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The Impossible Planet was the eighth episode of series 2 of Doctor Who. It marked the first appearance of the Ood. The episode was also rife with allusions to the realm of Hell and its ruler, the Devil.

The prequel to The Impossible Planet, Tardisode 8, allows viewers to witness the presence of Captain Walker, who would later die during his crew's expedition and only receive posthumous mention in this episode.


The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler lose the TARDIS down a deep chasm, leaving themselves stranded on a space base positioned on a planet in the orbit of a black hole. Meanwhile, an entity who identifies as Satan himself is awakening and beginning to cause chaos amongst the crew.


The TARDIS materialises inside a "Sanctuary Base" meant for deep-space expeditions. The Tenth Doctor notes that the TARDIS didn't seem to want to land here, as if there was something wrong. Rose suggests they leave. However, both immediately laugh at the idea; since when have they left after encountering something unknowable? They follow a corridor out into an open area that looks like a canteen and discover the words "Welcome to Hell" written above lines of unknown characters scribbled on the wall. The Doctor says that it must be incredibly old, as the TARDIS is unable to translate it.

He then opens a door, which reveals a group of aliens with tendrils in place of mouths. Each is holding a glowing orb in their hand, connected underneath the tendrils. The Doctor greets them warmly, asking what they are doing there. The creatures say "We must feed..." repeatedly, advancing on the Doctor and Rose. The Doctor pulls out the sonic screwdriver and brandishes it as a weapon to ward them off. One of the creatures shakes and bops the orb its holding, its now saying "We must feed you, if you are hungry"; just a glitch with the technology.

Humans enter immediately afterwards, surprised to be seeing people. The Doctor and Rose meet the rest of the crew, led by acting Captain Zachary Cross Flane. An earthquake occurs and they all have to take cover. The crew is introduced as Science Officer Ida Scott, Head of Security John Jefferson, trainee maintenance officer Scooti Manista, and archaeologist Toby Zed. The Doctor and Rose also learn that the creatures are Ood, a docile race of empathetic servants who work on the station. Ida opens a massive metal roof window, revealing they are orbiting a black hole. Zach and Ida explain that they are on an expedition on an anomalous planet orbiting the black hole, K37 Gem 5. 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 (a power source with an inverted self-extrapolating reflex force of six to the power of six every six seconds) to generate the huge gravity field stabilising its orbit. The field extends out as a distinct gravity funnel into clear space, which allowed the expedition a way into the planet. 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 fragments found on the planet during their drilling.

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 crevice. With no resources to divert the drilling, Rose and the Doctor are stranded. Ida offers to put them on the duty roster.

Beast toby

Toby is possessed by the Beast.

The crew goes back to their duties. Toby begins to hear a voice addressing him, but the person tells Toby not to look at him, otherwise, he will die. Elsewhere in the Base, an Ood tells Rose that the Beast awakens to make war against God, a horned image is displayed out of the corner of Zach's eye, and the computer system tells Danny, "He is awake." The voice speaks to Toby, and the symbols from the pottery he was holding appear on his skin. He passes out.

In the habitation area, Ida opens the roof window so they can watch as the remains of the Scarlet System are swallowed by the black hole. Watching the spectacle with the Doctor, Rose realises that she can't call her mum, as there is no signal on her superphone for the first time. The pair talk about their uncertain future until Rose's phone rings. She answers it and a voice tells her, "He is awake." In his room, Toby wakes with symbols all over his face and his eyes are now red.

The Doctor and Rose go to ask Danny about the Ood. Danny attempts to reassure them, showing a telepathic field monitor, which goes up to Basic 30, a reading six times normal. When Rose repeats what she heard on her phone, the Ood respond with "and you will worship him".

Toby breaks the glass

The Beast kills Scooti.

Scooti goes to drop off some paperwork to Toby but finds his room empty. While she puts the paperwork on the desk, the computer announces the opening and closing of Door 41, an airlock. Concerned, she rushes to the airlock, where the computer confirms that the door opened and closed. The computer cannot tell who went outside and says no spacesuit was taken. Through a window, she sees Toby in the winds on the barren planet's surface, without a spacesuit, although there is no breathable air. Toby turns around to look at her and with a gesture, she reaches towards him. After she asks him to stop, Toby clenches his fist cracks form on the glass between them. Scooti tries to run towards Door 40, but it will not open. The glass shatters and alarms blare as the air begins rushing out of the base. Scooti is dragged away, screaming as she loses her grip.

The base begins to shake violently and Zach orders them to evacuate the affected section. Danny, Rose, the Doctor, Jefferson, Ida, and two security guards all rush to the nearest safe corridor. Jefferson pulls a clear skinned, pale eyed Toby through last, then closes the door, sealing the breach. Zach then asks if everyone is all right. Jefferson then reports that everyone is accounted for except Scooti. Jefferson then calls for Scooti on his radio, but he gets no answer. Zach then tells them she is alright and that her biochip located her in Habitation 3. Jefferson and Ida sigh in relief. They then go down to search for Scooti while the Doctor and Rose tend to Toby.

