Doctor Who: The Web Planet (Story #13)

4.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 5/10

Fun costumes

Not a fan of the story, the stylized shooting, or Vicki


We voted and decided to feed you to the ant creatures, Vicki…because we hate you

The TARDIS is drawn to the planet of Vortis where a war is going on.  The butterfly like Menoptra are preparing a raid on the planet which is held by the ant-like Zarbi who are controlled by the Animus.  With the invasion imminent, the Doctor (William Hartnell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), Ian (William Russell), and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) must find a way to free the Zarbi and stop the battle before it starts.

Doctor Who:  The Web Planet aired during the fifth season of the long-running BBC series.  The serial aired in six episodes from February 13, 1965 to March 20, 1965.  As with all the older serials, each episode had a title Episode 1 is “The Web Planet”, Episode 2 is “The Zarbi, Episode 3 is “Escape to Danger”, Episode 4 is “Crater of Needles”, Episode 5 is “Invasion”, and Episode 6 is “The Centre”.  Following Doctor Who:  The Romans, Doctor Who:  The Web Planet is collected as part of The William Hartnell Years as Story #13 (though the serial is currently out of print).


….and now I’m covered with webs, I do hate you, Vicki

I was kind of excited about Doctor Who:  The Web Planet.  The visuals with the goofy looking ants and butterflies was really appealing.  Unfortunately, Doctor Who:  The Web Planet was one of the more boring entries in the Doctor’s early adventures.

The problem is that the serial is way too long with too little substance.  Most of the episodes involve Barbara, Ian, the Doctor, and Vicki walking around and being prisoners of either of the two races.  It isn’t very compelling or very interesting…and it is just boring.

The next problem is that I don’t love Vicki.  She first appeared as the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman’s replacement in Doctor Who:  The Rescue (Story #11).  I wasn’t the biggest fan of Carole Ann Ford, but she’s worlds above Vicki at this point who can’t seem to find a direction for her character.  I can see why Vicki is frequently listed among the Doctor’s worst companions.


I wish I knew what the hell was going on here…

What brought me to the serial also left me cold.  The visuals for this entry are fun (I’d like to see both the Zarbi and Menoptra return in the “modern” Doctor Who), but the serial was also highly stylized.  The cheap sets were covered by frequently shifting to a wispy film covered camera display that was rather distracting and looks horrible now.  The dreamlike look doesn’t work and instead almost gives you a headache while watching it now.

Doctor Who:  The Web Planet is a pretty weak entry in the Doctor Who world.  With literally hundreds of other entries, you probably can find more enjoyable and thought provoking serials to pass the time.  Despite this, I hate to see serials go out of print because who knows when and what format they’ll show up as next.  Doctor Who: The Web Planet was followed by the partially missing serial Doctor Who:  The Crusade.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Romans (Story #12)

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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