps a weight of expectation that is unfairly levelled against this episode as you feel that this 1 hour of TV has to deliver an amazing experience that will help carry you through the rest of the year. Consequently there seems to be more vocal discontent then there might otherwise have been, something which might be less relevant once the Tennant-era is complete and you can watch all these special-episodes on TV or DVD back-to-back without the expectation or frustrating wait for "the Waters of Mars" and the two-part finale??

I for one cant wait for the Waters of Mars. This looks like they are aiming for full on scares and base-under-seige material....more of which I will start on a separate thread once further details are announced. Very Happy
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by agentofping on 15th April 2009, 19:34

rogartheranger wrote:I for one cant wait for the Waters of Mars. This looks like they are aiming for full on scares and base-under-seige material....more of which I will start on a separate thread once further details are announced. Very Happy

OMG! ICE WARRIORS?!?

AoP
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Re: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (Casting News)

Post by Digger on 15th April 2009, 20:03

Bloody Hell Hiss - Get out more!

At least there was no mention of Jade Goody, the Primark Princess who has gone to the great kebab shop in the sky! Bonus!
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