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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ' Planet of Giants' finally slips in to the collection of complete Hartnell serials!
Planet of Giants was the first commissioned serial of Doctor Who's second season and it was duly anticipated by viewers in 1964, according to the Radio Times at least. I have previously owned the VHS version of this serial, which was the first to receive the VIDFIRE process, and I always thought that it was an interesting story, though maybe a little too convoluted as a...
Published 21 months ago by Nicholas Richard Pearson

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The miniscules
The first story from the second season of Doctor Who comes to DVD. Originally broadcast in 1964, all three black and white episodes are presented here on a single disc dvd.

It features the First Doctor, along with his companions Susan, Ian and Barbara.

The story uses an idea that had been under consideration ever since the start of the show. What if...
Published on 7 Oct 2012 by Paul Tapner


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ' Planet of Giants' finally slips in to the collection of complete Hartnell serials!, 15 Jan 2013
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Planet of Giants was the first commissioned serial of Doctor Who's second season and it was duly anticipated by viewers in 1964, according to the Radio Times at least. I have previously owned the VHS version of this serial, which was the first to receive the VIDFIRE process, and I always thought that it was an interesting story, though maybe a little too convoluted as a season opener. Upon discovering more information via this DVD I have learned a lot more concerning this particular serial, and I now have a newfound fondness for this three-part addition to the Who mythos.
The plot of the story revolves around the malfunction of the Tardis door opening mid-flight, resulting in the miniaturising of the occupants inside to roughly one inch tall. Suffice to say, conspiracy unfolds concerning murder and agricultural ethics in the form of an indiscriminate fertiliser. Originally, this serial was meant to air with four parts, but it was necessary to edit them down to three due to thoughts that the pace of the story was far too lagging. This led to a loss of some crucial plot elements, I think, and it is only through the reconstruction of the original episodes three and four that, in my opinion, has renewed 'Planet of Giants' to its intended status as a worthy second season opener.
The DVD itself contains the complete serial, at approximately 73 minutes in length, with digitally remastered picture and sound quality. This is particularly evident in comparison with the VHS release, and the team have done a brilliant job yet again at cleaning up the odd grain and dirt stain. The serial can be viewed with optional English subtitles and production notes, which provide significant insight into the making of and history behind the serial, along with information regarding the cast and crew. There is also an offering to view the story with an audio commentary with vision mixer Clive Doig, special sounds creator Brian Hodgson, make-up supervisor Sonia Markham and David Tilley, moderated by Mark Ayres. This provides an interesting account of the production of this particular serial and the show in general, and the people engage wholeheartedly in the programme to deliver an entertaining first-hand account. Also provided are two interviews, taken from 'The Story of Doctor Who' in 2003, with Verity Lambert and Carole Anne Ford, who played Susan, which provide an insight into characterisation and programme development. The real bonus, in my opinion, is the reconstruction of the original unaired episodes three and four, which were originally edited into one episode for reasons described above. The team have done an absolutely brilliant job in using stock footage and new material, alongside existing actors and impersonators to recreate these missing episodes, which provide an extension of the main story, with a lot more plot development and interactional dialogue. There is also a documentary detailing the making of the reconstructed episodes, alongside a photo gallery of on-set photographs and a PDF version of the Radio Times listings for this particular serial, with an integrated overview of the first season recounted by the article writer.
All in all, it is definitely worth picking up this DVD, even if you aren't a dedicated Whovian, as there is so much history to be explored within this little serial, with plenty of extra features to keep you occupied. As previously stated, I have a newfound fondness for 'Planet of Giants' and I am glad that it has finally received the treatment it deserves.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor goes down the plughole, 15 Feb 2010
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The Doctor is attempting to return Ian and Barbara to earth, but when they get there they find that they have all been shrunk to 1 inch tall, and are in a garden where a powerful new insecticide has been tested, and has killed every living creature. They find themselves in all sorts of trouble, being menaced by a cat, Ian being stuck in a matchbox, the Doctor and Susan nearly getting flushed down the drain when the tap is turned on etc. And they have to try and stop the spread of the deadly insecticide.

