Monday 25 November 2013

Happy 30th Birthday to The Five Doctors!

Thirty years ago today The Five Doctors first aired on the BBC. You can read what I said about it at the link above. Top story, and a top party celebration of Doctor Who up till that point. Get the DVD and give it a watch!

Saturday 23 November 2013

001 An Unearthly Child

EPISODE: An Unearthly Child Part 1: An Unearthly Child
TRANSMITTED: 23 November 1963
WRITER: Anthony Coburn (and CW Webber - Uncredited)
DIRECTOR: Waris Hussein
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 4.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD - The Beginning Boxset

"Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the Fourth Dimension? Have you? To be exiles? Susan and I are cut off from our own planet - without friends or protection. But one day we shall get back. Yes, one day...."


A policeman walking down a street on patrol walking past a junkyard whose door opens to reveal a Police Box inside.... a Police Box that hums.

I love the start of Doctor Who. We have the familiar: A Police Box. Now today a Police Box is Doctor Who, in 1963 they were a common sight on UK streets. But what's a police box doing in a junkyard instead of out on a street?

The first actor seen on screen in Doctor Who is Reg Cranfield playing the policeman. When the initial version of An Unearthly Child, The Pilot Episode this role was played by a different actor, Frederick Rawlings (My Thanks to (Toby Hadoke for pointing this out in his book Running Through Corridors: 1. When I asked him who was in which on Twitter he said "Fred Rawlings in the pilot, Reg Cranfield in the transmitted ep. Dunno what Fred did wrong :)") Cranfield returns to the series in The Massacre part 1, War of God, as a Parisian Man ..... which also features Rawlings in a similar role!. Cranfield also features in The Gunfighters 2 & 3, Don't Shoot the Pianist & Johnny Ringo, as a Lynch Mob Member and Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode 3 as a UNIT Soldier all of which were, like this role, uncredited. He's also got uncredited roles in other series including Doomwatch, Z-Cars, Softly, Softly and Adam Adamant Lives

Two teachers at Colehill School, Barbara Wright (History) and Ian Chesterton (Science) have concerns about a pupil, Susan Foreman, and decide to investigate.
Here's the master stroke for this story: start the setup with something familiar: a school . This is after all a children's series and nothing would be more familiar to children than a school. When Doctor Who came back in 2005 it started with the same idea: the familiar, in that case a department store, which revealed something odd going on behind it.

We get to meet most of our main cast here. Playing Science teacher Ian Chesterton is William Russell (IMDB) a famous face on television from playing Sir Lancelot in the late 50s. Jacqueline Hill (IMDB), playing history teacher Barbara Wright, was another 50s/early 60s television regular. Carole Ann Ford (IMDB), playing 15 year old Susan Foreman, was much older than her character: she was actually a 23 year old married Mother by the time this episode was recorded.

So if Susan is 15 she's either in her penultimate or (more likely) final year at school. Barbara has offered to tutor her if she wants to specialise in history. Surely by that age she'd have chosen which subjects to study at GCE/CSE level?

Ian's line about fog means the story must be in winter time, so it's probable that it happens at around the time the story is broadcast. At one point the teachers say to Susan "see you tomorrow" so it's not a Friday.

Four other actors appear in this show, uncredited, as the children: Francesca Bertorelli, Heather Lyons, Mavis Ranson and Brian Thomas. We'll assume Thomas is the one doing the Kenneth Williams impersonation over the shoulder of the two girls in the corridor.

Susan is reading a book she's borrowed on the French Revolution: the first season of Doctor Who finishes with a trip to revolutionary France in the 1790s. A later story, Remembrance of the Daleks , suggests that Susan doesn't take the book home with her but instead leaves it in the lab as that's where the Doctor's then companion Ace finds it lying on her visit to the school. The band Susan is listening to are John Smith & The Common Men: Years later the Doctor would start using John Smith as a regular alias.

Talking together in the car they share their experiences teaching Susan with each other which highlights what an odd pupil she is. Following her home she goes into the junkyard we saw earlier and decide to follow....
Right in the very first episode we get flashbacks to events before the episode took place: 3 sets of Susan responding to her teachers in class.

A line of dialogue from Barbara spring out at me.

"I feel frightened, as if we're about to interfere in something best left alone"
Wonderful foreshadowing of what's going to happen. Of course we know what they'll find in there and what that will lead to but viewers in 1963 wouldn't.
The Police Box inside hums as if alive..... and in through the door behind them walks an old man. Ian & Barbara, hiding from him, hear Susan call out to him from within the telephone box and address him as Grandfather....
Playing the Doctor is William Hartnell (IMDB). Hartnell had acquired a reputation for playing tough guy/heavy/military types over the years. Born 8th January 1908 he was 55, younger than he looked, when he took on the role of Doctor Who which is the same age as incoming Doctor Peter Capaldi is now.
After an exchange with "Grandfather" they hear her call out again, forcing their way in through the doors....Within the find a huge control room, far bigger than the Police Box that contains it.
The moment where Ian and Barbara push through the Police Box doors in the junkyard and find themselves in the huge Tardis control one is quite fabulous, even now.


The Tardis set looks wonderful as a scale far far bigger than it could possibly be if it was inside the Police Box. The work of designer Peter Brachacki, who worked on just this episode (and it's prior "pilot" version) stands the test of time and the basic elements of it endure to this day. Over the years the console room would shrink somewhat and I think this is the largest it ever is in the original series.

Susan and her Grandfather are from another planet in another time, travelling through space & time in the Tardis, exiles from their own time & people.
It's be another 6 years before we saw the Doctor and Susan's home planet. Another 10 before we discovered it's name
Grandfather wants to imprison Ian & Barbara in the Tardis to stop them revealing it's existence, Susan wants to let them go. In trying to escape Ian electrocutes himself on the Tardis console. Susan and Grandfather argue about what to do in the course of which Grandfather activates the Tardis which takes off, rendering the teachers unconscious.
Here elements of the title sequence are used with a zooming out picture of London to show the Tardis flight.
The Tardis/Police Box now stands on some sand with a shadow being cast towards it....


