a real world point of view
|Planet of the Ood|
|Main enemy:||Klineman Halpen, Kess, Solana Mercurio|
|Main setting:||Ood Sphere, 4126|
|Premiere broadcast:||19 April 2008|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x45 minute episode|
|Confidential:||Oods and Ends|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Fires of Pompeii||The Sontaran Stratagem|
|Time Crash||The Unicorn and the Wasp|
Planet of the Ood was the third episode of the fourth series of BBC Wales Doctor Who. As the title flatly presaged, it featured the return of the Ood and the Doctor's first visit to their homeworld. It was the first time viewers met Ood Sigma and the first time they encountered the later-important phrase, "the DoctorDonna". It also made little to no mention of the "Missing Planets" Arc - Donna mentioned the disappearing bees when the Doctor was looking to find what year they were in. This episode included the first sign that the Tenth Doctor's life was nearing its end, which would become more evident later on.
Behind the scenes, it was notable for showcasing the first prolonged usage of counter tenor Mark Chambers on a Doctor Who score. Later more famous for the purely incidental "Vale Decem", heard as the tenth Doctor regenerated, here he gave voice to the diegetic Ood song, known on the series 4 soundtrack as "Songs of Freedom and Captivity".
On a random trip in time, the Doctor has taken Donna to her very first alien planet - Ood Sphere. There, the Doctor encounters the Ood once again, seeing "red eye" occurs even here. However, he soon learns the truth about their status in the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire, which is something quite horrific. Elsewhere, what is the secret Warehouse 15 holds within its walls?
A businessman, Mr Bartle, watches an advertisement for the Ood, who are being sold as servants to humans. Bartle is sarcastic yet somewhat impressed with the advert, until he notices that his bosses have cut the price to just 50 credits each. The man on the other end of the communicator, Klineman Halpen, tells him it is a measure to stay ahead of the competition, and orders him to get going trying to catch up. As he orders his Ood, Delta Fifty, to hand him last month's military export figures, Bartle tells his assistant Solana Mercurio over the radio to get their buyers to buy them when they arrive. His Ood gives him the domestic files, and Bartle tells him to get it right. However, rather than obeying, his eyes glow red and he tells Bartle the files are irrelevant. When Bartle asks why, the Ood uses his translation sphere and presses it against his forehead, electrocuting and killing him, saying, "Have a nice day."
Meanwhile, the Doctor sets the TARDIS to random settings, effectively taking a mystery tour with Donna. After they land, Donna is excited, yet terrified, about landing on an alien planet. The Doctor comforts her by saying that after all his travelling, he still experiences the very same feeling. However, as Donna steps out of the TARDIS, she discovers they have landed on a cold, snowy planet. The Doctor is overjoyed at the sight of finally experiencing real snow. Donna makes several comments about being cold as he continues on about how much he likes the snow.
He then tells Donna, not knowing she sought refuge back on the TARDIS to change into warm clothing, "All you've got is a life of work and sleep, and telly and rent and tax and takeaway dinners, all birthdays and Christmases and two weeks holiday here, and then you end up here! Donna Noble. Citizen of the Earth, standing on a different planet." He turns around and realises she is gone, before she steps out with a coat. They then look up to see a rocket passing overhead.
Klineman Halpen arrives to cover for Mr. Bartle. He is more arrogant than his predecessor. At his office, Halpen, scientist Dr. Ryder, and Solana, watch a surveillance videotape of Mr. Bartle's murder. They see that the translation orb used as the murder weapon is responsible, though Dr. Ryder cannot explain why. It is also learnt that after Bartle was killed, Delta Fifty escaped, but was shot in the process, and left to die. While Dr. Ryder also says that he has no idea about the source of Red Eye, Halpen asks his Ood, Sigma, for a drink; it is just hair tonic, since he started losing his hair due to stress built up over the last five years.
