Planet of the Ood

Planet of the Ood

Infobox Doctor Who episode
number = 195
serial_name = Planet of the Ood

caption = An "uncultivated" Ood shows his hind brain to the Doctor. The Ood are born with external hind brains which are removed during processing to become subservient slaves.
show = DW
type = episode
doctor = David Tennant (Tenth Doctor)
companion = Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)
guests =
* Tim McInnerny – Klineman Halpen
* Ayesha Dharker – Solana Mercurio
* Adrian Rawlins – Dr Ryder
* Roger Griffiths – Commander Kess
* Paul Clayton – Mr Bartle
* Paul Kasey – Ood Sigma
* Tariq Jorden – Rep
* Silas Carson – Voice of the Ood
writer = Keith Temple
director = Graeme Harper
script_editor = Lindsey Alford
producer = Susie Liggat
executive_producer = Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Phil Collinson
production_code = 4.2
date = 19 April 2008
length = 45 minutes
preceding = "The Fires of Pompeii"
following = "The Sontaran Stratagem"
imdb_id = 1173174
series = Series 4
series_link = Series 4 (2008)
"Planet of the Ood" is the third episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series "Doctor Who". It was broadcast on BBC One on 19 April 2008. It features the return of the Ood, who appeared in the second series episodes "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit".

The episode takes place in the year 4126 on the Ood-Sphere, the titular planet of the episode. The Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) investigate Ood Operations, a company who are selling the Ood as a servant race, to discover the reason the Ood are happy to serve. When they find a group of unprocessed Ood, they become horrified at the alterations performed and resolve to free the Ood. The episode was well-received for its central theme of slavery.



The Doctor uses the TARDIS to land at a random point in time and space. On leaving the TARDIS, he and Donna find an injured Ood, a species the Doctor previously encountered in "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit". Just before dying, the Ood's eyes turn red and it makes a lunge for the Doctor, startling him with its ferocity. The Doctor muses that they were being influenced by the Devil on their previous encounter, and concludes that on this occasion they must be being influenced by a different and closer being. The Doctor and Donna find an industrial complex controlled by Ood Operations, who have been selling the Ood as a servant race since 3914. [Ood Monster File on the BBC's Doctor Who website] The Doctor locates their position: the Ood-Sphere in the year 4126 close to the Sense-Sphere which he had visited "ages ago".

The "Red Eye" phenomenon is affecting other Ood on the planet: several people have been killed in the weeks prior to the narrative. During the outbreak, the Ood state that "the circle must be broken". Ood Operations noted an increase in the phenomenon, and considered it to be similar to foot-and-mouth disease; CEO Klineman Halpen (Tim McInnerny)cite journal|last=Arnopp|first=James|coauthors=Spilsbury, Tom|date=April 2008|title=Gallifrey Guardian: Series Four Episode 3: Planet of the Ood: Ood Awakening!|journal=Doctor Who Magazine|publisher=Panini Comics|location=Tunbridge Wells, Kent|volume=394|pages=10–11|accessdate=2008-04-19] tells the Doctor the method of killing is identical.

Throughout the episode, Donna becomes sympathetic to the Ood and is horrified by their status as slaves. The Doctor also takes an interest in the Ood, noting that no species could naturally evolve to serve. He also feels he had overlooked them on their previous encounter. He and Donna travel through the complex and find a batch of uncultivated Ood. Instead of a translation sphere, they hold a "hind brain" that gives them individuality, and once removed, they become subservient; the Doctor castigates Halpen for lobotomising them.

The Doctor and Donna are captured by Ood Operations' security force. Shortly after, the Ood begin a mass revolution, and the complex is evacuated. The Doctor follows Halpen to a locked warehouse. The warehouse contains a large brain, which completes the Ood's collective consciousness. The brain's control of the Ood is limited by a circle of pylons emitting a forcefield. Halpen plans to kill the brain, and by extension, all of the Ood, but is stopped by a joint effort between the Doctor, Donna, Dr Ryder (Adrian Rawlins), and Halpen's personal Ood, Ood Sigma (Paul Kasey); Ryder, an activist for "Friends of the Ood", had lowered the telepathic field gradually over ten years, while Ood Sigma used Halpen's hair-loss medication to slowly convert Halpen into an Ood.

The Doctor shuts down the circle, freeing the Ood and allowing them to all rejoin in a telepathic collective. Before leaving, Ood Sigma promises to include the "Doctor-Donna" in the Ood's song; stating that "the Wind, the Ice and the Snow" shall remember and honour their names forever, but comments that the Doctor's song may soon end.