The end of episode 5, the Dead Planet, is praised for it's cliffhanger with a mysterious thing threatening a member of the Tardis crew but this one's just as good. Who or what is the figure observing them? Where and when are they?

The shadow is cast by extra Leslie Bates who'd feature in the next episode, The Cave of Skulls as a Tribesman. He'd later return for 3 episodes of Marco Polo 1: The Roof of the World as a Man at Lop, 3: Five Hundred Eyes as a Mongol Warrior and 5: Rider from Shang-Tu as a Mongol Bandit, all of which were directed by Waris Hussein, before appearing in The Massacre: Bell of Doom as a 2nd Guard - note how the Massacre appears on the CV of two other extras in this episode as well. He'd then return in The Smugglers: Episode 1 as a Villager at Inn/a Pirate, The War Games: Episodes 3 & 4 as a 1862 Confederate Soldier, The Dæmons: Episode Two as a BBC3 TV Crewmember, Frontier in Space: Episode Three as a Lunar Guard and Episode Five as a Draconian, Invasion of the Dinosaurs: Part One as a Extra and finally Death to the Daleks: Part One to Three as an Exxilon.

It's a brilliant 25 minutes of television slowly dragging you in from the familiar into this odd other world. Even if you understood what's going on as you watch it you've no idea where the Tardis is at the end, just the ominous NEXT EPISODE: THE CAVE OF SKULLS caption before you as a hint.

Some of the people associated with the start of Doctor Who don't have much involvement in the show beyond it's beginnings: This is the only script that writer Anthony Coburn ever produced for Doctor Who. Director Waris Hussein would return for the fourth story, the currently missing Marco Polo, but that would be the end of his involvement in the series. You can hear more about the story of how Waris Hussein came to direct for the show by listening to Toby Hadoke's Who's round #6. Producer Verity Lambert would helm the first two years of Doctor Who before going to forge a very successful career in television production that lasted right up to her death in 2007. Script Editor David Whitaker left the show's staff at the end of the first year of production but would continue to contribute scripts into the early 1970s, including the recently recovered Enemy of the World, and would pen the very first Doctor Who novel, Doctor Who and the Daleks. The member of the behind the scenes staff that contributed the longest to the series is this episode's production assistant Douglas Camfield who would end up directing for the series by the end of it's first year and continue to do so very successfully right into the mid 1970s. This post provides a link to the present day series: Camfield's Production Assistant on his last story, the Seeds of Doom, was Graeme Harper who directed two stories for Doctor Who in the 80s and then returned to work on several new series stories.

My first encounter with An Unearthly Child was on Monday 2 November 1981 when it was repeated at the opening of BBC2's Five Faces of Doctor Who season. That's not it's first repeat though: it was shown again on Saturday 30/11/1963 just before the broadcast of the second episode of the first Doctor Who serial. You've just missed another repeat for An Unearthly Child, and the three episodes that follow it, on Thursday 21st November 2013 at 22:30 on BBC4. The same night BBC2 broadcast An Adventure In Space & Time a dramatisation of the creation of Doctor Who. At the time of writing An Adventure In Space & Time is still available on the iPlayer at

On October 15th 1981, to tie in with the Five Faces repeat season, an Unearthly Child was finally novelised by regular Doctor Who Books author Terrance Dicks. I can remember borrowing a first edition copy, complete with metallic foil logo, regularly from my local library. The first Doctor Who book ever, The Daleks, gives a very different version of the events that lead Ian & Barbara into the Tardis involving a car crash on Barnes Common.... A new Audiobook version of the story was written by Nigel Robinson and recorded with narration by William Russell but the recent collapse of publisher AudioGo has scuppered it's release.

An Unearthly Child was released on Video on 5th Feb 1990. I got the video while I was at University, possibly as a Christmas/Birthday present in either 1991 or 1992. We watched it for the RHBNC Sci Fi Society (IFIS) Doctor Who Thirtieth Anniversary Video Night in November 1993 (along with Destiny of the Daleks & Earthshock) and I think I've watched it every year on November 23rd since then, usually as close to the original 5:15 start time as I can. So it's quite possible that I've seen an Unearthly Child more than any other episode of Doctor Who. In this case familiarity has not bred contempt: I still love it to bits.

If you've not seen An Unearthly Child then buy Doctor Who - The Beginning Boxset. Amazon currently have it for sale at £8.75 and for that you get the Pilot Episode, the 4 part Unearthly Child, 7 part the Daleks and 2 part Edge of Destruction. That's 63p an episode. In fact I'd be interested to hear if anyone reading hasn't seen it.

Anyway, 50 years ago today Doctor Who started. Happy Anniversary everyone!

Friday 22 November 2013

197 The Web of Fear: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 09 March 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: iTunes The Web of Fear
DVD PREORDER: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear [DVD]
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode Six

"It isn't me! It isn't me, don't you understand! I'm not the Intelligence! The Intelligence is him!"

Evans and Arnold escape the fortress' destruction with Evans fleeing from the sergeant. The Doctor returns his Yeti to Intelligence control until it's needed. They meet first the Colonel & Jamie then Arnold and move towards Piccadilly Circus. They are soon captured by Yeti as is the lone Evans. Arnold manages to escape. Travers and Victoria are brought to the ticket hall at Piccadilly Circus where they catch sight of a figure in the shadows. Dominating the hall is a large glass pyramid which Travers thinks the Intelligence will use to drain the Doctor's mind. Arnold find the long missing journalist Harold Chorley in the tunnels and takes Chorley with him. Evans is brought in to the prisoners and The Doctor taken away. He immobilises the Yeti and alters the helmet apparatus they're carrying before reactivating the Yeti and continuing. Everyone is brought to the ticket hall. Chorley enters propelled into the room by the Intelligence's servant: Staff Sergeant Arnold. Jamie is brought in by a Yeti. The Doctor is placed in the pyramid and the machine activates. Jamie orders his Yeti guard, the one brought under control earlier, to attack the Pyramid and the Yeti. The Doctor is rescued and the Pyramid destroyed, killing Arnold and immobilising the Yeti. The Doctor is distraught: he'd altered the device so the intelligence would be drained into him and not the way the Intelligence had planned. Now it's free to wander again. The Travers praise him as a hero. Making their farewells the time travellers return through the now clear tunnels to Covent Garden.

