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High-definition adventure

Waking up on a double-decker bus that�s mysteriously been transported to a barren desert planet � whichever way you look at it, it�s not the ideal way to spend a bank-holiday Monday.

Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead

BBC1, 5pm Waking up on a double-decker bus that's mysteriously been transported to a barren desert planet whichever way you look at it, it's not the ideal way to spend a bank-holiday Monday.

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Fortunately for the Doctor (David Tennant), he's getting to share the experience with two new playmates: Lady Christina de Souza (Michelle Ryan) and a chap called Malcolm (Lee Evans).

Yes, it's the Easter special Doctor Who, and - as we've come to expect - it's a no-holds-barred adventure that'll keep even the most chocolate-fuelled children glued to the sofa. It begins with a catsuited Lady Christina breaking into a museum to steal a priceless artefact, takes a detour through a wormhole in time, and soon has the Doctor and his accidental new companions stranded amid unsettling orange sand dunes, wondering just what those huge flying things coming towards them might be. Wonder if they want to be friends?

This is the first episode of Doctor Who to be filmed in high definition (which will keep technologically equipped dads happy where the Michelle Ryan/catsuit business is concerned), and was co-written by series producer Russell T Davies.

Its gestation wasn't an easy one, though: apparently the bus, an essential plot vehicle (sorry), got badly damaged during filming in Dubai, necessitating all sorts of last-minute tweaks to the script. Tennant, meanwhile, was worried that, having spent six months playing Hamlet on stage, he'd end up making the Doctor sound too posh.

What's more, Davies claimed in a BBC Breakfast interview last week that the whole episode had only just been completed on schedule. Really, you'd think a Time Lord and his pals would know something about deadlines, wouldn't you?

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