Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (Story #9)

doctor who planet of giants dvd cover review
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Solid old Doctor Who

Low budget


The Doctor and his granddaughter are circling the drain

The Doctor (William Hartnell), Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), and Ian (William Russell) find the TARDIS has malfunctioned during transport.  Upon exiting the TARDIS, they discover they are back on Earth but in a diminutive state.  When a murder occurs near them, they find themselves in a cover-up involving an insecticide that could kill all insects.  The Doctor, Susan, Barbara, and Ian must find a way to stop the insecticide from being released and restore their growth, but Susan’s encounter with the insecticide could prove fatal.

Doctor Who:  Planet of the Giants is the first serial in the second season of the long running British series.  The story aired from October 31, 1964 and November 14, 1964 in three parts (Part 1:  Planet of Giants; Part 2:  Dangerous Journey; Part 3:  Crisis).  Following Doctor Who:  The Reign of Terror, Doctor Who:  Planet of the Giants have been collected in The William Hartnell Years as Story #9.


A giant ant!!! Fortunately the budget doesn’t allow for more than one…

Doctor Who:  Planet of the Giants shows a return to the “present day” after adventures in time and originally was intended to be a four part serial.  The fourth part was called The Urge to Live, but Part 3:  Crisis and Part 4:  The Urge to Live were merged together into one part.

With only three parts, I find this to be one of the better Doctor Who serials.  I often think Doctor Who has far too many parts.  Here the story feels a little more compact and tighter.  It is an interesting combination of stories going on which are almost independent of each other.  The Doctor, Barbara, Ian, and Susan’s attempts to stop Forester (Alan Tilvern) really don’t do anything…except causing more suspicion by putting a phone call from the location.  Forester’s actions really doom him.


“Doctor! Suddenly we’re in an Andy Warhol film!”

The story actually looks more interesting than some of the other serials from this period.  With lots of miniaturized sets (on a budget), it is fun to see how the show creators tried to work with it.  Half the time the wide shot looks don’t match up with the close-up shots, and I’m sure one of the people would have noticed the two or three inch tall blue box among the junk sitting on the sidewalk.

Early Doctor Who is sometimes hit or miss and this is a hit.  The older stories in the series often looked better than some of the ’70s and ’80s episodes.  With a series that is fifty years old, it is fun to go back in the Doctor’s timeline and check out some of the old episodes.  Doctor Who:  Planet of the Giants is followed by Doctor Who:  The Dalek Invasion of Earth which featured the departure of Susan Foreman.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Reign of Terror (Story #8)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Story #10)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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