This is a very amusing and unusual Doctor Who story, with plenty of excitement and some very cleverly construced props (I thought the giant plug and plughole were particularly convincing.) I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Ambitious Start to Dr Who's 2nd Season!, 3 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Don't believe everything you read in reviews, especially when they're full of inaccuracies! This story is three episodes long, not because of problems with any other story, but simply because the last two episodes were edited together before broadcast to make a much more taut result. Ray Cusick's giant size sets work well, as do the optical effects used to render the TARDIS crew only one inch tall. Listen out too for future regular composer Dudley Simpson's very first incidental score for the programme. This is also the first Dr Who story where the direction was credited on screen to Douglas Camfield, arguably the series' finest director. Although not perfect the story is still highly entertaining and well worth buying, especially for the opportunity to see Hartnell's Doctor on "video" as opposed to "film" for the first time since the original transmissions, thanks to the new VidFIRE process being applied!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Planet Of Giants is so underrated!, 5 Aug 2005
I don't really see what's wrong with this story. Everyone I've met and asked seems to like it, but most reviews on the internet always give it a bad one. The 'sink set' is very good effects wise, but some of the other things aren't... but so what? What makes it good is it is just very simple- the Doctor and his companions wandering round discovering deadly traps. Worth the money, so buy it!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bite Size Who, 30 April 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
Planet of Giants is a quaint little 3 part serial from 1964, it is set in contemporary day Earth and stars a small cast of established British actors. The story concerns the TARDIS crew landing on Earth and finding that they have been reduced in size to about 1 inch, then, the plot thickens when Forester, a big-time crook murders Farrow, a scientist who has deduced that DN6, Forester's latest invention is basically a poison, rather than an insecticide. The story then revolves around the TARDIS crew fingering the murderer and getting back to the TARDIS so they can resume normal size.

Planet of Giants was originally going to be a 4 part serial, but the producers felt that because the story had no monsters or battles etc, that it would be best to reduce the serial by one episode so as to add a more climactic end to events and faster paced season opener. Overall, the story works really well and is one of the better Hartnell stories, its always been one of my favourites and stands up very well today. The sets and design are very modern and although Doctor Who was produced on a miniscule budget, the giant sets used here work brilliantly well. This stands as probably one of the best Doctor Who visual serials and I certainly can't wait for the BBC DVD release this year to fully enjoy this classic.

The Doctor Who Restoration Team have done wonders in cleaning up these episodes for release. The VidFIRE process really shines here, the picture and sound quality is fantastic and a DVD release is really awaited with baited breath, the Restoration Team have even gone to the effort of recreating the missing and erased 4th episode by gathering all the remaining cast and re-recording the dialogue for the missing segments. Excellent stuff. As usual with the latest Doctor Who DVD releases, I'm sure that the Team will have pulled together a few more juicy extras to entertain us all.

Overall, I rate Planet of Giants very highly, I think it is an underrated little 3 {now 4} parter from the early years of the greatest show in the galaxy {which co-incidentally is released just before this story}.

Thank you very much for your time,

M.B.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 26 Jan 2014
By 
D. E. Clarke (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
It's good to see Doctor Who when William Hartnell was the first original doctor, takes me back to watching this in my childhood.
Enjoyed it and great fun to watch.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The miniscules, 7 Oct 2012
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
The first story from the second season of Doctor Who comes to DVD. Originally broadcast in 1964, all three black and white episodes are presented here on a single disc dvd.

It features the First Doctor, along with his companions Susan, Ian and Barbara.

The story uses an idea that had been under consideration ever since the start of the show. What if the TARDIS shrunk? In Planet of Giants, the doors of the TARDIS coming open in mid flight lead to that happening. The ship has landed in the middle of the garden of an old house in a sleepy English village. But in addition to all the dangers the crew face from insects and nature as a result of their diminished size, they have another problem. In the house is a ruthless businessman who is so determined to get a new pesticide onto the market, despite it's devastating effects to all kinds life, he will stop at nothing, even murder, to achieve his aims.

