Wednesday 18 January 2012

The Web Planet

Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment.  They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labour, exchange information ceaselessly.  They do everything but watch television.
- Lewis Thomas

Welcome back, chums.  Hope you’ve been well whilst we’ve been away. 

For some reason, we’ve been rattling through the Doctor Who stories and imagining how they would sound if there had to be cutbacks made before the filming took place.  Y’know, like had to be done with The Web Planet’s Zarbi costumes.1   So far, we’ve come up with examples like: The Aztec; The Dominator; Seed of Doom; Revenge of the Cyberman but then we noticed a problem.

Him:  They stop being funny when you hit Peter Davison.

Ignoring the fact that hitting Peter Davison is never funny – but kissing him is – the Him has made a good point.

Me:  Oh, Christopher Hamilton Bidmead, what hast thou done?


When the title comes up the Him does a little dance of joy.

Me:  I get the impression you’re looking forward to this one.

Him:  It’s got Zarbi in it.  It’s probably got an awful story.  I can’t remember – it’s just everyone walking around a planet isn’t it?  With giant ants.  The Zarbi were awesome.  The new series should bring them back.

Me:  You like the Zarbi then?

Him:  They’re better than the giant ants in Them!

Me:  That’s an interesting opinion.  One of the Menoptra crops up again in Vengeance on Varos and Invasion of the Dinosaurs.2

Him:  But as an actor and not as a Menoptra, I take it?

Me:  You’ll just have to wait and see.  I don’t know what to draw for this one.

Him:  Draw a Zarbi.

Me:  Why do you like-

Him:  I think the first time –


Him:  I remember Vicki as being Susan from the first time that I watched this.

Me:  It’s been a while since we last watched it together, to be fair.

Him:  Zarbi are red.

Me:  Eh?

Him:  Well, they are on the Give-A-Show slides.

Me:  I’ll have another go.  What is it about the Zarbi that you like so much?

Him:  It’s because they’re insects.

Me:  Fair enough.

The Web Planet title screen comes up.

Me:  Oh, it’s got a title screen.

Him:  What’s wrong with that?  Don’t forget that The Aztecs had one.

We rejoin the Doctor and Ian, still dressed in Roman finery.  The TARDIS is being dragged down.

Ian:  To what?

Me:  To Vortis!

Him:  Is Part One of The Web Planet actually called ‘The Web Planet’?

Me:  It is.

Over the image of a moon, the title comes up, and then we pan down to the planet’s surface and webs

Him:  And that’s why.  It’s Planet of the Spiders all over again.  Just with good effects.

The TARDIS materialises.

Me:  Vworp vworp.

Him:  Wheeze groan.

Me:  Is that a bit of the TARDIS we’ve never seen?

Him:  Possibly.

Ian and Barbara aren’t as worried as the Doctor.

The Doctor:  What is holding us here?  What force, hmmm?

Him:  “We call it ‘gravity’, Doctor.”

Vicki emerges from the loo.

Vicki:  That looks a bit grim.

Me:  I’ve had cause to say that a few times on this blog so far.

Vicki is struck with a sudden headache

Me:  She’s heard the Zarbi

Outside the TARDIS there’s a sudden Zarbi moment.  It’s ace, if a bit noisy.

Me:  Did you see the way the screen went smeary?

Him:  Eh?  No.  Maybe it wasn’t deliberate.

Me:  Oh – I think it was.  And it made me wonder for a moment if it was actually the Zarbi noise causing it.

Vicki’s really feeling quite inconvenienced by her pulsating head, but the Doctor doesn’t seem too concerned.

The Doctor:  Oh, she’s probably heard an extra-sonic sound.

Taking its cue, a Zarbi and his larvae gun approach the TARDIS.

Me:  Does the TARDIS look a bit wrong there?

Him:  It does.

The TARDIS goes transparent and a Zarbi bashes through the fourth wall for the first, but not the last, time.  The TARDIS is covered with webby stuff.

Me:  Weird shot that.

The TARDIS tilts alarmingly.  Barbara sees a flash beyond some crags.

Me:  It’s Midnight.

Him:  Do you think that’s what it was in Midnight?  A Zarbi?

