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Return to the Web Planet was the fifth Doctor Who bonus story released by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Daniel O'Mahony and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa.

This is the first audio to feature the Zarbi and the Menoptera and a return to Vortis. It is also the first story since PROSE: Twilight of the Gods in 1996 to feature either race in a prominent role.

Publisher's summary

"It's an ancient name. From the dark time..."

It's been hundreds of years and several regenerations since the Doctor last visited the insect world of Vortis. Much has changed during his absence, but not necessarily for the better.

This now green and pleasant land isn't the paradise it first appears. Something malevolent is living out in The Desolation... And the Doctor and Nyssa must solve the mystery before the City of Light is overrun.


to be added



  • The Doctor tells Nyssa that he could imagine relaxing on Vortis but he has never had the opportunity to do so.
  • The Doctor tells Nyssa that Pictos and Vortis' other moons are not native to its star system and arrived in a very particular order. He implies that he was present for their arrival.
  • Acheron is the father of Hedyla.
  • The Menoptera refer to space travellers as "Sailors of the Great Ocean."
  • Hedyla is considered ugly among the Menoptera as she no longer has wings.
  • Nyssa tells Hedyla that "blundering into things is what the Doctor does for a living."
  • Wingless Menoptera are quite rare.
  • Unable to properly understand humanoid speech, Hedyla refers to Nyssa as "Amnysla." Her father follows suit.
  • Acheron is considered a radical in Menoptera society.
  • The Menoptera digest their food at least twice and drink acids.
  • The Menoptera usually build their nests in trees.
  • In Menoptera mythology, Hruskin is considered the first Menoptera and the grandmother of all others. She is said to have created the Zarbi to act as slaves. However, according to Acheron, it is only a story for larvae.
  • For a time, humanity colonised space by sending out seed ships to planets on which humans cannot live. After landing on a planet, the two specimens - who have a lifespan of only a few days - adapt to local conditions and, once their biological programming has been initiated, merge into a giant cocoon, from which hundreds of children biologically adapted for the local environment emerge.


  • This was a special release given away to Big Finish subscribers who had AUDIO: The Girl Who Never Was as part of their subscription.
  • Though this is the fifth subscriber-only special, the cover spine calls it the sixth (in Roman numerals VI). This is due to the two Big Finish-produced webcasts Real Time and Shada being the first and second.
  • This is the first and only Big Finish audio drama to take place on Vortis.
  • Somewhat unusually, the names of the story's supporting cast appear nowhere on the front cover.
  • This story is unusual in that it does not feature the TARDIS.
  • This audio drama was recorded on 22 August 2007.


External links