Number : Season 5, serial 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 episodes.
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 (now elderly) Professor Travers. Atmospheric underground tunnel setting. The web. The armies desperate fight against the Yeti.
Whats bad : Snivelling Jouralist Harold Chorley and “so Welsh it hurts” driver Evans – are really annoying.
Review With Spoilers : The Web Of Fear is the fifth 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 here – 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 London Underground subway 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 (following some good scene-setting The Abominable Snowmen); 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.
“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 re-appearance 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 another threat to London of alien invasion) –
that UNIT is formed. Nicholas Courtney was very nearly cast, as a different character altogether, due to the first choice Lethbridge-Stewart actor – being unable to appear.
The Web Of Fear also features an absolute ‘kick-ass’ battle, between the army and the Yeti in a London backstreet. Usually, Who action pieces are underwhelming affairs (due to budgetry reasons). However, this one is tension soaked – and well staged here. 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 annoyances) are the Chorley and Evans characters. You are just hoping for a Yeti to catch up with them – and kill 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 might be the image of the “monster era”.
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.
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