While the Doctor and Donna roam the planet, the Doctor hears an eerie sound that Donna can't hear. He later finds the dying Delta Fifty in the snow. Donna seems disgusted by its look, though the Doctor seemly tells her the Ood is a he, not an it. While the Doctor is examining him, Donna keeps the Ood talking so the Doctor can find out what has happened. He wants to know why Delta Fifty has been shot. The Ood merely says nothing more than "the circle must be broken", before suddenly getting up to attack the two, but before he can fully stand, he dies. The Doctor confirms to Donna that he encountered the Ood before, and they were all possessed by the devil, but because he no longer exists, there must be another source nearby accounting for the psychotic Ood. They then come across the building that is the headquarters of Ood Operations - "Oh hello".
Solana Mercurio meets up with the buyers from outside the warehouse and tells them to come inside. Just then, the Doctor and Donna arrive, and by using the psychic paper, they are able to convince her that they represent the Noble Corporation PLC Limited, Intergalactic (a fictitious company). They are greeted as Dr and Mrs Noble, but they quickly correct her.
Just then, they hear an alarm, which Solana claims is a siren signaling the end of a work shift. In truth, the head of security, Commander Kess, has reported an Ood on the loose. His team pursue the Ood, and eventually corner him. When he turns to the guards, they realise that it is more than a mere case of Red-Eye: this Ood has turned rabid. Halpen orders Kess to send the Ood to Dr. Ryder.
Solana gives out the presentation on the Ood. She shows three different Ood, one with the standard voice, one with a sexy female voice, and one with a comedy classic option (when being told the Ood drops something, he answers, "D'oh"). Afterwards, while the buyers are enjoying the buffet, the Doctor and Donna discover that they are at the Ood Sphere in the year 4126, during the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire that spans three galaxies. Donna is fascinated that Earth is still populated, despite all the news articles stating the near end of the world, including global warming and the disappearance of bees. Donna then learns that the red dots on the maps are Ood distribution centres. She decides to talk to an Ood to see if they get a say in this. However, the Ood merely tells them that the Ood were born to serve, or they would die out. The Ood then starts mentioning the circle. The pair decide they've had enough with wandering in the room and decide to peruse the base of operations.
Halpen, Kess and Dr. Ryder take a look at the chained and rabid Ood. The trio are baffled that after two centuries there is a change in them. Ood Sigma is questioned to see if he has seen anything like it, but even he is just as clueless. Dr. Ryder suggests they go to Warehouse 15 to find answers, which Halpen reluctantly accepts, even though there hasn't been any activity there for 200 years. When being asked about what to do with the Ood, Halpen orders security to kill it. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Donna discover that the Ood are not servants; they are slaves. The Doctor regrets not knowing much about them during his last encounter, as he was busy fighting the Beast at the time. They then observe Halpen. Knowing he's the boss, they decide to stay out of his way.
Halpen, Dr. Ryder and Sigma enter Warehouse 15, where it is revealed that it houses the Ood Brain. Halpen reminisces his first time to Warehouse 15 when he was six years old, and is still horrified by those memories. Ryder checks the computers and finds no changes in the brain. Halpen is then interrupted by Solana, who informs him that she passed two members of the Noble Corporation, which apparently does not exist, and they are missing. Halpen orders security to search for them, but to keep it under the radar, and no alarms.
The two have found access to a warehouse, where they find countless cargo containers. They break into one, where they see about a hundred Ood just standing. Donna wonders why the Ood won't just go free, but they merely say they don't understand the concept. When the Doctor mentions the circle, all the Ood, in unison, say that the circle must be broken, so they can sing. Unfortunately, they are spotted by Commander Kess, who raises the alarm, against Halpen's wishes. While Solana lies to the buyers and tells them it is just a mere fire drill, the Doctor and Donna run, but the latter is captured and taken to a container filled with Ood, who have turned to red-eye. Meanwhile, the Doctor is being chased by Kess, who tries killing him with a claw. Though the Doctor tries his best to evade it, he eventually falls, and is saved by Solana, who shuts down the claw's power and reminds Kess that Halpen wants the two alive. Security eventually lets Donna, who is about to be killed by the Ood, free.
