I cannot tell whether this post will please or sadden fans of the Second Doctor – undoubtedly they will be pleased that until this point I have not had a bad word to say about any of his stories, but I have noticed that Troughton fans in particular have a reverence for his era that makes all other eras pale in comparison – so I may well bring down their judgement upon myself by daring to imply some of the blessed Pat’s stories were less than good!
This story carries novelty value as the one and only time I’ve actually felt embarrassed while watching Doctor Who. On the whole I was quite looking forward to watching The Web Planet – I had vague hopes that it might be similar to Planet of Evil in terms of feel and menace. So when I bought a big stack of DVDs as a Christmas present to myself in late 2010, this was one of the first I popped on. Rather unfortunately I chose to watch the 6 part serial in the living room of my shared accommodation, and didn’t really have a ready made defence when my housemates began ridiculing the costumes and the acting.
“O horror, horror, horror!
Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name thee!”
Tis true indeed – a Tom Baker story is in my bottom 100! But then we need not be surprised – with seven seasons under his belt it was inevitable that the curly haired long scarved one would have one or two episodes that were somewhat less impressive. What then has the Creature from the Pit done to deserve this accolade?
I begin tangentially with a fact: I love regeneration stories. I didn’t fully appreciate the first one I saw (The Caves of Androzani) at the time, but I didn’t grasp the significance of the Doctor renewing himself. Probably though, it was Logopolis that fully converted me to enjoying regeneration stories. I think it is for the simple reason that Tom Baker is my Doctor – to borrow the lovely expression used by Matt Smith: “The first face this face saw.” The whole of that episode is brooding, melancholy and dramatic, building to the climax of the Fourth Doctor falling to his death – to regenerate. Stirring stuff!
For a long while this was one of only two serials in Peter Davison’s first season that I hadn’t watched on VHS. For that reason, when my dad arrived home from whichever video outlet (most probably HMV) he had bought the video, I rather looked forward to watching it, having enjoyed rather a lot of the fifth doctor’s other episodes – as you will see later on in this blog!
I thought after my last review that I should provide a short apologia on behalf of the episodes I am currently working through – not least because I do not want to discourage my readers with wave after wave of excessive negativity!