Doctor Who – The Web of Fear

And so we come to the end of the series of DVD releases of classic Doctor Who. Yes, this is it. Unless some more missing stories turn up, or more are reconstructed in animated form (or some future technology involving time scoops), we now have all that’s in the vaults. This, along with The Enemy of the World, is one of those unexpectedly discovered stories that turned up last year. Like Enemy, it’s offered with a complete lack of special features. Unlike Enemy, it’s not quite complete – episode three is still missing, and has been recreated here from still images and the soundtrack.

The story is a sequel to the still missing The Abominable Snowmen, which involved recently returned enemy the Great Intelligence trying to take over the world with robots cunningly disguised as Yeti. Decades later, and the Intelligence is having another go, this time in London, where the cunning disguise of the robots is, well, a little less cunning. Presumably that’s why the Intelligence isn’t generally referred to as “Great” at this point.

The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deboarah Watling) arrive in the tunnels of an unusually deserted London Underground, where they run into a bunch of soldiers. Before long, they’re joined by an officer who introduces himself as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart. Yes, it’s the first appearance of our friend the Brigadier, so you can guess which episode that scene is on, mutter.

Lots of the usual fun and games follows, with the Doctor being devious, nobody guessing who’s the secretly controlled agent of the Intelligence, and lots of foam pretending to be fungus.

The Intelligence’s plan turns out to hinge on the Doctor himself, which really should be top of the list of “things not to bother trying if you’re an evil force intent on universal domination”, but presumably the Intelligence didn’t get the memo in time…

Things are generally sorted out in a nicely open-ended manner, giving the opportunity for the Intelligence to return to fight again…

Good stuff, really – apparently the Tube station sets were so well done that London Underground thought the BBC had done some unauthorised filming.

So there it is: barring reissues, compilations, special editions and the like (and I’m sure there will be more of that to come), that is your lot. Unless someone’s got a convenient time machine we can use to rescue some tapes?

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