Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement...
Today we are kicking off Season Two of Tales From The TARDIS, because we’re not watching the second season of Doctor Who, which went from October 1964 to July of 1965, and we’re still going in order, so we’re starting with ‘Planet of Giants’ part one… called ‘Planet of Giants’
Part one opens with the Doctor landing the TARDIS, and when Barbara lightly burns her hand on the TARDIS console, he sends Susan to check the fault indicator. Nothing apparent seems to be wrong, but the TARDIS doors suddenly open as the ship is landing, panic happens as Barbara, Ian and Susan hurry to shove them close as The Doctor manages to land the ship. Everyone seems to be okay at first, but as the scanner is used to try to get an idea of where they are… it explodes! Wherever they have landed, it’s just too BIG for the TARDIS scanner circuits to process. Knowing that the TARDIS is basically alive… I shall assume the this the ship’s way of saying ‘Oh my god!’
Our heroes leave the ship to have a look around, and an odd rock formation gets their attention, with it being perfectly spaced and there being traces of concrete on the ground. They split up, with Barbara and The Doctor heading one way and Ian and Susan the other. Barb and The Doctor come across a giant dead earthworm, while Ian and Susan find ‘eggs’ and a giant dead ant. It confuses both pairings, and considering how things started in The Daleks with a petrified animal, thing seem rather strange, that they are on a world with huge versions of Earth insects. Ian and Susan come across giant pack of cigarettes and a large matchbox, and thinking they landed in an exhibition center with things produced on a large scale, Ian climbs inside… but Susan has an ill feeling and a theory, and so does the Doctor at the exact same moment
In a bit of cutting back forth, Doctor and Susan tell Barbara and Ian they are on Earth and that they have been made smaller. We see the conversation focus on Susan and Ian, with Ian not believing it, but then when things suddenly goes dark and there is the sound of thunder (actually footsteps), Susan runs for cover while Ian gets trapped in the matchbox which is picked up. The Doctor and Barbara soon arrive and it’s soon discovered that a giant (actually a normal sized man) has unknowingly taken Ian to the far end of a garden near the front door of a little house… and if you ever seen Honey I Shrunk The Kids, you know that’s a long ass walk when you’re an inch tall.
The guys is actually a government scientist who has come to the home of a businessman who is hoping to product an insecticide called DN6, however because it kills indiscriminately, it’s too danger to be produced. The businessman, named Forrester, isn’t pleased with the news and kills the government agent before he can go make his report. The sound of Forrester’s gun being fired sounds like a huge explosion coming from a distance to The Doctor, Barbara and Susan. To really compound matters a bee falls from the sky and nearly lands on them.
Realizing something is very wrong, The Doctor orders that they do not eat anything until they retrieve Ian and get back to the TARDIS. They soon meet up with Ian after escapes from the matchbox, and seeing the dead government scientist, they realize a murder has taken place, but first things first, they have to get back to the TARDIS… but this is where the episode ends… on a cliff hanger as giant cat is looking to have them for lunch!
This episode is really good in slowly building towards the reevaluation that they have shrunk, but it’s quite obvious when you start seeing the giant insects and the giant matchbox. The sets for this episode was quite well done, really giving the look of an alien landscape, and it’s clear this was possible inspiration for how things would look for Honey I Shrunk The Kids as a lot of the same attention to detail was used. Obviously cutting to ‘some time later’ to hurry the story along was quite obvious considering our four heroes being united happened within the episode… and the cliff hanger is quite cool, and it was revealed long before the ending as we saw the cat locking eyes on the TARDIS crew. The issue with with insecticide is pretty ahead of it’s time from my point of view, as I remember in the 80s as a kid it was a huge issue with DDT.
But this is only part 1 of 3… yes three, I’ll explain as to why in two weeks, but next week I’ll be going over part two of the story with ‘Dangerous Journey’