Me:  No, but it could have the Animus, I guess.

Barbara takes Vicki to the sick bay to recover.  Ian and the Doctor opt to have an inquisitive wander.  Barbara digs through the Doctor’s untidy medicine cabinet, whilst Ian and the Doctor dress in Atmospheric Density Jackets, or ADJs as we’d be used to calling them if they ever appeared again.  The doors won’t open as the TARDIS has no power.

Me:  “I’ve been lying all along, Chesterfield.  You just give them a push.”

The Doctor appears extremely confused and flustered for a moment, before letting his ring open the doors. 

Me:  The Doctor’s definitely getting more impish.

Vicki and Barbara have a quick chat about how medicine develops over time.  Vicki’s never seen aspirin, despite studying medicine.

Him:  “And besides, I asked for a sedative.”

Barbara admits to not studying, or indeed teaching, medicine.  The three r’s and evolution were the grounding for the Coal Hill curriculum.

Me:  “Reading, ‘riting and Revolutionary French.”

Vicki reveals a bit more about her own background.  It all sounds a bit modern.

Me:  This is a nice bit.

Vicki notices Barbara’s bracelet and, as she reclines in the shade of a camera, Barbara name-drops it was a present from Nero.

Me:  That’s ace!  They’re building on the last story for once – and not just in the recap.  I suppose it makes it feel a bit more like an arc.

The Doctor and Ian are looking at rocks.

Me:  The Doctor won’t be so excited by geology come Destiny of the Daleks.

Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure Without Stationery
The air steals Ian’s pen and mocks him with voices.

Me:  I was about to mention the echoes.

Ian feels they’re being watched – and the smears have certainly returned.

Me:  Could the smeary bits actually be Animus POV then?

There’s no reply from the Him to my comment – quite right too, it was a daft thing to say.  Back in the ship, Barbara’s dusting off the Doctor’s butterfly collection when she catches sight of the boys hurrying off looking for pens.  Her bracelet decides it wants to leave the TARDIS and have a look as well, which gives her a bit of a fright.

Me:  Guess not.  Oh, there’s a Silent moving outside the doors.

Vicki and Barbara have a brief chat, but her bracelet, quite rudely, still wants to leave.  Vicki plants a first foot on the path to hysteria.

Me:  “You alright, love?”

Barbara:  It’s the things we don’t understand that frighten us.

Me:  Speak for yourself, I’m scared of bears.  And fire. And dentists and werewolves.  In about that order.

Ian and the Doctor have a marvellous pile of rocks, shaped like a pyramid with a moth on the top.  They’ve gone a bit see-through as well.

Me:  That’s a good shot.  It’d be better if they weren’t transparent though.

Ian wonders what’s on the top.   Could it be Nelson?  The Doctor’s pretty sure that it isn’t.

Him:  The Doctor actually said “no pigeons”.

The Doctor and Ian then find liquid, which Ian reckons is water.  The Doctor proposes a scientific test and Ian takes off the tie he’s being using as a belt.

Ian:  I hope my pants stay up.

The Doctor:  Yes, that’s your affair, not mine.

Him:  “Pants?”  Is that right?

Me:  “Did you learn nothing on Marinus, schoolmaster?”

Ian’s tie melts – so it’s either not water, or the tie was made of sugar.  There’s a Coal Hill reference.

Me:  There’s some good dialogue in –

Plosh!  Something lands in the not-water.  A Zarbi slowly ducks behind a crag.

Me:  That’s a sneaky Zarbi.

Ian gets excited and insists he saw something.  There’s a sudden beeping.

Ian:  What is it Doctor?

Me:  “Oh, it’s just the wind.”

The beeping’s given Barbara a headache and woken her bracelet which gives the console a spin.  The doors open.

Him:  Wrong doors again.

Barbara’s bracelet marches out onto the surface of Vortis with Barbara following.  The Doctor and Ian are trying to find the source of the ringtone.  Vicki is woken from her aspirin-slumber to find she’s been abandoned.

Me:  The doors are open again

Suddenly Ian is nabbed by cobweb, Barbara and her bracelet are marching towards an acid pool and-

Him:  Vicki steals the TARDIS.

