(dare I say it?) web master,
stories "The Lost Ones" and "The Lair of Zarbi Supremo" (from
the Doctor Who Annual 1966, included on the DVD of
Web Planet) mark the Doctor's first and second
visits to the planet Vortis. It is stated that he saw little
of the Zarbi prior to "The Lair of Zarbi Supremo", so his
visit to Vortis in The Web Planet must therefore come
afterwards (the websites Outpost Gallifrey and The
Doctor Who Reference Guide agree on this).
in The Web Planet, although the Doctor recognises the
Menoptra and has heard of Vortis, he says of the planet's
surface: "I've never experienced anything in my life before
like this." When he meets the Zarbi, he tells Ian: "These
creatures on this planet are completely unknown to me."
you explain this - and what is the correct sequence of events?
the Doctor initially fails to recognise the setting of The
Web Planet, during the second episode he admits that both
its rock formations and the presence of the Menoptra "suggest
the planet Vortis" to him. Evidently at this point he is not
yet convinced that the planet is Vortis, however, due to its
large number of moons and other celestial bodies (which, it
transpires, have been attracted by the power of the Animus).
True, Vortis also has moons in "The Lair of Zarbi Supremo"
(by which time the planet has travelled outside of its native
Isop galaxy and into our own solar system) but maybe these
are different moons and perhaps not as many of them, some
having been shed since the events of The Web Planet.
the Doctor encounters the Zarbi a few minutes later in the
same episode, note the particular way in which he phrases
his comment to Ian: "These creatures on this planet are
completely unknown to me." I presume, therefore, that he doesn't
mean the Zarbi are unknown to him, but rather that he is still
unconvinced that the planet is Vortis. If the planet is not
Vortis, then the creatures, despite their resemblance to the
Zarbi, might not actually be Zarbi. In "The Lair of Zarbi
Supremo", the Doctor makes a point of not prejudging the species
based solely on its likeness to another species (Earth ants),
so it's not uncharacteristic of him to be so pedantic. Ultimately,
of course, the Doctor learns that the planet is in indeed
Vortis, though the Zarbi are now under the control of a new
form of life, the Animus.
list that follows shows the Doctor's landings on Vortis in
the order in which I believe they take place. The list also
includes the comic strip "On the Web Planet" (TV Comic
issues 693-698). In this strip, the Doctor says that he
has visited Vortis before and helped to defeat the Zarbi.
However, this could easily refer to the events of "The Lair
of Zarbi Supremo". The Menoptera [sic] state that the Doctor
has been a part of their history for generations and that
the Zarbi used to work under their control after the Zarbi
"brain" had been defeated. Again, this could refer to events
in "Lair". Even if it is a reference to The Web Planet,
the Doctor would simply assume that the Menoptera are referring
to the events of "Lair", because the TV serial hasn't happened
for him yet.
chronology also includes the Missing Adventures novel
Twilight of the Gods, which, since it features the
Second Doctor, obviously comes last. According to page 209
of this novel, this is the Time Lord's first visit to Vortis
since the events of The Web Planet...
Doctor's landings on Vortis (from the Doctor's point of view):
"The Lost Ones"
"The Lair of Zarbi Supremo"
"On the Web Planet"
The Web Planet
Twilight of the Gods
the viewpoint of the Menoptra and Zarbi, the order of events
is somewhat different. The Animus's wish to possess mankind's
"mastery of space" in The Web Planet could be inspired
by the Atlantean space travellers in "The Lost Ones", or it
could simply indicate that the Animus is assuming that the
space- and time-travelling Vicki is a typical example of contemporary
Doctor's landings on Vortis (from Vortis's point of view):
"The Lost Ones"
The Web Planet
"The Lair of Zarbi Supremo" (the Doctor observes several of
Vortis's moons, which it acquired under the Animus's influence)
"On the Web Planet" (atmospheric density jackets are no longer
Twilight of the Gods (Vortis
is now covered in lush vegetation)
hope that's straightened the matter out for you, Steph, and
that it won't bug you any longer!