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Episode Guide
The Web Planet
Production Code: N
Season 2, Story Number 13
Written by Bill Strutton
Directed by Richard Martin

Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.

The Web Planet
13 February 1965 | 23'57" | 13.5 | 16mm t/r
The Zarbi
20 February 1965 | 23'20" | 12.5 | 16mm t/r
Escape to Danger
27 February 1965 | 22'52" | 12.5 | 16mm t/r
Crater of Needles
06 March 1965 | 25'50" | 13.0 | 16mm t/r
13 March 1965 | 26'04" | 12.0 | 16mm t/r
The Centre
20 March 1965 | 24'32" | 11.5 | 16mm t/r
Archive Status: All six episodes exist on 16mm telecine recordings. "The Zarbi" was held by the Film & TV Library when it was audited in 1978; negative film prints of all six episodes were recovered from BBC Enterprises circa 1978. Prints of all six episodes were also discovered in Nigeria in 1985.
William Hartnell (Dr. Who), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright), Maureen O'Brien (Vicki), Robert Jewell (Zarbi), Jack Pitt (Zarbi), Gerald Taylor (Zarbi), Hugh Lund (Zarbi), Kevin Manser (Zarbi), John Scott Martin (Zarbi), Catherine Fleming (Animus Voice), Roslyn de Winter (Vrestin), Arne Gordon (Hrostar), Arthur Blake (Hrhoonda), Jolyon Booth (Prapillus), Jocelyn Birdsall (Hlynia), Martin Jarvis (Hilio), Ian Thompson (Hetra), Barbara Joss (Nemini)
The TARDIS is seized by a mysterious force and dragged down to its latest resting place - Vortis, a craggy, forbidding world where the dangers include pools of lethal acid. Here, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki get involved in the struggles of the moth-like Menoptra (Roslyn de Winter, Arne Gordon, Arthur Blake, Jolyon Booth, Jocelyn Birdsall, Martin Jarvis) to reclaim the planet - originally their home - from an alien parasite. The Animus (voiced by Catherine Fleming) has invaded Vortis and taken control of the once-docile, ant-like Zarbi (Robert Jewell, Gerald Taylor, John Scott Martin, Kevin Manser), turning them into its vicious drones who use organic Venom Guns (Jack Pitt, Hugh Lund) to enforce the Animus' will.

Eventually, with the time travellers' help, a group of Menoptra and Optera (Ian Thompson, Len Russell, Jane Bowman, Barbara Joss) - stunted troglodyte descendants of the planet's original Menoptra inhabitants - manage to infiltrate the Animus's web-city, the Carsenome, and confront the creature directly, destroying it with a weapon, the Isop-tope, devised by their scientists.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The First Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.

Production Team
Elisabeth Dunbar (Assistant Floor Manager), Gillian Chardet (Assistant Floor Manager), Daphne Dare (Costumes), John Wood (Designer), Peter Hamilton (Film Cameraman), Gitta Zadek (Film Editor), Roslyn de Winter (Insect Movement), Sonia Markham (Make-Up), Verity Lambert (Producer), Norman Stewart (Production Assistant), Dennis Spooner (Script Editor), Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds), Ralph Walton (Studio Lighting), Ray Angel (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music)
Story Notes
Originally entitled "The Zarbi"; the working title of episode six was "The Centre of Terror". The costumes for all of the varied alien races were created by Daphne Dare. Jacqueline Hill is not credited in "Escape to Danger" and does not appear.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide.
Additional, more detailed information about the production of this story can be found at Shannon Patrick Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel).
DVD release
Released in the UK [October 2005] and Australia/New Zealand [November 2005] (BBC DVD catalog #1355), US/Canada [September 2006] (WHV catalog #E2666); episodic format; photomontage cover (UK version by Clayton Hickman.) Includes commentary by William Russell, Verity Lambert, Richard Martin and Martin Jarvis; "Tales of Isop" documentary interview featurette; "The Lair of Zarbi Supremo," featuring William Russell reading from the first Doctor Who Annual (which is also included in PDF format); episode 6 Spanish soundtrack; a set of Doctor Who slides; photo gallery and production notes.
Video release
Released as "The Web Planet" in the UK [September 1990] and Australia/New Zealand [May 1991] as a two-tape set (BBC catalog #4405), US/Canada [August 1994] as a single tape (WHV catalog #E1265); cover art by Andrew Skilleter; episodic format. The 'next episode' caption has been removed from "The Centre" and the closing credits were replaced.
In Print
Novelised as "Doctor Who and the Zarbi" by Bill Strutton (Target #73), first released in 1966. Rereleased in 1973 with cover art by Chris Achilleos, and in 1991 with cover art by Alister Pearson.
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target.
Screencap Descriptions
Descriptions of each story screen capture above right, top to bottom:
  • A Zarbi on Vortis
  • the TARDIS arrives on the Web Planet
  • Ian (William Russell) with a Menoptera
  • Vicki (Maureen OBrien) bows down before the Animus
  • the Doctor (William Hartnell) with Ian in the laboratory
  • a winged creature on the Web Planet