The Planet Of Fire Doctor Who: Season 21








Planet Of Fire SYNOPSIS:

After an unexpected farewell to Tegan, a distress call takes the Doctor and Turlough to Lanzarote. Turlough rescues a drowning girl called Peri who happens to be carrying the device emitting the distress signal not knowing what it is. The Doctor traces the signal back to the planet Sarn despite his companions' attempt at sabotaging the Tardis.

While the others explore Sarn, Peri is confronted by the Doctor's shape changing android Kamelion that is taken over gain by it's former controller the Master and changes into the Master's likeness. Volcanic tremors across Sarn lead Elder Timanov to declare the unbelievers of their tribe to be sacrificed to the fire to appease their god, Logar.

Upon meeting the tribe, Turlough notes he has the same mark as their chosen one. Turlough and Malkon the chosen one turn out to be brothers and exiles from their home planet of Trion. Before Peri can warn them the Master / Kamelion arrives taking on the prophesied role of "the Outsider" he persuades Timanov the others are enemies of Logar.

The Doctor attempts to save them all from the Elders wrath and convince the tribe they must leave before the planet of fire's instability causes all the volcanoes to explode. As the real Master, with help from Kamelion, attempts to restore himself using the numismaton from the planets core and take his revenge on the Doctor.

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Planet Of Fire DETAILS:

Episode Broadcast Run Time Viewership (In Millions)
Part One 23-Feb-84 24:26 7.4
Part Two 24-Feb-84 24:20 6.1
Part Three 1-Mar-84 23:57 7.4
Part Four 2-Mar-84 24:44 7

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Planet Of Fire CAST & CREW

The Doctor:
Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor)
Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough)
Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown)
Gerald Flood (Kamelion)

Guest Stars:
Anthony Ainley — The Master
Peter Wyngarde — Timanov
Dallas Adams — Howard
Michael Bangerter — Curt
Barbara Shelley — Sorasta
James Bate — Amyand
Jonathon Caplan — Roskal
Edward Highmore — Malkon
Max Arthur — Zuko
John Alkin — Lomand
Simon Sutton — Lookout

Production Staff for Serial 6Q:
Writer - Peter Grimwade
Director - Fiona Cumming
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer - John Nathan-Turner

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Planet Of Fire REVIEWS


So from heady, rainy Earth 1984 the Tardis did depart only to land in the same year on the sand of Lanzarote....(oh and Sarn, the self styled planet of fire, later)
Yes well now to add a little more substance to these Planet Of Fire reviews, although I agree Nicola Bryant's first appearance in nearly all her flesh gave fans and casual viewers alike everywhere a chance to stop and pause...

