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Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965]

William Hartnell , William Russell , Richard Martin    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
Price: 5.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] + Doctor Who: The Rescue & The Romans [DVD] + Doctor Who - The Space Museum/The Chase [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Maureen O'Brien
  • Directors: Richard Martin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Oct 2005
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009WT5BY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,671 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



One of the most widely-watched of all the '60s-era Doctor Who serials, The Web Planet (1965) puts the first Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions in the middle of a war between two alien races--the moth-like Menoptra and a hostile race of ant creatures known as Zarbi--for possession of the planet Vortis. With the help of a grub-esque people called the Optera, the Doctor discovers the Zarbi's hidden weapon--the seductively voiced spider creature the Animus, which plans to ensnare the Time Lord and thwart his assistance to the Menoptra. An estimated 13.5 million viewers tuned in to watch all six episodes of The Web Planet, which manages to overcome its unfortunately awkward creature costumes (which are grim even by Doctor Who standards) to deliver a dramatic and suspenseful story with a subtle touch of social commentary; Hartnell is at his flinty best as the Doctor, and gets solid support from William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, and Maureen O'Brien as his fellow time travelers. The DVD includes the usual abundance of new and archival extras: in addition to commentary by Russell, Martin Jarvis (who played Menoptra prince Hilio), producer Verity Lambert, and director Richard Martin, there is a 40-minute making-of featurette (with Hill, Lambert, and others among the many interviewees), and Russell provides the narration for "The Lair of the Zarbi Supremo," a short story based on the serial that was taken from the first Doctor Who Annual (that periodical is also included on the disc in PC-ROM format). A crudely illustrated but historically interesting film strip version of the serial, as well as the usual text-only production notes track and photo gallery, round out the supplemental features. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Starring: William Hartnell. Directed by: Richard Martin. "Somewhere, somehow we are being slowly dragged down..." When the Doctor and his friends stray from their astral plane and the TARDIS materialises in eerie alien surroundings, a mysterious force prevents them from leaving. Is it a natural phenomenon or some malevolent intelligence? Uncanny occurences are followed by encounters with the deadly Zarbi and their unknown leader, to whom the travellers fall prey. With their allies, the Menoptra, the travellers must discover how to immobilise the Zarbi, save the Menoptra from massacre and rid the planet of this powerful and horrifying evil. As a growing web building begins to envelop the planet, imprisoning the travellers in its mesh, the Doctor must consult all of his wisdom to escape its hypnotic power. But what is at the centre of the web and from where does it draw its power? Originally transmitted 13/02/65 - 20/03/65

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Primitive but fascinating 7 Oct 2005
By A Customer
One of the oddest stories ever to emerge fom the Doctor Who canon. Once considered a classic, 'The Web Planet' is now derided by most fans. That's a shame. Of course, we're all much more sophisticated nowadays, but at the time this story was something truly magical. Yes, the production values are pretty ropey - even for 60s Doctor who! - and the sight of giant fibre glass ants banging into the sets (not to mention the cameras!) does take some getting used to; but if you persevere with it, then 'The Web Planet' has a lot to offer. For a start, the planet Vortis is one of the few genuinely realised alien environments in the show's history. It may look like an obvious studio set, but at least it isn't just another quarry. As with the planet Skaro in the earlier story 'The Daleks' there is a real attempt to present Vortis as fully realised, with a history, ecology and culture. The alien Animus that is slowly destroying the planet is one of the creepier entities to have appeared in the series, and the fact that we don't learn much about it actually makes it all the more sinister. The regular team of actors are generally on good form, doing their best to make it all seem real, although William Hartnell does forget the odd line (necessitating some quick thinking on the part of his colleagues) and Maureen O'Brien's growing dissatisfaction with the role of Vicki does manifest itself occasionally. But none of this detracts from the story's essential charm. The other characters are all non-human and, again, effort has been put into presenting them as genuinely unearthly. Overall, 'The Web Planet' has a very weird feel to it. Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Web Planet Revisited 19 Mar 2007
Verified Purchase
I first saw this as an original transmission when I was about 9 or 10 years old - we'd just about got our first TV by then! Who remembers black-and-white 405 lines VHF? (You could actually see the gaps between the scan lines, it was like looking through very narrow Venetian blinds) - anyway, In the succeeding 4 decades I had obviously forgotten nearly all of the details, but I do remember that it made a big impression on me at the time. It is ridiculed now for the amateurish sets and costumes and feeble 'special effects', but actually, all such-like studio-based TV productions from this period were all about the same, you name it, all suffered with wobbly sets and unconvincing explosions (the latter for simple safety reasons if nothing else). Not only is The Web Planet an extremely ambitious and complicated project, but the problems are compounded when you discover that they were only given two hours on a Friday evening each week in which to record an entire episode! This means that there are several dodgy moments and the production team freely admit that if they had been allowed more time, they could have come up with a much more polished result.

