Season 2 of Doctor Who begins with this three-part story that was written by Louis Marks, and aired from 31 October to 14 November, 1964.
The TARDIS returns to Earth, but when a fault occurs during materialization, the doors open too early, and cause a problem for our stalwart travellers.
Through the course of the three episodes, Planet of the Giants, Dangerous Journey and Crisis, The Doctor (Hartnell), Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) discover they have been shrunk down in size, so that to them, ants are the size of dogs, and flies not to mention cats, can pose a serious threat to them.
They’ve landed at a laboratory where a group of scientists, who seem to be having problems of their own, including murder, are working on a new pesticide. A pesticide that infects Barbara when she touches some coated seeds.
Now, it’s a race for the crew to return themselves to normal size, avoid household threats, as they try to come up with a way to stop the production of the insecticide as well.
Watching this episode, I was rather entertained, and very impressed with the set construction, as well as the creature effects, there’s a dead earth worm, a dead ant and its horde of eggs, as well as a pulsing, moving fly that menaces Barbara.
The Doctor and Susan struggle through drainpipes, and they work to make an ineffective phone call, as well as try to set a fire to attract attention.
For a three episode story, quite a bit happens, and while there are moments when the Doctor bursts out in anger at both Ian (who still seems to think he’s in charge) and Barbara, he quickly apologizes to Barbara afterwards, and doesn’t quite patronize them as much as he once did. Though there are a number of times that he seems to talk down to all three of his companions… perhaps he’s just having a bad day.
I’m quite happy that somewhere down the line, during the desktop changes of the TARDIS, that they change the cloister bell, because there’s an alarm featured during materialization that is unpleasant and annoying!
For the time, the set construction looks great, and you could imagine that the weeks that these episodes aired, that the kids who viewed it were looking at ants and flies in a whole new way, imagining themselves as small as the Doctor while they played at recess.
With story 9 behind us, the series continues to gain traction, as our heroes continue their travels, and I’m very eager to see how the characters change and grow, and I know that sooner or later companions will change out, and that new and old enemies will return!
In fact, the Daleks are back in the next story, The Dalek Invasion of Earth!!!