A great final episode with the Doctor cooking up a plan that gets ruined by his companions! You feel sorry for him at the end, but he's known Jamie long enough to know this is exactly what he'd do. This whole story is cracking, looks and sounds superb!

I've been convinced for a while that Haisman and Lincoln are better writers than given credit for and with this episode they proove they know their craft of writing for television. By destroying the HQ at the end of the previous episode it makes room in the studio for the Booking Hall set which has something rarely seen in a Doctor Who interior: a roof!


It's in this set that we see the Pyramid, which the inteligence is to use to drain the Doctor's mind, and the shadowy figure in the background, another throw of the dice in the mystery of who the inteligence's pawn is/


Of course the figure in the booking hall is actually Chorley. He's been missing since episode 3 and hardly mentioned since so there's a good chance that by now, 3 weeks later, the viewers at home will have forgotten who he is. If they have remembered him they'll be all but sure that the Yeti have got him. Our other coward, Evans, meanwhile has finally snapped and fled from Arnold into the tunnels where he's cornered by two Yeti:


I'll admit I was worried for Evans at this stage as that looks very like the scene in Pyramids of Mars where the Yeti's crushed by the poacher but no, all they do is pick him up and carry him off.

Meanwhile the Doctor, Jamie, Lethbridge Stewart and Anne have been herded onto Piccadilly Circus where, between scenes, Jamie vanishes to hide in a box. I think here we have to assume that the Doctor uses his control device to over-ride the Intelligence's signals allowing Jamie to hide. The question is does he wait until the Yeti guards turn their backs, keeping the device a secret from Lethbridge Stewart, or does he use it openly bringing the Colonel into his confidence?

Eventually though, like the end of a good Agatha Christie Novel, everyone's herded into one place for the big final revelation.


It's Arnold, controlled by the intelligence, a very different performance from Jack Woolger to what he's delivered earlier as Arnold. The difference is incredible! The clues are there is you know where to look: how did the Yeti know where the explosives were in the first episode? Needs to be one of the team that planted them. How did Arnold know that the Doctor hadn't been caught by the Yeti in episode 2? He'd have had access to everyone's battle gear to plant the statues. Most importantly how did he survive going into the web in episode 4? The suggestion here is that Arnold was one of the first caught in the web - has he been a liefeless Zombie for the whole story or has he only been the Intelligence's control till it needs him?

This is the last we see of the Great Intelligence until it's return in the 2012 Christmas Special, The Snowmen, that contains lots of hints to this story. Enough hints that makes me think that Steven Moffat may have had an inkling that it could be returned soon. We'll see other similar beings in the series: the Nestene Conciousness, Mara and Fenric spring to mind as do the Guardians, Eternals and Celestial Toymaker. An attempt to link these beings together as the survivors of another universe can be found in the New Adventures novel All Consuming Fire. It's also the last full appearance of a Yeti though we'll see cameos in both the War Games and Five Doctors with a flashback in Mawdryn Undead.

We get to the end of the story and you get the feeling that there's been a lot of deaths but actually the number of man characters that survive is quite close to the number that die:

Dead: Captain Knight, Staff Sergeant Arnold, Corporal Lane, Corporal Blake, Craftsman Weams, Silverstien

Survivors: Lethbridge-Stewart, Chorley, Evans, Professor Travers, Anne Travers

The Yeti in the Underground is, when you think about it, such a bonkers idea. Foam and or Web, yes, but Yeti who you'd expect to see up a Himalayan slope? Possibly this is some of the reason the story works so well placing an unfamiliar element into familiar surroundings. As Jon Pertwee observed there's nothing as scary as a Yeti on the Loo in Tooting Bec! Both of the Haisman & Lincoln six parters are cracking, probably the best Doctor Who stories I've encountered so far. They're great 6 part stories, the best examples in Doctor Who where instead of sagging in the middle or suddenly changing direction they just increase the tension a some more. I waver between the two though as to which is better! Before the return of the Web of Fear episodes I would have said Abominable Snowmen probably had a narrow edge, that being no slight on Web of Fear. But now I have four more episodes of Web of Fear it's no longer a level playing field and Web's going to win every time especially as all four episodes turned out to be better than I expected. But both stories are magnificent: I only hope Phil Morris can find more of Abominable Snowman so that story is not at a disadvantage in a fight between them and help me make a more considered judgement.

Next episode Fury from the Deep 1 represents the start of an eight episode missing run through to Wheel in Space 2. But after that there are just 9 missing episodes: Wheel in Space 4 & 7, Invasion 1 & 4 and Space Pirates 1 & 3-6.

Web of Fear was novelised by Terrance Dicks, who had made his Doctor Who debut on this story as assistant script editor, and was released in August 1976. All six episodes of Web of Fear were issued as a soundtrack cd with narration by Fraser Hines which was released on 6th March 2002. The Soundtrack was re-released in a 2-pack with the previous Yeti story, The Abominable Snowmen, called Yeti Attack in 2003. In November 2003 the surviving first episode was released on video with the remaining two episodes of the Faceless Ones as part of The Reign of Terror boxset with the four surviving episodes of that story. In early 2004 the surviving episode 1 was released again as part of Doctor Who - Lost In Time.

While searching Africa for missing episodes Philip Morris discovered copies of Enemy of the World 1-6 and Web of Fear 1, 2 & 4-6 at a television station in the Nigerian city of Jos. It hasn't yet been revealed exactly when he found it but a report in Doctor Who Magazine 486 has Morris talking about a church being blown up in the city while he was there. Paul Vanezies of the Restoration Team had his hands on the episodes on 31st May 2013 at the BBC's archive in Perivale. Peter Crocker started work on the picture restoration on 16th August 2013 and delivered it on the Friday 4th October. After much rumour the recovery, along with that of Web of Fear, was announced at a press conference on Thursday 10th October 2013 news of which was embargoed till midnight when the episodes were released on iTunes. The Web Of Fear is due for a DVD release on 24th February 2014, the 46th anniversary of the broadcast of episode 4. Web of Fear is currently available to watch on Virgin's On Demand service.

