Planet of the Drashigs was the second story in the eighth series of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Phil Mulryne and featured Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Jane Slavin as Ann Kelso and John Leeson as K9.
When the TARDIS lands on an alien planet, the Doctor's intentions to show Ann Kelso an advanced future society are thrown into disarray. Because they have arrived on DrashigWorld - a park where every known species of the terrifying predators has been gathered together to entertain and thrill the public. The familiar wetland Drashigs, the albino burrowing Drashigs of the desert, and deadliest of all, the tiny Emerald Drashigs of the rainforests.
And it's not the best day to have arrived. The park has been shut down due to a visitor fatality. A Galactic Attractions inspector is on site meaning everyone is extremely tense and under pressure.
It's exactly the right circumstances in which someone might make a mistake. And on Drashigworld, mistakes are deadly.
Dr Vaneesa Seaborne records an observation log of the experiments being observed in the park. After failing to gain access to something, she storms off in a rage to get a drink. Some strange noises begin to come from the computer but no one is around to hear the.
The Doctor introduces Ann to K9. They take off to Newmenor minor, but the TARDIS suddenly goes berserk, shaking and rattling around.
Lord Braye and Trencher walk through the wetlands enjoying the nice weather and lack of visitors. They discuss that park has been closed due to an accident in which a visitor was killed for turning off their energy shield. They check if the teleport pad is operating properly. They then use it to teleport to the next region. After making sure everything is working properly before the inspector arrives, they prepare to teleport to inspect the next area.
The TARDIS manages to land. Ann sees through the view screen and is apprehensive about going outside into the cold, damp weather. The Doctor orders K9 to stay but Ann tells him quietly to follow along. Ann is unimpressed by the barren landscapes in front of them until she sees a rocket. They follow the rocket on foot. Ann complains why they can't just take the TARDIS but the Doctor says he doesn't want a journey like the one they just had. They find a field that vaporizes anything that tries to pass through and the doctor walks along the perimeter to find a way through/past it.
Lord Braye decides Trencher will greet the inspector, much to Trencher's sarcastic enthusiasm. Lord Braye practices his introduction, mentioning that he has achieved his life's dream of opening a park devoted to the most dangerous creature in the galaxy... the Drashig.
Meanwhile the Doctor and Ann stumble upon a piles of dead bones. The Doctor, a little unnerved, believes they should head back to the TARDIS. They hear something and the Doctor decides it better to try and avoid the new creature potentially stalking them.
Lord Braye practices introducing the four kinds of Drashigs. He then goes to find professor Seaborne, who is having a late lunch. She mentions he should look through the view-screen at the emerald Drashigs hunting. He asks her for how she would describe and emerald Drashig as he would like help for his introductory speech to the inspector.
He notes that they're attacking, using a hunting technique where the rest of a pack drive the prey straight into the teeth of one emerald Drashig. He notes she is eating a lot to which she says is because she has been working hard. She doubts the inspector will be much impressed with their string of failures but he tries to keep hope.
The Doctor and Ann continue running but the Doctor trips. Ann is frightened as she sees the creature behind them getting closer and the Doctor warns her not to look back, explaining it is a Drashig.
The Galactic inspector Titus Wayland lands and is greeted by chief game keeper Trencher. The two go to find Lord Braye who will explain everything. Lord Braye and Dr Seasborne discuss the inspector. She then shows him that she has finished their holographic 3-D map of all of Drashig world that also displays the positions of all Drashigs in the park. Suddenly they notice two unidentified human presence dots on the map just as Titus arrives.
The Doctor and Ann have stumbled on a teleport pad. Ann wonders why the Drashig has stopped but the Doctor explains that it is waiting for the others since they hunt in packs. The Doctor cannot hack into the teleport pad in time but K9 arrives in the nick of time and gets it working. However, K9 must enter energy conservation mode and shuts down.
Lord Braye introduces himself to Inspector Titus Wayland. Titus questions why a death has occurred on the vicinity despite Lord Braye's insistence of the highest level of safety and security and why the family of the deceased party was offered money by Lord Braye to keep quiet.
