Friday 28 January 2011

Planet of the Giants

The original TARDIS crew in a microcosmos.

This story fits in to it's era rather oddly. Not only is it the unusual length of three episodes, but it is neither an historical or "science fiction" First Doctor story. It is also, along with The War Machines, the only First Doctor story set on contemporary Earth after An Unearthly Child.

Despite the lightweight nature of the plot, there are very clear nods to the future of the show. It has an obvious environmental theme, something that would be common in the Pertwee era. Forrester is a kind of villain we don't see much of in the Hartnell era, the self-serving, ruthless capitalist. Yet his type would become very common in the show from the Third Doctor era onwards.

The sets are very well-designed despite not everything being quite to scale. Most of the guest cast performances are unfortunately mediocre. Perhaps it is also disappointing that they never get to interact with the regulars. The regular cast are on top form, even if Carol Anne Ford ends up moaning and whining yet again. Barbara's refusal to admit that she has been affected by the pesticide comes across as a little odd.

At the end of the story, Forrester is led away by the cops. Had this been the Hinchcliffe era, we can be sure that he would have died a gruesome death, probably through his own pesticide. I prefer stories like this where the bad guys don't get killed. There is often far too much death in Doctor Who.

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