Thursday 20 January 2011

059 The Web Planet Part 2: The Zarbi

EPISODE: The Web Planet Part 2: The Zarbi
TRANSMITTED: 20 February 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet

We said that the last episode was seen by 13.5 million viewers. Well in a week Doctor Who lost a million viewers which says something about episode 1!

Ian lies on the floor, the web/net he was caught in having dissolved having irritated his skin. Barbara is led by her bracelet but as she walks hypnotised a butterfly like humanoid jumps up behind her. The Doctor & Ian find marks indicting the Tardis has been dragged away as we cut to a not terribly great model shot of the same. The butterfly creature leads the dazed Barbara to two of it's friends: They remove the gold bracelet that dissolves in the acid pool as Barbara comes to her senses. The Doctor finds marks made by a claw while Ian finds a large sized chrysalis. The Doctor thinks they have landed on Vortis in the Isop galaxy. Barbara tells her new acquaintances their story: They ell her she was under the force of the Zarbi. They disagree on what to do Hrostar wants to kill and overhearing this she escapes from the creatures who she learns are called Menoptra. The Doctor and Ian find where the Tardis has been taken but are captured by the ant like Zarbi and one of their Venom Grubs. Vicki is surprised when the Tardis doors open and calls for the Doctor. Leaving the Tardis she finds herself in the Zarbi lair. The Doctor & Ian are brought to the base which the Doctor discovers it is a living growing thing. A Zarbi tries to enter the Tardis and is repelled by some force. The Doctor & Ian are reunited with Vicki as Barbara is captured by the Zarbi. The Menoptra discuss whether to contact their forces and warn them of the power of the as yet unseen animus and the larvae gun, but communication risks betraying their position. They take the risk and the female Vrestin tries to make contact, but finds the cave interferes with transmission, The Zarbi, escorting Barbara, find them with one of the Menoptra slain by a venom grub. Hrostar frees Barbara from their control but has his wings severed by the Zarbi. They will be taken to the Crater of Needles and used as slaves. The Zarbi attach the Doctor to a tube like machine which descends over his head and speaks to him.

A better episode this week: we get a better look at the Zarbi & the Venom Grubs. The Zarbi look a little odd with the oversized human legs contrasting with the much smaller ant legs, but the Venom Grubs are a great design as are the Menoptra which is the winner for me with it's fragile wings and better integration of the human and Butterfly forms.

A big cheer please ladies & gentlemen: Episode 2 marks the Doctor Who debut of John Scott Martin as a Zarbi. In an extensive acting career he features in diverse places such as Pink Floyd's film of The Wall, The Good Life, The first episode of Tripods and as the old retiring 192 in the first 118 118 advert.

He's probably best known for being a Dalek Operator appearing in (deep breath): The Chase, Mission to the Unknown, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks, Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks, The Five Doctors, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks. So basically every Dalek story bar Destiny of the Daleks!

As well as the Web Planet his non-Dalek Doctor Who appearances include The Chase (a Mechanoid), Colony in Space (the IMC robot), The Dæmons (a villager; uncredited), The Mutants (a Mutt), The Three Doctors (a gell guard; uncredited), The Green Death (Hughes), Robot (a guard; uncredited), The Brain of Morbius (Kriz) & The Invisible Enemy (the Swarm).

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