Monday 24 January 2011

063 The Web Planet Part 6: The Centre

EPISODE: The Web Planet Part 6: The Centre
TRANSMITTED: 20 March 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet

The Animus speaks with the Doctor and asks why they escaped. The Doctor will be brought to the Centre. Barbara and the Menoptra start the mock attack. Vicki realises she's dropped the isoe-tope. The Zarbi are drawn out of the city by the attack. Ian, Vrestin & the Optera encountered a stream of water in the rock. The Optera are scared of going to the surface but their leader Hetra agrees to go with them. Hrostar is killed killing a Larvae gun. The Doctor & Vicki reach the Centre, containing a huge bright light and a huge spider like creature which is a body the Animus is growing. They are dragged into the Animus' web. In the control centre Barbara finds the Tardis allowing the Menoptra to try to communicate with their home base. It doesn't work, but they discover the missing isoe-tope. Ian is now climbing through the tentacle like strands of the Animus web. The Menoptra near the centre but encounter Zarbi resistance before they are blinded by the light of the Animus. The isoe-tope seems to have no effect but Ian's arrival allows Barbara to get close enough to destroy the Animus. The Zarbi, now lacking control, revert to being the mindless cattle they were previously. No longer diverted by the Animus water starts to spring up on Vortis' surface. The Optera emerge onto the surface for the first time in generations. They wish to fly like their cousins the Menoptra: Vrestin tells them that they won't be able to but maybe their children will. Prapillius returns the Doctor's ring. The travellers leave a now peaceful Vortis behind.

Fan opinion when I was growing up had The Web Planet down as one of the great Doctor Who stories with it's array of alien life forms. It's less well regarded now that it's been seen by more people: general opinion holds that the effects and costumes have dated and it's a little hard to follow. Personally I wasn't impressed by the first two episodes but thought it picked up a lot in the middle two. I'm leaving with a better opinion of the story than when I started but accept that it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

The story was novelised as Doctor Who and The Zarbi, the second Doctor Who novel which was published in 1965, and then reissued by Target in 1973 at the start of their range of Doctor Who books. The Zarbi & Menoptra, along with the Vrood & Sensorites, appear in the first Doctor Who annual but have never returned on screen. The story was missing from the BBC archives, but all 6 episodes were found at BBC Enterprises in the late 1970s and issued on VHS in 1990 and DVD in 2005.

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