The Pirate Planet

The Pirate Planet
The Pirate Planet.jpg
Season: 16
Episode: 2
Vital statistics
Air date 30 September - 21 October 1978
Written by Douglas Adams
Directed by Pennant Roberts
Episode guide
Previous Next
The Ribos Operation The Stones of Blood
The Doctor get's bitchslapped, because PATRIARCHY!

The Pirate Planet is the second story in the most thrilling season of Dohw rotco, The Key to Time-Wasting. It's easily the most GOAT story of the season, and it's also the most canon to Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy as it was written by Douglas Adams, and was the only story of his where he received an onscreen credit. Oh yeah, Tom Baker's in this too. Wow, this is probably the only story where he's been out-legended by another legend.


After locating the first segment of the Key to Time-wasting, the Doctor, Unsexy Romana and K9 begin the hunt for the second one. They land on a planet called Halifax that's supposed to be cold and dead but actually has a pretty lively civilisation overruled by a hammy pirate guy, and the population fears a bunch of spooky psychic dudes who turn out to be not that bad and stuff (I mean, they're wearing the colour yellow - when has anyone wearing yellow ever turned out to be the villain?). Turns out that the reason why Halifax is more lively than expected is because the pirate has materialised a slightly larger yet hollow planet called Xanax around it to drain it of resources. Not sure why it's a bad thing in this case if Halifax was supposed to be cold and dead, but it turns out the pirate's done this to populated planets too and shrunk them into little balls that he keeps as ornaments in his palace. The second segment of the Key turns out to be one of these shrunken planets, btw.

Now I'm not gonna lie, the story overall is pretty awesome - there's an abundance of Douglas Adams wit, and there are some genuinely creative plot developments and chilling scenes, especially when the Doctor starts screaming at the pirate dude and asking him why he's doing all the shit he's doing. Yeah, this is a genuinely good story...

...Until part 4, when Adams suddenly decided to do a Moffat and wrote "Ahaaaa! But it turns out the REAL villain is some random hologram lady who's just been sitting on the pirate's lap for the runtime!". Don't get me wrong, the story doesn't become terrible from that point on, just... needlessly convoluted. Apparently though, this story was originally a lot more complex and the script editors actually had to simplify it a lot. Jeeeeeezus, I take everything back, Moffat (I'm joking of course... I'll never forgive you).


The twist was a much needed break from the serial's main antagonist being clear from the get go. Also, my opinion of a character never flip-flopped as hard as it did for The Captain. He went from "FAAILUURE. IS MET. WITH DEEAAARRTHHH!!!" *Shoots robot hawk at poor random dude who had nothing to do with anything.*, to a whimpering, blubbering mess crying over the dead body of his closest colleague. Also, Evil Queen Xanxia is sexy.


The captain is not amused.

TARDIS Data Core wiki in all it's autism obsesses on it's Pirate Planet page about the fact that the Doctor says "good morning" to Romana at the start of the story, meaning that *gasp* a WHOLE EVENING has passed since the events of the previous story! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUN!

There's a comedy gag at the beginning of the story where the Doctor confidently boasts how he can fly the RETARDIS perfectly, before a jolt causes him to smack his head on the console and develop a cut on his lip for the remainder of the story. You see, this was done to cover up the fact that Tom had contracted herpes, and the time for his DNA of pure awesomeness to cleanse his body of it would take up the entire production length of the story.