Which One : Forbidden Planet crossed with Jekyll and Hyde.
Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Sarah-Jane : Liz Sladen
Sorenson : Frederick Jaeger
Vishinsky : Ewen Solon
Salamar : Prentis Hancock
De Haan : Graham Weston
Ponti : Louis Mahoney
Morelli : Michael Wisher
Braun : Terence Brook
Baldwin : Tony McEwan
O’Hara : Haydn Wood
Reig : Melvyn Bedford
Written By : Louis Marks
Produced By : Philip Hinchcliffe
First UK Broadcast : 27 September – 18 October 1975.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor picks up a distress call, from Zeta Minor and finds a diminishing expedition team under attack, from an invisible anti-matter monster.
Whats good : Incorporates the outline of Forbidden Planet and Jekyll & Hyde. The jungle sets. The anti-matter monster.
Whats bad : Nothing. Unless homaging is bad.
Review With Spoilers : Planet Of Evil is the 2nd episode of season 12. It is another gothic horror space tale, which borrows heavily from Forbidden Planet and Jekyll & Hyde.
Planet Of Evil works rather well – at weaving all of these inspirations together into 1 science-fiction tale and creates another defining Tom Baker – Doctor Who.
Part of the reason it works so well, is that the anti-matter creature wasn’t just another “man-in-a-suit” monster. It only appears in fleeting glimpses -throughout, using a nifty overlayed effect.
Inspired by the creature from Forbidden Planet. This was an intended thing by producers, to create a monster without obvious form. It’s effective too – as it keeps popping up without warning and killing people.
The creature does take on somewhat of a form, at points in the story; by possessing Expedition Professor Sorenson and he appears as some kind of a Jekyll & Hyde inspired “anti-man” character. Even down to Sorenson’s drinking smoking liquids, in an attempt to keep the changes at bay.
“You and I are scientists, Professor [Sorenson]. We buy our privilege to experiment at the cost of total responsibility!” The Doctor
Although Planet Of Evil looks a little dated now. Production did put quite a bit of money, into the lush jungle set – for Zeta Minor. It has a steamy, wet-look organic feel to it; which helps carry the air of a tropical alien landscape. It works well on screen and even won a few awards, back in the day.
The episode has a closed-in feel in the camera work. Which is probably more to do with not wanting to give away too much of the limited jungle set (to the viewer); but it still helps give the episode – a tangible and effective air of tension.
With the relief-ship landing party arriving on the jungle planet, Planet Of Evil has a very Original Star Trek feel to it. Even down to the pit set from which the anti-matter creature emanates.
This era is well noted, as the best in the show’s full run. There were plenty of risks being taken on-and-off screen, in an attempt to push Who – in new directions. The Doctor even breaks the habit of a lifetime, by using a blastergun.
Planet Of Evil comes across as an effectivly creepy episode. With the type of monster, that could so easily fit into the new post-2005 series. Decked out with a new look, in CGI – of course.