The Doctor is most put out.

Me:  That had three cliffhangers.

1.  Did you see what I did there?

2.  Not to mention so briefly in the David Fincher version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo that I was distracted for ages afterwards wondering whether or not I really had just seen a giant butterfly in a Swedish Noir.


We recap.  I’m not happy.

Me:  Oh, hang on.  The last time we saw Barbara, she was about to get a lot shorter, but now she’s somehow turned around and started her acid pool approach again.  You won’t remember this, but when I was young we used to have cartoons that would do this all the time.  And the repeats of the old RKO serials were notorious for it.

A Zarbi radio-controls Barbara’s bracelet around the pool.

Me:  That’s cheating.

Him:  Come on.  You like Barbara almost as much as Amy.

Ian is out of the cobweb, but unconscious.  The Doctor wakes him.

Him:  Do you think that blur’s on purpose, or did they just forget to clean the camera?

Me:  It’s a clear piece of plastic or glass or something in front of the camera lens with stuff – Vaseline, according to legend – smeared all over it.  It’s on purpose.

Him:  Oh.

Ian recovers slowly.  The Doctor admits they can’t go back to the TARDIS for unguents.

The Doctor:  I’ve got a shock for you-

Me:  “I’ve lost the ship and Barbara’s become a Scotsman.”

Him:  Is the ship made of gold?

Me:  I don’t think so.
Suddenly - MIME!

Back with Barbara’s bracelet and we suddenly meet the Menoptra.  The Him is amused.

Him:  Rewind that!

We do.

Him:  Comin’ to getcha.

Ian and the Doctor find the ADJs are running out of puff.

Ian:  Let’s take them off, shall we?

Ian does.


Ian:  Breathe slowly…  Deeply…  Like a diver.  Oh…  It’s possible .

Me:  Barbara’s been managing it fine.

Him:  That’s just the bracelet.  Next time we see her, she’ll be on the ground being dragged along by her wrist.

The TARDIS is been dragged across the planet’s surface.

Him:  Would that not leave a big trail that you could follow?

Vicki is being forced to mime.  On the scanner she sees a sudden Zarbi.

Him:  Hello.

Vicki mimes looking a bit afraid.  There’s still no music to help her out.

Him:  “It’s all a dream.  It’s all a dream.”

Me:  Yes.  And it’s Barbara’s.

Barbara’s bracelet has been intercepted by a Menoptra and taken to meet its friends.  .

Me:  I like their wings.

Him:  Their plastic wings.

Me:  I liked their wings.

The Menoptra gang up on Barbara’s bracelet and kill it with acid.  After far too long, Barbara’s back in the room

Me:  “You should not take souvenirs from time.”

The Reapers don’t descend.  Elsewhere, the Doctor and Ian have been following the TARDIS tracks – somehow, they’ve lost it.

The Doctor:  The ground seems firmer here.

Me:  “Wood or something.”

Him:  Certainly sounds like it.

The Doctor realises that the tracks look more like the sort you’d find made by claws.  Ian stands on, what appears to be, a chrysalis.

Him:  Was that really a smart thing to do?  Ian’s obviously not looking where he’s going.

Me:  That musical sting would’ve been good when Vicki first saw the Zarbi.

The Doctor deduces they might be dealing, in some way, with a Menoptra.  This would mean they’re on Vortis in the Isop galaxy.  The TARDIS is being loaded into a mysterious looking structure.

Me:  Inside the tent?

Him:  I knew you’d say that.

Barbara is telling the Menoptra all about how she got to be there with them.  At first they seem interested, but then-

Menoptra:  Kill her!

Me:  “Bwah ha ha ha ha!”

Him:  He pulled that out of nowhere.

While the Menoptra have a quick chat about whether or not to murder Barbara like they did her bracelet, Barbara demonstrates guile and cunning and escapes.  And then falls over.

Me:  Oh, God.

Barbara gets up, which certainly improves her chances of escape, and runs, which doesn’t hurt either.  Ian and the Doctor are admiring the aurora vortis when suddenly - Zarbi!

Me:  The Zarbi look pretty good.

