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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2011
I know this story gets bashed time and again, but this story left a great impression on me as a kid! I watched this way back in the early 80s when the show was still on the air and CTV (or one of those channels) was showing reruns 4 days a week, and a new show the 5th. Out of all the Doctor Whos i watched, this one stayed with me! I love the plot, and found the creatures fascinating. Sure the effects are...bad, but watch early Star Trek, Lost in Space, etc, and they all suffer from that. The thing is the plot was captivating, and the way each alien race had special characteristics (the fluttering hands of the butterfly people (sorry-i forget the alien names), the sounds made by the ant-people, the gruff, chopped speech of the pillbug people) gave them life. I proudly give this 5 stars, although i know i will be "bashed" mercilessly for doing so!
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on 11 April 2016
Dull as dishwater I'm afraid. I like a few of the Hartnells like The Romans but the acting, characterisation and plot is ill thought out and just plodding. Some of the poor Zarbi even hit the camera running around the set. Some of the cast and crew put a brave face on it in the special features section but too be honest it's for Dr Who completists only.
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on 30 March 2015
There are a few of the First Doctor's adventures which are truly compelling! This is one of them, Like a few others they would benefit being upgraded to blu ray quality and colorized! I've seen many colour stills from the Hartnell era (and yes Bill was right, it should've been filmed in colour!) The atmosphere that was created for this particular story was unique especially for the time, and the budget! Watching the adventures through time and space and looking at and remembers how the characters all looked back in the 60's was a real buzz! The original companions were almost like family and was at times hard to say goodbye! Even worse when the were killed, remember Sarah Kingdom! Perhaps the Doctor and Co could return to Vortis at sometime. It was also a time when we got to see more and spend more time in the Tardis, it was a wonderful set, much better than what was to come, especially up to the McCoy era! I've seen many of the models and creatures at various displays across the UK. Even the Mechanoid at Blackpool! This, and other complete stories would benefit and cross the great divide of time (sadly so many wont watch b/w, I don't see colour as a replacement, more as an option. These days the main characters complain they don't get enough lines if there are too many companions! Seemed to have worked just fine here! Raise your glass to the First Doctor, the original you might say!
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on 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. Also Catherine Fleming has a great voice as the Animus.

What has bumped the DVD's score up to a 4 is the extras and in particular classic documentary "Tales of Isop"! Many of the cast plus crew tell us how the story was made capturing its spirit and what it was hoped it could be too. Watch for Martin Jarvis's Hartnell impression!

We also get an episode in Spanish, projector slides telling the story in 14 frames and a commentary where Verity Lambert publicly states she likes the new Who for what may have been the 1st time.
A great package but for diehard fans only
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on 3 March 2014
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.

In those days the television people used imagination instead of special effects,to tell a story,
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When people berate Dr Who for its crappy special effects, wonky sets and awkward acting, this is the perfect example: a William Hartnell story from 1965 with some of the worst insect suits you've seen outside a school pageant, and acting to match. It's an interesting idea - the first Doctor and his companions get caught up in the middle of a war of insects waged on a barren planet - but badly written (Hartnell particularly objected to the Doctor having a `magic ring' as if he were a sorcerer) and too lazily executed to overcome the fact that the budget is far, far too low to come close to what the story demands. Indeed, at one point a wing starts to fall off one of the creatures! With few extras, this is really one for the Dr Who completists - casual viewers wanting to check out Hartnell's Doctor would be much better off picking up the excellent Doctor Who - The Beginning (An Unearthly Child [1963] / The Daleks [1963] / The Edge of Destruction [1964]) [DVD] boxed set, Doctor Who - The Dalek Invasion Of Earth [DVD] [1964] or Doctor Who - The Aztecs [1964] [DVD] [1963].
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on 10 May 2009
While the story (also known as Doctor Who and The Zarbi) is dated and poorly realised by our standards, this DVD is polished and well priced, and provides some insight into how much TV has changed in 40 years. The vaseline used on the camera lenses to give a fogged view is laughable now, but the innovation and professionalism of the cast rise above the tawdry set designs and frankly appalling costumes of The butterfly-like Menoptera and ant-like Zarbi. The six episodes mean this goes on far too long, and the character of The Doctor is largely peripheral throughout.

What makes this a decent buy for fans are the DVD extras. As well as audio commentaries, there is a 40 minute feature on how the story was made (Tales of Isop), an audio reading of a 60s annual story 'The Lair of Zarbi Supremo', read by actor William Russell (Ian), a comic-strip summary of the story, and the usual PDF files and photo gallery.
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on 21 November 2005
The Web Planet is an interesting affair. With granddaughter Susan no longer a travelling companion, the on-board team includes Vicki who adds a new dimension to the story. William Hartnell is clearly much more comfortable in his doctor role than in the first series. He plays the doctor in a more eccentric and grandfatherly way, rather than in a bad tempered and alien way.
The effects are fairly terrible but good by comparison to other productions that were being produced for TV at the time. The plot is engaging and complex.
I agree with the comments of others - the pace of the story is too slow. I was very tempted to fast forward through drawn out or repeated plot scenes. However, six episodes enables the viewer to get immersed in the story and we have to remember that it came out in 1964.
The extras are good. They have a full documentary on it which includes many of the original cast.
This DVD is for the die-hard Doctor Who fan but if you have chewed through the classic stories of the later doctors and have run out of things to see, the story will be an enjoyable one.
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on 17 December 2006
Story: 2/5 - Extras: 3/5

"The Web Planet" is an example of the ambition of 1960s "Doctor Who" far outreaching its means to deliver. For the first time, the producers of the show decided to create a world where the only humanoid characters would be the TARDIS crew: everybody else would be giant insects. To this end, the design team go overboard in their creation of the alien world, where the sky is black even during the day, and the five distinct types of creature that we encounter as the story unfolds.

Unfortunately, the story is incredibly slow-moving and is a classic example of 1960s stories being spun out over far too many episodes. "The Web Planet" runs at six episodes when it should have been capped at four. The alien costumes made action scenes difficult to film and the results are therefore sparse and unconvincing. Overall, the sets, creatures and action are too obviously fake, and I would suggest that you have to be a truly dedicated fan of the series to overlook these obvious flaws (more so than usual).

The production notes tell of how, for the first time, even the children watching the show were unconvinced by the costumes, particularly the comical, under-ground dwelling Optera. None the less, you have to admire the incredible ambition shown by the production team in the creation of this story, and the innovative touches such as smearing the camera lenses with Vaseline to make the scenes set on the planet's surface appear more alien and peculiar. And, like many a "Doctor Who" story, "The Web Planet" has a great first episode with some genuinely creepy moments.

I rate the story only two out of five because its very apparent weaknesses mean that one can't realistically describe it as good television. However, I do gain a certain enjoyment from it when I manage to suspend my disbelief. We also get to see Martin Jarvis playing against type, but somehow also completely in type, as the arrogant moth-like Menoptra leader Hilio, which is entertaining. Special features are average, with a commentary by producer Verity Lambert, director Richard Martin and stars William Russell and Martin Jarvis, an interesting documentary on the making of the story and a few other worthwhile snippets. DVD-ROM users can also view the complete 1965 Doctor Who Annual.
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on 29 November 2013
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 the old serials.It is true that the Zarbi and the Menoptro costumes offer some unintentional humour,as does certain other parts.
Still,it is one that won't be going the way of some other of the early Doctor Who's-namely eBay!
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