The red eye phenomenon is present in all three Ood episodes, as an effect of being possessed; in "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit" they were under the Beast's control. In "Planet of the Ood", the Doctor gives a time frame for all three episodes: the 42nd century, during the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire; the fourth incarnation was mentioned in "The Long Game" and "Bad Wolf". [cite episode | title = The Long Game | series = Doctor Who | credits = Writer Russell T Davies, Director Brian Grant, Producer Phil Collinson | network = BBC | station = BBC One | city = Cardiff | airdate = 2005-05-07] [cite episode | title = Bad Wolf | series = Doctor Who | credits = Writer Russell T Davies, Director Joe Ahearne, Producer Phil Collinson | network = BBC | station = BBC One | city = Cardiff | airdate = 2005-06-11] A diagram of human expansion is described as showing "three galaxies". The Ood-Sphere is in the same solar system as the Sense-Sphere, the location for the 1964 serial "The Sensorites"; [cite serial | title = The Sensorites | series = Doctor Who | credits = Writer Peter R. Newman, Directors Mervyn Pinfield, Frank Cox, Producers Verity Lambert, Mervyn Pinfield | network = BBC | station = BBC1 | city = London | began = 1964-06-20 | ended = 1964-08-01] the Sensorites and Ood are visually and mentally similar.cite journal |year=2008 |month=April |title=Doctor Who Watch|journal=Radio Times |issue=19-25 April 2008 |pages=pp 8–9|accessdate=2008-04-19 |publisher=BBC ] cite web|url=|title=Planet of the Ood: Fact File|publisher=BBC|work=Doctor Who microsite|accessdate=2008-04-19] The reference to "Doctor-Donna" is clarified by the Doctor in "Journey's End"; also, reference is made to the disappearance of the bees, which is explained in "The Stolen Earth".


The episode was written by Keith Temple and directed by Graeme Harper. Executive producer Russell T Davies had envisioned the Ood's return because their previous appearance, the 2006 two-part story "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit", had been overshadowed by the appearance of the Devil. Davies subsequently provided Temple with a brief for the episode which included the term "ice planet" and the storyline of a business selling the Ood as a commodity.cite video
people = Liggat, Susie; Kasey, Paul; Temple, Keith
date2 = 2008-04-19
title = Planet of the Ood
format = Podcast; MP3
publisher = BBC
accessdate = 2008-04-20
] Temple's drafts of the episode were described as "too dark" and "too old "Doctor Who"; Temple stated on the episode's commentary that his early draft was "a six-part [serial] in 45 minutes".

Temple and Davies thought that the episode was not a "fun reappearance" of an old monster; instead, they felt that there was "an actual story to tell".cite episode |title=Oods and Ends |series=Doctor Who Confidential |serieslink=Doctor Who Confidential |network=BBC |station=BBC Three |airdate=2008-04-19 |season=4 |number=3] Temple emphasised in his script that the Doctor overlooked the Ood under the shadow of the Devil, and the character had to see his shortcomings. Temple's script also emphasised the Ood's slavery; both Temple and lead actor David Tennant commented that the existence of a species born to serve was complicated, the latter stating complications with Richard Dawkins' "selfish gene" theory. Donna's role in the episode was to further humanise the Doctor, and her opinion of the Ood changing from her initial disgust at their appearance to empathy for them was important to the episode and her character development. Susie Liggat cited the writing as part of "Doctor Who"'s importance—she thought the story about "liberating oppressed people" could be applied domestically or globally.

The episode's antagonist, Klineman Halpen, is portrayed by Tim McInnerny. Davies considered his character—"a middle manager who's out of his depth"—a perfect villain. Temple described him as "narcissistic", "preening" and "ruthless ... without sentiment". McInnerny said "It's always nice to play a bastard... I'm glad Halpen's a three-dimensional bastard! That makes him interesting!". Temple epitomised Halpen in a scene where he kills an operative for the activist group "Friends of the Ood"; Davies and Tennant felt that his "disgusting" and "gothic ... Edgar Allan Poe" fate would be undeserved otherwise.

Filming for the episode took place in August 2007. The opening and closing outdoor scenes were filmed in Trefil Quarry in the Brecon Beacons, the external scenes of the complex in a cement factory, and scenes in the "battery farm" were filmed in a hangar at RAF Saint Athan. CGI was used sparingly in production; the snow was paper snow adhered by water, and the Ood heads contained complex animatronics. McInnerny wore a prosthetic mask with two layers for his transformation scene though the production team's best boy provided motion capture for the computer-generated profile of the appendages coming out of his mouth when this needed to be refilmed and McInnerny was unavailable.


