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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

The Web Planet

A mysterious force pulls the TARDIS off course, stranding the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki on the mysterious alien world of Vortis. A fierce battle is raging between the moth-like Menoptra, and giant insects known as Zarbi. But what is the dark secret that hides at the centre of the Zarbi's lair?

    -- from the DVD release, 2005

A true love-it-or-hate-it story, while the video was made available when fans were scrabbling for all they could get, would the DVD prove to be unpopular with the more discerning fans of the 21st century..?

Episode timings on DVD: 23'52", 23'15", 22'53", 25'45", 26'04", 24'27"
Episode timings on PasB: 23'57", 21'20", 22'58", 25'50", 26'04", 24'32"


VHS releases

10/09/1990: UK - BBC Worldwide - BBCV4505 [two cases cellophaned together]
01/05/1991: Aus/NZ - PolyGram - BBC45052
23/08/1994: US - CBS/Fox - 8142 [renumbered E1265 in 2000 by Warner Home Video]

The end of the final episode was cut to remove the "Next episode" caption, and credits from a syndicated version prepared in the 80s for sale to foreign TV stations were used instead (below). In order to comply with BBFC guidelines, the videos opened with captions, also shown below.

Cover art by Alistair Pearson, based on work he had completed that year for the reissue of the Target novelisation.

DVD releases


03/10/2005: UK - BBC Worldwide - BBCDVD1355
02/11/2005: Aus/NZ - Roadshow - Cat# Unknown

Cover by Clayton Hickman for UK/Aus.

In order to comply with BBFC guidelines, the Play All feature led first to a caption (below).

DVD Bonus features

The Lair of Zarbi Supremo (56'44")
William Russell reads the sequel story as published in the first Doctor Who Annual. Audio only.

Information Text
By Martin Wiggins

Doctor Who Annual PDFs
An electronic copy of the first Annual.

Give-A-Show Slides
A gallery of images from the 1965 Chad Valley toy.
Tales of Isop (37'51")
A look behind the scenes, interviewing several of the original participants.
  • Verity Lambert and William Russell explain why Richard Martin was perfect for Doctor Who, and Martin describes himself as "zany".
  • Russell, Lambert, Maureen O'Brien and Martin enthuse over the plot, the specifics of the script, Dennis Spooner and Bill Strutton.
  • Martin Jarvis assures us that the script felt right to six year olds and tells us he feels the plot was about the guest characters.
  • Lambert on the importance of Barbara's character and Martin on the genius of the BBC design department. Sonia Markham, Make-Up Supervisor, and designer John Wood explain their parts in this and the way Doctor Who was viewed by the BBC back then.
  • The contributors all express their admiration for Daphne Dare.
  • Martin explains how the blurred look was achieved. Jarvis shares his "staggered" feelings about the set, which Russell agrees with - Wood tells us the limitations he had.
  • Russell expresses amazement at the web effect and Wood and Markham explain briefly how it was acheived.
  • Russell reminds us what a surprise the Zarbi were for the other actors - Wood tells us what his inspirations were. Martin and Lambert were happy with them, but Wood has his reservations.
  • Martin and Jarvis talk about the casting decisions for the Zarbi actors. Russell and O'Brien talk about the fear the characters gave them.
  • The Animus' set and the Animus actress are discussed by Jarvis and Russell.
  • Wood expresses his disappointed at the Larva Guns (a brief CG example is shown) and the beauty of the Menoptra comes under scrutiny by the contributors.
  • Markham and Martin admit the changes in costume between film and VT recordings and Russell admits his least favourite aspect were the Optera.
  • Russell, Martin and Wood discuss the various special effects and special props.
  • William Hartnell's infamous attitude is covered by Wood, Lambert, Markham, Russell and Jarvis. O'Brien describes him as "bitter".
  • Russell talks about how wonderful Jacqueline Hill was, Lambert about the shared love the cast had and Russell about Roslyn de Winter's voice.
  • O'Brien tells us how amazed she was working with Jolyon Booth and Jarvis how charming and wonderful William Russell was.
  • Martin and Jarvis on the difficulties of flying in studio and Martin, Lambert and Markham on the tight timescales.
  • Russell on the challenges of fighting Zarbi.
  • Lambert recalls the scissor scene in Inside the Spaceship and how it affected The Web Planet.
  • Everyone gives their final thoughts on a production they believe to be special, but flawed.

Thanks to Gareth A Roberts, Doctor Who Magazine, Jan Vincent-Rudzki, Colin Young
Sound: Angus Anderson
Camera: Une Herzer
Colourist: Andrew Parkinson
Editor: John Kelly
Producer: Andrew Beech
BBC Worldwide (C) BBC MMV

Photo Gallery (6'44")
71 b/w photos.
With thanks to Derek Handley, Jan Vincent-Rudzki, BBC Photograph Library
BBC Worldwide (C) MMV

Restoration Notes

The recap from the end of The Romans was replaced, and tramlines over the film sequence of the TARDIS in the second episode were painted out. Several major offlocks and field sync errors later in the story were fixed using Shake and hand retouching. After much effort, marks from the camera's tube were left on, as they proved impossible to track for automated removal. Ayres performed his restoration on the magnetic track (although reverted to the optical occasionally), removing various clicks, pops, and the sounds of Zarbis walking into microphones. He also replaced the music in the fourth episode to counteract some speed variations.

A newly improved version of VidFIRE, so far only seen on a Quatermass release, premiered here.


01/10/1990 - Story passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK
11/02/1991 - Story passed a 'G' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ
29/07/2005 - Tales of Isop passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK
19/08/2005 - Menus passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK
20/09/2005 - First three episodes repassed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK
12/09/2005 - Story (inc Isop) passed as 'G' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ

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