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Published on May 15th, 2014 | by Drew Boynton

5 Reasons Why Doctor Who Might Return To Sarn (Or Is It Pompeii…?)

No matter where you go, there you are. Thirty years after the Doctor Who team filmed 1984′s Planet of Fire on location on the island of Lanzarote, the team is headed there once again.

This, coupled with Steven Moffat’s announcement that they are filming a sequel there to an “earlier story”, has set off a flurry of speculation.  Are they filming a direct follow-up to Planet of Fire–where the Canary Island locale doubled for the volcanic planet of Sarn– or it something completely different?  Let’s fire up our brains:

  • Planet of Fire is best known for five things: the return of a shrink-obsessed Master, the departure of sometime companion Turlough (Mark Strickson), the destruction of robotic assistant Kamelion, and the introduction of American (cough) companion Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant)… and several amazing scenes involving her barely-there swimwear.  Will Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor be returning to Sarn for some until-now-unexplained reason?
  • Will this lead to possible guest appearances by Mark Strickson and/or Nicola Bryant?  (Both of whom have aged very well.)  Or even the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison?  Does the Doctor have some secret unfinished business with one of his former companions?
  • The main villain of Planet of Fire was the Master (Anthony Ainley).  There are continuing rumors that the Master will return once again… possibly even during series eight.  Will this episode serve to introduce a new Master, played by someone other than John Simm?
  • Why did it take the Doctor so long to go back?  If Sarn, or the events of Planet of Fire‘s story, were of some importance, why has it taken three decades to follow up on it?  Or is it just that 1984 visions of a bikini-clad Peri Brown are forever imbedded in the now-middle-aged brains of the current writers and producers?
  • Is the Sarn sequel speculation completely wrong–well, the completely wrong story?  Lanzarote is known for it’s volcanic terrain–could it be that it is doubling for another setting, say, Pompeii?  Could this all be tied to the Tenth Doctor story The Fires of Pompeii (filmed in Italy), which guest-starred Peter Capaldi?  Will we find out why the Twelfth Doctor seems to have the face of Caecilius, a man he almost decided not to save?  After seeing makeup supervisor Claire Pritchard’s Twitter pix, one could certainly imagine volcano day as a possibility!

https://twitter.com/Claire_cpj/status/465978180075917313

Until more details or behind-the-scenes photos leak, we can only speculate.  Kasterborites, what do you think of this sequel-tastic mystery?

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About the Author

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Drew has been a fan of Doctor Who ever since he flipped through the channels late one night and saw a girl blowing up an army of funny robot men with nothing but a slingshot and some old coins. He currently lives somewhere in the woods of Missouri with his beautiful wife Barbara.




25 Responses to 5 Reasons Why Doctor Who Might Return To Sarn (Or Is It Pompeii…?)


  1. Anything that brings back Peri and her puppies is a good thing.
    Sarn and Karn were in the same star system, and I may be wrong, but is it not the same system as Gallifrey?
    In which case Sarn may be where all the Timelords go for their annual holibobs.

  2. avatar DonnaM says:

    A sequel to The Fires of Pompeii would seem a bit tricky to me, considering the Doctor was kind of involved in blowing the place to smithereens on his last visit :-) Didn’t the press release say something about sinister happens since?

    The mind boggles!

    Sarn is a possibility, but that kind of setting could possibly work as a lunar landscape; why not a return visit to the moon? The Doctor’s been there once or twice over the years too!


    • Perhaps it’s set before/during Fires…?

      • avatar DonnaM says:

        Could be – but I hope not! I’d far rather they ignored the whole “oh, doesn’t he look familiar?” thing. I may be wrong – Moffat and co have surprised me before – but the idea of an entire episode dedicated to why the Doctor rather resembles a Pompeian marble merchant does make me cringe a bit!

        • avatar David F says:

          The scene in Journey’s End where the Doctor and Rose talk about Gwen resembling Gwyneth is one of the most self-indulgent, cringeworthy moments in Who history. There’s no need for it. Hundreds of actors have appeared in more than one story. We just accept it, because we suspend our disbelief. There’s just no need to mention it.

