Number : Season 13, serial 2 of 6.

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 episodes.

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 and cleverly weaves the outline of Forbidden Planet and Jekyll & Hyde into a sci-fi tale. The jungle sets. The anti-matter monster.

Whats bad : Nothing. Unless homaging – is bad.

Review With Spoilers : Planet Of Evil is the second serial of season 13. 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 one solid science-fiction tale and creates another defining Tom Baker era – 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 minimal CSO overlay effect – put to good use.

Inspired by the creature from Forbidden Planet. This was the intention 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 ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ inspired “anti-man” character. Even down to 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 – scene, 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 Doctor Who – in new directions. The Doctor even breaks the habit of a lifetime, by using a blaster-gun!

Planet Of Evil, comes across as an effectively 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.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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