Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders (1974) starring Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen
Planet of the Spiders is the Third Doctor’s last and most dangerous adventure. A misguided group of transcendental chanters forge an unnatural link with the evil spider rulers of Metebelis 3. Who plan to expand their control of “two legs” to the rest of the galaxy.
The Doctor’s experimenting with ESP. This leads him to a stage performer, who’s actually developing telepathy and psychokinesis. At the same time, Mike Yates asks Sarah to look into some strange goings on at a meditation centre he’s attending. And, the Doctor receives a mysterious package from his old companion, Jo Grant.
Lupton, now under the influence of a giant, alien spider, steals the Doctor’s blue Metebelis crystal. And then steals the Doctor’s hovercar! Leading to a hectic chase, on land, sea, and air! The Brigadier and Captain Yates pursue him in Betsy, while the Doctor takes to the air in a gyrocopter. And then Lupton steals the gyrocopter! So, the Doctor and Sarah pursue — in the flying hovercraft! And then steals a boat! He’s nothing if not determined …. So’s the doctor, who borrows a hovercraft to pursue him!
Sarah Jane Smith: You know, this is barmy. Here we are calmly discussing happiness planets with blue moons, giant spiders, magic crystals as if I was talking about umm pussycats, fish and chips and the Liverpool docks.
Doctor Who: Well, they’re just as real.
Sarah Jane Smith: Oh, I know. That’s what gets me.
With the aid of the alien spider’s psychic help, Lupton has eluded the Doctor. He teleports back to the meditation center. And, after Lupton and the spider abuse each other, they plan on returning to Metebellis 3 — even though the crystal’s missing. But, Sarah transports to Metebellis 3 while pursuing him. There, unknown people capture her! The human slaves of the spiders, who debate over they should kill her! But calmer voices prevail. And then, the spiders’ human overseers arrive …. But the Doctor arrives in the TARDIS to rescue her! But one of the Spider Queen’s guards zaps him!
The Doctor is in a coma. The spiders’ human slaves hold Sarah Jane in the larder of the spiders! With the help of the rebellious humans, the Doctor recovers, and goes off to rescue Sarah. But he’s recaptured. As the Doctor says, “This is getting monotonous.”
Sarah Jane Smith: [seeing the Doctor] Doctor! You’re alive! I knew you’d come! [he’s followed by Guards] Oh, Doctor!
The Spider Queen tries to hold off an uprising by her council, by promising to consult with the Great One. Sarah’s taken to the Queen, while the Doctor uses a trick he learned from Harry Houdini to escape. Lupton is abused and humbled by the Spider council. Meanwhile, Tommy is finding his intelligence magnified enormously, thanks to the crystal. Sarah makes a bargain with the Spider Queen. She returns to Earth with the Doctor. Back at the meditation center, Tommy stands off against four of the spider-controlled chanters.
Doctor Who: [being held captive in a giant spider cocoon] Now I know what a fly feels like. An absolutely fascinating experience.
The Spider Queen has been secretly controlling Sarah. With the help of the Doctor, the crystal, and the Doctor’s old friend, she’s set free. And the Doctor returns to Metebellis 3, where he must confront the ruler of the spiders. The Great One. Even though he knows he may not survive the encounter.
The Doctor: [the Third Doctor’s last words] A tear, Sarah Jane? No, no, don’t cry. While there’s life, there’s…
Brig. Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart: [as the Doctor is about to regenerate for the third time] Well… here we go again.
Cast of characters in Planet of the Spiders
- Jon Pertwee (Frontier in Space, The House that Dripped Blood) … The Doctor.
- Elisabeth Sladen (Genesis of the Daleks) … Sarah Jane Smith.
- Nicholas Courtney (The Three Doctors) … Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart.
- Richard Franklin (Terror of the Autons) … Mike Yates.
- John Levene (The Green Death) … Sergeant Benton
- Cyril Shaps (The Madness of King George, The Bourne Identity) … Professor Clegg. The stage mentalist. The Doctor has deduced his secret – he’s actually developing telepathy and psychokinesis. And so, the Doctor wants his help in his experiments into ESP. Unfortunately for the Professor.
- John Dearth … Lupton. The power-mad person who joined the center to find power, and get revenge on the world. And becomes both antagonist, and unwilling servant of the spiders.
- Christopher Burgess (Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World) … Barnes
- Terence Lodge (Doctor Who: The Macra Terror) … Moss
- Carl Forgione (Doctor Who: Ghost Light) … Land
- Andrew Staines (Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters) … Keaver
- Kevin Lindsay (The Time Warrior) … Cho-je
- John Kane … Tommy. The mentally retarded young man at the meditation center. A nice young man, although his brain is addled. Until he gets his hands on the blue crystal, that is.
- During the story “The Time Monster” , the Doctor tells Jo Grant about a wise old mentor from his early days. Here in this story, that teacher is revealed as K’ampo
- Episode 6 is the first time the term “regeneration” is used to explain the Doctor’s change of appearance. Previously his first change was called a “renewal” with the Doctor claiming it was the TARDIS that made it possible. The second was forced upon him by the Time Lords as part of his exile to Earth.