Planet of Giants

24 August 2012

'Planet of Giants' seems like an odd cover to do first after my latest unplanned break; I'm not sure why I picked it. Certainly it's one of those stories with relatively few photos, and most of those not of the eye-catching-on-a-cover sort. Even Lee had to go with a screengrab and some unconvincing stock-photo ants on the official cover. Not that I've managed any better, resorting to screengrabs and stock photos too!

Perhaps my decision was made subconsciously as the choice of images was obvious: the Doctor; Ian and Susan facing off against an ant; and amoral businessman Forrester. The problem, of course, was where to find decent images of them. Ian and the ant was straightforward -- one of those classic Who photos but nicely setting up the idea that our heroes have been shrunk to the size of an insect. Because Susan appears on my cover for the preceding story ('The Sensorites') I decided to omit her here and feature only Ian, who hasn't been on a cover yet (and this was probably his last chance). This required painting in some of Ian's shoulder and lapel, but most of that was obscured by the Doctor in the end. I also added a second ant to fill out the scene and suggest some more immediate danger for tiny Ian.

I had to use screengrabs for the Doctor. There was a shot accompanying the episode 1 listing in some editions of Radio Times that would have been ideal but I couldn't find a good quality copy of it. I wanted to feature the cloak as it's so prominent throughout this story, but all the grabs I tried were very soft. I thought of patching in at least his waistcoat from another photo to improve the detail there, but couldn't find any where it wasn't mostly covered by a jacket. I replaced the head from a suitable closeup, so detail there is better, but still far from perfect. Oh to have access to hi-res scans of every Who photo ever taken!

Forrester, too, had to come from the screen as I don't think I've ever seen any photos of him or the other characters in the story. I hoped to have him holding his gun for added menace, and fortunately found in episode 3 a pan down from his face as he pulls the gun on Smithers. I was thus able to combine two grabs to get a mid-length image. Finally, for the background I chose the house set rather than one of the giant-scale sets as I decided Forrester would sit awkwardly against the latter. This is a composite too, of the lower level and garden from the disc's photo gallery and the upper floor and foliage from the episode itself.

Download the final PLANET OF GIANTS cover here

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