SPOILER ALERT!! - Following last month’s premiere of Doctor Who: The Next Doctor on BBC America comes our hero’s next adventure, Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead. In it, the Doctor (David Tennant) is trapped on a desert alien world with a red double-decker bus, but no TARDIS. He soon discovers the mysterious planet holds terrifying secrets hidden in the sand and is forced to team up with an enigmatic, aristocratic thief, Lady Christina de Souza (Eastenders, Bionic Woman, Merlin) to get back to Earth. But time is running out as the deadly Swarm gets closer. Will the Doctor defeat the Swarm and return to Earth safely with his gorgeous companion or will they face a life doomed on this strange planet?
Mini Q & A with David Tennant on Planet Of The Dead
Has filming the specials been different from filming the regular series?
“I think we get slightly more time to film the specials. I don’t know if that’s even true – we get four weeks to film an hour-long special whereas we get about two-and-a-half weeks to film a normal 45-minute episode. So we’ve got a little bit more time to play with, but then they tend to be a bit more ambitious. Certainly this one was, and you know the fact that we wanted to film in an actual desert and there aren’t a lot of those in South Wales. So we had to find somewhere in the world that we could achieve that and had an infrastructure that we could use to film in and that would have us, you know?
Tell us about the desert vistas.
“We went to the desert and got some incredible shots. I mean, I think you’ll notice it onscreen that we went a long way and that the director as well as the camera particularly made it count. I think it’ll look like an alien planet in a way that nothing we’ve ever done before has ever quite managed, just because it is an extraordinary sight, with the sun beating down on miles of sand and blue skies. It really is like being in another world, so it was quite useful for us!”
What is this episode about?
“Well, it’s about a bus that ends up on an alien planet and an international jewel thief who meets the Doctor and is quite intrigued by him. And it’s about two alien races, once of which is just doing what comes naturally, while the other is trying to get home. All of those elements kind of combine into a story that is a bit bonkers, extremely fast moving and sort of on a scope that is bigger than we’ve managed before. It’s very exciting having done a show for four years and still be able to find new stories to tell and new ways of telling them. It’s great, and it’s what makes it such a terrific show to work on.”
Mini Q & A With Michelle Ryan on Planet Of The Dead
Tell us about your character of Lady Christina de Souza.
“Christina is a mysterious, adventure-seeking aristocrat and is very much a loner who’s off in her own little world. She’s very daring, exciting, smart, sassy and a cool character.”
When did you first hear about the part, and why did it appeal to you?
“I first heard about the part just before Christmas and it appealed to me. I was reading lots of different scripts at the time and then I read this one and I was so engaged with the character as well as her journey. It was just a really interesting, dynamic script and few of those come along for young actresses, so I was kind of like, ‘Yeah, I’d like to be a part of this.’”
What’s it like working with David Tennant?
“It’s amazing. He is genuinely one of the most professional, lovely brilliant actors I’ve ever worked with. David has such a good vibe and he gives great energy to everyone. He’s really cool. It’s quite family-like and fun [on the set] and it’s been such a laugh to work on. The rest of the cast, including the supporting cast, have been been brilliant.”
How did you find working with the Tritovores?
“That was a bit of a shock, but they’re very good. It was cool doing all the special effects stuff where you’ve got these big creatures coming at you. I loved doing the harness and wire work; I was hung upside-down, dropped and bounced up and down, all of which was fun!”
What was it like on-set working with Lee Evans (Dr. Malcolm Taylor)?
Filming with Lee Evans is great. He’s actually really quiet, but then all of a sudden he’ll start being really funny. He’s just naturally funny and lovely.”
Is there a romantic spark between your character and The Doctor?
“There is a little bit of a romantic spark between the Doctor and Christina. I think she feels like she’s met her equal, and the Doctor feels like he’s met his match with Christina. She doesn’t come across many men that intrigue and inspire her the way the Doctor does. He manages to show her that she can actually use her skills to help other people, and that it’s more fun when you’re part of a team rather than being a loner. She goes on a journey with him and I think she’d like it to be more, but the Doctor is quite closed off to that because he’s been hurt in the past. He’s off doing his thing and she’s like, ‘Well, OK,’ and off on her next adventure!”
Doctor Who: Planet Of The Dead premieres Sunday, July 26th @ 8 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.
Stay tuned to BBC America for more adventures with our favorite Time Lord. Doctor Who: The Waters Of Mars is the third special and along with two additional as yet untitled specials will premiere later in 2009 and early 201o.
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