Doctor Who (1963)

Season 11 Episode 22

Planet of the Spiders, Part Two

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM May 11, 1974 on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Planet of the Spiders, Part Two
A highly intelligent spider from Metebelis III arrives on Earth in search of the powerful crystal. When it is stolen from his laboratory, the Doctor leads the chase over land, water and air to recover it.

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  • With very little plot advancement, half of this episode consists of a lavishly executed but completely unecessary chase sequence over land, sea and air.

    Disturbed by the death of Professor Clegg as he held the Metebelius III crystal, the Doctor becomes even more fascinated by the gem and furthers his experiments. Meanwhile, Lupton comes under the influence of a giant spider he and his cohorts managed to summon from another planet. Using the human's thirst for power, the spider has come to Earth seeking the great crystal and leads Lupton straight to UNIT where, using telekinetic powers, it steals the gem from his laboratory. Following on the heels of Part One, the pace of the action is maintained throughout the first half of the episode. The titular spider (voiced by Ysanne Churchman, who also voiced Alpha Centauri in the two "Peladon" stories) is only moderately effective. When standing still, it is rather chilling but the minute it begins to move any credibility to the creature goes out the window. Luckily it spends most of Part Two invisible. Particularly memorable is the Time Lord in a rare bit of melancholy as he recollects a piece of childhood when he used to travel up a hill near his house where he passed many hours with a hermit, whom he calls a mentor. Pertwee's subdued acting during this brief scene makes it all the more memorable to fans and foreshadows an important factor in later episodes of this story. Despite an interesting set-up for Episode Two, however, the plot comes to a sudden grinding halt. Because producer Barry Letts was familiar with actor Jon Pertwee's love of adventure and gadgets, he specifically crafted a chase sequence into this episode which he felt would be a fitting parting gift to his friend and something fans would remember for a long time to come. Covering the land, air and water, the characters would use a series of gyrocopters, hovercrafts, power boats, the Doctor's beloved yellow roadster Bessie and his newest vehicle, a silver saucer-shaped craft dubbed The Alien. Letts expectations were correct for this roughly 12 minute sequence, comprising the entire latter half of the episode. Fans of the show do remember the chase, but not necessarily with fondness. In fact, this bit of vanity to appease Pertwee's thirst for action does very little except slow the plot of the story to a snail's pace and the scenes of The Alien car in flight is a poorly realized piece of special effect, even for "Doctor Who" standards. If edited to six minutes, it may have worked, but considering the monsterous chunk of budget that went into the filming of this sequence, it really was not worth it. With this unfortunate stumble, the pace of "Planet Of The Spiders" has become erratic and an indication of things to come.moreless
Chubby Oates

Chubby Oates


Guest Star

Michael Pinder

Michael Pinder


Guest Star

Richard Franklin

Richard Franklin

Mike Yates

Recurring Role

John Levene

John Levene

Sergeant Benton

Recurring Role

John Dearth

John Dearth


Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Plot Hole: Why isn't the spider squished when Lupton sits down and puts his back against a seat?

    • A number of regular Doctor Who stuntmen and walk-ons make cameos during the chase scene, including Stuart Fell (the man who is run over by the hovercraft), Pat Gorman (the mechanic Lupton knocks out) and Terry Walsh (the boat owner).

    • Continuity: When Lutpon steals the boat, he shoves the boat owner into the water. Later, he is seen struggling with the owner, who is suddenly dry again.

    • Continuity: The Whomobile changes colour a little when it is flying.

    • When the Doctor seems to be in a coma, the Brigadier briefly phones "Doctor Sullivan". This is a foreshadowing of the appearance of Harry Sullivan in the following serial, Robot.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Policeman: Panda Three to control. I've just spotted a silver hovercraft being chased by an old crock at 90 miles an hour. And there's a tiny little helicopter after them both! I'm in pursuit, over.

    • Sarah: You know, this is barmy. Here we are calmly discussing happiness planets, blue moons and giant spiders as if I was talking about pussycats, fish and chips and the Liverpool docks.
      Doctor: Well, they're just as real.
      Sarah: Oh, I know. That's what gets me.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Live and Let Die: The epic chase sequence bears more than a passing resemblance to the chase scene from this James Bond movie of the previous year, including using a boat to cut across bends in a river and the use of a policeman as comic relief.