Scooti dead

Scooti is dead.

When Toby, Rose, and the Doctor enter the habitation they find the searchers looking frantically. Ida is calling all the habitations looking for Scooti. Jefferson then reports that Scooti is still missing while Zach continues by saying that her biochip says she is in Habitation 3. Then the Doctor sadly says he found her. Scooti is floating outside in the vacuum. Jefferson reports her death to Zach. Ida then goes over to the control to close the overhead, saying Scooti was only twenty years old. Scooti floats away towards the black hole, spinning as the door closes. Jefferson recites a verse from a poem: "And how can man die better/ Than facing fearful odds/ For the ashes of his fathers/ And the temples of his gods."

Suddenly the drilling noises cease, and Ida realises that the drill has stopped, meaning they've managed to drill down to the core of the planet. Nonessential Ood are confined and the Doctor convinces Zach to let him go down to the centre of the planet with Ida. Once there, the Doctor and Ida discover 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 pit opens

The pit opens.

Meanwhile, in the base, Danny calls from where he is monitoring the Ood to report that the Ood's telepathic field has risen dangerously to Basic 100. Basic 100 is high enough to induce brain death, but they are obviously still alive. Ida reports the edge of the massive door is covered in the ancient symbols and they ask Toby if he's translated any. Toby says he knows what it says, and he looks up at Jefferson and Rose through red eyes in a symbol covered face. He says they are the words of the Beast. He then taunts Jefferson before the symbols flow from his face to the Ood. Toby faints, and the different groups of red eyed Ood begin to speak and advance. They identify themselves as the Legion of the Beast and recite his verses as they begin to advance on the crew members. The security guard with Danny is electrocuted by a translator ball. Danny runs. In the other chamber, Jefferson, Rose, and their guard retreat.

Three Ood (TIP)

"We are the Legion of the Beast".

The Doctor and Ida stand before the sealed metal door on the cavern ground. Rocks fall as the ground shakes, even to the base above, and the sections of the door fall apart and slide open to show a black chasm. Zach reports they're losing orbit, as the Ood back Rose's group into a door that won't open. The Doctor and Ida run back to the edge of the chasm as a voice calls out, "The pit is open, and I am free!" As the Doctor and Ida look down, malevolent laughter echoes...


Uncredited cast[]


General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.



  • Prince of Darkness
  • Sound effects matching the door opening and closing sounds from the first two games in the popular Doom series are occasionally used, especially noticeable when Toby goes searching for the "voices" distracting him from his archaeological findings.

Story notes[]

  • Before the Ood were created to fill the role, the production team had originally considered Raxacoricofallapatorians for the servants on Sanctuary Base 6, having been enslaved by humanity at some point in their history. They were to have been revealed to secretly believe that the planet being explored was actually the dwelling place of their god, who would free them from this servitude. It was decided to use a new race when it emerged that the cost of repairing the Slitheen costumes was just as much as if the crew created new alien costumes from scratch. Russell T Davies was also concerned that they would take over the plot. Specifically, that the presence of the returning monsters was detracting from the humans whose pioneer spirit he felt was at the heart of the tale.(TCH 53)
  • The Ood would be later revealed in Planet of the Ood to come from a region of space near the Sense Sphere, thus suggesting a genetic relationship between them and the Sensorites. Interestingly, the Sensorites are introduced in "Strangers in Space" in a very similar way to how the Ood are in this episode. Both races at first appear to threaten the Doctor and his companions before they finally reveal their more benign intent.
  • This episode is the first to feature the Sanctuary Base 6 space suits, which become a regular fixture in the revived era of Doctor Who, having been worn by the Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Doctors and their companions on a number of occasions.
  • The planet was originally named Hell.
  • Russell T Davies chose the name of the Ood rather than Matt Jones; this was a deliberate contrast to his typical flair for ostentatious alien nomenclature, and reflected his intention that they seem “odd”.
  • Scenes of bodies floating in space were filmed on the underwater stage at Pinewood Studios, the first time the series has used this facility, not counting Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death.
  • This is the first episode of the revived series to use a quarry as an alien planet — quarries were frequently used in this manner in the original series. Russell T Davies was not a fan of this production decision.
  • Billie Piper's former husband Chris Evans was planned to voice Satan. Gabriel Woolf was cast only after the episode had been written and filmed.
  • The Doctor and Rose's introduction to the Ood originally went on a little longer, with Rose awkwardly taking up the Ood's offer of refreshment, fumbling her way through an order. Then the Ood call for Mr. Jefferson, calling the Doctor and Rose "unauthorized visitors", which the Doctor finds harsh; he prefers "friends you just haven't met yet." Which is exactly how the lead Ood introduces them when Mr. Jefferson comes in a moment later. Mr. Jefferson, annoyed, hits the translator sphere out of that Ood's hand, prompting a harsh chiding from Rose.
  • The only significant edit made in postproduction was a sequence in which the Doctor uses the drillhead to detect the sound of a heartbeat emanating from beneath the planet's surface.
  • This is the first story since The Greatest Show in the Galaxy to take place entirely on an alien planet.
  • The episode was made to counter criticisms that Series 1 was almost entirely Earth-based.
  • The Ood were given long facial fronds and a translation device to avoid the need for an expensive mouthpiece or complex animatronics.
  • Euros Lyn was originally supposed to direct, but he was assigned to Block Four of season two, which consisted of The Idiot's Lantern and Fear Her.
  • An early notion was to confine the recording almost entirely to the studio. The production team resisted the idea of using a quarry to film material on the alien planet, fearing that they would be perpetuating a hoary Doctor Who cliche, but it was eventually agreed that such an environment would be the best way to achieve the scale that the story demanded. Since an open quarry was standing in for an enclosed cave, extra dialogue was written to cover the possibility of rain or snow, with the Doctor explaining either one as poisonous precipitation produced by gases circulating beneath the planet's surface.
  • The Johnsey Estates factory in Pontypool replaced a different venue which had been found to be severely contaminated with asbestos.
  • Russell T Davies and Phil Collinson both agreed that they wanted an actor with a vocal presence akin to Gabriel Woolf to voice the Beast. As it turned out, Woolf was happy to return to the series.
  • Russell T Davies wrote in The Writer's Tale that an early draft had a cliffhanger of Rose being possessed by the Beast, but this was discarded as Davies didn't like how this led into her being in a dream sequence subplot while possessed in the next episode.


