From this point onwards my reviews are probably going to be influenced by nostalgia as it is from around this time that my earliest memories of Doctor Who start (my very earliest recollection being Tom falling off the end of the Captain's plank in this story). The Pirate Planet is of course written by the late Douglas Adams so it's little wonder that this story contains a lot of scientific gobbledegook, some very clever far-out ideas and alot of humour. It's easily my favourite story of the season, it just feels totally different from anything we've seen before and the concepts in it are hugely imaginative (hollow space jumping planet, people becoming telepathic from the dying energies of planets, planets compressed to husks by gravitational forces...). Then we have the seemingly unlimited amount of mind boggling words that come spewing from the mouths of the Doctor and Romana (gravitic anomalizer, magnifactoid ecentricolometer!). Interestingly Tom seems to have no problem with these words at all!
I find The Pirate Planet a complete joy from start to finish, from the witty banter between the Doctor and Romana, the scene where she steals his jelly babies, the way the Doctor steals the air car (again with his sweets!), the "linear induction corridor" scene, and just about every scene with the Captain and Mr Fibuli (or MR FIBULI!!!! as the Captain repeatedly bellows). Bruce Purchase's Captain is a fantastic creation, yes he's over the top but wonderfully so, his various exclamations like "Moons of madness!!" adding to this larger than life character and his realtionship with Mr Fibuli is given an extra dimension by his grief over his death. The Doctor's confronations with him are by turns humourous and gripping, the scene where the Doctor expresses his fury at the Captain for his destruction of planets is electrifying, more so as Tom has been playing things rather humourously up till that point.
The Mentiads are interesting too, if rather woodenly played I have to say. The scenes of them constantly marching off across hills to get to places always makes me think of a Monty Python sketch for some reason!
It's amazing that this story was even able to be made considering some of the things the script demands but they did a marvellous job of realizing Adams' extraordinary storyline. The twist in the story as to who is really behind things is the icing on the cake of a fantastic Dr Who story, one I never tire of watching and one of Tom's very best stories. Love it!