THE PLANET OF THE SPIDERS was the final story for
Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. Like most final stories for actors as the Doctor, the stories aren't as good as the best
stories of their time playing the Time Lord from Gallifrey who saves the universe across time and space (the only exception
of a great swan song is the Fifth Doctor's final story). This story had to tie up several loose ends and included
a James bond chase sequence (influenced by LIVE AND LET DIE) that serves no real purpose to the overall story.
I always felt the final season of the Third Doctor wasn't as strong as the seasons that came before it and I wish INVASION
OF THE DINOSAURS was released before this story on DVD since it has some narrative threads that you see the aftermath of in
this story (also this story is a follow up to the end of THE GREEN DEATH when a blue crystal the Doctor got for Jo's wedding
is returned to the UNIT lab). The story that was planned before Roger Delgado's untimely death in a car
crash would have seen a final battle between the Doctor and the Master (which I wonder if Russell T Davies drew inspiration
from that proposed story when he wrote the final story for the Tenth Doctor).
The final story begins as the disgraced Mike Yates
is trying to find himself at a Tibetan monastery in the English countryside when he discovers a group staying there are trying
to call on some forces from across the universe. He calls in Sarah Jane Smith
so he can get proof since UNIT won't believe him due to his fall from grace in PLANET OF THE DINOSAURS. A wedding gift for Jo Grant is returned to the Doctor and it leads him on a dangerous adventure against
intelligent giant spiders with special powers. He is drawn back to
Metebelis 3 where he must face the spider known as the Great One and stop the spiders from taking over Earth.
The audio commentary with Elisabeth Sladden,
Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, Barry Letts, and Terrance Dicks is on disc one
along with a production notes subtitle option and a coming soon trailer for FRONTIOS.
Disc 2 extras:
THE FINAL CURTAIN- A Making-of documentary
that covers what would have been the original finale (if it wasn't for Roger Delgado's untimely time in a car accident), how
the story came about, the leaving of the major players for the last fives of the series (story editor Terrance Dicks, Producer/
Director Barry Letts, and star Jon Pertwee), the shortfalls and production problems with the serial itself, and Terrance Dicks
objections to The Doctor being shown as a flawed hero.
DIRECTING DOCTOR WHO- Barry Letts discusses his directing career before, during, and after Doctor Who.
JOHN KANE REMEMBERS- an interview with
the actor who played Tommy
NOW AND THEN- a look at the locations used
in the story and how they look now in addition to the tricks the production team used to make the locations seem closer and
the chase sequence seem like it was using several more turns down the road.
Also included is a 105 minutes edited version
of the story that was aired as an omnibus version in addition to including the omnibus trailer. The omnibus version shows how much padding is in your 6 episode or more tsory as they manage to make
a good story out of it while cutting out 45 minutes. Rounding out the extras on disc 2 are a photo gallery and
PDF materials that can be accessed via Computer DVD and Blu-ray drives.
FINAL ANALYSIS: THE PLANET
OF THE SPIDERS has plenty of extras for the Third Doctor's swan song. It isn't the best of Pertwee's stories,
but it is still entertaining despite it's flaws and BBC Video releasing this before PLANET OF THE DINOSAURS.
this DVD review is (c)7-26-2011 David Blackwell
and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org