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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 44 - On Location > PLANET OF FIRE


Director: Fiona Cumming Producer: John Nathan-Turner Broadcast: 23 February – 2 March 1984

Like millions of other Brits, by the mid-1980s the members of the Doctor Who production team were budgeting for one overseas holiday per year. That much is clear from the background notes provided in 1983 for incoming companion Perpugilliam ‘Peri’ Brown, which stated she would be introduced ‘in whichever country we decide to film next season’s foreign story’.

In early drafts of Peter Grimwade’s scripts for Planet of Fire, Peter Davison’s penultimate adventure as the Doctor, the Earthbound scenes took place on the fictional Greek island of Aeschyllos, with the writer weaving Significant elements of Greek history into the story.

When Lanzarote was chosen instead – at the suggestion of director Fiona Cumming, who’d spent a Christmas holiday there a couple of years earlier – the scripts were revised, with the volcanic island doubling for the similarly seismic planet of Sarn. Here, the people worship the great fire god Logar, but the real power turns out to lie in the planet’s volcanic gases, which the Master (Anthony Ainley) hopes will restore him to former glories after having accidentally shrunk himself to the size of a Borrower with his own Tissue Compression Eliminator.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

In its early days, Doctor Who was recorded on cumbersome cameras tethered to claustrophobic and often inadequate studios. The show rarely escaped these confines in the 1960s, but as technology improved, producers and directors became more adventurous. Location shooting has helped to create some of the most memorable episodes in the series’ long history. In this unique publication, new features, exclusive interviews and rare images tell the story of those episodes and the people who made them happen.