Monday, April 18, 2011

Doctor Who Planet Of The Spiders DVD Review

Hey everyone

With Doctor Who beginning again on Saturday with the new series, I decided to get back into the flow with reviews again and I decided to review a Classic series story that comes out today on DVD but I got it on Saturday through the post.


Planet Of The Spiders UK DVD Cover

This is Jon Pertwee's last outing as the Doctor and also stars Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. The story is about when a former UNIT member Mike Yates takes Sarah Jane to a Tibetan retreat to show her a group of men using meditation rituals to make contact with an alien power. Turns out to be a connection from Earth to Metebelis 3 which was previously mentioned in the Green Death. On Metebelis 3 it is a planet ruled by Spiders who are masters over man on the planet who want the crystal back, in which Doctor stole and got back from Jo Grant in a letter.

Now the Doctor has to go back to Metebelis 3 to face his worst fear of the Great One who is a giant spider and all of mankind.

I remember first watching this story on UK Gold back in 1998 when they were doing on a Sunday morning depending on the time they were shown. If it was 4 parter it would be 9am in the morning but 6-7 parters would be a 6am start for the story.

This story was written by Robert Sloman and Barry Letts (Uncredited), they came out with a great story, not the best 6 parter story but a good one indeed. I felt the performances of Jon Pertwee was still top of his game and brought the best out of everyone and that is something I notice when I watch Troughton, Tom Baker, Matt Smith as well which is a brilliant quality.

I loved Jonny Kane's performance of Tommy who starts off as someone who has learning difficulties and then once he looks into the crystal he becomes a genius and a great protector. I liked how Sloman and Letts wrote that piece. I do notice in the commentary that Letts said they couldnt do that anymore which I can understand which people would find it a bit shocking how someone with learning difficulties can be treated.

I wished that Nicholas Courtney was in it more but it felt more of an off Earth story than a Earth Story which was one of the reasons why Pertwee decided to leave. Richard Franklin makes an appearence as Captain Yates who is not with UNIT after what happened in Invasion of The Dinosaurs, it was nice twist.

It does feature a lot of actors that were in past Pertwee stories that I didnt know until I watched the Final Curtain.

They were a lot of comedy moments in there which helped the pacing of the story that if it was too serious then I would have lost interest in the story.

I liked how Jon's Doctor was scared in this story when confronting the Great One and thought it gave it some important value that Pertwee's doctor had to face a demon/fear that would lead into the next step.

I loved the final scene involving the Doctor, Sarah Jane and The Brigader where the Doctor is close to death and the touching scene and dialogue from them is really moving and made you close to tears. I thought the way they did the regeneration wasnt the best but the build up to it was great.

Great story overall with great picture and sound quality again from the BBC and 2Entertain.

Onto the extras I listened to the commentary after watching the story later on Saturday and found it interesting to listen to and features Elisabeth Sladen, Nic Courtney (RIP), Richard Franklin, Barry Letts (RIP)and Terrance Dicks. I always enjoy listening to stories by Letts and Dicks on the production which you gave some insight behind the scenes of any story which is great. I was a bit surprised that Elisabeth Sladen was only in the commentary and not in the documentary but to know she doesnt like Spiders back then.

The Final Curtain documentary was really good to watch as it starts with Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks talking about why they wanted to leave and why Jon Pertwee wanted to leave. We will never know why Pertwee really wanted to leave as Pertwee had said that he would have stayed on if his friend Shaun Sutton had paided him more money in which Letts says it is nonsense that Pertwee left because the family was breaking up. It was great to see some Pertwee Archive interview footage in this documentary as it helped with certain parts.

Glen Allen was the narrator in this documentary and did really good job with it. Allen produced a great flow into linking parts of the documentary together which is needed. Great documentary

I liked the Jonny Kane documentary where he talked about that he was in character when he went on a taxi price from his place to the BBC which didnt please the security guard afterwards and it was nice to know that he did Theatre before Doctor Who. Some funny stuff in there.

Directing Who with Barry Letts is really interesting and was glad it was recorded before Letts death in October 2009. He talked how he made the switch from an actor to a director and how he involved with Doctor Who at first with the Enemy Of The World story starring Patrick Troughton. It was good when he became producer that he was allowed to direct at least one story per season under his run. Letts also talked about the Classic Serial that he did afterwards. Now the music used I know is called "Eternal Hope" from Kevin MacLeod because I used this piece of music in my World Autism Awareness Day video that I did eariler in the month, which was really cool.

The Now & Then documentary was good to see where they filmed and what they turned into now which is great for any fan.

The Omnibus Edition is a shorter version but done as 105 minute film version of the story which is one they showed to audiences in 1974 the day before Tom Baker's debut story "Robot"

Overall I found the DVD to be a real joy to watch with the story being good and the extras being fantastic as they seem to get better in every release that I get.

I give this 9/10 defintely worth getting if you are a Pertwee fan and a Doctor Who fan

Bye for now and cant wait until Saturday


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