The Pirate Planet

No. 13 of 184 in the BBC classic series DVDs/Blu-rays series
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Starring: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm & John Leeson
By:Douglas Adams
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Editions:  US US (standard DVD) | US US (special DVD)
Description:  DVD release of the 1978 Doctor Who TV serial of the same name — the second story in the Key To Time season. Only available separately in the US — in the UK and Australia it was instead released as part of The Key To Time box set.

Cover image for The Pirate Planet
Edition: US US (standard DVD)
Released:  October 2002
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x DVD
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Cover blurb:
As the Doctor, Romana and K9 head for the planet Calufrax in search of the second segment of the Key to Time, they are in for a surprise when the TARDIS brings them to Zanak, an entirely different planet occupying the same space coordinates. Did Romana take a wrong turn when she navigated by the book? No, the tracer registers that the segment is near.

Nothing is as it seems in this story by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The populace of Zanak lead affluent lives, thanks to the mysterious mechanizations of the Captain. He regularly announces a new age of prosperity, and most of the people accept the extraordinary turn in their fortune without further examination.

Little do they imagine that their benefactor — hidden on a forbidden mountaintop — is a roaring space pirate whose best friend is Polyphase Avitron, a cyber-parrot that brings death to anyone who displeases its master. All these elements will come together to reveal the greatest crime in the galaxy and the second segment of the Key to Time as well.


  • Commentary by actor Bruce Purchase and director Pennant Roberts
  • Pop-Up Production Notes
  • Photo Gallery
  • Who’s Who

Cover image for The Pirate Planet: Special Edition
Edition: US US (special DVD)
Title:  The Pirate Planet: Special Edition
Released:  March 2009
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x DVD
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Cover blurb:
The Doctor and Romana arrive on the planet Zanak, looking for the second segment of the Key to Time. Although priceless gems are scattered on the streets, and the night sky changes with the dawn of each new prosperous age, the townsfolk live in fear.

For in a fortress overlooking the city, the terrifying pirate captain is in control of the most destructive force in the galaxy.


  • Audio Commentary 1 by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana) and script editor Anthony Read
  • Audio Commentary 2 by actor Bruce Purchase (The Pirate Captain) and director Pennant Roberts
  • Parrot Fashion “Making Of” documentary featuring an archive interview with writer Douglas Adams, Mary Tamm, John Leeson (K-9), Bruce Purchase and Rosalind Lloyd (Xanxia) (30 mins)
  • Film Inserts, Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (14 mins)
  • Weird Science 1970s educational film spoof looks at some of the science seen in the Key to Time season (17 mins)
  • Continuities (3 mins)
  • Photo Gallery (7 mins)
  • Production Note Option
  • DVD-ROM PC / Mac feature: Radio Times billings
  • Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

Originally transmitted September 30 - October 21, 1978

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