...and think maybe this old sci-fi show isn't so stupid after all. Yes Peter Grimwade is back and has the unenviable task of (deep breath) writing in new companion Peri Brown, Writing out old companion Turlough, writing in and destroying the Master, writing back in and out again the companion gone missing Kamelion and having a credible and interesting story. Somehow he manages to do this. Planet Of Fire is a nice contrast to the stories either side of it, smoothly directed by Fiona Cumming.
In fact much of the location filming at Lanzarote on the mountain doubling as Sarn give the Planet of Fire a sweeping epic quality and it actually looks like an alien planet with all the volcanic ash, smoke and debris. It also doubles nicely as the Greek Island where the Dr & Turlough first meet the succulent Peri. Now Nicola Bryant goes down in history as the only woman in history to be seen on the show in the skimpiest pink Bikini known to man but not only that it's because she's got a near perfect body that all endear us to the character of Peri straight away. Who wouldn't give to be Mark Stricksen diving into the surf and dragging her out? In fact her influence is felt all round as Turlough and even the Doctor chuck off a few garments in this one.
Although Peri's character is a bit whiney even more so than Tegan's but she does give a good performance, even though most of her scenes are with the Master. Now the Master, Ainley is back and he's gone panto!
There's two of him this time, there's the panto version which is really Kamelion (hence my theory for the OTT panto acting, it's not really him) and the real version who is locked away somewhere controlling Kamelion. The Master's scheme isn't anything this time but restoring himself. Actually this Master has been in cock up mode since trying to destroy the universe (which is pretty hard to top) after Castrovalva, his Tardis ran out of juice, then he was stranded on Xeriafas, then tried a bit of low level plotting with magna carter to try and get the hang of it again, then was told to piss off by nearly every incarnation of the Doctor when trying to help 'em out and was punched out by one of his mates and finally while trying to make a bigger version of his TCE he accidentally shrinks himself.
You gotta feel sorry for the bloke, he really is looking like a total loser. Plus Kamelion, someone in the production team went "Oh shit! that things still on board!" Remember only seeing this for the first time on the early morning ABC repeats and being surprised that kamelion was still there. He/it comes in useful as a plot device as the Master's instrument dressed in a dapper Delago like black suit and tie and his scenes with Peri are good if only from the fact that he does have a definite weakness and that's he can be influenced by another mind, hence him switching to pseudo Howard mode (Peri's real step Dad)when persuaded by Peri, which unfortunately aides the Master's plan.
Plus there's the Turlough subplot where the Doctor finds out he's back to his old tricks sabotaging the Tardis and finally it's revealed that like the Doctor he's on the run from his own people, a convicted prisoner and this lends well into how he reacts to finding the society on Sarn that his long lost brother's a part of and that it uses religion to keep control of the populace. Wyngarde classes it up with his part of the Elder Timanov (you have a part in the character's name TLong?), who ends up not being as stubborn as these elders usually are in the end. Turlough's end is no where near as sad as Tegan's but you can see he's leant a lot from the Doctor and it's time for him to move on.
Davison and Bryant seem to have a good chemistry from their brief scenes together and didn't expect the Doctor to just heartlessly gun down Kamelion. Seemed out of character for the 5th incarnation, he was more likely to try and repair him at all costs. Also did anyone buy the Master dying? Well it seemed final at the time didn't it?
All up Planet Of Fire is an enjoyable laid back tale well done and Peri's lack of clothing provided extra spice 9.1/10


PLANET OF FIRE can be divided into two parts.
This part.....

...and the rest of it. Now, I'm not particularly interested in the second part as I am with the first part. However, since Moderator Tim won't include my Planet of Fire review in the daily score tally if all I do is talk about the first part I better talk about the second part. But first, lets all reflect on that first part again. In fact, here's the picture if anyone out there has forgotten:

And in case you missed it that time, it's here again;

Okay. I better talk about the second part. Ummmmmm........Planet of fire has the boring old Master in it. And he is really boring. And that seventies actor from Department S is in it. And, ummmmmmmmm........Turlough leaves. And its shot on Lanzoratti which is an island I never heard of. BUT LOOK AT THIS.....
Fucking awesome!!!! Thus does Planet Of Fire gets from me...


