Doctor Who – Planet of the Ood

I agree wholeheartedly with the production team on the premise of this episode: the Ood are interesting enough to deserve another episode – and I’d say a lot more interesting than the overplayed “year 5 billion” setting. If I hold anything against this episode (and I’m a fan, so whingeing is my natural state), then it’s the moralising. A mere week after the ignored issue of the Roman slave system, we get a portrayal of a slavery system not unlike colonial Europe’s exploitations of Africa. Slavery has to be viewed one way and one way only, according to this production team. Doctor Who seems to be losing the moral discussion and ambiguity that I’ve always loved about the show. That said, a fair few episodes in the late eighties had a definite moral agenda, so maybe this is just a continuing trend.

That said, at least some of the more pantomime portrayals of slave-mastery made some kind of sense. The whipping scene would seem odd for slaves that have no sense of rebellion until you see that the man doing the whipping is also someone who would chase an intruder round a warehouse with a giant claw just because he always wanted to kill someone that way. And kudos to Roger Griffiths for making Commander Kess seem believable. In fact, it took me a while to realise I was watching the guy who played Everton in Chef!.

I’ve got a couple of real favourite moments from this one. I’d say it’s got the best villain comeuppance ever. Not only a wonderful piece of irony, but also fantastically shot. I’ve always loved Graeme Harper’s work as a director and he’s on top form here. And the fairground grabber scene was a fantastic piece of sadistic brilliance, too.

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~ by Scary Rob on 14 May, 2008.

One Response to “Doctor Who – Planet of the Ood”

  1. The slave thing with the Ood is well done. Especially the way, when they first appeared in the Impossible Planet, they were treated so casually “Everyone’s got an Ood.” He could have been talking about a mobile phone.
    Although I’ve always thought Rose’s “Since when did humans need slaves?” comment was incredibly naive. The answer being since always.

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