Planet of Giants
The main gimmick here is that somehow the TARDIS, moving from Revolutionary France to modern London, has malfunctioned in such a way that it, and everyone inside, has shrunk to the size of insects (literally). And somehow they materialize in the yard of an evil business man who kills a government scientist to protect his investment in an insecticide. The attraction of this story lies in how these tiny people come up with ways to cope while trying to both stay alive and bring justice to the bad guy.
- Doctor Who: The Memory Cheats #135
- The Doctor Who Podcast DVD Review Episode#214
- The 20mb Doctor Who Podcast #232
- The 20mb Doctor Who Podcast #260
The Dalek Invasion of Earth
The Daleks had become a bit of a sensation on their introduction in story #2, and would prove to be the most successful and enduring of all the Doctor’s opponents. In this story, the TARDIS materializes back on Earth, and in London, but this time it is the 22nd century, and things are just wrong. It turns out the Daleks had found a way to invade the Earth, and enslave or kill all of the inhabitants save a few resistance fighters. Our four travelers soon join up with the resistance and eventually dispatch all of the Daleks, and leave the humans to rebuild their planet. Only not all of them. The Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan, has fallen for one of those resistance fighters and stays behind to share the life of the man she has come to love. Behind the scenes, Carole Ann Ford felt that all she was doing was screaming and getting rescued, and wanted to do more challenging roles than Doctor Who could ever provide her, so she elected to leave the show, somewhat to the consternation of William Hartnell, who could not imagine why anyone would leave a successful production. But Carole Ann Ford, despite her appearance, was not a young teenager, she was married and had a child at the time of this show. She just looked like a teenager. So this story marks the first of many times in the show’s history that a principle character would leave. It also marked one of the first times the show did extensive outdoor location shooting, rather than using studio trickery to imitate locations.
This two-part episode was primarily written as a vehicle to introduce the replacement for Carole Ann Ford, a young lady named Vicki, played by Maureen O’Brien. Apparently Verity Lambert and the BBC thought it very important that there be a young girl in the cast that the kids could “identify” with. The story is set in the 26th century, so she observes that Ian and Barbara must be 550 years old! To which they smile and agree that in some sense that is true. The plot is not outstanding, but has its moments of charm. Note that in the credits for the first part of this two-parter, a certain “Sidney Wilson” is credited for being the alien creature, Koquillion. This is made-up fiction, using the names of Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson, two BBC department heads associated with the show. Why would they do that instead of using the real actor’s name? Part 2 would explain that. The development of this story has Vicki become an orphan, which helps for getting her on the TARDIS.
- Doctor Who Podshock
- Doctor Who: The Memory Cheats #141
- DWO Whocast DVD Review #116
- The 20mb Doctor Who Podcast #262
- Radio Free Skaro Episode #692
This is another historical story, with the TARDIS landing near Rome. The group initially finds an abandoned villa and become squatters, but soon the Doctor takes Vicki and heads for Rome. But along the way he finds a body in the bushes, and is then mistaken for the dead man and taken to meet the Emperor, who of course is Nero, though nothing like the actual historical Nero. Still, the violence and savagery of Rome is not sugar-coated at all. Meanwhile, Ian and Barbara get captured by slave traders, and are taken to Rome to be sold. Of course, Barbara becomes a slave to Nero’s wife, and Ian is sold to be a gladiator. They all wind up around Nero, but somehow the Doctor and Vicki never meet up with Ian and Barbara until after they all escape and get back to that still-abandoned villa. This is the kind of story that you can nit-pick some details, such as the portrayal of Nero, but on the whole it does an admirable job of displaying Rome’s serious issues such as poisonings, slavery, and violence.
- Doctor Who Podshock
- Doctor Who: The Memory Cheats #88
- DWO Whocast DVD Review #117
- The 20mb Doctor Who Podcast #222
- The 20mb Doctor Who Podcast #263
The Web Planet
- He Who Moans
- Doctor Who: The Memory Cheats #43
- The 20mb Doctor Who Podcast #264
- Radio Free Skaro Episode #683
- Radio Free Skaro Episode #684
2 episodes missing (2,4)