The Web Of Fear – 1968 – S5 – E5/7

web-of-fear-doctor-who-1Number : Season 5, episode 5 of 7.

Which One : Underground Yeti.

Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Victoria : Deborah Watling
Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart : Nicholas Courtney
Professor Travers : Jack Watling
Anne Travers : Tina Packer
Harold Chorley : Jon Rollason
Captain Knight : Ralph Watson
Staff Sgt. Arnold : Jack Woolgar
Corporal Blake : Richardson Morgan
Corporal Lane : Rod Beacham
Craftsman Weams : Stephen Whittaker
Driver Evans : Derek Pollitt
Julius Silverstein : Frederick Schrecker

Written By : Mervyn Jaisman & Henry Lincoln

Produced By : Peter Bryant

First UK Broadcast : 3 February – 9 March 1968.

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Tardis lands in the London Underground, which is being taken over by the Yeti and a strange intelligent web-like material.

Whats good : The return of the Yeti. The introduction of Lethbridge-Stewart. The return of an elderly Professor Travers. Atmospheric underground tunnel setting. The armies desperate fight against the Yeti.

Whats bad : Snivelling Jouralist Harold Chorley and “so Welsh it hurts” driver Evans – are really annoying.

wpid-wpid-web-of-fear-doctor-who-episode-found.jpg

Review With Spoilers : The Web Of Fear is the 5th episode of season 5 and features the return of the Yeti, Great Intelligence and Professor Travers from The Abominable Snowmen.

The Web Of Fear also features the first appearance of legendary Who mainstay Lethbridge-Stewart; appearing as an Army Colonel – pre-Brigadier UNIT days.

The Tardis is enveloped by an intelligent weblike substance, whilst travelling through time-and-space and is forced to land in the London Underground – near Covent Garden.

The Doctor discovers that a small contingent of Army and Scientists, are trying to tackle an army of Yeti, the Great Intelligence and the same web-like substance; which is enveloping the whole Underground network.

The Web Of Fear has attained something of a cult status, amongst fans and commentators. It is not difficult to see why. Following this, the Yeti became the signature monster of the Troughton era -thanks to this classic adventure.

Helped in no small part, by a usefully dark and ominous setting of the iconic tunnels of London Underground. This brings back shades of the Daleks set against London landmarks, as in The Dalek Invasion Of Earth. The Yetis infact – seem more at home here, than in their more native Tibet.

web-of-fear-doctor-who-2

“Can’t fight them [Yeti]. It seems indestructible. Can’t fight them! You were right, Doctor, when you said they were formless, shapeless. You were right!” Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart

The Web Of Fear cleverly bridges/continues the story from The Abominable Snowmen and features the reappearance of (a much older) Travers (Victoria/Deborah Watling’s real father – Jack). Who has spent years since the Tibet encounter, meddling with the Yeti control spheres and inadvertantly, brings the Great Intelligence back to Earth.

Also featuring for the first time, is Lethbridge-Stewart. Featuring here, as an Army Colonel – pre-UNIT days. It is – as a result of what goes down here, (and the threat of future alien invasion) that UNIT is formed. Nicholas Courtney was very nearly cast as a different character, due to the first choice Lethbridge-Stewart actor being unable to appear.

The Web Of Fear also features an absolute kickass battle, between the army and the Yeti in a London backstreet. Usually, Who action pieces are underwhelming affairs (due to budgetry reasons). However, it is tension soaked and well staged here and handled. From the hordes of encroaching Yeti, to the panicking soldiers running for cover.

The only annoyances of The Web Of Fear, (which are nonetheless small) are the Chorley and Evans characters. You are just hoping for a Yeti to catch up with them.

Above all else, The Web Of Fear presents the iconic image of the Yeti, walking down a dark London underground tunnel. As a classic image of Who, it it hard to top.

Infact, it is hard to top this Troughton episode fullstop and if Hartnell’s signature battle was against the Daleks. Then Troughton’s – is against the Yeti.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who