The Doctor communicates with the Animus via hairdryer

There are some particularly lovely promo shots of William Hartnell as the first Doctor. A lot of these come from the recording of ‘The Web Planet’…. 

Now the story itself probably isn’t everyone’s first choice when they fancy watching a first Doctor story but often this is due to its sadly  apparent shortcomings in budget and available effects…. several jars of Vaseline would meet their end in creating the atmosphere of Vortis and the poor Zarbi suffer with an apparent urge to run into as much of the set as possible…. but I urge everyone to look past these shortcomings to the far bigger picture of the scope and inventiveness of the story. To date it is still the only story where the only ‘human’ characters are the TARDIS crew. It also investigates the life cycles of the Menoptera and Optera and the evil Animus and it’s control of the simple and normally peaceful Zarbi. 

The idea of planets controlled by evolved insects is beyond novel (I can only think of Starship Troopers and Alien as other famous examples). 

We would also get hints at the Doctor’s mystery and the power contained within his blue stone ring. Add to this the lovely, warm, nurturing and caring relationship between the Doctor and Vicki, the orphan rescued by the Doctor shortly after Susan’s departure from the TARDIS (see the Rescue, one of my all time favourites)

Ok so the Web Planet tries to flap like an erratic butterfly before it can walk at times but I think it’s time for this much maligned story to come in out of the cold and take its home as possibly the most bold and inventive story of the 1960’s and the early years of Doctor Who. 

Advertisements