Planet of Evil

Taking much of its inspiration from the classic fifties sci-fi film, 'Forbidden Planet' crossed with a fair dose of 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde',  'Planet of Evil' saw producer Philip Hinchcliffe and stars Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen really hitting their stride in this story from one of the show's best-loved seasons...

Although entirely studio bound, 'Planet of Evil' still saw 16mm location filming augmenting the videotaped work at Television Centre - albeit in an stunning alien jungle location created by designer Roger Murray-Leach within the confines of the BBC's Ealing Studios. The episodes were Transform Decoded from the BBC D3 transmission copies of the original 2" analogue edit masters, then graded and noise reduced by Jonathan Wood at BBC Resources. Picture cleanup was carried out at SVS and sound restoration by Mark Ayres as usual. No big problems were found on the picture side. On the audio side, Mark Ayres makes the following comments...

"This is another of my favourite stories - more terrific work by David Maloney, stunning design by Roger Murray Leach, and featuring Tom Baker and Lis Sladen on top form. The music and sound design are particularly noteworthy: Dudley Simpson is at the top of his game and being allowed to stretch his legs with more music than was usual for the period, while Peter Howell (deputising for Dick Mills who was on holiday) complements the music perfectly with his shimmering monster and grumbling planet sounds.

But this invention came at a slight cost, as the soundtrack is really pushing the boundaries of what was achievable technically at the time, mainly in terms of layering and "dropping in" to the mix - there are numerous pops, clicks and differing noise levels on edits, and obvious dips in studio sound to remove set-noise. All of these artefacts have been smoothed across where possible. Some inconsistent levels - in part 2 and the start of part 3 particularly - have also been corrected, while maintaining the occasionally non- broadcast legal dynamics.

I have also done my best to fix two bits of obvious dialogue replacement - firstly during the film sequence of the Doctor and Sarah exploring Zeta Minor after leaving the TARDIS in part one, and secondly in episode four as the Doctor enters the Morestran ship's bridge after his first encounter with the multiple Sorensons. In both cases, Tom Baker's voice was heard even though his lips were plainly not moving (in the first instance he is face to camera, in the second in exposed profile). The changes are subtle, but I hope the overdubs are now not quite so jarring, visually."

The extras package consists of:

Commentary - with actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Prentis Hancock, producer Philip Hinchcliffe.

Ed Stradling looks at the making of this story in A Darker Side (dur. 25' 50"). With producer Philip Hinchcliffe, writer Louis Marks, designer Roger Murray-Leach, director David Maloney, actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Prentis Hancock. Partially shot on location at BBC Written Archives Centre and Ealing Studios.

Steve Broster's Planetary Performance (dur. 13' 30") looks at the production of the story from an actor's perspective. With actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Prentis Hancock, Tony McEwan and Graham Weston.

Studio Scene (dur. 0' 48") - the only surviving behind-the-scenes footage from the story.

Continuities (dur. 1' 50") - continuity announcements and repeat trailer.

Photo Gallery (dur. 7' 04") - production, design and publicity photos from the story.

'Coming Soon' (dur. 1' 02") - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release.

Radio Times Listings in Adobe PDF format for viewing on PC or Mac. Programme subtitles and Subtitle Production Notes.

Copyright Steve Roberts,  30 June 2007. No reproduction allowed without written permission.