"Planet of the Giants" opened the second season of Doctor Who
with William Hartnell's Doctor and companions Susan, Barbara and Ian finding themselves in a mysterious labyrinth filled with dead giant ants. A TARDIS malfunction has left the travellers an inch high and they have landed in the cracks in a garden path, part of a testing ground for an insecticide which could trigger a biological apocalypse. The plot combines the urgent warning of Rachel Carson's 1962 environmental landmark Silent Spring
, with the basic scenario of Richard Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man
(1957), the characters facing similar hazards including being menaced by a domestic cat. The low budget means the huge props necessary to realise the story are limited, but what there are prove surprisingly good. Even the over-size ants and a big fly look fairly impressive. The story maintains an unsettling mood, with an effective cliff-hanger involving the laboratory sink. Continuity problems stem from the original four-episode story being re-edited into three parts prior to transmission, but this is still a superior example of early Doctor Who
, predating the popular American TV series Land of the Giants
(1968) by four years. Lindsay Gutteridge's once popular 1973 novel Cold War in a Country Garden
owed much to the story. --Gary S Dalkin
The TARDIS doors open while the ship is still in flight by accident. Although they have arrived back on Earth in the 1960s, a time they have been trying to return to since they all met, the travellers soon realise that something is very wrong.
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan discover that they have all be reduced in size and the world they are now exploring has dangers at every turn… Special Features
• Commentary with vision mixer Clive Doig, special sounds creator Brian Hodgson, make-up supervisor Sonia Markham and floor assistant David Tilley. Moderated by Mark Ayres.
• Episode 3 and 4 Reconstructio--Originally shot as a four-part story, the final two episodes of Planet of Giants
were edited into a single episode for transmission. Using the original scripts, newly recorded dialogue and animation, this feature gives viewers and idea of how the original four-part version might have appeared.
• Rediscovering The Urge to Live
--The team behind the reconstruction explain how it was put together.
• Suddenly Susan--
Carole Ann Ford talks about her role as the Doctor’s granddaughter and the first companion in the TARDIS in this interview originally recorded for 2003’s The Story of Doctor Who.
• The Lambert Tapes
- The Doctor--
Doctor Who’s original producer looks back on her time on the series in the second part of this interview recorded for The Story of Doctor Who
• Prop Design Plans (DVD-ROM only – to be viewed on PC/Mac).
• Radio Times Listings (DVD-ROM)
• Programme Subtitles
• Production Information Subtitles
• Photo Gallery
• Coming Soon Trailer
• Digitally remastered picture and sound quality
The story was originally broadcast on BBC1 between 31st October – 14th November 1964.