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Planet of Giants: Misc


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"Don't make a fuss"
―Barbara Wright
Planet of Giants
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 2
Story Number: 9
Doctor: First Doctor
Companions: Susan Foreman
Barbara Wright
Ian Chesterton
Enemy: Forester
Setting: circa 1960s England
Writer: Louis Marks
Director: Mervyn Pinfield, Douglas Camfield
Broadcast: 31st October -
14th November 1964
Format: 3 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Reign of Terror
Following Story: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Planet of Giants was the first story of Season 2 of Doctor Who. It was the first contemporary story to be produced since "An Unearthly Child," and utilised a story idea first proposed by C E Webber for the pilot of Doctor Who.



The main doors of the TARDIS open of their own accord just before it materialises, causing it to run out of control. On emerging, the travellers discover that the ship has been reduced in size and they are now only about an inch tall.

In this miniaturised state, they stumble across a plot by a ruthless businessman, Forester, and his misguided scientist colleague, Smithers, to launch a new insecticide named DN6 - a product so destructive that it would kill not only those insects harmful to agriculture but also those vital to it.

Forester is even willing to commit murder to ensure the success of his business, as civil servant Arnold Farrow discovers to his cost.

The criminals are eventually brought to justice when the Doctor and his friends - hampered by the fact that Barbara has herself been made ill by the insecticide - tamper with the telephone in Smithers' laboratory, thus fuelling the suspicions of the local exchange operator, Hilda Rowse, who sends her police constable husband Bert to investigate.


Part 1 - Planet Of The Giants

Following a malfunction on the TARDIS console and the bleating of a klaxon indicating something is amiss, the Doctor insists the fault locator shows nothing is wrong and it is safe to venture outside. He leads his companions Ian, Barbara and Susan to the world beyond and within minutes they find a dead giant earthworm followed by a large deceased ant. They seem to have died immediately. After some deduction the travellers realise they have arrived on Earth but have shrunk in size to mere millimetres.

Ian is investigating a discarded matchbox when someone picks it up and he is hurled around inside. That someone is a government scientist called Arnold Farrow, who has come to the home of callous businessman named Forester to tell him that his application for DN6, a new pesticide, has been rejected. In reality DN6 should not be licensed: it is far too deadly to all insect life. When they fall out over this news, Forester shoots Farrow and leaves him for dead outside his home.

The Doctor, Barbara and Susan hear the gunshot as an enormous explosion, and head for the house. They find Ian unhurt near the dead body and surmise a murder has taken place but can do little about it. However, they are determined to ensure the murderer is brought to justice despite their microscopic size.Suddenly a cat looks down on them.

Part 2 - Dangerous Journey

They avoid the cat and the travellers split up again with Ian and Barbara hiding in a briefcase. The giant Forester returns to the garden and collects the briefcase, taking it inside to his laboratory. His aide, Smithers, suspects him of murder, but does not report him for fear of undermining the DN6 project to which he has given his life. The Doctor and Susan scale a drainpipe to gain access to the house and locate their friends, braving the height as they go. Suddenly the water starts to rise threatening to drown them.

Part 3 - Crisis

Meanwhile Ian and Barbara examine the laboratory and encounter a giant fly. She foolishly touches a seed that has been contaminated with DN6 and soon starts to feel unwell. Nevertheless, attracted by Susan's voice in the reverberating plughole, the four friends are reunited.

Forester has meanwhile doctored Farrow's report so as to give DN6 the licence he wants and, disguising his voice as Farrow's, makes a supportive phone call to the ministry to the same effect. This overheard by the local telephone operator, Hilda Rowse, and her policeman husband Bert, who start to suspect something is wrong.

The Doctor has meanwhile realised the deadly nature of DN6 and the probable contamination of Barbara. They try to alert someone by hoisting up the phone receiver with corks, but cannot make themselves heard. However, Hilda notes the engaged signal and she and Bert become even more concerned. Forester and Smithers return to the lab and correct the engaged handset and then Hilda rings to check things are okay. She rings again moments later and asks for Farrow and, when Forester impersonates him, knows there is something badly wrong. Bert heads off to the house to investigate.

The Doctor and his companions decide to start a fire to attract attention to the house and succeed in setting up an aerosol can of insecticide as a bomb. This coincides with Smithers discovering the true virulence of DN6 - it's lethal to everything - and demanding Forester stop seeking a licence. Forester spots the makeshift bomb, which goes off in his face. Smithers retrieves the gun as PC Rowse arrives.

Their work done, the travellers return to the TARDIS and the Doctor reconfigures the machine to return them to normal size. Barbara, who was on the verge of death, recovers on being returned to full size; the insecticide in her bloodstream and the seed responsible remain their proper miniscule size.




Story Notes

  • The first television story since An Unearthly Child to be set in modern day England.
  • All 3 episodes exist in 16mm telerecordings.
  • Negative film prints of all 3 episodes were recovered in 1978.
  • Arabic prints of all 3 episodes are also held by the BBC.
  • The story went by the working title Death in the Afternoon.
  • Originally filmed as a 4 part story it was later compressed to 3 episodes at the request of Donald Wilson, BBC Head of Serials. Episode 3 was originally entitled Crisis and episode 4 was entitled The Urge to Live. The material filmed for these 2 episodes has not been retained by the BBC and it appears unlikely that it will ever be recovered.
  • The story was originally developed under the title The Miniscules which was originally intended to form episodes 2,3 and 4 of the show, following on from An Unearthly Child.
  • The story was filmed as part of the first bloc of stories but a decision was made to hold it over as the opener for the second series.
  • This story sees the debut of Dudley Simpson the shows most prolific creator of incidental music.



  • Planet of Giants - 8.4 million viewers
  • Dangerous Journey - 8.4 million viewers
  • Crisis - 8.9 million viewers


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • At the end of episode 2 the sink is emptied and the plug is placed upon the bench. At the beginning of episode 3 the plug is back in the sink providing a method of escape.
  • The Doctor suggests that the fact that the pipe leading to the lab smells of chemicals means that it is safe to climb, seemingly not allowing for the fact that lots of chemicals are harmful - such as DN6. Reasonably, it would not have been too hard for the Doctor to recognize that the chemicals he smelled would be safe.


  • An emergency klaxon is heard in the TARDIS in episode one which appears to be a forerunner of the Cloister bell (first heard in DW: Logopolis, and various stories since).


DVD, Video and Other Releases

  • DVD Release - This story has not yet been released on DVD
  • Video Release - Released as Doctor Who: Planet of Giants
UK Release: January 2002 / US Release: May 2003
PAL - BBC Video BBCV7263
NTSC - Warner Video E1740

This story was enhanced by the Doctor Who Restoration Team and further information on this project can be found at Restoration Team Website


Main article: Planet of Giants (novelisation)

Novelised as Planet of the Giants in 1990 by Terrance Dicks.

See also

External Links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for Planet of Giants
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - Planet of Giants
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) entry for Planet of Giants
  • Encyclopaedia of Fantastic Film and Television entry for Planet of Giants
Season 2
Planet of Giants  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth  • The Rescue  • The Romans  • The Web Planet  • The Crusade  • The Space Museum  • The Chase  • The Time Meddler
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Planet_of_Giants. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

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

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