The return of four episodes of this story brings the number of existing sixties episodes helmed by Douglas Camfield up to 20 out of the 35 that he made. The missing episodes are The Crusade 2 & 4, The Dalek Masterplan 1, 3 & 4, 6 - 9 and 11 & 12, The Web of Fear 3 and Invasion 1 & 4. It's a shame that so much work by Doctor Who's greatest director is missing but I'm glad that so much of this story which I'd longed to see for many years does now exist. Even now, a month and a bit later whenever I watch an episode I still can't quite believe it's really back. When asked which story I'd most like back in the run up to the returns being announced I had Web of Fear at number 2 - Abominable Snowmen was my number one choice and it was followed by Power of the Daleks, Evil of the Daleks and Dalek Masterplan. Now I'm having to rethink my top 5 most wanted list to work out what the new number 5 is: Galaxy 4 ? The Myth Makers? The Smugglers? The Faceless Ones? Fury from the Deep? I can't make up my mind.

What I am almost certain of is that the Philip Morris/Doctor Who returns story isn't over yet. The piece in Doctor Who magazine 466 was very optimistic to the point of being "nudge nudge wink wink more on the way". So I'm very hopeful he'll find some more and return them to the BBC. Popular rumour claimed that Marco Polo was going to be returned with these two stories and, given the number of prints of that sold, I could well believe that has been found. There's 3 significant dates coming: tomorrow, the 50th anniversary itself, Missing Believed Wiped at the NFT on 21st November and the 50th anniversary of the broadcast of Marco Polo next year. Any of those might make a good point to announce a recovery. Another point to bear in mind is that Enemy of the World & Web of Fear were sold to the TV station in Jos as part of a package with the Abominable Snowmen and Wheel in Space. As yet I've not seen anyone answer what happened to those two sets of film prints.

As to what else might come back....

97 Doctor Who episodes as missing from the archives.

This table lays out which stories have missing episodes and, where applicable, the countries which bought prints and hasn't returned them/passed them on/confirmed them as destroyed.

Marco Polo 7/7 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Ethiopia
The Reign of Terror 2/6 4, 5 Gibraltar
Trinidad & Tobago
The Crusade 2/4 2, 4 Gibraltar
Galaxy 4 3/3 1, 3, 4 Sierra Leone
Mission to the Unknown 1/1 1 NOT SOLD ABROAD
Myth Makers 4/4 1, 2, 3, 4 Sierra Leone
Dalek Masterplan 9/12 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 ,9, 11, 12 NOT SOLD ABROAD
The Massacre 4/4 1, 2, 3, 4 Sierra Leone
Celestial Toymaker 3/3 1, 2, 3 Sierra Leone
The Savages 4/4 1, 2, 3, 4 Sierra Leone
The Smugglers 4/4 1, 2, 3, 4 Sierra Leone
The Power of the Daleks 6/6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Highlanders 4/4 1, 2, 3, 4 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Underwater Menace 2/4 1, 4 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Moonbase 2/4 1, 3 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Macra Terror 4/4 1, 2, 3, 4 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Faceless Ones 4/6 2, 4, 5, 6 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Evil of the Daleks 6/7 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ALL PRINTS ACCOUNTED FOR
The Abominable Snowmen 5/6 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 Gibraltar
The Ice Warriors 2/6 2, 3 Gibraltar
The Web of Fear 1/6 3 Gibraltar
Fury from the Deep 6/6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Gibraltar
The Wheel in Space 4/6 1, 2, 4, 5 Gibraltar
The Invasion 2/8 1, 4 Gibraltar
The Space Pirates 5/6 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 Gibraltar

* Prints for Web of Fear 1, 2 & 4-6 found. We don't know what happened to Nigeria's part 3 yet - it was missing from the archive when Phil Morris found the other episodes there.

Date Source: Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes 2nd edition

Obviously that means that the possibility of certain stories being found in TV stations abroad is greater for some stories than others. So for me the probability of recovery looks something like this starting with the least likely and working up in probability:

Dalek Masterplan 7: The Feast of Stevennever telerecorded
Mission to Unknown
remaining Dalek Masterplan episodes
never sold abroad
Tenth Planet
Power of the Daleks
The Highlanders
The Underwater Menace
The Moonbase
The Macra Terror
Evil of The Daleks
sold but all prints accounted for
Galaxy Four
Myth Makers
Celestial Toymaker
The Savages
The Smugglers
all sold to Sierra Leone
Ice Warriors
Web of Fear
Fury from the Deep
Space Pirates
all sold to Gibraltar and unaccounted for
Abominable Snowmen
Wheel in Space
sold to Nigeria (with EotW and WoF)
and to Gibraltar and unaccounted for
The Crusadesold to Three countries which are unaccounted for
Macro Polosold to Five countries which are unaccounted for
Reign of Terrorsold to Eight countries which are unaccounted for.

Of course this relies on the BBC's paperwork being correct: there have been some recent suggestions that certain stories not known to have been sold to Africa may have been passed there by another broadcaster. And, as we've seen many times, individual collectors can have almost anything in their possession! Anyway well done to Phil Morris and his team for this incredible find of nine missing episodes and here's to many more recoveries to come.

Tomorrow..... Well I suspect you can guess what episode we'll be rewatching then!

Thursday 21 November 2013

196 The Web of Fear: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 02 March 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: iTunes The Web of Fear
DVD PREORDER: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear [DVD]
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode Five

"Been working it out, I have, see. Come to the conclusion one of you two must be working for this Intelligence!"

The Intelligence relays it's instructions through Travers: The Doctor will surrender himself and have his knowledge drained by the Intelligence, which has built a machine for this purpose. They abduct Victoria and give the Doctor 20 minutes to surrender himself. Evans suggests the Doctor give himself up. Jamie wishes to rescue Victoria so he and the Colonel go on a scouting mission. However on reaching the surface they find the fungus outside. Unable to seal the outer doors they make do with closing fire doors. The Doctor gets one of Travers' broken control spheres working by thumping it and is then able to test his machine to control it. Evans confronts the Colonel & Jamie believing one of them to be a traitor. Victoria & Travers have been brought to Piccadilly Circus where the Intelligence releases the professor. Hiding in the tunnel beyond the station is the wounded Staff Sergeant Arnold. Victoria gets him to take a message to the Doctor telling him where they are. The Doctor has perfected his device and is now able to voice control a Yeti. He goes north to Warren Street to find a Yeti. Arnold is found by Jamie & the Colonel and returned to the Goodge Street HQ. The Doctor's path is blocked by fungus, and his way back by a Yeti which he takes control over. Evans tends to Arnold's wounds but as he goes to fetch something the wall of the fortress disintegrates letting the fungus in.....

