The Pirate Planet

The Pirate Planet Novelisation
The Pirate Planet Novelisation


Back cover

‘Yes, it was the supreme fragment of the precious universe, yes, it could restore the balance between good and evil in this one, but really … did there have to be six pieces of it?’

Inside front cover

The classic DOCTOR WHO adventure by Douglas Adams, novelized by James Goss.

The hugely powerful Key to Time has been split into six segments, all of which have been disguised and hidden throughout time and space. Now the even more powerful White Guardian wants The Doctor to find the pieces.

With the first segment successfully retrieved, The Doctor, Romana and K-9 trace the second segment of the Key to the planet Calufrax. But when they arrive at exactly the right point in space, they find themselves on exactly the wrong planet – Zanak.

Ruled by the mysterious “Captain”, Zanak is a happy and prosperous planet. Mostly. If the mines run out of valuable minerals and gems then the Captain merely announces a New Golden Age and they fill up again. It’s an economic miracle – so obviously something’s very wrong..


Aboard the TARDIS: The Doctor, Romana, and K-9 scour the galaxy in search of six seemingly lost pieces of the incredibly powerful Key to Time.

They soon locate a fragment in the outer reaches of the universe on the happy and prosperous planet of Zanak. Once outside, however, they quickly realise they’re in the wrong place at exactly the right time.

The planet is entering yet another New Golden Age with enough gems and minerals for every residents. So, obviously, something is very, very wrong.

Chapter Titles
Part One

The Sky with Diamonds
The Dead Planets
Life Force
Have You Ever Seen an Arcturan Mega-Chicken?
Mourning Sickness
That New Planet Smell
Has Anyone Seen Calufrax?
There Are No Other Worlds

Part Two

The 5,000-Mile Teacup
The Kings of Alderbaran III Make a Decision
The Fastest Corridor
The Astromobile Association’
Try Not to Think of Anything Annoying
The Waters of Calufrax

Part Three

Bad Omens
Guilt Futures
Nothing Like a Plan
The Sky Demon Can Wait
Memento Mori
Dog Fight
A Leap of Faith

Part Four

Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Playing the Queen
Small Print Is Not for Eternity
Newton’s Revenge
A Spanner in the Works
Mr Fibuli Gets His Wish
The Heart of Zanak
The Captain’s Plan


Fourth Doctor
Romana I
The Captain
Mr Fibuli
White Guardian

Episode entry


coming soon


This was the third serial novelisation published by BBC Books, the first two also being adaptations of Douglas Adams’s scripts.
The first title page bears the following footnotes:

THE CHANGING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO – This book portrays the Fourth Doctor, whose physical appearance later transformed as the Black Guardian finally caught up with him.

THE CHANGING FACE OF THE KEY TO TIME – This book portrays the Second Segment of the Key to Time, which has been waiting for The Doctor for a very long while.

The second title page bears the footnote This novelisation is based on the first draft scripts by Douglas Adams. / So it probably isn’t what you’re expecting.
One of the minerals The Doctor finds, Mandranite 1-5, is also a mineral in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

Deviations from televised story

The novel repeatedly states that this is Romana’s second day and second trip in the TARDIS.
The Nurse wears a pale green dress rather than a white one.
The Captain has a beard, half of which is robotic. His backstory is explained, including that he has been on Zanak for 200 years.
It’s hinted that the Black Guardian is behind some events, including saving the Captain from dying when the Vantarialis crashed.
Calufrax, in the Calufrax system with six other planets, has two suns.
The Doctor, Romana, and Kimus are tortured in the Knowhere.
Rather than being a hologram, The Doctor actually walks the plank and is saved by Romana in the TARDIS materialising around him as he falls.
As he’s falling, The Doctor imagines the Dalek Supreme and the Cyber-Controller being notified of how he died via the space-time telegraph.
It is said that Zanak has destroyed “dozens of planets” and a “dozen dozen” planets.
Xanxia purchased her time dams from a corporation that the Time Lords shut down 500 years ago, indicating that she has lived at least that long.
The young and old Queen Xanxias meet briefly.
Earth watches the effects of Zanak trying to materialise around the planet.
Rather than bouncing Calufrax into the vortex to retrieve later, it reconfigures itself into the segment, attached to the tracer.
The Doctor and Romana go back in time and visit Calufrax to pay their respects just before Zanak arrives.
As the TARDIS is repairing itself, the console room becomes an English garden with a conservatory, the control console appearing as a sundial.

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