          • avatar n says:

            That scene’s only about ten seconds long! Easy to ignore and almost unnoticeable.

  3. avatar TonyS says:

    Fires of Pompeii left the town as the volcano started. Maybe the eruption was interrupted and the town wasn’t destroyed. This could have upset the web of time and archaeology professors and the like… Not much more sinister than a hacked-off archaeology professor. (No I am not thinking of River Song. There are other archaeologists)

    • avatar Mark P says:

      Indiana Jones, Dan Snow, Sydney Fox, Lara Croft or perhaps The Time Team from C4?

      • avatar TonyS says:

        or the lot from Bonekickers: a few Who links there :)

      • avatar mrjohnm says:

        Bernice Summerfield? I would love to see her on the new series, but I think the comparison to River Song would be a little too obvious so it probably won’t happen.

  4. avatar Ranger says:

    For some strange reason Nicola Bryant in her bikini really doesn’t interest me. Now Mark Strickson in his shorts…

    I hope it is a follow-up to Sarn and not Pompeii. I can’t be doing with spurious reasons why the Doctor now looks like Caecilius.

    • avatar calliarcale says:

      YES!!! Let’s start the chanting now….

      TURLOUGH! TURLOUGH! TURLOUGH! TURLOUGH!

  5. avatar TonyS says:

    Caecilius in horto ambulat

    • avatar Timeslayer says:

      I think you mean ambulant :-)

      • avatar TonyS says:

        nope :) ambulat

  6. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Could be the location of the story after Planet of Fire – Androzani.

    One of the Androzani planets has already been mentioned more recently – in Widow and the Wardrobe – and maybe they just don’t fancy shooting it in a Dorset quarry these days.

  7. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Egypt? (briefly seen in Pyramids and Masterplan)

  8. avatar claws-on says:

    Umm, call me crazy but couldn’t it just be a return to Lanzarote? Part of Planet of Fire took place there…

    • avatar castellanspandrel says:

      Not crazy at all, Claws-on, but that’s what everyone thinks is the most likely location. Just wonder if it’s too obvious.

    • avatar castellanspandrel says:

      Doh!” I meant that Sarn is the one everyone’s mentioning as obvious, though Lanzarote has been mentioned once or twice elsewhere.

  9. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Since we’re commenting, I’d prefer a return to Sarn, much more imaginative than other suggestions but there’s supposedly some emotional weight to the episode, what could it be?

    For me, it feels as though there’s a much greater imaginative mileage in returning to Sarn than fiddling with some appearance/similarity business with Capaldi’s last Who role but imagination hasn’t always been the strong point of the modern Who writers so it could be that.

    Whatever the case, they’re guaranteed a spectacular location for this highly anticipated ep., proving despite a host of nay-sayers, that John Nathan-Turner, Grimwade, Cumming et al., delivered on spectacle 30 years ago… There’s a lot to live up to but can any 43 minute ep truly satisfy in the way that old 4-parter did?

  10. avatar mrjohnm says:

    I honestly don’t remember the Doctor destroying a planet in Planet of Fire. I do remember Peri’s bikini and Turlough’s goodbye, but that’s about all. I guess I’ll have to watch the DVD before the new series starts.

  11. avatar pmoguy says:

    You’re kidding, right? Planet of Fire is famous because it’s the only episode that has an assistant in Speedos, the far-from-unattractive Mark Strickson http://classicalconfessions.tumblr.com/post/32900044719/i-must-be-the-only-one-who-thinks-turlough-is
    Oh, and Peri too, that’s important….

  12. avatar kanlo says:

    Setting aside for the moment the fact that sometimes actors have played more than one role in Doctor Who (e.g. Lalla Ward as Princess Astra / Romana II, which I’ve always thought was handled pretty well by the script writers), I like to imagine that Caecilius actually WAS the Doctor, with his Time Lord identity hidden in the pocket watch. Somehow a “79 AD” Clara fragment gets the pocket watch back to him and, hey presto, he’s the Doctor again. Not sure how to explain that he looks a little older now, though.

  13. avatar simon magellan says:

    When SM said returning to the site of an earlier story, I took this to mean filming in Lanzarote again, not actually filming a sequel to an earlier story.

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