The fifth part of a six part story can be a difficualt one: we've had our action episode last week and this thrilling climax is due next week. What do you do in between? Haisman and Lincoln decide to ratchet the tension up a bit on the already stressed survivors. First Victoria gets kidnapped and an old favourite, an arbitary deadline is introduced. Then as the characters, and especially the frightened Evans, start flinging accusations around as to who the traitor is, in walks the injured and bedraggled Staff Sergeant Arnold whose been missing presumed dead since the middle of the previous episode. Covered in strands of the web and still wearing his breathing gear he's unable to give an account of what happened to him after the trolley is pushed into the mist.....

Here's a thought: how's he ended up at Piccadilly circus then? hmmmmm. This telesnap of the Web's progress from episode 4 should provide the answers. Covent Garden, where the Tarid slanded is completely surrounded by Web. The shortest distance through it is from the South West. Arnold has wandered down the same line and ended up two stations to the South West at Piccadilly Circus.

Undortunately this episode contains one of those effects that just completely take you out of the story. As Jamie & Lethbridge Stewart open the door to the surface the mass of the web is seen pushing against it. Unfortunately the effect has been realised by using something that looks the world like a giant sheet of bubble wrap!


Against that we have some nice modelwork used at the very end of the episode as the wall breaks down and the web pours into the HQ proper.

Just how cowardly Evans is is emphasised by two incidents in this episode. First he hides on a chair to get away from the Doctor's controlled sphere, like someone scared of a mouse. Except in Evans' case he has a rifle!


Then as the Colonel returns to HQ with the injured Arnold he's found concealing himself, very poorly, behind the large Underground map that dominates the Ops room and is spotted instantly by Lethbridge Stewart! His nerves are showing especially when he mangles the well known phrase into "I may be stupid but I'm not daft"

Actually look at the map in that photo: there's one clear route left open inside the Circle Line from Goodge Street down the Northern Line to Leicester Square and then down the Piccadilly Line to Piccadilly Circus where Travers and Victoria are.

It's amazing how empty the Goodge Street fortress feels in this episode. For years all we've seen of it has been episode one when it's busy and full of soldiers. Now all that's left is the Doctor and his companions, Anne, The Colonel, Evans and Arnold. Then at the end of the episode the fortress itself is breached by the web.

Am I reading this right? Is everything the Intelligence has done in this story an attempt to gain the Doctor's knowledge? That's what it seems like here. That explanation has come a little from left field here and changed the track of where we're going, almost forming the "change of location" used by many six part stories to stretch it out.

It's another cracking episode though with the survivors all at their wits end and suspicions being pointed all over the place but if I had to choose one episode to swap to get Episode 3 back it would be this one. All the real drama is in the speech and there's very little visual action to speak of.

The Web of Fear isn't the only station to use the London Underground as a setting: the resistance have a base in a disused tube station in Dalek Invasion of Earth, then Doctor and (the by then promoted) Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart visit Moorgate where they fight a dinosaur in the Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Moorgate's situated on the city branch of the Northern Line and was the site of the 1975 Moorgate Underground Crash, the most serious accident on the London Underground. The Doctor mentions an Tube station in the Sontaran Experiment but I can't remember which one while the Mysterious Planet, parts 1-4 of The Trial of a Timelord are located in the remains of Marble Arch station. The Doctor has even availed himself of another city's Underground Railway: he visits several Paris Metro stations during The City of Death.

When I wrote the original version of this blog entry listening to the Soundtrack I was sat at my Mother's house: she had a classical music concert on (She tells me it's Swan Lake) and as I sat down to write this episode a quiet piece started with a beat sounding exactly like a Yeti control sphere!

I first encountered The Web of Fear as a novelization, by Terrance Dicks, in my local library. They had an extensive range of Doctor Who books (for the time: 1981-4 ish). These are what I can recall reading there:

An Unearthly Child (Paperback)
The Daleks (Hardback)
The Tomb of the Cybermen (Hardback)
The Web of Fear (Hardback)
The Claws of Axos (Hardback)
The Sea Devils (Hardback)
The Mutants (Hardback)
Carnival of Monsters (Hardback)
Frontier in Space (Hardback)
Planet of the Daleks (Hardback)
The Time Warrior (Paperback)
Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Paperback)
Death to the Daleks (Paperback)
Planet of the Spiders (Hardback)
Robot (Paperback)
The Sontaran Experiment (Hardback)
Genesis of the Daleks (Hardback)
Revenge of the Cybermen (Hardback)
Terror of the Zygons (Paperback)
Pyramids of Mars (Hardback)
The Android Invasion (Paperback)
The Brain of Morbius (Paperback)
The Masque of Mandragora (Hardback)
The Deadly Assassin (Hardback)
The Stones of Blood (Paperback)
Destiny of the Daleks (Hardback)
State of Decay (Paperback)
Logopolis (Paperback)
Castrovalva (Paperback)
Four to Doomsday (Paperback)
Kinda (Paperback)
The Visitation (Hardback)
Earthshock (Paperback)
Warriors of the Deep (Paperback)
The Awakening (Paperback)

The Web of Fear Hardback sits on my shelves at home to this day, as do the Paperbacks of Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Castrovalva. As we'll see later on it's rather appropriate that my local library, in Tudor Drive, Kingston Upon Thames, should have a copy of Invasion of the Dinosaurs....