None of this matters if you have a good story. I watched the DVD right through for three hours solid and the story kept me hooked the whole time. (If you don't agree then I'm going to be a boring old fogey and suggest that you have been conditioned to conform with the modern obsession for constant, head-long, computer-game type action, but that's hardly your fault.) The best way to view The Web Planet is as though you were in a theatre watching a live performance on stage, then it works OK. In this context the actors manage to sustain convincing performances despite the restrictions, or so I think.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hartnell's Web" 7 May 2008
Come to a magical land where bumblbees are suffering due to the bullying of giant ants who were put up to it by a nasty talking web. Great Uncle Billy comes from a magic box to put it all right.
To be fair I don't think a fairy tale was ever intended, as Bill Strutton's script reads more like a social polemic akin to H. G. Well's original "Time Machine" novel. Unfortunately the execution is where it falls flat as the epic was beyond resources and expertise at the time. Much of what is intended as frightening, is actually rather twee!
The Menpotra are a decent costume design, easily recognisable as something between man-sized bees and butterflies. With the insect movement of Roslyn de Winter-largely fluttery hand gestures, they do convince as alien, Quite impressive with wings spread. The flying is more hit and miss as some shots show actors unable to cope with kirby wires.
The Zarbi are a solid looking giant ant-again easily recognisable for what was intended. Friends a few years older have said they were scared by them as children. There are clear visibilty problems as some career about and one crashes into the camera!
There are Zarbi grubs that fire venom which are wooodlouse like, with a touch of the Magic Roundabout's Dougal and Optra. The Optra are Menpotra who lived underground and evolved into flightless grubs. The costume is not very good and has 6 arms, the 4 false ones not even padded to look like there's something in them-lazy! They also have no proper legs to the costume leaving actors to hop!
Slow, padded and less gripping than the cancer metaphors could have made it, there are still great performances especially from the regulars e.g Barbara's arm out of her control and Hartnell on seeing the Tardis gone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 20 days ago by Mournblade
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dr who is the best!
Published 26 days ago by Rob Maris
2.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who
Oh why oh why was this story saved when so many other good ones were destroyed. The costumes were bad even back then you can tell its people in them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Diane Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Great....
This comprises of a great William Hartnell story with some enjoyable extras thrown in to make this a great DVD.
Published 5 months ago by Hogfather
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a go!!!
A really fab episode of a classic era. I've developed a real liking for the classic series. The stories of the older drs are really great even if the sets and budgets were a little... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stu
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice try
This story is unique in early who in that it takes a concept of a TOTALLY alien world and tries to implement it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lee Swift
5.0 out of 5 stars DR Who The Web Planet
A great story Starring Mr William Hartnell as Dr Who,the Dr and his team arrive on a planet,full of insects,played by actors. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. David Harvie
1.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE DO NOT BUY!!!
I bought this DVD because my dad said it would be interesting to watch but it is absolute rubbish. The sets and costumes put the show to shame and frankly so does the storyline. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lew623
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable.
This story seems to be quite maligned amongst fans but I decided to give it a go.
I have found it to be a very enjoyable 6 parter that never feels padded,like some other of... Read more
Published 9 months ago by G. Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Antz
'Like staggering around with a single wardrobe on your back', said John Scott Martin. It's not a part I envy him, though the giant ants do at least look good to this day, but... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Alex Lyon
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