Doctor Who: Season 11, Episode 21

Planet of the Spiders: Part One (4 May 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 131 users  
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While the Doctor carries out an investigation into ESP, Mike Yates asks Sarah to look into some strange goings on at a meditation centre he's attending.

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Title: Planet of the Spiders: Part One (04 May 1974)

Planet of the Spiders: Part One (04 May 1974) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Nicholas Courtney ...
Richard Franklin ...
...
Cyril Shaps ...
Professor Clegg
John Dearth ...
Christopher Burgess ...
Terence Lodge ...
Carl Forgione ...
Andrew Staines ...
Kevin Lindsay ...
...
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While the Doctor carries out an investigation into ESP, Mike Yates asks Sarah to look into some strange goings on at a meditation centre he's attending.

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4 May 1974 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This serial was released by the BBC on video cassette in the UK in April 1991. See more »

Quotes

Brig. Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart: [of a belly dancer] Very fit, that girl. Extraordinary muscular control. Must adapt some of those movements as exercises for the men.
Doctor Who: They'd take some adapting!
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Not The Greatest Send Off
19 August 2010 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Review Of All Six Episodes - Slight Spoilers

If Planet Of The Spiders was produced by Russell T Davies we'd probably get every monster to have appeared in the show along with several returning companions . This wasn't how DOCTOR WHO was produced in the 1970s - it was made by professional makers of television and not children who suddenly woke up and found themselves in the sweet shop . That said one can't help thinking that maybe producer Barry Letts and co could have upped the ante somewhat and made a story that carried a bigger impact to its loyal audience

The story is set up by the Doctor receiving a letter from Jo Grant who is returning the Doctor's wedding gift to her , the blue crystal from Metebalis Three , because the natives on her expedition to the Amazon think it contains dangerous mystical properties . It turns out that while Jo might not want the crystal the ruling species of Metebalis Three do want the crystal returned for their own ends

This slight nod to nostalgia sets up the story but like so many adventures in the era it contains a lack of brevity in the story telling . Often this would be disguised on screen since everything was so enthralling . Here characters seemingly rush around because there's time to be filled before the regeneration in episode six

There's also a distinct lack of a chill factor . Spiders are scary but Letts turned down the original design of spiders for the story because he felt they were too frightening . Sorry Barry isn't that what the children wanted ? If you've got the choice between giant hairy tarantulas or anorexic spindly things as seen here then maybe the audience would prefer a bigger fright . There's also a lack of people getting killed on screen with a couple of notable exceptions which gives the story a rather tame feel

It's not all bad . Richard Franklyn as Mike Yates ( Now dismissed from the army ) is given an important role in the story unlike when he was in uniform and John Dearth makes an effectively understated villain who has clear and very human motivations but at the end of the day like much of the season Planet has a rather jaded feel so Pertwee , Letts and script editor Dicks probably left at the right time paving the way for a new Doctor and production team who took a successful television institution and took it to even better levels


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