Can the Doctor and friends survive, return to their normal size, and save the Earth from the perils of the pesticide?

In the early days of the show the ambition of the production team was never stopped by the limitations of tv of the time. Or by the budget. As anyone who has seen 'The Web Planet' will know. But whilst Planet of Giants does it's best to create a bit of drama, and it does do some set pieces reasonably well, it can't get past the problem of being rather dull. There's no great tension to any of the proceedings, and the dated visuals and effects make it very hard to suspend your disbelief or really get hooked on the story.

It's also rather lacking in pace. Which is one reason why it was cut down from the originally planned four episodes into three. The third episode is the result of the original parts three and four being re-edited into one.

This is by no means a bad story. It's just not the most involving of them.

The dvd has the usual language and subtitle options:

Languages: English. And also Arabic, since the BBC still hold a copy of the print that was sold to certain arabic speaking countries, so you can listen to it in that if you wish.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

It has the usual features of this dvd range:

Production information subtitles.

A photo gallery of stills from the story and shots from it being made.

A commentary. None of the guest cast of the story are still with us, so this one is done entirely by members of the production staff.

A trailer for the next release in the dvd range.

And in addition to the usual Radio Times listings for the story as a PDF file you also get prop design plans from it.

Other extras:

Two more sets of interviews originally made for a 2003 documentary about Doctor Who. One with original producer Verity Lambert, and one with Carole Ann Ford, who played Susan. Both run for fifteen minutes [approx]. Both are good interviews. Both also need to be watched right to the end of the credits in order to see an additional moment.

The dvd also contains a reconstruction of the original full length third and fourth parts. This is run together as one long extra of just over fifty one minutes, but each part does have ending and opening credits. If you want to watch just one at a time you can get to the start of of part via the chapter button on the dvd remote, and pressing it till the part starts.

The original footage that was cut is no longer with us, so it has been restored by putting in reprised shots from elsewhere in the story. Occasional bits of cgi. And having a new recording of the dialogue. Given that William Russell [Ian] and Carole Ann Ford are still with us, they reprise their roles. And new actors do the other characters. The new cast are very good. The actor who does the Doctor's voice especially so. But you can't get by the fact that they all sound different to the original cast. And that is very noticeable.

Whilst this version of part three isn't too badly paced part four does feel slow and lacking in pace at points. So you can see why it was cut.

Be aware [Mild spoiler] that these two episodes do contain a couple of moments that young children and animal lovers might find a bit distressing. Although that might not be a problem since they may not be able to suspend their disbelief at the points in question [end of mild spoiler].

But these two new versions are nonethless an interesting look at what might have been.

There is also a seven minute long feature on how they were done, complete with lots of footage of the new voice cast at work.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Planet of Giant Props, 10 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
Apparently this was one of the first ideas they had for Dr Who - the TARDIS miniatures the crew and they end up running round Coal Hill School only one inch high, but very wisely they decided to do one about cave men instead, not that there's anything wrong with this...

But there are implicit challenges, and one of these is that if you're only one inch tall, who are you going to talk to, apart from each other? The cat? No - to the cat, you're just another edible toy. When Carole Ann Ford recalls that the story was heavy on dialogue, one reason for this is that there weren't any other characters that our friends could talk to.

Being an inch tall means that most of the story has to be about coping with stuff that usually you'd not think twice about - a crazy paving path is a strange stone maze, a drain pipe assumes the role of the convenient ventilator shaft that they always use to get into places, and the cat means to torture and kill you, and it's a good job there's insecticide everywhere or those ants would be really dangerous. Here's another problem with small size stories - all the scenery has to be tiny things made big, so it can't really be as detailed as a big thing at its normal size, so after the initial `Oh that's a big plughole' reaction, you're kinda stuck with something that's really only as interesting as a plughole, and if you want something else that's interesting, you need to make more set - hence the reason that there's quite a lot of talking in front of big sets going on - there is only so much money to spend on sets. When they need a shot of the dead body's head, or one of the phone, it's a big photograph (though it may be closer to the lens than the actors).