The Zarbi have brought their venom grub/larvae guns.

Me:  Oh dear.

The Doctor doesn’t recognise any of the new arrivals.  Ian and the Doctor are led away as prisoners, behind them shuffles a formidable venom grub.

Me:  We won’t be hearing about that thing again until Boom Town.

Him:  Why Boom Town?3

Still trapped in the TARDIS, Vicki has almost run out of different ways of expressing gentle movement.  Luckily the doors open. She leaves only to be nabbed by a Zarbi in fairly short order.  The Doctor and Ian continue their forced Vortis ramble.  They reach the veggie base of the Zarbi.  Ian asks the Doctor what he knows of the history of Vortis.

The Doctor:  History doesn’t mean anything when you travel through space and time!

Him:  “That’s why Barbara’s always wrong!  Hee hee!”

Vicki and the Zarbi aren’t making friends.  A Zarbi has a peek in the TARDIS and totally freaks out.

Me:  It didn’t like that.

The freaking out Zarbi starts making Space Invaders noises.  It reminds the Him of an alarm clock.

Him:  "Wake up, Barbara!  Wake up!"  The Zarbi noises are really the alarm clock from the real world breaking through into her dream.

The Doctor and Ian arrive – the Doctor’s fuming.  Barbara gets captured by the deafening, giant ants that are, actually, surprisingly stealthy.

Me:  Bored, Barbara was passing the time by killing rocks.

The Menoptra finish their chat and notice Barbara’s run away.  Vrestin, the lady Menoptra ostensibly in charge, decides to contact the rest of the Menoptra forces.

Me:  Oh, Roslyn de Winter, what hast thou done?

Vrestin manipulates her Fortress of Solitude crystal communicator and makes a report.

Me:  The Menoptra don’t strike me as a space-faring race.

Having taken ages to do anything because they talk so slow, the Zarbi have tracked the Menoptra, and a particularly vicious giant insect fight takes place.

Hrhoonda:  Smash the crystals, Vrestin!  Run!

Me:  “Fly away!”

Barbara appears.  This time she’s been enslaved by headphones.  A friendly Menoptra, hopefully Hrostar because I’m guessing a bit here, removes the golden headphones and breaks the Zarbi mind link.

Him:  “You should not listen to such loud music.”  So, the Zarbi can control gold?

Me:  Yep.

Barbara and Hrostar are to be taken to the funky sounding Crater of Needles.  Back in the Vegetable Tent, the Doctor has followed a hint from Vicki in a desperate attempt to communicate with the Zarbi.

Me:  Everything else having failed, the Doctor was forced to try charades.

Obviously his meaning is misunderstood and a hairdryer descends from high above.  The Animus speaks.  And, let’s be fair here, what a voice.


Me:  Yes!  There had to be an episode called that!

3. Because they eat Raxacoricofallapatorians, that’s why.


We recap.  Ian, Vicki and the Doctor are still in trouble.  The Animus is furiously pumping the Doctor for information, unsuccessfully.  It determines to destroy the TARDIS, but it doesn’t work because when Vicki was doing being-dragged-around-in-a-time-machine acting, she managed to realign the fluid link and thus restore the power.

Me:  The fluid link!

Him:  Mercury!

A spying Menoptra gets chased off by Zarbi guards.

Me:  Oh – they can fly – they just don’t.

Back with the Doctor and Vicki and Ian.  Deals are being struck with the Animus.  We cut to a Zarbi, fleeing across Vortis and, proving that four walls just cannot contain these beasts, trying to hide in our very living room.


Me:  Bang!  He just charged into it.

Him:  They kept it in.

Me:  They didn’t have a choice.

The Doctor and Ian are scheming.  Perhaps the Zarbi might have the same weaknesses as ants.  Ian’s doubtful.

Ian:  I’ve seen a colony of ants eat their way right through a house.

Me:  And when was this?

Ian:  So relentless, indestructible.

Me:  ‘Indomitable’, perhaps?

The Animus has told the Doctor that Barbara is in the Crater of Needles, which doesn’t really help them.  He takes an astral map out of the TARDIS to impress the Animus with.  Ian tries to unplug it to make the shifting easier – the Doctor becomes agitated.

