The Web Planet: Doctor Who: Season 2








The Web Planet SYNOPSIS:

The TARDIS is dragged to the planet Vortis unable to escape the force that holds it there. Ian and the Doctor set off to investigate. Barbara is hypnotically drawn from the Tardis by her gold bracelet leaving behind a sick Vicki. The TARDIS is dragged across the planets surface by an unknown force. While Barbara is freed from her trance by a group of butterfly creatures called Menoptera remove her bracelet.

Once revived Barbara escapes them but falls prisoner to the ant like Zarbi who use her to round up the Menoptera and deliver all their captives to be slave workers in the crater of needles supplying vegetation to the acid pools enabling the Zarbi's controlling force, the Animus, to grow. Ian and the Doctor track the missing TARDIS to the centre of the Animus web, Ian escapes but the Doctor and Vicki are left behind.

The Animus attempts to use the Doctor, via mental communication, to uncover the Menoptera's invasion plans to re-claim Vortis as their planet. He accidentally informs the Animus of where the invasion force will land that are in turn massacred by the Zarbi. Ian and the Menoptera Vrestin combine forces with Menoptera descendants the grub like Optera to attack the Animus.

They, along with the Doctor, Barbara and a Zarbi the Doctor has enthralled to assist them strive to reach the web's centre to use the isop-tope to destroy the Animus before it extends it's web to control all life forms on the planet.

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The Web Planet DETAILS:

Episode Broadcast Run Time Viewership (In Millions)
Episode One: The Web Planet 13-Feb-65 23:57 13.5
Episode Two: The Zarbi 20-Feb-65 23:20 12.5
Episode Three: Escape to Danger 27-Feb-65 22:52 12.5
Episode Four: Crater of Needles 6-Mar-65 25:50 13
Episode Five: Invasion 13-Mar-65 26:04 12
Episode Six: The Centre 20-Mar-65 24:32 11.5

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The Web Planet CAST & CREW

The Doctor:
William Hartnell (First Doctor)

William Russell (Ian Chesterton)
Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright)
Maureen O'Brien (Vicki)

Guest Stars:
Catherine Fleming — Animus (voice)
Roslyn de Winter — Vrestin
Arne Gordon — Hrostar
Arthur Blake — Hrhoonda
Jolyon Booth — Prapillus
Jocelyn Birdsall — Hlynia
Martin Jarvis — Hilio
Ian Thompson — Hetra
Barbara Joss — Nemini
Robert Jewell, Jack Pitt, Gerald Taylor, Hugh Lund, Kevin Manser, John Scott Martin — The Zarbi

Production Staff for Serial N:
Writer - Bill Strutton
Director - Richard Martin
Script editor - Dennis Spooner
Producer - Verity Lambert

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The Web Planet REVIEWS


Some of the reasons you've sited below are the very things I don't like about the web planet. The quality of the video killed it for me for a start, although now as you say it's been vid fired and 'restored' to it's former glory. The other thing that killed it for me was it again didn't live up to the big expectations of the novelisation I read as a kid. It seemed so epic on the page, but thanks to good memories there. The poor acting didn't help either from Hartnell to the guest artists. Ok it did have some good bits, the design and the atmosphere were spooky and well realised considering their meager resources back then. The Zarbi look good and are almost the most credible creatures to come out of the Hartnell era, the set piece of the Menoptra's flying attack was also well realised, despite the wires. It definitely had an alien feel about it.

But sorry the sing song voices sorta lost me as did those grubs and caterpiller men who decided as they were hidden in very pretty costumes (some of which it was obvious - the extra arms were pieces of felt!) and given elaborate movements decided to - well...not act. Least the Tardis crew bar Billy lend this piece some credibility. The Doctor really is becoming a bumbling old fool. The climax where the gun doesn't work and it sort of just ends could've been done better. 4.5/10


Yeah, okay its hokey and is pretty dull with a plot that can be told in one episode instead of six but its got its charm. I've got a lovely DVD copy of this and you know what? The remastering and vidFIREing actually work in the web planet's favour and its actually pretty watchable. In fact, I've watched it THREE times - in nearly one go each time!! I just reckon its actually one of the few Hartnells that actually work. Considering that they are working in Lime Grove Studios where you couldn't even have the space to root a cat, let alone swing one the designers do a cracking job at making an alien planet with mountains, rocky outcrops, hills, caves, acid pools, tonnes of moons in the sky and twinkly stars. And the director had the great idea of smearing the camera lense in KY jelly to make the atmosphere look for alien (although it does look like Tim's bedroom window.)

Plus there are moths, ants, witchitygrubs, a walking scrubbing brush and the thing with the glowing eyes and the body made out of streamers (but hey; its got a very creepy voice!). I'm sure Mr Budget was blown high and dry out of the water for this one but at least the money is on the screen. Episode 1 is pretty awesome with the Doctor and Ian going for an interplanetary walkabout while Babs and Vicki Pollard stay onboard the Tardis. In addition to all the above scenery we also get a pyramid that looks pretty cool, if totally out of proportion.

Speaking of which, there are more production mistakes in this story than Colin Baker has had mince pies but they're still amusing. From Hartnell totally fucking up his lines in the Tardis with Ian to the point where Hartnell does an Eric Heyes and realises he's fucked up, tries again, fucks up further, gives it one more gallant attempt which fucks up even further and just ends it by looking at his fellow actor as if to say "Its YOUR fault! I tried to cover YOU!!!", to the Zardi smashing into the camera at full pelt. Its all here. I'm going a 7 out of 10


Of all the Hartnell episodes, maybe there are 2 I'd like to see again... Dalek Invasion of Earth, and this one! I didn't mind the Web Planet first time around... it was certainly different, and a bit out there... a lot more imaginative than some of the ones before it (and after it!). And quite a nice Sci Fi story, with many parallels that can be drawn too.

As always there are pace and acting issues, but I don't mind this one.


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Screen Shots:

The Web Planet Titles

The Web Planet the Doctor

The Web Planet Barbara

The Web Planet Ian

The Web Planet Vicki

The Web Planet two Zarbi

The Web Planet Menoptera

The Web Planet venom grubs

The Web Planet Optera

The Web Planet Ian and the Dr on Vortis

The Web Planet Menotera grabbed by Zarbi

The Web Planet Ian and Zarbi

The Web Planet Barbara and Menoptera

The Web Planet the Dr speaks to the Animus

The Web Planet Vortis allies

The Web Planet Dr and Vicki hypnotised

The Web Planet the Animus

The Web Planet trapped by the Animus

The Web Planet creatures of Vortis