So now we know what it takes - hey...Daleks! Yep, it takes Daleks to finally get Turlough to take his bloody tie off!
Grimwade, having redeemed himself with Mawdryn, gets to have another crack at the Master... and Kamelion... and writing in a new companion... and writing out the last one he wrote in... and setting it all in some place called Lanzarotte! Should be easy! I wonder if he took one look at Turlough and said "you know, just cos I wrote him as a schoolboy, doesn't mean that he has to stay in his school uniform for ever"... so the first thing he does is get him out of the tie... and the next thing he does is turn him into a member of Bronski Beat...
Planet of Fire is a pretty decent story though - bits of it are kind of Brain of Morbius, without Morbius or the Brain, and I actually enjoyed the fire bits of this more than the sisterhood in Morbius. For obvious reasons, part 1 is a classic - and for obvious reasons I was looking forward to watching Planet of Fire last night, but not looking forward to the rest of it that much. Turns out really though that Part one (bikini scenes aside) is shithouse and doesn't make much sense.
planet of Fire starts off OK with the TARDIS picking up the distress signal and some crazy Dutch sounding guy and a corny American guy find said distress signal and it looks all alien like... nice build up... but... it never gets explained!! How did the signal get to earth? Why was it sent to earth? OK, so it was probably so we could look at Lanzarotte as Lanzarotte and get Peri on board - but still, it should have been explained... add to that an awful conversation between Peri and her step Dad, and some pretty corny stuff between Turlough and Kamelion, and it really isn't a very good first part... but the cliff-hanger's great - for once it's a Master reveal that isn't predictable!
The rest of Panet of Fire goes really well. Sure there's some padding, but there are definitely worse things than watching Peri running around in a tied up shirt! And the backdrop is nice too (well done Fiona Cumming for suggesting it... and well done for getting on the gravy train with some nice side trips to keep checking it out - looks awesome!) - it looks really alien and very untouched... it's a nice touch after having Peri walking around alone for ages, looking helpless and slipping down a hill that looks like it hasn't been touched for centuries and just whimpering "somebody help me"... it's simple, but it really made me think she was stuck on another planet, not knowing anyone and really stuffed.
And it's not only the padding that's interesting - the three main stories are good too. The Logar story (although it's certainly been done before) works well - and the bloke playing Timinov (who apparently is famous) is a very convincing believer. The long awaited Turlough story could feel like it's been tacked on at the end, but this time around I really enjoyed it - complete with the final "tell me the truth or I'll never trust you again" speech by the Doctor, it really gives a nice full circle feel to Turlough's journey (and I don't mean he gets invaded by men in dodgy rubber suits... although given what he's wearing, he'd probably be partial to that!). He's gone from the wimpy coward bully, to someone who's ready to face up to his responsibilities and past... Strickson does it really well too.
And finally the Master story - well at least this one makes sense... although it's interesting that The Master knows about the power of the Sarn gasses and the Doctor doesn't. Using Kamelion the way he did works very well - and the final scene is very moving. Not because of the Master's performance though, but purely because of the Doctor's. He just lets him burn. There's no way the Doctor would have done that, but coming off the Dalek massacre, you get the feeling that he wants to rid himself of all things violent that follow him - you can see he wants to save the Master... but he can't do it. It's bloody powerful stuff that. The fact that he didn't die is irrelevant to Planet of Fire (as is his unexplained return)... as far as the Doctor is concerned, he's dead... and the Doctor didn't save him when he could have.
And we also get the huge "fanboy" line - now is it "how can you kill your own?" or is it "how can you kill your own....?". If the internet had been invented in 1984, then you can bet chat rooms and forums would have been in melt down!
Performance and production wise everything here is pretty good - it's not brilliant, but it's far from poor. When you have so many followers, you're bound to get some bad ones, but they all seem to do well here - in fact the only performance I didn't really like was Peri's stepdad... but he was OK as Kamelion, so he's forgiven.
Hard to give a score to, cos I really do hate that the premise of Planet of fire is unexplained... but I love the performances of all of the main characters, and I love the way the Master and Turlough arcs are tied up... and I was surprised about how much I enjoyed parts 2 - 4... hmmmm... and I love Peri's scene... ok... 8.1/10
BTW - Planet Of Fire is the only 5th Doctor story not to have Tegan in it...

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Screen Shots:

Planet of Fire Titles

Planet of Fire Doctor and turlough

Planet of Fire lava

Planet of Fire Peri

Planet of Fire ash

Planet of Fire turlough

Planet of Fire eruption

Planet of Fire the Doctor

Planet of Fire numismaton gas

Planet of Fire the Master

Planet of Fire amyand and roscoe

Planet of Fire Kamelion

Planet of Fire Peri and turlough

Planet of Fire Timanov

Planet of Fire Doctor and Kamelion

Planet of Fire malkon

Planet of Fire Timanov and Malkon2

Planet of Fire Sorasta

Planet of Fire Doctor and Timanov

Planet of Fire Kamelion2

Planet of Fire Sorasta and Amyand

Planet of Fire another chosen one

Planet of Fire Howard and Peri

Planet of Fire Logar

Planet of Fire Turough and Roscoe

Planet of Fire Peri 2

Planet of Fire Master vs Doctor