Doctor Who (1963)

Season 1 Episode 5

The Dead Planet

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Dec 21, 1963 on BBC
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Episode Summary

The Dead Planet
Time Unknown, Planet Unknown. The TARDIS lands in an eerie petrified forest overlooking a magnificent steel city. The Doctor wants to explore the city – but what is waiting there?

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Near the end of the episode, when everyone is wondering through the corridors you can clearly see that the "Endless" corridors behind them are just painted on.

    • Equipment Visible: Toward the end of the episode, when Ian is wondering where Barbara is, the shadow of a boom mike moves over the door behind him.

    • Revealing Mistakes: When Ian notices the breeze, a wide shot of the forest shows the background dropcloth is moving in the breeze.

    • Because the Dalek props were not ready in time for filming, the scene where Barbara is captured in the cliffhanger is shot from the viewpoint of the Dalek. All the audience sees is its plunger, building up suspense as to what this menace is. It caused droves of people to tune in for the next episode to see it. This amazing serendipity all but ensured the future of the series and made it and the Daleks worldwide icons.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Barbara: Oh, Doctor, have you worked out yet how all this happened?
      The Doctor: No, not really, not really. Whatever it was destroyed everything that was living. But the planet is dead. Totally dead.

    • Barbara: Ian, where are we?
      Ian: I don't know.
      Barbara: Well, why doesn't he take us back?
      Ian: I'm not sure that he can.
      Barbara: What, ever?
      Ian: I hate it as much as you. I'm just as afraid. But what can we do?
      Barbara: Well, we could at least stay near the ship.
      Ian: Hmm. The ship's no good without him. We better keep an eye on him. He seems to have a knack of getting himself into trouble.
      Barbara: You think there's any danger?
      Ian: Not necessarily.
      Barbara: But don't be too complacent. No, you're right, I suppose. I just wish…Ian: We'll be all right.
      Barbara: Yes. Well, I suppose we'd better make sure he doesn't fall down and break a leg. Don't you ever think he deserves something to happen to him?
      Ian [ laughing ]: Yes.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Producers Donald Wilson and Sydney Newman originally wanted to spike this serial. Wilson thought it one of the worst scripts he'd ever read while Newman opposed having "Bug-Eyed Monsters" on the show. In the end, because the script "Doctor Who and the Robots" fell through, this seven-part serial was the only script available and was moved up four months in the shooting schedule only to become a massive hit.

    • Future Academy-Award-winning director Ridley Scott was originally slated to do the set design for this series. But it eventually fell to Ray Cusick to design the Daleks.

    • This episode had to be reshot two weeks before transmission. The original shooting suffered from audio problems – voices from the gallery were audible on the soundtrack – and had to be completely scrapped.

    • Novelisation: Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks by David Whitaker first published by Frederick Muller Ltd on 12 November 1964. Published as Doctor Who and the Daleks (ISBN 0 426 10110 3) by Universal-Tandem in 1973. Published as Doctor Who - The Daleks by Virgin Publishing Ltd in 1992.

      This was the first novelisation of a Doctor Who story, and it deviates significantly from the televised adventure, not least in having the Doctor meet Ian and Barbara for the first time. The Doctor's granddaughter is called Susan English, while Chesterton is an unemployed scientist. The novel was written in the first person, from Ian's perspective.

    • DVD: Doctor Who: The Daleks released as part of the Doctor Who: The Beginning box set (BBCDVD 1882) in January 2006. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E2487) in March 2006.

      Video: Doctor Who: The Daleks: Part 1 Episodes 1-4: The Dead Planet/The Daleks: Part 2 Episodes 5-7: The Expedition (BBCV 4242), released in June 1989. This two-box set was the first Doctor Who video in episodic format, with beginning and (6/7) end credits intact: earlier video releases contained omnibus versions of the stories. The "next episode" caption was removed from The Rescue. Released in U.S.A./Canada as Doctor Who: The Daleks: The Dead Planet and The Expedition (Warner Home Video E1275) in October 1993.

      Doctor Who: The Daleks [Remastered] (BBCV 6960) released in February 2001.

    • This story was remade for the cinema in 1965 as Dr. Who and the Daleks, starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor.

    • Writer Terry Nation submitted a detailed storyline entitled "The Survivors" in early July 1963. He was commissioned to write a six-part story entitled "The Mutants" based on that storyline. By the time Nation submitted first draft scripts in August 1963, the working title had been changed to "Beyond the Sun" but it was "Dr. Who and the Mutants" by November 1963. The camera scripts, normally a reliable guide, refer to "Serial B".

      Overseas sales documents consistently refer to the serial as "Dr. Who and the Mutants". The story was novelised as Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks in 1965, and a film adaptation of that year was called Dr. Who and the Daleks. A tenth anniversary tribute magazine from the BBC's Radio Times in 1973 named each of the first 25 serials after its opening episode, so this serial was incorrectly renamed as The Dead Planet. A new paperback edition of the novel published that year simplified the original title to Doctor Who and the Daleks.

      A consensus has arisen that the "correct" title for the serial should be "The Mutants". Unfortunately, that name had subsequently been used for a Season 9 serial, so could not readily be applied to this one.

      The BBC Video release in 1989 (and the BBC DVD of 2006) had the legend Doctor Who: The Daleks. A script book published in 1989 was Doctor Who - The Daleks. This title also adorns the 1992 edition of the novel.


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