The Doctor:  You must never break the time and relative dimension link.

Me:  He’s bluffing again – it’s just a plug.

Ian escapes.  The Doctor gives Vicki a piece of chocolate to celebrate.

Me:  “Or it might be a steak.”

Ian makes his way out of the Veg Tent.  Vicki and the Doctor use the doohicky for listening in on the Menoptra armada in orbit round Vortis.  Ian and a Zarbi guard fight.  There’s an alarm but Ian’s free.  On the surface, it all goes a bit crazy as Menoptra fly, Zarbi bash and venom grubs shuffle.  The Doctor and Vicki get a row for Ian’s absconding.

Me:  It’s slowed down a lot.  There’s not much going on at the moment.

Him:  It’s The Sensorites all over again.

Me:  Are you still enjoying it?

Him:  It involves Zarbi – so, yes.

Me:  So – if the Sensorites themselves had been ants, you’d have enjoyed that story a lot more?

Him:  Yeah.

Vicki collects the wrong thing from the TARDIS.

The Doctor:  This is one of my specimens, look.

Vicki:  Urgh.

Him:  What’s it a specimen of?

Me:  A sample.

Him:  It’s a spider.

It is.  And it scares Zarbi.  Elsewhere, Ian and Vrestin are becoming allies.

Me:  Poor Barbara.

Vrestin tells Ian some Menoptra tales.  During this, the music keeps making a note that sounds like it’s about to burst into the ‘Dalek Control Room’ cue.  Ian persuades Vrestin that they should mount a rescue at the Crater of Needles.

Vrestin:  Yes, Heron.  We shall do - as you say.
"The Zarbi will find it - very difficult - to make us look foolish - Heron."

Me:  The running gag of no-one being able to pronounce ‘Ian’ continues.

Unfortunately, this glorious rescue attempt is somewhat curtailed by a Zarbi-induced cave-in.

Me:  I think that was the bit that you used to be able to hear a studio-hand laughing over.


Once again, we have a slightly different recap.

Me:  Oh – no.

Him:  That’s where you can hear it.

Me:  Yes, yes it is.  When the rocks hit Ian on the back.

Him:  It’s the Zarbi.

Ian and Vrestin recover.  Another example of Vortis’ intriguing fauna is introduced, the Optera.

Me:  Oh dear.

In the Crater of Needles, Barbara and her newly pedestrian Menoptra chum have been put to work. 

Me:  The music’s changed.

Barbara has a rest.

Me:  There’s a full-on Menoptra mining mime going on in the background there.

The Him’s quite into the story by this point.  The Doctor and Vicki aren’t having much luck back in the Veg Tent.  Alarms sound as the duff information that the Doctor’s given the Animus is acted upon.  Barbara, Prapillus and Hrostar are hustled into hiding.  Ian and Vrestin have entered their own nightmare.

Me:  Oh dear.  What is going on here?

Ian screams in pain.

Him:  Cue ‘falling-in-love’ music.

The Optera are frustrated Beat poets.  Apparently.

Him:  This is more Monty Python than Doctor Who.

Me:  It’s certainly an interesting - and enthusiastic - acting decision.

Back in the Crater of Needles there’s a bit of modern dance to cover the laying of much exposition.  The Menoptra are preparing a suicide Spearhead Invasion.  One of them, I think it’s Prapillus, offers to do something because he has been studying their captors.  This tickles the Him, who’s otherwise rapt.

Him:  “I knooooow the Zarbi.”

Me:  Superb.

This is why they're so miffed with Jon Pertwee.
The Doctor and Vicki prepare the Escape Spider.  The Doctor manages to obtain the golden headphones and works his way through how they can use the gold to their advantage.

Me:  The Cybermen wouldn’t like this lot.

Him:  Cybermen versus Zarbi.

Me:  It’d be more fun than Cybermen verus Daleks.  Or Cybermen versus Craig.  “Our only weakness is gold.  Gold and a father’s love.”

Him:  You’re mean about the Cybermen.

Back in the the Crater of Needles a small uprising takes place and a larvae gun gets lifted-

Him:  It’s cool how it’s still moving.