The Doctor explains he should have left K9 to charge up last night. Ann does not wish to leave K9 behind but they have no choice. The Doctor gets the next telepad working and they leave. Ann feels slick from the teleport despite the warning. Suddenly the voice of Titus rings ask, wondering who the two travellers are?
Vanessa goes down to the park but suddenly hears strange voices and loses focus for a minute. Meanwhile Trencher has found a metal dog. She goes to investigate.
Lord Braye fumbles in his attempt to explain the presence of the Doctor and Ann. The Doctor explains they are tourists. Inspector Titus prods Lord Braye into continuing his explanation of Drashigworld, despite the appearance of the new guests. Lord Braye continues by explaining that Drashigworld is a theme park split into four “worlds”, each containing a different type of Drashig. Titus then asks the Doctor how he ended up here, even though the park is supposed to be closed to visitors, but the Doctor declares his dislike for the park, calling the operation insane.
Trencher asks K9 some questions, such as who he's with, however, K9 is in no condition to talk so she brings it back to the lab.
The Doctor asks Lord Braye what the flashing red light on the holographic map is which Lord Braye, panicking,assures them it's nothing and calls Vanessa, asking if there's a problem. She says the Emerald Drashig enclosure has been opened up. The doctor berates Lord Braye for keeping some of the most dangerous creatures, Emerald Drashigs, in his park. The Doctor orders Ann to stay with Titus while he goes off to investigate, Lord Braye following.
Trencher fixes up K9 and K9 requests power from a power source, so Trencher takes him to one.
Lord Braye takes the Doctor to a research lab. The Doctor asks what kind of research but Lord Braye won't reveal it.
Titus and Ann talk, where she reveals she's a police officer. Trencher arrives with K9. Ann is glad to see him but upset over his condition. K9 insists it needs power.
The Doctor and Lord Braye go into the lab. The Doctor activates the cameras and they see that the gate to the enclosure has been opened. They find Vanessa, who had fainted, and the Doctor notes that it doesn't look like the system has been hacked. They question Vanessa and she claims she can hear the Drashigs and that they are hungry and free. They hear the emerald Drashigs, all five of them, in the distance and prepare to try to escape...
The Doctor orders Lord Braye to stay when he tries to run. Vanessa notes the one with the white marking is the alpha, the leader. The Doctor asks if the taps on the workbench are gas taps. Confused, but soon understands when the Doctor ignites the gas with the sonic screwdriver and the flames scare the Drashig back.
The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to lock the controls but Vanessa doesn't believe it will hold them back. Lord Braye exclaims that the door is made of romalian alloy, the only metal Drashigs cannot bite into, however Vanessa notes that they will find a way, some kind of weak point. The Doctor asks how the Drashigs were released but Vanessa doesn't know.
K9 is charging, using the catalytic fusion reactor. Titus is impressed with K9.
Just then the Fourth Doctor contacts them over the intercom system and updates them on the loose.
He tells them to stay put and will be coming back. Trencher warns him but he says he knows. The three prepare to find a teleport pad so that the Drashigs may lose their scent.
Titus is terrified of having these Drashigs on the loose. K9 downloads a map of the park into his data-banks.
The Doctor and Braye argue about the legitimacy of the park. Braye tries to conceal the true intentions but Vanessa reveals to the doctor that they have been trying to connect to the Drashig's brainwaves. Lord Braye relents and reveals he wants to study their brainwaves so that he can experience the same hunting instinct as them and see what it is like to be them. The Doctor berates him for idiocy and explains that as a human he is sentient and can do much better with his life than debase himself to the level of a Drashig, a creature that simply hunts and acts violently.
Trencher triple locks all entrances. Titus bemoans his situation. K9 has downloaded the park map. Trencher tells them that they're going to wait.
Vanessa explains she is hearing the Drashig's voices. Braye is excited but the Doctor is concerned. She begins to hear them and the Doctor tells her to focus on what they're thinking. She reveals that the Drashigs are hunting for them and have cut their escape route (telepad) off. The Doctor leads them somewhere else.
