Planet of the Spiders


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Planet of the Spiders

Serial Code


First Transmitted

4 May 1974

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who) Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)

Guest Cast

Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) [1-2, 6], Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), John Levene (Sergeant Benton) [1-2], Cyril Shaps (Professor Clegg), John Dearth (Lupton), Christopher Burgess (Barnes), Terence Lodge (Moss), Carl Forgione (Land) [1-2, 4-6], Andrew Staines (Keaver) [1-2, 4-6], Kevin Lindsay (Cho-je) [1-3, 5-6]‡, John Kane (Tommy), Chubby Oates (Policeman), Pat Gorman (Soldier), Terry Walsh (Man with Boat)], Michael Pinder (Hopkins), Stuart Fell (Tramp), Ysanne Churchman [2-6], Kismet Delgado [3-6], Maureen Morris [3-6] (Spider Voices), Gareth Hunt (Arak) [3-6], Geoffrey Morris (Sabor) [3-5], Jenny Laird (Neska) [3-5], Joanna Munro (Rega) [3-5], Ralph Arliss (Tuar) [3-6], Walter Randall [3-5], Max Faulkner (Guard Captains), George Cormack (K’anpo)


Written by Robert Sloman
Directed by Barry Letts
Produced by Barry Letts


The blue crystal that The Doctor took from Metebelis III in a previous adventure is desperately sought by the Eight Legs, a race of mutated spiders, as the final element in their plan for universal domination. With help from an old mentor, The Doctor realises the only way to foil the plot is to make the ultimate sacrifice. The Doctor must risk death to return to the cave of the Great One and save the universe.


  • This is the first time the term “regeneration” is mentioned on screen.
  • This is the first time we see someone other than The Doctor regenerate (K’anpo Rimpoche).
  • This story features a large chase scene featuring: Bessie, The Doctor’s car (known as the Whomobile), a police car, a gyrocopter, a hovercraft and a boat.
  • Sarah has worked for Metropolitan magazine.
  • Tom Baker is uncredited in the conclusion of Planet of the Spiders when Jon Pertwee transforms into Tom Baker. Since no regeneration was shown at the end of The War Games (although we do see the apparent beginning of it), this marked the first time since William Hartnell changed into Patrick Troughton in 1966’s The Tenth Planet that an on-screen hand-over of the role had occurred. End-of-episode changeovers would become the norm for the next few regenerations. The regeneration from the Sixth to Seventh Doctors at the beginning of Time and the Rani depicts an on-screen changeover from one incarnation to the next, although both parts in that instance are played by the same actor. The regeneration from the Eighth Doctor to Ninth Doctor was the only regeneration so far which took place entirely off-screen.
    Parts of this story were recorded at the same time as parts of Robot. This not only meant that Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker were literally playing The Doctor at the same time, but also that Elisabeth Sladen &mdash, and to a lesser extent, Nicholas Courtney and John Levene &mdash, were having to rush back and forth between the two productions.
  • The Time Beetle featured in Turn Left shares some similarities with the Eight Legs, It too is a giant-sized insectoid that can latch onto a victim’s back, disguising it’s prescence at the same time.
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