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Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (Story 9)

38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (Ep. 9)(DVD)

In an attempt to return Ian and Barbara to the twentieth century, the Doctor tries an unorthodox new technique. It causes the TARDIS doors to open in mid-flight, which sets alarms ringing inside the craft. The time travelers arrive on Earth only to discover that they have been drastically reduced in size. They are now tiny people in a world of giant objects. The TARDIS has materialized between the cracks in a garden patio. The garden is teeming with giant worms, ants and cats - all deadly hazards for the miniature time travelers. Worse still, the TARDIS crew learns that this garden is the testing site for a deadly insecticide, DN6. Developed to eliminate all insect life, the chemical may be equally effectiveagainst miniscule time travelers.

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Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (story 9, from 1964) shows just how much the first season or two of Doctor Who was a product of late-1950s science fiction. In this episode, the Doctor (William Hartnell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), Ian (William Russell), and Susan (Carole Ann Ford) appear to have successfully traveled back to 1960s Earth. But they quickly realize something's amiss when they begin to shrink--or the rest of the planet and its inhabitants begin to grow. Soon our intrepid heroes are stumbling upon giant dead earthworms, giant dead ants, and so on. It turns out there's a very 1960s message interwoven into the sci-fi--the environmental impact of rampant toxic pesticide use. The message, however, is never heavy-handed and is expressed subtly, and the viewer slowly learns of the environmental crisis along with the crew of the TARDIS. Some fast thinking and fast acting are in order, and are an extra challenge for our newly tiny heroes.

Extras include audio commentary with several of the production managers of the series, who remember extremely funny anecdotes from the filming, and who share how they filmed the memorable scene of shrunken people in the sink. There's also a fascinating documentary about the rediscovery of several minutes of the episodes which were originally cut from the version aired by the BBC. There are cast and producer interviews, a feature on the scene's music, and even an Arabic audio option available. Everything an early Doctor Who fan could want. --A.T. Hurley


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jacqueline Hill, William Hartnell, William Russell, Carole Ann Ford
  • Directors: Mervyn Pinfield, Douglas Camfield
  • Writers: Louis Marks
  • Producers: Verity Lambert
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008D1Q1U6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,865 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Happy Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 26, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Doctor is trying to return his companions, Ian Chesterson and Barbara Wright to their proper time on 20th century Earth. Something goes wrong with the TARDIS and warning horns blare, but the Doctor is sure they are on Earth just as he planned. He confidently exits the TARDIS with his granddaughter, Susan, Ian and Barbara.

They split into two pairs to explore. One pair runs into a very dead giant earthworm, the other finds a very dead gigantic ant. It takes them a while to figure it out, but the TARDIS and its occupants have shrunk down to an inch in height! Ian is looking about inside a giant matchbox, when a giant hand takes it away with Ian still in it. The remaining three get together to follow the kidnapping giant, especially after they hear an earshattering explosion.

There is murder afoot, and the reason is connected to all the dead insects around them and something called DN6. Any inspection of the circumstances, not to mention their return to the TARDIS, is hampered by a cat who watches the tiny humans with great interest. There's a humorous scene where they try to call the police on a giant phone.

"Planet of Giants" is in black & white and first aired Oct/Nov 1964. It is the first series of William Hartnell's second season as Doctor Who. This is a review of the September 2012 DVD release, which is the first time "Planet of Giants" has been offered on DVD.

