Last updated 04 May 2015

Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead

Planet of the Dead

Story Number: 200 (4.15)
No of Episodes: 1

Writer: Russell T Davies, Gareth Roberts
Director: James Strong
Executive Producer: Russell T Davies

Starring: David Tennant, Michelle Ryan, Lee Evans, Noma Dumezweni

BBC One (United Kingdom):
First Broadcast: Saturday 11th April 2009
Running Time: 58 minutes, 55 seconds

Average Audience: 9.74 Million   Average AI: 88

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

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Additional Details

23 Jan 2009Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans to star in first Doctor Who special of 2009
13 Feb 2009Doctor Who arrives on the Arabian Gulf
10 Apr 2009BBC Press pack

The BBC has confirmed that Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans will guest star in the forthcoming BBC One Doctor Who Easter special which began filming this week in Wales.

Michelle, 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 in the special episode entitled Planet Of the Dead. Christina joins the Doctor on a bus trip which takes an unexpected detour into danger.

Michelle comments: "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!"

One of Britain’s best loved and biggest comedy stars, Lee Evans, will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor's under extraordinary circumstances.

Planet Of The Dead is the first of four Doctor Who specials which will air in 2009.

Michelle joins David Tennant, as he continues his role as The Doctor, and Noma Dumezweni who returns as Captain Erisa Magambo – last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in Turn Left.

Executive Producer and writer Russell T Davies comments: "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!"

Planet Of The Dead, written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts, is currently in production and will be screened on BBC One in Spring 2009.

The producer is Tracie Simpson; Executive Producers are Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies. Doctor Who is produced by BBC Wales and is filmed in Cardiff.

LinkCredit: BBC Press Office 

The BBC has confirmed that part of the forthcoming BBC One Doctor Who Easter special will be filmed in Dubai.

Planet Of The Dead, which stars David Tennant as the Doctor alongside Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans, began filming in January in Cardiff and the team descended on the Arabian Gulf to film further scenes for the episode.

Bionic Woman and Merlin star Michelle Ryan plays the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza who joins the Doctor on a bus-trip which takes a very unexpected detour into danger.

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

And Noma Dumezweni returns as Captain Erisa Magambo – last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in Turn Left.

Producer Tracie Simpson says: "We rarely take Doctor Who abroad although we did visit Rome for series four's The Fires Of Pompeii which gave us some spectacular footage.

"The locations in Dubai are a perfect match for writer Russell T Davies's vision of the episode and we expect to film some incredible scenes while we are here."

Planet Of The Dead is the first of four Doctor Who Specials which will air in 2009.

LinkCredit: BBC Press Office 

Q: Has filming the specials been different from filming the regular series?

"I think we get slightly more time to film the specials. I don't know if that's even true – we get four weeks to film an hour-long special whereas we get about two-and-a-half weeks to film a normal 45-minute episode. So we've got a little bit more time to play with but then they tend to be a bit more ambitious.

"Certainly this one was, and you know the fact that we wanted to film in an actual desert and there aren't a lot of them in south Wales.

"So we had to find somewhere in the world that we could get to that had an infrastructure that we could use to film in and that would have us, you know. Some of these deserts exist in some less than friendly regimes."

Q: Tell us about the desert vistas.

"We went to the desert and we got some incredible shots, I mean I think you'll notice it on screen that we went a long way, and that the director and the camera particularly made it count.

"I think it'll look like an alien planet in a way that nothing we've ever done before has ever quite managed, just because it is an extraordinary... it is an extraordinary sight, just miles of sand and the blue skies, the sun beating down, it is like being in another world really, so quite useful for us!"

Q: What is this episode about?

"Well it's about a bus that ends up on an alien planet, it's about an international jewel thief who meets the Doctor and is quite intrigued by him. And it's about two alien races, one of which is just doing what comes naturally and one of which is trying to get home.

"And all of those elements kind of combine into a story that is a bit bonkers, very fast moving, very exciting, and sort of on a scope. Bigger than we've managed before, which is very exciting.

"It's very exciting having done the show for four years and still finding new stories to tell and ways of telling those stories, it's great, and it's what makes it such a great show to work on."

Q: Tell us about your character Lady Christina de Souza.

"Christina is a mysterious, adventure-seeking aristocrat and she is very much a loner, she's off in her own little world. And she's very daring and exciting and smart and sassy. She's a cool character."

Q: When did you first hear about the part, and why did it appeal to you?

"I first heard about the part just before Christmas and it appealed to me. I was reading lots of different scripts at the time and then I read this one and I was so engaged with the character, with her journey, and it was just a really interesting, dynamic script and few of those come along for young actresses, so I was kind of like, 'yeah, I'd like to be a part of this'.

Q: What's it like working with David Tennant?

"It's amazing, he is genuinely one of the most professional, lovely, brilliant actors I've ever worked with. And he has such a good vibe, and he gives a great energy to everyone, he's really cool.

"It's quite family-like and fun - it's been such a laugh to work on. The rest of the cast, the supporting cast as well, have been brilliant, Daniel, David, Vicky and Reggie and everyone, it's been brilliant."

Q: How did you find working with the Tritovores?

"That was a bit of a shock but they're very good, the two guys who played the Tritovores with their voices, and it was cool doing all the special effects stuff where you've got the big creatures coming at you.

"It's been interesting, and I love doing all the harness and wire work – I've been hung upside down today, all day – and being dropped and bounced up and down, so it's all fun!"

Q: What's it like on set working with Lee Evans?

"Filming with Lee Evans is great. He's actually really quiet then he'll start being really funny. He's just naturally funny and lovely."

Q: Is there a romantic spark between your character Christina and The Doctor?

"There is a little bit of a romantic spark between The Doctor and Christina. I think Christina feels like she's met her equal, and The Doctor feels like he's met his match with Christina.

"Christina doesn't come across many men that intrigue and inspire her the way The Doctor does. He manages to show her that actually she can use her skills to help other people, and that actually it's more fun when you're part of a team rather than being a loner.

"She goes on a journey with him and I think she'd like it to be more, and he's quite closed off to that because he's been hurt in the past – he's off doing his thing and she's like, 'well, okay' and off on her next adventure!"

LinkCredit: BBC Press Office