OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 062
STORY NUMBER: 013
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 March 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 12 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet
"These tunnels breathe hate, and in the centre grows the root of evil, Poidarac! "
Barbara, Hrostar and another Menoptera Prapilius find a secret passage and escape into the rock. At the Carsinome Vicki releases the Doctor from his capture, her control device having been damaged in the previous episode. The Doctor uses the control device and his ring to control a Zarbi and they use it to try to leave the near deserted Carsinome. Barbara and the Menoptera have stumbled into one of the Menoptera's temple of light where they meet the remnants of the Menoptera invasion force. Hilio, their captain, despairs at the loss of his forces. They have a living cells destructor, the Isop-tope, they planned to use against the Animus, Barbara urges them to go through with their plan and attack. Vrestin & Ian assisted by the Optera set out underground for the centre, the inner sanctum of the Carsinome where the Animus survives. The Doctor, Vicki and their Zarbi follow Menoptera tracks seeking the Invasion force. Ian, Vrestin & the Optera encounter some bad air in the tunnels forcing the Optera to tunnel a new escape route. Barbara has a plan, but Hilio isn't comfortable with it. However at that moment the Doctor, Vicki and their captive Zarbi arrive. While tunnelling the Optera Nemini accidentally releases an acid stream which she blocks with her own body at the cost of her life. The Doctor modifies the Menoptera plan: he will take the Isop-tope into the Carsinome and use it. The Menoptera Prapilius borrows the Doctor ring in order to control the Zarbi that the Doctor brought: he thinks it will be useful in the attack. Vicki & the Doctor return to the Carsinome where they are swiftly recaptured. The Optera reach the point under the Carsinome and start burrowing up. Barbara & the Menoptera wait ready to attack, waiting for the Doctor to succeed, but Vicki & The Doctor are cocooned in a web generated by the Carsinome.
A little slower paced than the previous two episodes but towards the end you start to feel as if things are coming together for the final confrontation. I do wonder about the wisdom of having the Doctor escape and return to the Carsinome in the same episode, maybe if he'd escaped in the previous episode that might have worked a little better.
Vicki names the tame Zarbi Zombo in this episode, just like she names the beast on Dido Sandy. Thus far Zombo has escaped Sandy's fate and not been slain by Barbara! The episode shows he's being controlled by the Doctor's ring, yet another new ability that it's gained.
Prapilius gets a lovely speech in the middle of the episode revealing much about the Menoptera:
Hilio, the Menoptera have no wisdom for war. Before the Animus came, the flower forest covered the planet in a cocoon of peace. Our ancestors carved temples like this for resting places of our dead, but that was all the work we did. There were no other plans to make. Light was our God and we existed in light, flying above thought. Our banishment has taught us of enemies and weapons, and my captivity has taught me strategy. They tore my wings from me and I felt, as you feel, that all was lost. But if our Gods favour our survival, we must learn their lesson and use our brains and not our wings. This Earth woman we must trust, for she can show us how to exist without wings, to survive and flourish.This episode is called Invasion, which it shares with a 1968 Doctor Who story. However the 1974 Invasion of the Dinosaurs has the title of it's first episode shortened to Invasion to conceal what the monsters are in it! We've already has the Dalek Invasion of Earth this season and, in addition to the stories mentioned above, they'll be the Android Invasion in 1975.
This is writer Bill Strutton's one and only Doctor Who story. A member of the Australia Army he had spent a long portion of the Second World War as a POW before turning to script writing where he wrote for many familiar series in the 60s. He would later produce the second Doctor Who novel, based on this story, and the only 60s Doctor Who book not written by David Whitaker.
This story is famous for uniquely having only non-humans amongst it's cast of characters. We have the controlling Animus, the ant like Zarbi with their Larvae Guns, the butterfly like Menoptera and their relations the lice like Optera. Every other classic Doctor Who story features at least one human or human like being in addition to the main cast.