And it's a great testament to designer Ray Cusick that it all works as well as it does - Chromakey hadn't been adopted, so it's all been achieved by design and ingenuity - and while a certain amount has been filmed against black drapes, it does all look properly convincing.

The rest of the plot - because four tiny people trying to avoid the cat isn't going to carry one episode, never mind three - is that of the villainous Forrester hell-bent on marketing his deadly - will kill everything - insecticide, whatever the consequences, killing the quite-properly concerned government inspector, and then conspiring with a scientist to cover it all up - finally the scientist does the right thing and a policeman arrives.

This is the point at which our friends do manage - just about - to effect the actions of full sized people, and quite ingeniously; inserting corks under the telephone receiver is a clever idea, and a serious physical challenge - I'm not sure quite how they manage it with only one fit strong adult among them.

In the end, they escape back to the TARDIS, and we know they are growing back to full size because the grain of wheat that the Dr made a point of keeping, shrinks back to tiny, and Barbara is all recovered from her contact with the insecticide.

So that's the story as transmitted, and I like it.

But back in 1964, it was originally a four part story, and the exciting Part Three was once Part Three *and* Four - there were copious cuts - and now, as the `special feature' for the DVD, Ian Levine has re-created those two episodes.

I doff my hat to him - it's clearly taken a lot of painstaking work - the editing must have been a heck of a job, and as well as that the cast has had to be re-assembled, or rather mostly re-cast because all but two of them are dead. Still, it is nice to see Carole Ann Ford and William Russell working together again, and the young man doing the impersonation of William Hartnell is doing superb work. It's very interesting to see how it would have been.

But it's not as good as the transmitted Episode Three.

This is not to deny the worth of the work done; the problem rather is with the script - there just aren't enough ideas to sustain the story, so however much Forrester and Smithers and Hilda and Bert talk about it, it's just padding - more `Comings and goings' than Five Go Mad in Dorset - while what the story needs is action, preferably from the little people, but that would mean another tiny-things-made-big set.

I think that, in 1964, cutting was a good decision.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing - William Hartnell said he'd be back one day !, 21 Feb 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
Finally got round to buying this. I must say, I was a bit dubious at first - dubbed footage and impersonators having been used to re-create episode 3 & 4 as it originally appeared - but I was pleasantly surprised. Not by the visuals, not by the original cast, but by John Guilor's first Doctor. William Hartnell always said he'd come back ! Yeeeeees ... one day ! And he truly has. I wonder if David Bradley will sound this good in the Mark Gatiss 50th anniversary biopic ? Why on Earth Big Finish haven't picked up on Guilor is beyond comprehension. A quick search on Google and I find he is not only an accomplished impersonator but also a pretty decent actor. Why haven't we heard of him before now ? He is truly the highlight of this disc - a shiver runs down the spine. William Hartnell is back ! Someone at the BBC and Big Finish needs to take note.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clunky but fun., 6 Sep 2012
By 
M. Crossman (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
This is one of those 'fun' William Hartnell stories.
It's interesting to see the effects pulled off by the BBC when compared to a film such as "The Incredible Shrinking Man" whose budget would have far exceeded those who worked on Doctor Who during the sixties.
As the DVD collection of Doctor Who stories comes to a close (with only 8-10 stories left to come?) it's good to see some of the 'lesser' stories get their moment in the spotlight.
Once again 2Entertain have done a sterling job with the extras (covered more than adequately in previous reviews) and the presentation of the main feature.
Before I got a chance to watch it myself this DVD was commandeered by my eight year old Son (and Doctor Who nut) who thoroughly enjoyed it. So if it can entertain one of todays 'playstation' generation then it must be good, right?
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Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964]
Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [DVD] [1964] by William Hartnell (DVD - 2012)
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