(With “The Web Planet”, we snooze into Part 13 of our Name Dropping journey through the First Doctor’s character arc as represented by his changing ways of addressing Ian: in which we find that Coal Hill School offers a more exclusive education than we might have imagined and the Doctor rushes headlong towards utterly barking .)
Clothing plays a prominent role in Episode 1 and it doesn’t get much more exciting later on. Finally, Ian and Barbara are found wearing sensible clothes, while the Doctor decides to dress as Pandit Nehru. Most intriguing on all is that the Doctor ruins what Ian refers to as “my Coal Hill School tie”. Now, teachers don’t wear the uniform tie of their school so surely this implies that Ian is an Old Boy of the school (an alumnus). Isn’t it a little unusual for a school like Coal Hill to have the idea of an Old Boys tie? Is it a public school gone to seed? Talking of destroying Ian’s tie, you might have thought that his experiences on Marinus would have taught him not to just assume that a pool on an alien planet would contain safe water.
The Doctor’s transformation from giggler to utter nutter continues apace. Whatever he’s been drinking, I’ll have some of it, please. However, his line “come on, drop this hairdryer” justifies it alone.
All in all, “The Web Planet” is a total snooze-a-thon enlivened only by its visually striking design. The Zarbi and Menoptera look really good despite their reputation as looking silly. Mind you, the hopping Optera look like something off Bagpuss. And the venom grubs look like Dougal off The Magic Roundabout.
How many times have we seen the TARDIS get dragged away (it also happens in “The Doomsday Weapon” – The Colony in Space)? Yet in “Full Circle” the Marshmen want to roll it down the mountain at the Starliner on the grounds that it must be unbelievably heavy.
Finally to the issue of how the Doctor’s character arc from grouch to giggler is shown by his changing modes of address for Ian. In this story, he calls him Chesterton x 5, my boy x 10, my dears x 1, dear boy x 4, my dear man x 1, my young man x 1 and (unusually) boy x 1.
(select NAME DROPPING from the list of Categories in the left hand menu to catch the rest of this series)