Doctor Who (1963–1989)
2 user 1 critic

Crater of Needles 

Ian and Vrestin are captured by the subterranean Optera while Barbara and her Menoptera allies attempt to escape from the slave camp.


Richard Martin


Bill Strutton


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Maureen O'Brien ... Vicki
Roslyn De Winter Roslyn De Winter ... Vrestin
Arne Gordon Arne Gordon ... Hrostar
Jolyon Booth Jolyon Booth ... Prapillus
Jocelyn Britton Jocelyn Britton ... Hlynia (as Jocelyn Birdsall)
Martin Jarvis ... Hilio
Ian Thompson Ian Thompson ... Hetra
Barbara Joss Barbara Joss ... Nemini
Robert Jewell ... Zarbi
Hugh Lund ... Zarbi
Kevin Manser Kevin Manser ... Zarbi
Jack Pitt Jack Pitt ... Zarbi


Ian and Vrestin are captured by the subterranean Optera while Barbara and her Menoptera allies attempt to escape from the slave camp.

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Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 13 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


During a pre-filmed insert at the end of the episode, the Menoptra have cowls, which are not present in the rest of the serial. Clearly there has been a costume redesign between the two recording sessions. See more »


Hrostar: If this is an alert, how did they know? Your Earth friends. This man of science you tell me of, could he be helping them?
Barbara Wright: No. No, I'm sure he wouldn't.
Hrostar: How, then, do they know?
Barbara Wright: Know what?
Hrostar: Our Spearhead planned to land on Sayo Plateau, just above the crater here, to the north.
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Featured in Tales of Isop (2005) See more »

User Reviews

The Web Planet Part 4: Ambitious but sadly unsuccessful. One of the weakest Who stories

Review for all 6 parts:

This story deserves points for ambition and if you are fair to it by bearing in mind its age you should not hate it too much for its dodgy costumes and other effects because I try not to heavily criticise and hugely deduct points for dated effects, only if the effects are poor for the time it was made. However, even being fair in this way this is one of the weakest Who adventures.

The effects were probably acceptable for their time given the low budget but the problem is there is too much reliance on the effects and the budget was not nearly enough to create the effects required. The story puts all the emphasis on the creation of alien beings in insect form on a very alien landscape. The costumes and effects look silly and give it all a pantomime feel. This would be forgivable if the story and script were strong enough to stand up on their own but they are not strong enough. If you imagine overlaying modern CGI effects onto this to make it all look plausible I am afraid it would still leave a lacklustre story with below par performances. It is a weak entry in the history of Doctor Who saved from total failure by its ambition in presenting a strange world full of non humanoid aliens and the better parts of script, story and acting. It is not all bad and it is an interesting idea but it is badly realised and becomes boring. It ultimately must be considered a misfire and a failure.

My Ratings: Episode 1 - 5.5, Episodes 2-6 - 5/10

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Release Date:

6 March 1965 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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