  • 6.32 million viewers (UK final)[1]

Filming locations[]

  • Wenvoe Quarry, Cardiff
  • Clearwell Caves, Gloucestershire
  • 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

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When the Doctor and Ida descend into the core of Krop Tor, the screen charting their progress shows 39% oxygen. After cutting away to an overhead shot of the two, the camera cuts back to the same descent display, only now the oxygen percentage (which has been falling constantly all this time) is at 42%.
  • Just before Scooti is sucked into space, her communicator is shown to be on her left wrist while several black bracelets on her right. When she is seen floating in the vacuum, the communicator is now on her right wrist and the bracelets on her left.
  • In the scene where Scooti is discovered floating outside the base, two unnamed armed personnel are shown entering the room. They alternately disappear and reappear in the scene between takes.
  • As the Beast leaves Toby's body and possesses the Ood, there is a brief moment where the Ood's thumbs can be seen pressing on their spheres; the action that makes the spheres light up.
  • When the metal roof window is open for the first time the Doctors mouth opens his mouth as if he is talking but no dialogue is spoken.


  • While the Doctor's balked at the Beast's claim of existing "before time"—perhaps before the creation of the universe, one of his earliest (almost) destinations—despite his claims of adventure to see that which he'd not experienced, seek scientific knowledge or even be proven wrong, but unwilling to accept any other claim because it didn't fit his rules anyway. A similar situation occured when Martin Trueman's powers and any other influence by the Ancient Lights failed to register in any way on any human or alien technology, regardless of it's effect: burning, atmospheric disturbance, earthquake, energy blast, usurping signal transmission, mind control (usu. birth date related), etc. Speculated to have existed before the existence of this universe, and supposedly confirmed by Trueman's knowledge and connection to the Lights, indicated that in most probability a universe existed before this one, and that the laws of physics either did not apply, were weaker, or simply different there. And astrology, which now remains as a sort of universal memory etched onto a vast majority of civilizations (similar to creation myth or Satan's existence), actually worked. (TV: Secrets of the Stars)
  • The Beast's son, Abaddon, would later also be awoken, and appear in Cardiff. (TV: End of Days)
  • The Beast possesses Toby and the Ood. Rose and the Doctor previously both endured a different (and more comedic) form of possession by means of a psycho-graft, at the hands of Lady Cassandra. (TV: New Earth)
  • Rose mentions that she worked as a dinner lady. (TV: School Reunion)
  • The Ood, while possessed by the Beast, say, "I shall become manifest," as does the Wire. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern)
  • Rose receives a message on a new superphone. She left her previous one with Mickey Smith. (TV: The Age of Steel)
  • The Doctor suggests the TARDIS may be suffering from "indigestion". (TV: Doctor Who)
  • The Beast claims Rose will die in battle, a fate she avoided by escaping to a parallel universe, though she was reported as dead after the Battle of Canary Wharf. (TV: Doomsday)
  • The Doctor has met or at least heard of the Ood before. (AUDIO: A Thing of Guile)

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.

Home video releases[]

External links[]