However, the guards unwittingly let the Ood escape from the container too, along with those from other containers, and they start killing the guards. Kess and his men open fire, giving the Doctor, Donna and Solana enough time to escape. After making it out, Solana confirms that everyone on Earth knows about the Ood's predicament, but doesn't ask. Reluctantly, she points them to the direction where they make the Ood turn to slaves. However, she defects again and calls out for the guards to apprehend the two. Kess manages to contain the rabid Ood, but believes the entire batch is contaminated. With no alternative, Halpen orders Kess to get gas canisters.
By the time the Doctor finds the area, he hears the Ood song getting stronger, though Donna still can't hear it. After they break into the room, they find several Ood in a cage. Donna asks the Doctor to let her hear the song. After he is able to open her mind to it, she quickly wants to stop hearing it, as it is a very sad song of captivity; he does so. While Halpen and the team attempt to break into the room, the Doctor enters the cage and discovers that they are natural Ood, and carry a hind brain; the corporation lobotomizes them by removing the brains and replacing them with translation spheres. Donna notes that she spent a long time looking for the Doctor, hoping the universe would be a wonderful place, but didn't realise how many issues and horrors await also, and wants to go home. Moments later, Halpen and the team break in and arrest the two.
After they are handcuffed to some pipes, Halpen interrogates them, and gets them to "confess" that they are activists from Friends of the Ood. Halpen claims that without them, the Ood would be nothing, and claimed that when they turned them into slaves, "They welcomed it", though this was only because the Ood showed their hind brains because they wanted to trust the humans, but were instead exploited. The Doctor also learns that Halpen is going to gas the "livestock", which he claims is as effective as how the humans dealt with Foot and Mouth centuries ago. Meanwhile, since the natural Ood appear to have influence of the rest of their kind, they turn every Ood, apart from Sigma, to Red-Eye. In the room with the buyers, Solana notices the Ood turn into red-eye, and urges the buyers to leave; when a drunk and ignorant buyer is killed, the rest obliges to her wishes, though many are electrocuted in the process. Solana escapes, but doesn't make it far; she too is killed by an Ood. Furthermore, as the gas canisters are counting down, Kess is captured by the Ood, who subsequently release the captured Ood, and imprison Kess without a gas mask. When the timer reaches zero, Kess dies from the released gas.
The corporation plans to evacuate and then destroy the building; Halpen decides to leave the Doctor and Donna behind. The Doctor confronts him about a supposed third element, and wants to know what it is. Halpen replies, "It won't exist for very much longer", before leaving. Halpen and Dr. Ryder make it down to Warehouse 15, while witnessing the Ood revolution in full swing. While the Doctor and Donna attempt to break free, without any success, three red-eyed Ood enter the room, and plan to kill them. The two of them repeatedly tell them, "Doctor, Donna, friends" and "The circle must be broken". Through the mild telepathic link, the natural Ood are able to hear them, and they are able to pass this knowledge onto the three Ood, allowing them to return to normal. The Ood free the Doctor and Donna, who are trying to find the source of the third element. On the way, they see Sigma, who was generously allowed to leave by Halpen to join his people; Sigma guides them to Warehouse 15.
Once inside, the Doctor finds the giant Ood brain, which is the Ood's telepathic centre. Six pylons surround the brain, which was used to dampen the telepathy between brain and Ood for 200 years, forcing them to be servents. They are interrupted by Halpen, who holds them at gun point. Ryder tells them that he has surrounded the area with land mines to kill it. The Doctor theorises that the brain spent 200 years adapting to the pylons, but Dr. Ryder claims responsibility. He exposes himself as a member of FOTO; knowing that natural adapting process took too long, he spent ten years going up the corporate ladder, and when he finally had access to the warehouse a few hours previously, he lowered the barrier to its minimum. In response, Halpen pushes him over the edge, and he is "swallowed" by the brain.