Several other Who novels were read from other locations:

The Daleks (School)
The Cave Monsters (School)
The Terror of the Autons (School)
The Doomsday Weapon (School)
The Dæmons (School)
The Green Death (School)
Genesis of the Daleks (School)
The Talons of Weng Chiang (Mobile Library)
The Horror of Fang Rock (Kingston Library)

And of course my parents were busy buying them for me too :-)

Wednesday 20 November 2013

195 The Web of Fear: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 24 February 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: iTunes The Web of Fear
DVD PREORDER: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear [DVD]
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode Four<

"I wish I could give you a precise answer. Perhaps the best way to describe it is a sort of formless, shapeless thing floating about in space like a cloud of mist, only... with a mind and will."

Knight's party are stopped from reaching Holborn by Fungus as is the Doctor's attempt to get to the Tardis. The Doctor takes a sample of the Fungus in Evans' tobacco tin. Returning to HQ they find the soldiers, including Weams, dead and Professor Travers missing. The Ops room map shows more stations have fallen to the fungus with just a few left. Lethbridge-Stewart speculates on who the traitor is, thinking it may be the abducted Professor Travers while the Doctor feels the absent Chorley is a much more likely candidate. The Doctor tells them about the Tardis and the Colonel decides to mount a rescue mission. The Doctor and Anne work on a device to override the Intelligence's signals and control a Yeti. Evans finds one of the missing Yeti models which the Doctor deactivates. Arnold, Lane & Evans are to take a trolley to Covent Garden while he takes the majority of the soldiers overground to the station. Examining Evans' tobacco tin The Doctor finds it empty, casting suspicion on the Welsh driver. Arnold & Lane don respiratory gear and venture into the fungus with the trolley. Hearing screams Evans drags the trolley back finding Lane's dead body on it. Lethbridge-Stewart's party are ambushed by Yeti. Captain Knight accompanies the Doctor to the surface to fetch electronic spares. While they are raiding a shop a Yeti enters, killing Knight before leaving. Searching Knight's body the Doctor finds one of the other two missing Yeti statues. He returns to Goodge Street just before Lethbridge-Stewart, the sole survivor of the surface expedition to Covent Garden. Searching the Colonel's pockets they find the final Yeti statue as two Yeti enter with an Intelligence possessed Professor Travers.

It's a bit of a bloodbath this episode with virtually the entire supporting cast wiped out. So by the end of it suspects for the traitor are few and you can make an excellent case for it being the missing Chorley, absent for the entire episode. When I first watched this episode for the blog I said that the fight scenes sounded good and looked great from the telesnaps (it was the first time I'd seen them) and that there was even a few moments of the battle preserved thanks to the Australian censors which gave us our first surviving glimpse of Lethbridge-Stewart. Now of course we can watch the entire thing. I'll freely admit that, tipped off by a comment made online, one of the first things I watched when the downloads became available was the battle from this episode (appropriately enough on my iPad while in the bathroom) and it's fab, a superb action sequence. The rest of the episode is superb too especially the sequence with Arnold, Lane and Evans pushing the trolley into the web: Arnold and Lane go in but following screams only Lane's body is pulled out with Arnold missing presumed dead. This scene is one of two sequences in the episode where Camfield's filmed back through the web to show the action occurring outside it and the effect looks superb. It's worth noting that the cowardly Evans doesn't even try to do a bunk following this he just heads straight back to HQ.


That version of the scene appears to be the web effect vision mixed over the scenes in the tunnel but earlier, as the Doctor collects the fungus there's a physical layer too which then has the pulsing web laid over it as the Doctor tries to cut some off


It's interesting looking at the supporting cast: the first few episodes gave us lots of named characters in the army but here most of them are used up giving us one named death per major incident with the Yeti:

Weams dies in the Yeti attack on HQ.
Lane is killed trying to move the trolley through the Web. Arnold disappears in the same incident but at the moment his fate is uncertain.
Blake is the final casualty in the battle at Covent Garden which only Lethbridge-Stewart survives.
Knight is killed by the Yeti at the electronics shop.

You can make a decent case for the traitor being Lethbridge-Stewart at this juncture: he doesn't recognise Evans, supposedly his driver to Holborn, he's responsible for the deaths of all the army personnel trying to get to the Tardis and he's the only character carrying around a Yeti model to survive. Yet we, as 2013 Doctor Who fans know it can't be him. It'd be nice to see some contemporary reviews and see if anyone jumped to that conclusion.

Despite this attempt to rescue the Tardis Lethbridge-Stewart doesn't even see the outside of the Tardis here, that'd have to wait till the Third Doctor's/Jon Pertwee's debut story in 1970. As for the inside of the Tardis, he doesn't see that for another 5 years after this! He first goes inside in the Three Doctors and interestingly it's Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor in it then!

What did happen to the Fungus in Evans' Tobacco Tin? Did it just evaporate? This is really the only solution that makes sense. As far as we can see Evans didn't tamper with it or pass it to anyone else.

This episode is really, really fabulous well worth a watch and one of the best examples of sixties Doctor Who I've seen. We might be be upset about episode 3, the first proper appearance of Lethbridge-Stewart being missing but I think it would have been so much worse if this episode had been the one missing from the set in Nigeria.

If Douglas Camfield makes one mistake in this episode it's his use of Martin Slavin's Space Adventure over the Covent Garden battle scene. Not that it isn't suitable or doesn't fir the action, it works fine on those points. It's just that to my mind, and many other Doctor Who fans too, this piece of music is too strongly associated with the Cybermen having been used in The Tenth Planet, Moonbase and Tomb of the Cybermen.

The appearances of the actors who play the Yeti in these episodes are somewhat chaotic: not every actor is in every episode nor are they credited for the ones they're in. Episode four, with it's battle, easily contains the most with four Yeti actors appearing and a further one uncredited. According to IMDB this is who appeared in what episode: C indicates they're credited, U that they're uncredited and a blank that they're not in that episode:

  Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
John Levene C C   C C C
Gordon Stothard C C   C C C
Colin Warman C U   C    
John Lord   C   C   C
Jeremy King   C C U    
Roger Jacombs           C

If you're a Doctor Who fan you'll immediately recognise the top name on that list: John Levene, the future UNIT Sergeant Benton. He'd already had an uncredited role in The Moonbase episode 3 in early 1967 as a Cyberman. He then spent most of the rest of the year appearing as an extra in Z-Cars notching up 13 episodes between March and September. Four of these were directed by Douglas Camfield, who re-employs him here and would later use him on an episode of Detective, and another was by future Who producer Barry Letts, who was in charge of Doctor Who when Levene became a regular.

