Friday, July 27, 2012

Doctor Who: 041 The Web of Fear

After defeating Salamander in The Enemy of the World, the TARDIS is out of control and the crew is in danger of being pulled out the open door into the Vortex (although I'm not sure if it's been officially called this on the show, yet). Jamie manages to close to the doors, but a strange web surrounds the TARDIS and holds it captive. The Doctor manages to shake off the web and the TARDIS materializes in a London tube station which is oddly deserted and locked. Thus begins The Web of Fear, the second and final appearance of the Yeti (other than a cameo in The Five Doctors and a mention in The Three Doctors).

Sadly, like the previous Yeti story, only one episode of this story still exists in the archives. Again, thanks to Loose Cannon, the telesnaps, and a full soundtrack, we have a reconstruction of the missing episodes to enjoy. Unfortunately, this reconstruction has not officially been released by Loose Cannon, but was leaked onto the Internet.

As you may remember from my post on The Abominable Snowmen, I was not overly impressed with the Yeti despite the fact that they are so fondly remembered by fans. The Yeti in this story are much leaner and meaner and this story was much more interesting to me.

An interesting piece of trivia about this story is that the BBC got in trouble for filming in the London tube stations without permission... despite the fact that they didn't actually use the London tube stations. The sets were so realistic that after episode 1 aired, the London Underground accused them of filming there without permission. :)

This story features the second appearance of Nicholas Courtney on the series, but his first appearance as Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, although he's simply Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart at this point and U.N.I.T. has not yet been mentioned. Apparently U.N.I.T. was already being planned for the serial The Invasion, so they used this story as kind of an introduction to the military being involved with the Doctor. Sadly, the Brig's first on-screen appearance is in episode 3, one of the missing episodes.

At the end of this story, the Great Intelligence gets away and the Doctor thinks they will meet again, but it never happened in the classic series although I understand it happened in some of the novels. Perhaps that's an idea the new series could pick up on.

With 5 of the 6 episodes of this story missing, our total missing episode count for season 5 climbs to 17 and Troughton's totals are: 3 missing stories, 8 incomplete stories, and 45 missing episodes. Next time, the TARDIS crew materializes on a beach near a natural gas drilling platform and discovers that something is in the pipes and they're all out of Draino in Fury from the Deep. ;)

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