Writer Louis Marks has stated before that his inspiration for this story was Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", the 1962 book that brought the concept of environmentalism to the masses, specifically, the danger of unbridled pesticide use. "Silent Spring" can be credited with bringing about the U.S. ban on DDT in 1972.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Green Man on October 14, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was dubious as to wether I should get this as I already have the old VHS of this fair William Hartnell tale.
I didn't have a particular fondness for this story. Now I know why! I never realized that it had been cut short and it had ruined the whole story. I am now a fan of this one. Full marks to the team that rebuilt the missing bits. It is a bit squeeky at times but far better than animated nonsense. Some etirely cgi bits are obvious, but are OK.Restoring the story to its intended plot and length has really done wonders for this average Hartnell tale which now in my opinion has become a classic!
Surely enough reason to continue along these lines? Let the fans do the work as it is evident of their respect and love of the series. Anyone else it is just not on!
I have not watched it as yet with any commentary if there is any.
The extras are very worthwhile too.
A thoroughly good buy!
Keep up the good work guys!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Huntsmæñus on July 8, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Before the TARDIS materialises on contemporary Earth, the doors open in the Control Room causing both the Doctor and Susan to worry like Ian & Barbara have never seen before. Leaving the TARIDS, they run into giant insects and earthworms...dead. The crew of the TARDIS has been reduced to inch in height and have to contend with 2 criminals intent on distributing a lethal garden herbicide. Before Jon Pertwee's socially aware sci-fi serials, there was "Planet of Giants". Though, nothing to scream about, this 3 part serial can be very enjoyable. And the video-look and clean-up job that the Doctor Who Restoration Team did is wonderful, giving a very sharp visual feel to the adventure, approximating the lost video look all b/w Doctor Who serials originally had. The production, for 1965(and Doctor Who), is actually impressive. The regulars(original cast)are also good. Though, it moves a little slow, shouldn't deter any Who fan from adding it to their collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Entertained on October 23, 2012
Format: DVD
I've waited for sometime for this one to be released. Anxiously I waited and Amazon announced its near arrival. I preordered and was not disappointed. The episodes were as I remembered, as best I could from last I saw it back in tge 80's. This one you don't want to miss even though the characters are a bit to the small side 'hint'. It's quite entertaining of the troubles they get into in trying to resolve the present issue of a murder.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brian Pearce on April 30, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
While perhaps not the finest example of DOCTOR WHO in the 1960s (the serial suffers from a weak plot and a story that was difficult to carry out convincingly on the series' limited budget and production schedule), PLANET OF GIANTS is still great fun.
Also worth noting here (and not mentioned in the Editorial Review) is that the surviving film prints for Episodes One and Two have been restored, and given the appearance of the videotape the serial was originally broadcast from. (Episode Three was broadcast from a film print, and has been left unaltered.) It's difficult to explain the difference, but you'll know it when you see it; it adds a nice sense of the experience of watching the serial when it was first aired.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Caylow on September 15, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The TARDIS doors malfunction and open in mid-flight, putting the Doctor (William Hartnell), and his three companions, granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford), and schoolteachers Ian (William Russell) & Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) in peril. The Doctor & his crew get the doors to close and they land safely back in 1960's Britain....only to discover that they, along with the TARDIS, have shrunk down to one-inch tall. And if that wasn't bad enough, they soon discover that they must also stop an evil businessman operating in a nearby house from spreading his lethal insecticide into the world. But how will they accomplish this when they are so small, and will the Doctor & crew ever return to normal size?....

"Planet Of Giants" is the last of the surviving William Hartnell stories from "Doctor Who" to get a DVD release, and I say it has been well worth the wait. Though not embraced by every "Doctor Who" fan out there, "Planet Of Giants" has always been a personal favorite Hartnell story of mine. I think this story is a lot of fun, it's well-acted by the cast (and it features one of my favorite performances from William Hartnell, who's simply delightful throughout this one), and, of course, the wonderful, elaborate over-sized sets in this story that truly make me believe that our heroes have shrunk in size. And when you consider the miniscule budget the BBC folks had for this "miniscule" story, that's no small feat.

"Planet Of Giants" itself, oddly enough, was *also* shrunk in size. It was originally intended as a four-part story, but the BBC controller at the time decided that "Giants" was simply too long & talky at four parts, and he ordered the story to be edited down to three parts, with episodes 3 & 4 consolidated into one episode. I say he made a wise decision!
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Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (Story 9)
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