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Doctor Who: The Web Planet (Story 13) (2006)

William Hartnell , Jacqueline Hill , Richard Martin  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Doctor Who: The Web Planet (Story 13) + Doctor Who: The Space Museum/The Chase (Stories 15 and 16) + Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Story 10)
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Product Details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Maureen O'Brien
  • Directors: Richard Martin
  • Writers: Bill Strutton
  • Producers: Verity Lambert
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Black & White, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 146 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FQIRX6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,601 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Web Planet (Story 13)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "Tales of Isop" 37-minute making-of featurette
  • "The Lair of Zarbi Supremo" - William Russell reads the short story from the very first Doctor Who Annual in a 56-minute audio
  • Spanish-language option on episode 6
  • Give-a-Show: 1960s Doctor Who film-strip show based on The Web Planet
  • Optional production notes
  • Photo gallery
  • PC-ROM: 1965 Doctor Who Annual

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Web Planet, The (Episode 13) (DVD)

One of the most widely-watched of all the '60s-era Doctor Who serials, The Web Planet (1965) puts the first Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions in the middle of a war between two alien races--the moth-like Menoptra and a hostile race of ant creatures known as Zarbi--for possession of the planet Vortis. With the help of a grub-esque people called the Optera, the Doctor discovers the Zarbi's hidden weapon--the seductively voiced spider creature the Animus, which plans to ensnare the Time Lord and thwart his assistance to the Menoptra. An estimated 13.5 million viewers tuned in to watch all six episodes of The Web Planet, which manages to overcome its unfortunately awkward creature costumes (which are grim even by Doctor Who standards) to deliver a dramatic and suspenseful story with a subtle touch of social commentary; Hartnell is at his flinty best as the Doctor, and gets solid support from William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, and Maureen O'Brien as his fellow time travelers. The DVD includes the usual abundance of new and archival extras: in addition to commentary by Russell, Martin Jarvis (who played Menoptra prince Hilio), producer Verity Lambert, and director Richard Martin, there is a 40-minute making-of featurette (with Hill, Lambert, and others among the many interviewees), and Russell provides the narration for "The Lair of the Zarbi Supremo," a short story based on the serial that was taken from the first Doctor Who Annual (that periodical is also included on the disc in PC-ROM format). A crudely illustrated but historically interesting film strip version of the serial, as well as the usual text-only production notes track and photo gallery, round out the supplemental features. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some people don't understand March 24, 2007
To judge a story made 40 years ago using today's standards is absoluely unfair. Some people are clueless. Of course it's gonna look inferior. It was made in 1966. They didn't have the artsy effects that they currently have. DUH!!! The truth is that Web Planet was considered ground-breaking at the time. The effects used had never been tried before. Had it come out today, it would be labeled innovative and win many Sundance movie awards for independent film making, or whatever it is they call that festival. The preceding rant was brought to you by me. If you don't like it dial 5477-69-277 on your phone pad (or simply click on the "no" button). I've stated this in a previous review but here it is again. If the story is bad, that is one thing, but to knock a 1960s story for using the special effects of the 1960s is utterly ridiculous. The Web Planet will keep the viewer enthralled throughout.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Well, depending on your taste, "The Web Planet" is either vintage wine or soured vinegar. Opinion is dramatically divided on this one, and while I guess I'm in the "vintage wine" camp let me just make clear that I see where the detractors are coming from. I'm not sure how the special effects appeared to viewers in 1965, but age has not been kind to them and they look pretty fake today. Yes, I have to admit, when I first saw the Zarbi on the screen, I laughed despite myself--and this was by no means the last occasion I did so during this DVD. And the pacing is slow as snails by today's post-MTV standards and is bound to make the contemporary viewer feel at least a bit antsy.

