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Doctor Who - Planet of Giants [VHS] [1964]

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill
  • Directors: Mervyn Pinfield, Douglas Camfield
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Mono, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 14 Jan. 2002
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005T5ZB
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,059 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

More sci-fi adventures for the gallant Timelord and his faithful chums. This time around, the TARDIS malfunctions and shrinks the Doctor (William Hartnell) so that he is just one inch tall. He then arrives on Earth and uncovers a diabolical plot by a ruthless businessman who has developed an insecticide so powerful that it will wipe out all insect life on the planet. The Doctor and his companions Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), Ian (William Russell) and Susan (Carole Ann Ford) try to put an end to these foul schemes, but that's obviously not so easy when you're no bigger than a thimble.

From Amazon.co.uk

"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

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
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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By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Oct. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
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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