The Web of Fear is Gordon Stothard's first acting job. He returns as a Cyberman in four episodes of the Wheel in Space and then, uncredited, as a Prison Officer in Mind of Evil. After that he changes his stage name to Gordon St Clair and appears under this name as Grun, the King's Champion, in all four episodes of the Curse of Peladon. John Lord also returns as Masters, one of Reegan's henchmen in episode 4 of The Ambassadors of Death.

Meanwhile we also have a few more extras playing the soldiers and amongst them are some very familiar names:


Philip Ryan (on the right)returns to Doctor Who in the Mind Robber 2 & 3 as a Redcoat and Inferno 5 & 6 (director D Camfield). Tim Condren (center) had been in Time Meddler 4: Checkmate as a Saxon Warrior (I wonder who directed that ;-) ? ) and would return in Day of the Daleks 1 as a Guerilla. His lengthy career involves a lot of extra and stunt work. But the three most recognisable names here are Derek Ware (IMDB), Terry Walsh (IMDB) and Derek Martin (IMDB.


In this photo Martin's on the right looking at the camera, Walsh is semi obscured behind him and to the left and to the left of him, looking left, is Ware. (My Thanks to David Brunt for correcting my identification of who's who in the photos) Derek Martin's already been in two Doctor Whos: The Romans 4: Inferno as an uncredited extra and The Massacre 3: Priest of Death as a Parisian in Rue des Fosses St. Germain, again uncredited. Several more roles will follow before his only onscreen credits as David Mitchell in Image of the Fendahl 1 & 2. Nowadays he's best known for playing Charlie Slater in Eastenders.

Derek Ware had worked on the program since the very beginning serving as the fight arranger on the very first story, which Camfield worked on as a Production Assistant. He returns for the Aztecs and then the Crusade (Camfield's full directorial debut), cameos as a Bus Driver in The Chase 6: Planet of Decision (in a sequence directed by Camfield). He serves as a Trojan Solider & Fight Arranger for the Myth Makers before being reunited with Camfield during the Daleks Masterplan. He serves as a Spaniard & Fight Arranger on the Smugglers, which is also Terry Walsh's Who debut as a Militiaman, before Fight Arranging episode 3 of the Underwater Menace. For probably your clearest view of him see the first three episodes of Inferno where he's Private Wyatt. He founded the Havoc group of stuntmen, used regularly by Doctor Who in the early 70s until the point where Terry Walsh took over as regular stuntman for the Doctor doubling for first Jon Pertwee and then Tom Baker.

There's some excellent location work in this episode involving the battle scenes in Covent Garden, filmed in and around the real world location . It's really odd seeing the Yeti above the surface wandering the streets of London after our only glimpses of them for years was in the tube tunnels.


There's some lovely behind the scenes shots from this location shoot in the recently released Daily Mirror - The Doctors Archive which is well worth a look for many older and previously unseen photos.

More of the story would have been filmed on location, but famously Douglas Camfield was denied permission to film on the Underground. However we'd already seen filming involving London Underground locations in a previous Doctor Who story. In the first episode Dalek Invasion of Earth the river bridge, under which a roboman throws himself to death on location which is then recreated in studio, was Kew Railway Bridge which carries the District Line over the Thames between Kew and Gunnersbury. Later that same episode there's location filming of Barbara & Susan crossing a deserted London including some filmed at the abandoned Wood Lane Central Line station. In Web of Fear the Army's fortress is the Deep Level Shelter at Goodge Street. Another Deep Level Shelter, at Camden Town, provides a location in The Sunmakers. Incredibly the country railway station seen in Black Orchid was at one time a London Underground station! Quainton Road Station was once served by Metropolitan line trains. The Met terminates now at Amersham, but once upon a time continued north, through Aylesbury to Quainton after which it branched to either Verney Junction or Brill, which is in Oxfordshire!

If you'd like to see The London Underground's homage to Doctor Who then visit the Jubilee line station at London Waterloo. The panels used on the wall there are suspiciously Tardis like as you can see in these photos.

This episode was shown on 24th February 1968. The Web of Fear DVD release is planned for 24th February 2014, the 46th anniversary of the broadcast of this episode.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

193 The Web of Fear: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 17 February 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: iTunes The Web of Fear
DVD PREORDER: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear [DVD]
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode Three

"Don't you understand, Sergeant? I've... I've got to get out of here!"

On the original run of the Blog we found ourselves half half way through the Troughton episodes with this episode, though of course the production team didn't know that at the time. Neither did they have an idea quite how important today's episode would turn out to be. You'll know why virtually immediately.

Evans shoots at the glass pyramid shattering it but the fungus web in the tunnels continues to advance. Victoria is calling for the Doctor in the tunnels when she is waylaid by the soldier "One Moment" he says stepping out the shadows, but he's accompanied by the Doctor. Learning they're connected with Travers he takes them back to Goodge Street. Anne reports to Captain Knight that the circle line is completely enclosed with fungus now. Arnold delivers word that Victoria has returned, with the Doctor and a Colonel. The Doctor tells Victoria he was knocked out by the explosion and then met the Colonel in the tunnels. Blake guards the Colonel waiting for Knight. When he arrives the Colonel introduces himself: He is Colonel Lethbridge Stewart and presents his authorisation papers to take over command of the Goodge Street fortress. Travers and Ann apologise for the misunderstanding that led Victoria to go into the tunnels. Now on the Central Line, Jamie & Evans have reached St Paul's. At the fortress Chorley is trying his best to leave. Travers recounts how one of the control spheres brought back from Tibet was reactivated. Reaching Chancery Lane, Evans and Jamie part company with the Welsh driver attempting to return to the surface. Knight & Lethbridge-Stewart hold a briefing bringing the Doctor up to speed on how the mist and fungus appeared and spread. Chorley interrupts proposing they be air lifted out, but the Colonel dismisses the idea. Jamie is reunited with Evans: he couldn't get out because the gates were locked. Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Strand and Chancery Lane all fall to the fungus as it works it's way inwards from the circle line. The Colonel gives Chorley the job of liaison officer to keep him occupied and out of the way. The Doctor suggest a way of remote detonating some explosives in the tunnel to seal themselves in. Someone is opening the main door to the fortress. Victoria finds the Yeti models in Travers' lab - however one is missing. Elsewhere the missing model is placed on the floor, making a bleeping noise summoning a Yeti. Victoria is horrified by the plan to blow up the tunnel: Jamie won't be able to get to them. The Yeti enters the base. Knight finds the padlock for the door and the Yeti model at the explosives store and leaves Lane guarding it. The Doctor opens the explosive store to find it full of web: the Yeti have destroyed their means of attack. The Colonel and Knight take a squad to Holborn to attempt to recover the explosives there. Victoria accidentally tells Chorley about the Tardis at Covent Garden and he leaves to find it, shutting the Doctor and Victoria in a room. They're released by Jamie and Evans. They all depart to find Chorley. There's a scream in fortress: Travers finds Weams's body with a Yeti looming over him.