As Halpen is about to shoot the Doctor and Donna, Sigma steps in and insists he take another drink. It is revealed that the "hair tonic" is in fact Ood-graft suspended in a biological compound; this ultimately rewrites his biology, turning him into an Ood. They witness Halpen transforming into one in front of their eyes. The Doctor notes that the Ood subconsious is divided into three groups: the red-eye is revenge, rabid is anger, and the seemingly unaffected Sigma represents patience, and it has been preparing for Halpen for a long time. Donna notes that after being with the Doctor, she doesn't know what is right or wrong anymore, to which the Doctor replies, "It's better that way. People who know for certain tend to be like Mr. Halpen". After shutting down the mines, Sigma allows the Doctor to shut down the pylons damping the telepathic field; the circle is broken, and the Ood can sing.
The song erupts to a new one, and everyone can hear it, even Donna. Outside, the fighting stops. While the Ood group themselves, the soldiers stand down. Afterwards, the Doctor and Donna are outside the TARDIS, and explain to Sigma that the song resonated to the three galaxies; the humans decide to free the Ood and send them back home. After Sigma thanks them, he offers them a place in their song, but the Doctor says he has his own song. Sigma tells him his song will end soon, since every song must end. He turns to Donna, who changes her mind, and wants to continue her travels with him. Before they leave, Sigma tells them they will never be forgotten; their children and children's children will sing of the DoctorDonna, and their names will be carried by the Ood Sphere's wind, ice and snow forever. The TARDIS vanishes as the Ood watch.
- The Doctor - David Tennant
- Donna Noble - Catherine Tate
- Solana Mercurio - Ayesha Dharker
- Mr Halpen - Tim McInnerny
- Sigma - Paul Kasey
- Dr Ryder - Adrian Rawlins
- Commander Kess - Roger Griffiths
- Mr Bartle - Paul Clayton
- Rep - Tariq Jordan
- Ood - Paul Kasey
- Voice of the Ood - Silas Carson
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The Doctor previously encountered the Ood on Sanctuary Base 6.
- The Ood Sphere is located in the same system as the Sense Sphere.
- An upgraded version of the Sanctuary Base 6 rocket is seen flying over the Doctor and Donna.
- The Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire is mentioned.
- The Doctor mentions his previous encounter with the Ood's 'red eyes' and their contact with the Devil. Donna finds it too ridiculous to believe the Doctor actually met the Devil himself and thinks he is joking around.
- The Ood's song is telepathic.
- A member of Friends of the Ood appears.
- Donna mentions (for the second time) the bees disappearing.
- There is a quick reference to The Simpsons when an Ood addresses Solana with "D'oh".
- This is the third time Donna and the Doctor were mistaken to be married.
- Donna says, "Now that's what I call a spaceship! You've got a box, he's got a Ferrari."
- The Doctor makes reference to the makers of clothes being slaves to people in MEDCs. Donna does not regard it as slavery, and says that the Doctor is making "cheap shots" at her.
- The Ood who are being manipulated have glowing red eyes. This may be a reference to the Sandminer robots in TV: The Robots of Death, another subservient group who likewise displayed glowing red eyes when they came under an evil influence.
- When the Doctor asks Donna where she learnt to whistle, she replies, "West Ham every Saturday." This would suggest that Donna is a supporter of the English Premier League team West Ham United.
- When Ood Sigma mentioned the Doctor's song ending, he was referring to the Tenth Doctor's regeneration in TV: The End of Time.
Story notes Edit
- The snow scenes were shot in a boiling hot week in August, using fake snow. This was done using tiny pieces of paper, as pointed out in this episode's Confidential.
- The transformation of Halpen into an Ood was originally far more graphic, but after the footage was viewed it was re-edited to be less horrific for a family audience.
- Russell T Davies noted during production of the Ood's introductory episodes that he considered their home world to be close to that of the Sensorites.
- This episode was originally intended to be episode 2.
- The theme of humans exploiting alien life had previously been touched upon in two Season 2 episodes of Torchwood that aired a few months before this episode: Meat and Reset. The difference here is that freedom for the aliens in the Torchwood episodes came through their deaths, whereas most of the Ood survive.
