The Impossible Planet (2006)

The Satan Pit is a very creepy story that doesn’t have a good rating. Out of all the two-parters that the show has done since it’s return it is the one that the lowest average rating (6.15m). Also The Impossible Planet is the four least watched viewing figure (6.3m). The first time that I saw this one I liked it but not as much as other people did. It aired the day after my birthday so I was still in a good mood and having Doctor Who back on TV was still a new thing to get use to. The story is quite a dark story where the Doctor and Rose land on a Sanctuary base where the first people (I say people what I mean is aliens with spaghetti sticking out of their mouths) are the Ood. There is writing on a wall that the TARDIS cant translate and to add to their woes they have become separated from the TARDIS. The Impossible Planet title is revealed straight away in that its orbiting a black hole which as we all know is not possible. It didn’t take long for the ‘that’s Ood’ joke and it was good that they just got it out of the way.

Things start off creepy and gets worse with people hearing things and in the case of Toby Zed, seeing writing all over his body and his eyes go red. However it all disappears after Scooti’s death. Scooti’s death was quite horrific considering the timeslot. Watching Confidential afterwards it was good seeing how they achieved Scooti floating towards the Black Hole. After that the story gets even more darker with strange things happening. I liked the scene between the Doctor and Rose when they discuss having to settle down and get a mortgage and a house. It’s a nice little moment which is ruined by Rose shielding a desire to live together. I also liked the comedy moments which is what the story needed considering all the dark content going on.

The setting is very good and also the decision to totally take the TARDIS out of play is a bold but brilliant move because it’s a tool and like people argument that the sonic screwdriver is something that the Doctor uses too much the same could be said for the TARDIS and it means that the Doctor has got to use his wits and intelligence if he is going to save the day. The base design is very good and it does feel like it goes on for miles and isnt build in a BBC studio. Credit to the set designers for making it feel claustrophobic and very drab and uninspiring. Seemingly always looking of bringing things from the classic era to new Who, this story sees Gabrial Woolf who voices ??. In 1976 he famously (too older fans) voice Osirian Sutekh in the classic Pyramids of Mars. Woolf had also appeared in the Big Finish plays Arrangement for War and Thicker Than Water and has a wonderful voice so was the right choice for this story.

The Ood are a slave race and its not until Planet of the Ood two years later that this would be dealt with in the centre plot. They are a telepathic race and they are been used by the beast. They seem quite dull when they are their normal selves but when their eyes turn red that is when they become truly impressive and scary. Their importance seems quite low key at the beginning but soon become integral to the plot, credit to Matt Jones (writer) for how he did this.

Watching back when it was transmitted I wasn’t as keen on it as I had been for other stories but watching it now I think it’s a cracking good story. I’m still not sold on the cliffhanger as despite how good the build up was the final few seconds were a bit disappointing. That said it’s a good start and a highly enjoyable episode.


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