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Doctor Who and the Zarbi
Series: Doctor Who - Frederick Muller (original release)
Doctor Who -
Target Novelisation (reprints)
Release Number: 73 (given to later editions)
Doctor: First Doctor
Companions: Vicki, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton
Enemy: Zarbi
Setting: Vortis ,
Author: Bill Strutton
Publisher: Frederick Muller (original edition)
Target Books, W.H. Allen & Co (reprints)
Publication: September 1965 (original)
May 1973 (Target)
Format: Hardcover and paperback editions, 174 Pages (Target paperback edition)
ISBN: ISBN 0-426-10663-6
Previous Story: Doctor Who – The Romans
Following Story: Doctor Who and the Crusaders

Doctor Who and the Zarbi was the second Doctor Who novelisation ever published.



  • This novelisation is based on the original television serial The Web Planet which was shown from 13th February 1965 and written by Bill Strutton. The book was originally published by Frederick Muller in September 1965. In 1991 Target Books issued a new edition, which restored the original serial title, The Web Planet.
  • As the second Doctor Who novelisation, this book established the title format Doctor Who and the ... which would be followed by the Target Books novelisations into the early 1980s.

Publisher's Cover Blurb


Target Books 1973 edition

DOCTOR WHO lands his space-time machine Tardis on the cold, craggy planet of Vortis. The Doctor and his companions, Ian and Vicki, are soon captured by the ZARBI, huge ant-like creatures with metallic bodies and pincer claws; meanwhile Barbara falls into the hands of the friendly MENOPTERA who have come to rid Vortis of the malevolent power of the ZARBI...
`They’re well-written books-adventure stories, of course, but with some thought…the creation of the character of the Doctor had a touch of genius about it.’ Westminster Press

Deviations from the Televised Story

  • The Doctor is referred to as "Dr. Who" throughout the book, one of the few occasions where the standard naming protocol is broken.

Author, Writing and Publishing Notes

  • One of three titles brought by Target from Frederick Muller that were used to launch the series of Doctor Who novelisations.
  • The hardback edition illustrations were retained.
  • Quickly sold out of the first 20,000 copies and were reprinted.
  • Chris Archileos was excited by the idea of drawing giant ants but was told they had to look like those in the series.
  • The Target edition title page information includes: “THE CHANGING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO The cover illustration and others contained within this book portray the first DOCTOR WHO whose physical appearance was later transformed when he discarded his worn-out body in favour of a new one.”
  • This title was renamed Doctor Who - The Web Planet in its later reprint.

Audio release

This story was released in a 5 CD format. It is read by William Russell (Ian). It was later released in the limited edition in Travels in Time and Space alongside the audio releases of Doctor Who and the Crusaders and Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks.


Associated Images

Publishing History (UK)

To be added

First Publication:

  • Hardback
W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


Target / Virgin Publishing Ltd. UK January 1991 Cover by Alistair Pearson (£2.50 UK)

International Editions

To be added

External Sources

This article uses material from the "Doctor Who and the Zarbi" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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