-and squished against a wall.

Me:  Not any more.  “The only good bug is a dead bug.”

The Doctor and Vicki continue pottering.  There’s a brief bang which alerts the Animus.  After a swift dance with a Zarbi, the Doctor has to explain his lack of progress.  This is the moment that the incoming Menoptra decide to relay all of their plans over the radio.  The Animus is, to say the least, annoyed.  The Doctor and Vicki get matching headphones.  Barbara and the escaping Menoptra hear the ringtones of pursuing Zarbi.  Under Vortis, Ian, Vrestin and the Optera are having a barn dance or building to a song or something.

Me:  Oh dear.

There’s a lovely model shot of Vortis.

Me:  That looks alright.

Barbara and the Menoptra have reached the top of the plateau.

Me:  “We – have made it – to film.  Only here – can we fly.”

Martin Jarvis arrives.

Martin Jarvis:  We are – too late.

Him:  “Da Revrend Menoptra – saw da light.”

The Zarbi attack.

Him:  I like it that when the Menoptra fly they’ve got their legs together – like wasps.

The fight continues - larvae guns join in.

Him:  Well, we know how to deal with those: you’ve just got to find a wall.  Have they got dogs underneath them or something?  I’m sure I saw paws.

Me:  I reckon it’s either John Scott Martin, scuffling around on his knees, or a Cybershade.

Him:  Recent discoveries prove that it’s neither.

Me:  Yeah?

Him:  That’s all I have to say on the matter.

The fight rises in intensity – the Menoptra retreat.  Suddenly - it stops.  Not just the fight, but the whole episode.

Me:  Eh?

Pause.  The credits begin their sterling work.

Me:  That all got a bit weird.

Him:  Oh – rewind that!

I rewind that.

Me:  Why?

Him:  Because the Optera were played by ‘Ian’ and ‘Barbara’.

Me:  Oh, well-spotted!  That’s brilliant.


Me:  Personally, I’m looking forward to when Jon Pertwee and the dinosaurs show up.  Oddly enough, Martin Jarvis is in that one too.

Him:  Does he play a dinosaur?

Me:  No.  He’s still a Menoptra.

Him:  Was Jo really a companion?


Me:  Yes.

We recap and see that Barbara and her chums escape through a hidden doorway in a cliff.

Me:  What just happened there?

The Doctor and Vicki’s golden headphones don’t seem to be working.

Me:  Batteries’ve run down.

Our heroes indulge in a bit of scheming.  Vicki fakes illness and distracts the Zarbi guard.  The Doctor pops the golden headphones over the Zarbi’s neck, thus taming it.  Barbara is quite impressed by the inside of the cliff.  Prapillus names it a Temple of Light.

Him:  Or a forest temple.

Me:  The Temple of Light’s where about 50% of the interior scene filming for the new series seems to take place.

The Menoptra take this opportunity for a long chat.  It’s like a giant insect version of an Ent Moot.

Barbara:  What would have happened if the Spearhead had been successful?

Him:  “We would have - torn out the Zarbi’s brains - and eaten them.”

Me:  It turns out that the Menoptra are about a billion times more evil than the Zarbi.

Ian and the lovely Vrestin are still stuck with the bouncing Optera.

Me:  Oh dear.

Him:  They should be called the ‘Hoptera’.

This observation gives me the mad giggles.  The Doctor and Vicki have used their tame Zarbi to leave the Veg Tent.  They decide to take their new chum with them.

The Doctor:  You may not believe it, but you nearly ended up as lost property.
The first of the boy genius companions.

Him:  I think the Doctor should have kept that Zarbi as a pet.

Me:  Zombo, the forgotten companion.

The Hoptera decide that poems won’t work and so hopt (sorry) to break stuff instead.

Me:  Oh dear.

There’s a good speech from the lead Hoptera, Hetra.  Unfortunately, it results in a cave-in.

Me:  Missed Ian that time.

Barbara and the Menoptra continue their endless meeting, which is livened slightly by the arrival of Zombo and his companions.  Back under Vortis with the Hoptera.

Me:  Oh dear.