They find the emerald Drashigs circling the telepad and climbing onto them despite supposedly never having seen them before. The emerald Drashigs manage to work the teleport and teleport themselves
Just then the telepad near Trencher, Ann and Titus activates and they discover the emerald Drashigs coming through. Trencher tells them to hide behind a nearby table. They arrive but are disorientated from the teleport. Ann instructs K9 to blast the roof down.
K9 then reveals that the tunnels are still usable as escape routes and the trio prepare to escape that way.
The Doctor tries to teleport back to the central command hub where Ann, Trencher and Titus were but find that it has been destroyed. Vanessa and Lord Braye are confused but the Doctor explains that they are hearing their thoughts and so the Drashigs have changed pattern. Vanessa's communicator goes off and it is Trencher. Trencher explains they are in the central atmospheric distribution tunnels being guided by K9. They intend to head for the centre's armoury. The Doctor mentions he wishes Vanessa hadn't heard that, and they need to be careful as the Drashigs are coming to find them. Trencher tries to ask for an explanation but there is no time to reply.
Trencher, Titus and Ann are cut off by the Drashigs and try to look for another way out. Titus, in a panic, tries running in a random direction but is caught by the Drahsigs and he disappears. They find a dent and attempt to go through it as the Drashigs close in on them.
The Doctor intends to go back to the lab to try and find a way to help the three but refuses to say why, explaining that Vanessa is leaking information unintentionally through their connected minds.
Trencher, Ann and K9 manage to make it to the armoury.
The Doctor, suspecting something, finds and shows them a video of Vanessa, unconscious, opening the enclosure and letting the Drsahigs out. He explains that the connection is two-way and the Drashigs have been using Vanessa for their own means.
Trencher and Ann prepare weapons to fight the Drashigs.
The Doctor pulls Lord Braye aside and out of ear-shot from Vanessa and tells Braye that he is giving him a job and entrusting the lives of everyone to him. He is to deliver a message.
Trencher and Ann get ready to fight as the Drashigs are drawing nearer to their location.
The Doctor regrets fusing the door controls while Vanessa, in a fit of pain, senses the Drashigs, preparing to attack the armoury. The Doctor says they must hurry.
Trencher explains that only one Drashig will hunt, and they need to carefully aim their grenade. After a moment of silence, the Drashig bursts forth.
Vanessa senses one of the Drashigs has been killed.
Trencher and Ann are successful and have managed to kill the alpha but Trencher sympathizes with the creature in death, saying it didn't choose to be the way it is. They hear the cries of the other Drashigs mourning their dead leader. K9 reveals that the emerald Drashigs are retreating.
Back in Vanessa's lab, the Doctor finds the neuro-headpiece she was using to inter-face with the Drashigs. He explains there's a central power generator that he needs to re-route the power from, temporarily disabling the entire park's systems.
K9 detects something else approaching them. They then hear a knock. It is Lord Braye. He says the Doctor sent him with a message for them.
Vanessa and the Doctor prepare to re-route power, despite it meaning the end of Drashigworld. Suddenly Vanessa, again in pain, reveals the Drashigs are coming for them.
Trencher and the others head round the back but stop when they hear the Drashigs. She tells them not to move. The Drashigs pass them and Trencher reveals that they weren't displaying hunting behaviour and were intent on going somewhere else.
Vanessa reveals they have 60 seconds before the power will be re-routed. The Doctor tells her to stall the Drashig by communicating with them mentally. She tells the Drashigs that no one has to die. Sympathizing that they have lost their alpha, she says she can be their new alpha. They refuse unless she kills for them. The Doctor tries to remind her of her humanity. She is almost successful but is rejected at the last moment. Manual over-ride is accessed but at the cost of Vanessa's life.
Trencher, Ann and K9 continue on their way when the power goes off. They reassemble as a line, all holding each other's shoulders and Ann holds K9's tail as he guides them to the exit.
