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The Impossible Planet
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 2
Story Number: 174a
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Rose Tyler
Setting: Krop Tor; year 43K2.1
Writer: Matt Jones
Director: James Strong
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 3rd June 2006
Format: 1x45 minute Episode
Prod. Code: 2.8
Previous Story: The Idiot's Lantern
Following Story: The Satan Pit
"Don't look at me, one look and you will die."
The Beast



The TARDIS lands in a base on Krop Tor, a planet which orbits the black hole K37 Gem 5 without falling into it, a circumstance so inexplicable that even the Doctor cannot understand it. The base crew are drilling to the centre of the planet, to discover the power source which keeps it in a stable orbit around the black hole. But an ancient evil is there too. And he is awake.


The TARDIS materialises inside a "Sanctuary Base" meant for deep-space expeditions. The Doctor and Rose discover an inscription scribbled on the station wall which the TARDIS is unable to translate.

After a slight misunderstanding when first meeting the Ood, a docile race of empathic servants who work on the station, the travelers meet the crew of the base, led by acting Captain Zachary Cross Flane. The crew, which includes Science Officer Ida Scott, Head of Security John Jefferson, and archeologist Toby Zed, are on an expedition on an anomalous planet in orbit around a black hole. The Doctor realises that it is impossible for the planet, which is called Krop Tor, to be in geostationary orbit around the black hole, as it should be pulled in like the star systems around it are. He calculates that it would take a phenomenal amount of power (Six to the power of six for six seconds) to generate the huge gravity funnel stabilising its orbit. The funnel is not a natural phenomenon, and the crew is drilling ten miles underground to the core of the planet in hopes of finding the power source and using it. The origin of the power source is an ancient civilisation that had been on Krop Tor, and the inscription on the wall is a transcription of a stone tablet found on the planet.

The Doctor soon discovers that storage sections 5 to 8 had collapsed as a result of the earthquake-like tremor they had experienced moments after their arrival, dropping the TARDIS, which had been in Storage 6, into a crevasse. With no resources to divert the drilling, Rose and the Doctor are stranded.

It isn't long before a malevolent presence begins to make itself known. Strange messages about the Beast awaking to make war against God emanate from the Ood's translation spheres and the base computer's speakers. Toby begins to hear voices just before he is possessed by the Beast. Soon after that Scooti hears the airlock being opens and goes to investigate.  Unfortunately for Scooti she found the possessed Toby outside in space, not wearing a suit.  Scooti began reaching out as if hypnotized but suddenly stopped and tried to escape.  Then Toby ripped the window to bits sending Scooti screaming into the darkness of space.

The team finally manages to drill down to the core of the planet. The Doctor and Ida journey down the mine shaft and into a massive cavern with ancient giant sculptures along its walls. They head for the power source, guided by sensor readings, and find a large circular disk set in the floor of the cavern, which the Doctor suspects is a trap door of some sort. The edge of the disk is also covered with inscriptions.

Meanwhile in the base, the Ood's telepathic fields rise dangerously to Basic 100, which is high enough to induce brain death, but they are obviously still alive. Finally the beast makes itself known through Toby before seemingly transferring itself to the Ood. The Ood identify themselves as the Legion of the Beast and begin to advance on the crew members, including Rose. Finally, the Doctor and Ida stand before a seal on the cavern ground, which then slids open, to a black chasm. A voice booms out from beneath it, stating, "The pit is open, and I am free!"



to be added


  • The Scarlet System was home to the Pallushi, a mighty civilisation that spanned a billion years.
  • The scriptures of the Veltino describe the planet as Krop Tor - "the bitter pill".
  • The Doctor states TARDISes are grown, rather than built.
  • When Ida mentions "there's no turning back", The Doctor says it is almost as bad as saying "this is going to be the best Christmas Walford has ever seen", a reference to EastEnders due to their rather miserable Christmases.
  • Jefferson quotes Thomas Babington Macaulay's poem Horatius; "And how can man die better, than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?"
  • During the night shift the base plays Maurice Ravel's Bolero.

Story Notes

  • Gabriel Woolf previously played (and voiced) Sutekh in Pyramids of Mars.
  • The episode has a few references to the ID Software computer game DOOM; the door opening sounds are the same used in DOOM and DOOM 2.
  • The Doctor calculated that the power needed was six to the power of six every six seconds, a reference to 666, the supposed number of the devil.
  • Before the Ood, the production team had considered Raxacoricofallapatorians being the servants on Sanctuary Base 6.


  • 6.31 million viewers


to be added

Filming Locations

  • Wenvoe Quarry, Cardiff
  • Mamhilad Park Industrial Estate, Pontypool, Wales
  • Unit Q2, Imperial Park, Imperial Way, Newport
  • HTV Wales Studios, Culvershouse Cross, Cardiff
  • Enfys Television Studios, Unit 31, Portmanmoor Road, East Moors, Cardiff
  • Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire
  • Ealing Film Studios, Ealing Green, Ealing

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Ida considers the concept of the planet having a name ludicrous. However, it is later stated that in the Scripture of the Veltino, the planet is named Krop Tor. She means that the planet does not have an official intergalactic designation.
  • It is just as possible for a planet to orbit a black hole as it is to orbit a star, as long as it is far enough away and moving fast enough. It is, however, unlikely. The planet may be closer than should be possible.
  • Rose jokes about the Ood's name, saying it is 'very Ood'. Given that the TARDIS translates languages, and the crew on Krop Tor presumably don't speak english, how can they understand the play on words? It's presumable that the crew do know English or if it isn't their first language, they know it anyway. This assumes the play on words itself cannot be translated. They may understand just not find it funny, as oods seem to be commonplace.
  • Why does nobody attempt to evacuate the Ood to a safe area when the impact hits? They don't really treat the Ood as proper beings, so they don't care for them. This is also shown by the fact that the computer doesn't recognize them as a "real" sentient beings.
  • At the end of the age of steel , the Doctor told Mickey to keep Rose's mobile, but she still has it in this story. She could have got a new one.
  • Why is Scooti's corpse floating above the base rather than staying on the planetoid's surface?
  • Why is there gravity at the centre of the planetoid? The next episode implies that it is artificial, as does the odd nature of the planet's gravity field.
  • There is no way that the trapdoor is 30 feet in diameter like Ida says. (Perhaps Ida confused the term diameter with another, such as circumference, or units of measurement had changed for some reason.)



International broadcast

When aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in late 2006, this episode was considered a mid-season cliffhanger, with The Satan Pit and the rest of the season not airing until early 2007, after a hiatus of several months. At the time the CBC made this decision a trend had developed among North American networks to insert lengthy (sometimes months-long) breaks during the November-January period.

DVD Releases

Series 2 Volume 4 DVD Cover

See also

to be added

External Links

  • BBC Website - Episode Guide for The Impossible Planet
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Impossible Planet
  • The Whoniverse - The Discontinuity Guide to: The Impossible Planet
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Impossible Planet
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Impossible Planet
Series 2
Mini-episode: Children in Need Special  • Christmas Special: The Christmas Invasion

New Earth  • Tooth and Claw  • School Reunion  • The Girl in the Fireplace  • Rise of the Cybermen  • The Age of Steel  • The Idiot's Lantern  • The Impossible Planet  • The Satan Pit  • Love & Monsters  • Fear Her  • Army of Ghosts  • Doomsday

Ood TV Stories
The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit  • Planet of the Ood  • The End of Time
Minor appearances: The Waters of Mars

This article uses material from the "The Impossible Planet" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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