Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders (Story #74)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Goodbye to Jon Pertwee, fun spiders

Tibetian monk storyline


Ignore the giant spider on my back Doctor…It’s nothing.

The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) studies a strange stone from Metebelis Three at the same time a portal to the planet opens at a meditation center.  Through the portal a giant spider enters the world and takes control of Lupton (John Dearth).  The goal of the spiders is to regain control of the mysterious crystal and the Doctor is about to get caught in the middle of a civil war on Metebelis Three between the Eight Legs and its human inhabitants.  With Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) under the control of one of the spiders, the Doctor might face a danger that he cannot defeat.

Doctor Who:  Planet of the Spiders was the final serial of the eleventh season of Doctor Who.  It was a six part episode and aired from May 4, 1974 to June 8, 1974.  The story follows Doctor Who:  The Monster of Peladon and features Jon Pertwee’s last regular appearance as the Doctor (the Third Doctor) and had a brief cameo of Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor.  It was released as part of The Jon Pertwee Years as Story #74.


This flying car is groovy, Doctor!

The whole Tibetan monk aspect of the story drags a bit.  I like all the spider things and think the story really picks up in this part.  I have a bit of a problem with the six episode series because they don’t have the pacing and speed that the four episode serials provide.  As seen in this one, it just seems to drag out the story…here it means more Tibetan monk moments.  It was good to see Mike Yates (Richard Franklin) in the story after working against the Doctor and Sarah Jane in Doctor Who:  Invasion of the Dinosaurs.  With the Doctor “demise” and regeneration, it is good that Yates gets to a chance to redeem himself.

The spiders are great.  I like the council of spiders that all just involve giant cheap spiders bouncing up and down with voice-over.  When this is combined with the bad sci-fi rejects who play the rebels of Metebelis Three, the series has a fun classic Doctor Who retro feel that you come to expect from the series.  I also like the other Time Lord who shows up pretty much to remind everyone that the Doctor can regenerate since Pertwee was the Doctor for such a long time.


…and I’m out!

As mentioned, this episode ends Jon Pertwee’s reign on Doctor Who.  He played the Doctor for the fourth longest time (behind Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and David Tennant).  He first appeared in Doctor Who:  Spearhead from Space, and though Baker was my favorite traditional Doctor, I did enjoy how Jon Pertwee’s character always went kung fu on his enemies (in which a man in a white wig would throw the enemies around).

Doctor Who:  Planet of the Spiders isn’t the best Doctor Who, but the second half of the series is quite fun.  The show should be seen by fans of the series simply because of the regeneration at the end of the episode.  Doctor Who:  Planet of the Spider was followed by Doctor Who:  Robot (which starts The Tom Baker Years).

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Monster of Peladon (Story #73)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Robot (Story #75)

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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