For me, the epic storyline and the ingenuous conceptualization of the insectoid inhabitants of the planet Vortis more than make up for these problems. Especially the latter. In the 1960's how revolutionary it must have been to have "bug-eyed monsters" as the good guys, but the writer (Bill Strutton) goes way beyond that, endowing the characters with plausibly alien mannerisms, thought patterns, and cultural traits in a way unmatched by much science fiction even today. This is especially so of the Menoptra with their poetically alien turns of phrase almost sung rather than spoken, their gracefully moth-like body language, and their religion of Light-worship along with the cocoon-like organic, weirdly expressionistic design of their temples. And then there's the unusual idiom of the grub-like Optra, which makes them seem convincingly non-human (even if the actors' costumes don't): for instance, coming to a barrier in an underground passage, their leader says "A silent wall. We must make mouths in it with our weapons, then it will speak more light.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hartnell Classic October 6, 2006
When I watch the old, classic "Doctor Who" show, I don't watch it for great special effects or costumes. Any "cheap-looking" effects & costumes found in the old "Who" I think adds to the charm of the show, really. I watch the original "Doctor Who" solely for the stories, the colorful characters, and just the wonderful imagination behind the whole thing. The William Hartnell serial "The Web Planet," in which the Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara & Vicki get involved in a war between insectoid races on an alien planet, has a marvelous story, memorable characters, and plenty of imagination to spare. I love the whole look and feel to it, too, and I think the story is a very delightful one. This is also a great story for the principle cast of the show, as they all get to shine in their roles, including William Hartnell as the tetchy but still-loveable First Doctor, the grandfather we'd all love to have. If you want great special effects & costumes, you can watch the new "Doctor Who" show (which is also wonderful). "The Web Planet" is a classic, greatly entertaining "Doctor Who" story for all ages. I'm very grateful that it survived in the BBC vaults, and I highly recommend it for your "Doctor Who" DVD collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely restored Example of early Who episode November 18, 2006
I was really glad to see Web Planet enter the resoration team's list to be released. I had never seen it but had read the book adaptaion and found it to be a solid story overall. The costumes are amazing for the time ( amazingly Cheesy today but Hey it was 1965). Turn a blind Eye to the sets that move or the one time the Zarbi (giant ants) actually runs into the camera. THis is Dr Who we are talking about the show didn't have time for retakes due to flubbed lines ( hartnell has a lot) or errors on set. Close enough was usually Good enough for the BBC.

commentary track was good overall. Special featurette as ok but nothing special. overall for a William Hartnell first Doctor story this is a 4 but make another one like Inferno or Geneisis of the daleks you first exposure to classic who if you have only seen the new series
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My TARDIS!?!?!" April 28, 2008
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When his TARDIS is mysteriously drawn to a planet he doesn't initially recognize, the Doctor (William Hartnell) finds himself in the middle of a war between two insectoid races in "The Web Planet." Along for the ride are Ian (William Russell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Vicki (Maureen O'Brien). Soon after landing, the group is split up in a seemingly systematic way. The Doctor and Ian go out to determine exactly where they are. Barbara nurses Vicki, who's harmed by a bizarre noise after the initial landing, at first, but is soon drawn out into the barren lands they've arrived upon. Then Vicki and the TARDIS are whisked away to another location on the planet, with nobody knowing where they've gone. As the story unfolds, we meet the human-sized ants known as the Zarbi and their mortal enemies, the butterfly/bee-like Menoptra. The two races are at war for primacy over the planet which the viewer learns is called Vortis. The Doctor and his companions are split up even more, with Ian being isolated with one of the Menoptra and the Doctor eventually finding Vicki, the TARDIS and the Animus, a creature that controls the Zarbi and has them do its bidding. The Doctor must find out who rightfully deserves to call Vortis home, and he must also determine what the Animus is really up to. He must also figure a way for himself and his companions to get off of the planet before any harm befalls them.

William Hartnell's cranky incarnation of the Doctor is in top form here. He's mysterious, funny and blunt all rolled into one. It's almost as if his mind is so full of wisdom that his brain has trouble extracting it. William Russell and Jacqueline Hill hold their own as always. Maureen O'Brien does a solid job as well. Each person gets to shine on their own.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Doctor Who is always the best.
Published 1 month ago by Michael Price
4.0 out of 5 stars good story
Some of the special affect that they could do where pretty cool. Like for Vortis's atmosphere was done by putting a glass with vasalein in front of the camera. Read more
Published 3 months ago by daryl drumheller
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
The first Doctor of the Dr Who series .He was the greatest doctor.Must have video ,Well done ,made well video
Published 6 months ago by James D.
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived on time in good condition.
This product arrived on time in great condition. The special effects aren't spectacular, but if you consider when it was made they aren't bad, and the story is decent as well.
Published 7 months ago by J_nicklyn
3.0 out of 5 stars sleepy
Can't complain too much, it's Doctor Who. I love the show, and I really enjoy the 1st Doctor. This particular story gave me trouble. I kept falling asleep. Read more
Published 10 months ago by E. Quist
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice addition
I am a Dr. Who fan. I don't have anything before Pertwee. Nice addition to my collection. The story is great. Nice to see the evolution of the Doctor. Read more
Published 12 months ago by brdnsky
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It was good to see the older Dr. Who series. They move at a much slower pace than current dr. Who's but it is interesting to see the history of the show.
Published 22 months ago by Gary T. Payne
5.0 out of 5 stars classic episode
another great one fom William hartnell....Keep in my that special effects are not up to todays standards but storyline is still great! Read more
Published on August 13, 2011 by Eric Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh.
I liked the bug concept and costumes. But the video effects drove me nuts. Every time they were on the "surface" of Vortis, they had this blurry glare. It was really annoying. Read more
Published on July 26, 2011 by S. Molina
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for a laugh, I guess
Phew! This one is rough-going. Some people seem to be able to overlook the 'Lost in Space' laughability of the costumes, but I can't. Read more
Published on April 30, 2010 by Byron
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