"Planet of the Ood" was the most watched programme in its timeslot, with 7.5 million viewers. The episode was the second most-watched programme of the day, beaten by "Britain's Got Talent", and was the twelfth most watched programme of the week. The episode's Appreciation Index was 87 (considered Excellent). [cite web|url=|title=Planet of the Ood - AI and Digital Ratings|first=Marcus|date=2008-04-21|publisher=Outpost Gallifrey|accessdate=2008-04-23] [cite web|url=|date=2008-04-16|accessdate=2008-04-16|publisher=BARB|title=Weekly Viewing Summary w/e 20/04/2008]

Scott Matthewman, writing for "The Stage", gave a mixed review of the episode. He thought that "pretty much the only surprise in the way the humans who made up the Ood Corporation were presented came as PR girl Solana (Ayesha Dharker) escaped with the Doctor and Donna, only to betray their position by calling for the guards," and "the revelation that Ryder (Adrian Rawlins) has been working to infiltrate the Corporation is thrown away... as quickly as it is revealed."cite web|url=|title=Doctor Who 4.3: Planet of the Ood|last=Matthewman|first=Scott|date=2008-04-19|work=TV Today|publisher=The Stage|accessdate=2008-04-22] However, he thought Donna was becoming "fast ... one of the strongest and most well-rounded companions in the series’ history", and "there were some nice interpretations of the Ood’s natural development". Caitlin Moran of "The Times" thought the episode was "really really good ... – one that will have you staring at your screen and asking, once again, 'How can something so good be happening so early on a Saturday night, in my own front room?'".cite web|url=|title=Catherine Tate as Doctor Who's new assistant? She's not that bad|last=Moran|first=Caitlin|date=2008-04-19|publisher=The Times|accessdate=2008-04-22] She enjoyed the scene where the Doctor and Donna talk about slaves in contemporary culture, saying that Tate "really, really isn’t that bad when she says ["We" don't have slaves."] ". Ben Rawson-Jones of "Digital Spy" gave the episode five stars out of five. Rawson-Jones opened his review by saying "Doctor Who can occasionally transcend the properties of a mere family television show to reach out and give viewers a poignant, beautiful epiphany and greater sense of the world they inhabit.", citing Donna's reaction on seeing the uncultivated Ood as the moving part of the episode.cite web|url=|title= S04E03: 'Planet of the Ood'|last=Rawson-Jones|first=Ben|date=2004-04-19|work=Cult: Doctor Who - Review|publisher=Digital Spy|accessdate=2008-04-22] He thought the episode as a whole "exemplifies just how powerful and emotive Doctor Who can be when writing, direction and performance are all harmonious and complete their own Ood-like circle", and was appreciative of the acting. The episode's only flaw was when Donna said "Why do you say 'Miss'? Do I look single?", but was otherwise "an extremely impressive, contemplative examination of the abhorrent nature of humanity".

However, James Delingpole in The Spectator criticised the episode as an example of executive producer Russell T Davies' influence: 'Right from the start, he’s had this thing about bringing New Who up to speed with the socio-political values of the modern age...he clearly reckons that there’s no such thing as a truly evil alien — hence his barmy attempts a few series ago to invest Daleks with feelings — and that if they do behave badly it’s probably the fault of their wicked, neocolonial human oppressors...‘Oi, don’t blame me, innit,’ went Donna, or something like it. ‘It’s been years since we had slaves on our planet.’ Oh really, says the Doctor. And who makes your cheap clothes?...Doctor Who is a genius, a man of the universe...Since when did he acquire the blinkered values of a bearded Sixties sociology lecturer? Why can his superbrain not grasp the point that what may seem like a slave-wage to a bienpensant TV scriptwriter is yet a king’s ransom for a South-East Asian textile worker, who only has his job because of the comparative advantage his nation has in cheap labour? This is A-level economics we’re talking here, not Tardis science.'cite web|url=|title=Doctor’s dilemma|last=Delingpole|first=James|date=2008-04-16|publisher=The Spectator|accessdate=2008-06-05]


External links

*BBCDWnew | year=2008 | id=S4_03 | title=Planet of the Ood
*Brief|id=2008c|title=Planet of the Ood |quotes=y
*Doctor Who RG|id=who_tv35|title=Planet of the Ood|quotes=y

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