There’s a leak of acid through a hole in the wall.  The second lead Hoptera, Nemini, in an altruistic and brave move, sacrifices herself by sticking her head in the hole.

Me:  Will the acid not just eat through her?

Him:  It should’ve, but it didn’t.

Zombo, the Doctor, Barbara and Vicki move on to the third point of the agenda.  Crannies are mentioned, baffling the Him momentarily.

Him:  The ‘Grannies of Vortis’?

The Doctor takes the badly named Isop-tope, that’ll end the story.  He is asked to give away Zombo but haggles down to his ring instead.

Him:  Poor Zombo.  I doubt that we’ll be seeing much more of him.

Me:  He got his own spin-off series from Big Finish.  Very experimental sound theatre stuff.

The Doctor and Vicki are recaptured.  Back with Ian, Vrestin and the remaining Hoptera.

Me:  Oh dear.

Zombo, Barbara and the remaining Menoptra mass outside the Veg Tent.  They wait for Barbara to give the word…

Me:  “Grease.”  Which explains the lenses.

The Doctor and Vicki are forced to their knees and sprayed with evil silly-string.

Him:  I thought that Vicki was in it until The Myth-Makers?

There’s quite an effective shot of the Doctor and Vicki covered in webs to finish.

Him:  It’s weird to think that there only used to be 25 minutes of Doctor Who a week.  But it was every week, I guess.

Me:  I think they filmed for something mad like forty-eight weeks in a row.

Him:  Wow.

Me:  It was a pretty punishing schedule.  That’s also why every so often someone ships off to Cromer for the week.


I try the Spanish soundtrack option for a second.  The Him enthuses, but that’s not the way we’re going with this particular thrilling conclusion.  The Doctor is to be taken to the Centre, to meet the Animus herself.  Outside, Barbara and her attack force prepare their assault.

Him:  You can’t just call him a Zarbi – that’s Zombo.
No idea.

First Taunting Menoptra:  ZAAAAR-BI!

Me:  That’s awful.


Me:  And that’s worse – but fair play for the held note.

Ian and Vrestin prepare to climb.  They haven’t managed to shake off the Hoptera.

Me:  Oh dear.

Zombo and Barbara’s attack force storm the Veg Tent.  There’s a huge fight and Hrostra dies.  It’s hilarious.

Me:  They keep squashing the opposition.

Him:  Where’s Zombo?

Me:  I don’t know.

Him:  Did they let him free?


Me:  Yeah.

The Doctor and Vicki meet the Animus.  She gives off a lot of light. 
Ian and Vrestin continue to climb.  The Hoptera are still there.

Me:  Oh dear.

Barbara and the Menoptra fight their way through the Tent.

Me:  “The Bizzarbie Nest?”

The Doctor and Vicki have been paralysed by the Animus which is sucking their minds. The attacks are taking their toll though – there’s been a wounding and the aliens are in control.  This tickles the Him.

Him:  “Aliens in control.”

Barbara finds the astral map containing the Isop-tope.  Ian clambers closer.  Barbara and chums attack the Animus.  Her light is irresistible to the Menoptra.

Me:  See?  They’re moths.

Ian breaks through and saves the day.

Me:  Oh – it’s Ian.

The Animus dies like a falling hat.

Him:  It looked like they’d have to throw it and it would explode or something.  That was a bit boring.

Out of the Tent and back onto the surface of Vortis.  Water’s begun running again.  Barbara’s almost made a pet of a newly rehabilitated larvae gun.  And the Hoptera have climbed into the light.

Me:  Oh dear.  It’s fallen over.

The Doctor gets his ring back.  Ian chuckles and describes his trashed tie.

Me:  Odd scene.

The TARDIS leaves.

Me:  They left the window open.

Him:  I saw that.

There’s a very long-winded ending with pointless discussion.

Me:  This episode must have been under-running.  This can’t have been the original ending as written – it’s going on for months.


Me:  Not everywhere though.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Well, the whole Crusade business is still a bit touchy in some countries.

Him:  Is it?

Me:  Yes.  Thoughts?

Him:  I like the Zarbi.

Me:  Any other thoughts?

Him:  No.

Me:  Right, I’ll make lunch.

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