The Doctor quickly mourns Vanessa, then puts on neuro-headpiece and uses the power to connect with the Drashigs across the whole park. The Doctor is almost over-powered by the Drashig's killing instincts but manages to broadcast a new signal over the entire park.
The four manage to make it out of the tunnels but notice that the wetland's Drashigs have escaped. They note it is acting strange but then the Doctor arrives and explains that the thoughts that tormented Vanessa have now been put into the heads of every Drashig in the park, causing them to break down.
They make their way back to the TARDIS and Ann asks the Doctor if they can take the others with them, to which, despite being tempted to leave Lord Braye, he affirms that they will. Trencher is not sure what to do with herself now that she cannot work at the park anymore but the Doctor assures her that it's a big cosmos and she has lots of choices. They see the Drashigs acting even more bizarrely and the Doctor explains they are being attracted to Vanessa's equipment which is broadcasting a signal causing them to seek out the source. He also explains that they will continue to do so until the equipment burns itself off but by that time they will be safely off the planet. When asked what will happen now, the Doctor says the Drashigs can now properly inhabit the planet and it will truly be called "Drashigworld" now.
- The Doctor - Tom Baker
- WPC Ann Kelso - Jane Slavin
- K9 - John Leeson
- Vanessa Seaborne - Fenella Woolgar
- Lord Braye - Jeremy Clyde
- Trencher - Lizzie Roper
- Titus Wayland - Andrew Ryan
- DrashigWorld is a planetoid or dwarf planet, one of the 700 Wonders of the Galactic Hub. It is divided into four quadrants separated by energy barriers, with telepads for transportation.
- The TARDIS arrives in the wetland.
- There are dozens of Drashigs on the planet, and they are fed on goats.
- Vanessa designed a catalytic fusion reactor that powers the park.
- Emerald Drashigs are the smallest and deadliest, more vicious than any predator in the known universe. They travel in packs of five, with the alpha having a white marking.
- Wayland claims Braye paid the family of the victim 1000 credits not to talk.
- The door to Vanessa's lab is double-plated romalian alloy, the only metal Drashigs can't bite through.
- Vanessa's project involved a remote electroencephalograph and a neural oscillation detector, which allows the user to connect to the Drashig's neural oscillations, their higher and lower beta waves. The user can then experience the co-ordination and thrill of the Drashigs hunting.
- Drashigs are non-sentient, the Doctor explaining that they don't have a consciousness or imagination.
- K9 assimilates the 3D map schematic of the park.
- Trencher uses a grenade to kill an alpha emerald, and the others mourn it.
- Trencher had a dog once, but a Manussian ligrid tore her to pieces.
- A single Emerald wiped out a group of soldiers in the jungles of Hydroxus 3.
- This story marks the Drashigs' first appearance in an audio, and is reminiscent of Jurassic Park. Behind-the-scenes material makes this connection explicit. Nicholas Briggs also compares the Emerald Drashigs to the velociraptors of that film and franchise. (BFX: Planet of the Drashigs) There is also a cheeky reference within the script: the Doctor notes that Lord Braye had "no expense spared" in DrashigWorld's lab, echoing a recurring line from the film.
- While the Doctor's use of air vents to escape is a running joke, in this story characters use "atmospheric distribution tunnels."
- The Doctor previously encountered Drashigs and using his sonic screwdriver ignited the gas produced by the marsh to defend himself by scaring the Drashigs away. (TV: Carnival of Monsters)
- The Doctor finishes building K9 Mark II. (TV: The Invasion of Time, AUDIO: The Sinestran Kill)
- The Doctor quotes to beware "Greeks bearing gifts," and says "I warned them but they wouldn't listen." (TV: The Myth Makers)
- Vanessa becomes connected with the Drashigs. The Drashigs evolved from posthumans. (PROSE: Daring Initiation)
- Trencher mentions her dog was ripped apart by a Manussian ligrid. The Doctor would later visit the planet Manussa in his fifth incarnation. (TV: Snakedance)