Tuesday 4 January 2011

043 Planet of Giants Part 1: Planet of Giants

EPISODE: Planet of Giants Part 1: Planet of Giants
TRANSMITTED: 31 October 1964
WRITER: Louis Marks
DIRECTOR: Mervyn Pinfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Planet Of Giants

And welcome to Doctor Who, series 2, resuming seven weeks after the close of the first series.

The Tardis is in flight and approaching a planet when Barbara burns her hand on the console. The doors open midflight causing an alarm to sound, wrestling with the controls the Doctor lands the Tardis. The Fault Locator, always a tricky one for Hartnell to pronounce, indicates no problem, but the scanner shatters when turned on. They leave the Tardis to see what has happened. The Doctor says the space pressure was too great forcing the doors to open..... The rock formations outside are odd. Barbara encounters a huge dead snake which interests the Doctor, while Ian and Susan find giant eggs and a dead giant ant. The Doctor & Barbara note that the rock formations form a maze like the surface of a brain. Ian encounters a huge poster in English: he realises they're on Earth and wonders if they're in an exhibition of giant sized objects. The Doctor is nearly crushed by a giant match stick and realises what has happened. Ian & Susan find a giant match box,convincing him they're in an exhibition but Susan believes differently: They've been shrunk! The camera pulls back from the Tardis to reveal it in the crazy paving of a garden path! It goes black and a thunderous noise is heard. Susan runs away while Ian hides in the match box:a huge figure bends down and picks it up. The Doctor scales the wall and sees where they are. The man who owns the matchbox, Arnold Farrow, is a government scientist here to see the businessman owner of the house, Forrester, who is developing a new pesticide DN6. Farrow has come to refuse Forrester a licence to produce DN6. Forrester isn't happy, having ploughed all his money into DN6. He threatens Farrow with a gun. The Doctor, Susan & Barbara are menaced by a bee which dies, they smell something odd on the insect. There's a HUGE explosion to their ears: Farrow is dead shot by Forrester. Ian is reunited with the others and takes them to Farrow's body. The Doctor wants to return to the ship but their way is blocked by Forrester's cat, giant sized compared to them.

Good start to the season, with some great model & effects work producing the giant items and putting the minute Ian in front of Farrow's face. Mervyn Pinfield, the shows associate producer, is in the Director's chair for the first couple of episodes and he was renowned for being good with advanced technical matters.

Even though the Tardis crew are shrunken in size this is their first return to present day (for them) Earth!

This episode marks the debut of composer Dudley Simpson on Doctor Who. He would work regularly as the show's composer eventually composing most of the scores to Jon Pertwee & Tom Baker's stories to the end of Baker's penultimate season.
The VHS release of this story marks the debut of the VIDFire process. In simple terms: Video (in the UK at least) is 50 Frames Per Second (fps) and film is 25fps. When Doctor Who was transferred to film for overseas sale half the frames were lost resulting in a less fluid picture flow. VIDFire interpolates the missing film frames from the existing ones using computer software. It works something like if an object is here in this frame, and there in the next, then in an in between Frame it would have moved half the distance.

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