- The Ood may be inspired by the Illithids, a race from Dungeons and Dragons. Both are psychically linked to an 'elder brain', have tentacles for mouths, are capable of turning creatures into their own kind, and are linked to slavery- the Illithids were slave masters who came from the distant future, and it has been speculated that their arrogance may lead them to becoming the slaves at some point.
- As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.
- Final Ratings - 7.50 million viewers
Myths and rumours Edit
- This is set before The Impossible Planet. (Most fans assume this because the pre-publicity stated that we would find out why the Ood were slaves and the date for that story was 43K2.1 but we never found out what those numbers meant, and there is no reason why this cannot be after that story. If The Impossible Planet was after this story, all the Ood on Sanctuary Base 6 would not be slaves. Not necessarily, it's possible the people on Sanctuary Base 6 did not hear about these events, as they may have been away from civilisation for some time. However, it was the barrier around the Ood Brain that allowed the Ood to be made subservient. With that barrier down, it's possible that all Ood would gain their will back.)
- A snippet of the separation music from Doomsday can be heard after the Ood tells the Doctor, "Your song will end soon." He also said that "every song must end." This led to speculation that this was a reference to Rose Tyler's return, and/or an imminent regeneration for the Doctor. It is also a reference to River Song in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, and to the end of Donna's time with the Doctor. All four are songs, and each one ended, as predicted by Ood Sigma. The notion of the Doctor's song ending soon is brought to his attention again by a slightly psychic human named Carmen in Planet of the Dead.
Filming locations Edit
- Upper Boat Studios, Trefforest
- Trefil Quarry, Gwent
- Twin Peaks Hangar, Barry
- Aberthaw Cement Works, Barry
- Hynix Building, Newport
- Johnsey Estates, Pontypool
- Hensol Castle, Hensol
Production errors Edit
- If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.Soon after the Doctor and Donna are blasted back there is fake snow on the camera indicating there's a camera there.
- The Ood previously appeared in TV: The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit.
- The Doctor refers to the time when he couldn't save the Ood from falling into the black hole in TV: The Satan Pit.
- The Doctor comments that he visited the Sense-Sphere "ages ago". (TV: The Sensorites)
- Massive brains had previously appeared in TV: Time and the Rani and in PROSE: Deceit.
- When the Doctor and Donna exit the TARDIS and see the Ood Sphere for the first time, the Doctor comments that for once, he is glad to see it snow for real. During the new series, it has snowed 8 times, but it was only real snow in The Unquiet Dead and A Christmas Carol. In The Christmas Invasion, the snow was the ash from the Sycorax ship breaking up in the atmosphere. In The Runaway Bride, the Doctor used the TARDIS to influence the Earth's atmosphere and force it to snow. Finally, in Voyage of the Damned, Mr. Copper tells the Doctor that the snow is really ballast from the Titanic as it flew over London. Ironically fake snow was used to film that scene in this episode.
- The Third Doctor occasionally went by the name Doctor Noble.
- In this episode, Donna tries to be friendly with the Ood, just like Rose befriended the Metaltron in TV: Dalek and Martha befriended Hath Peck in TV: The Doctor's Daughter.
- Halpen calls Donna "ginger" because of her red hair. The newly regenerated Tenth Doctor was disappointed that he was not ginger. (TV: The Christmas Invasion).
Home video releases Edit
- This story was released in the Series 4 DVD box set in November 2008 along with the rest of the series.
- It was released as Series 4 Volume 1 in a vanilla edition with Partners in Crime and The Fires of Pompeii.
- The BBFC has rated this story a 12 certificate citing a 'moderate gory scene'. Partners in Crime and The Fires of Pompeii were also both given PG certificates.
- Official BBC Website - Episode Guide for Planet of the Ood
- Detailed synopsis of Planet of the Ood at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Planet of the Ood at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Planet of the Ood at The Locations Guide