You can't get round it, what you have to talk about this episode is the first appearance of Lethbridge Stewart, here still ranked as Colonel. He'll be back more often than any other character in Doctor Who and Nicholas Courtney would have a job for life. But it could all have been so different: Originally cast in the role was David Langton, who backed out in late November after being offered other work. Camfield instead offered the part to Nicholas Courtney, who he'd previously used in Dalek Masterplan, and he had planned to have played Captain Knight. The script, as written, calls the character Colonel Lethbridge: Douglas Camfield altered the name to Lethbridge Stewart. Of course *knowing* that Colonel Lethbridge Stewart would go on to become such a huge part of the show does rather defuse an aspect of the story here: he shows up, with slightly flimsy credentials, and suddenly things start going wrong in the fortress. Someone's under the intelligence's control and, without the knowledge of the future, Lethbridge Stewart is your number one suspect. Once you know who the traitor is it's worth going back and listening to the episodes again: they do drop some little tiny hints on the way.

Your main alternate suspect at this stage is Chorley, new holder of the "most annoying character in Doctor Who" trophy. He's busy going to pieces here and looking for a way, any way, out of the situation he finds himself trapped in. The way that Lethbridge-Stewart deals with him, sending him off into a corner to "co-ordinate" things is fabulous. Evans too blatantly doesn't want to be there as his refrain of "shouldn't be down here at all, you know. Driver, I am." makes clear. Unfortunately his attempt at doing a bunk goes rather wrong and he ends up back with Jamie in the tunnels. The theme of being trapped is emphasised by the hope of escape being closed off as the Circle Line completely falls to the fungus sealing them in.

We've got a station mentioned in this episode that you won't find on any present Tube map: The Strand was then the name for the Northern Line station that now forms part of Charring Cross.

The cast of this story features some familiar faces from other Doctor Who productions. As we've noted, Nicholas Courtney was previously Brett Vyon in Dalek Masterplan and Jack Watling was Edward Travers in his previous appearance in Abominable Snowmen. Ralph Watson's already been a scientist in The Underwater Menace before he featured as Captain Knight here and will be back as Ettis in Monster of Peladon and Ben in Horror of Fang Rock - his fellow lighthouse keeper Reuben was played by Colin Douglas who was Donald Bruce in the previous story. Stephen Whittaker appears as Craftsman Weams. In 1967 he'd been in both parts of the Z-Cars story Finch & Sons, directed by Douglas Camfield. As we've noted previously part 2 also features episode 1's soldier Bernard G. High and Richardson Morgan who plays Corporal Blake here. Camfield had used Richardson Morgan during 1967 in Z-Cars again as an Ambulance Man in The Placer part 2 (which also features Yeti actor John Levene, previously a Cyberman in Moonbase) and he'd return playing James Bilson in the two part Camfield directed Fear or Favour in 1969. He'd later work for Camfield yet again in Van Der Valk. Rod Beacham, as Corporal Lane, is in his first TV job here. Camfield would ruse him in Special Branch: Assault (1973). He'd go on to become a writer and pen the Blake's 7 episode Assassin - interestingly the NEXT Blake's 7 episode was written by the former actor Bill Lyons who was in the PREVIOUS Doctor Who story The Enemy of the World as a guard. Jon Rollason, as Harold Chorley, has a significant role on his CV as Dr. Martin King, one of John Steed's temporary assistants following the departure of Dr David Keel, in the first few episodes of the second series of The Avengers. Derek Pollitt, Driver Evans, will return as Private Wright in Doctor Who and the Silurians, and A. St. John D. Caldera in Shada. Where's Walter Randall? It's not a proper Camfield production without him!

Of the remaining human cast Jack Woolgar, as Staff Sgt. Arnold, had had a long TV career. A web site set up by his son is worth a look especially as it includes an article on this story. Tina Packer, Anne Travers, was a TV regular at the time who later emigrated to the USA where she founded a theatre company.

So Web of Fear 3: The one that got away. When Phil Morris found the episodes of Web of Fear and Enemy of the World at the TV Station in Jos Web of Fear 3 was the one missing. Doctor Who Magazine 466 confirms that this is the state of affairs in it's fabulous article on the missing episode finds, which hopefully puts to death the rumours that it's being held back somewhere: it just wasn't there. Sad but true. Things get lost the entire time and the world of Doctor recordings is prone to that: when Ian Levene first visited the BBC archive there were certain stories there with odd episodes missing: Tenth Planet (4), Dominators (5), Invasion (1 & 4), Krotons (4) and Seeds of Death (6). Planet of the Daleks was missing the tape of episode 3. When the videotapes of Invasion of the Dinosaurs were located episode 1 was AWOL. Yes it's a pain that one episode of the story is missing, and yes it is a pain it's a significant one, featuring the first appearance of Lethbridge Stewart. Web of Fear now joins the Tenth Planet as the only two stories which have just one episode missing and oddly BOTH are significant: the missing Tenth Planet 4 is the last regular episode to feature William Hartnell as the first Doctor.

In it's place on iTunes we get a reconstruction: the off air audio recording is married to the Telesnaps for the episode. I'm a fan of Telesnap reconstructions and personally prefer them to the animations where possible as they're a step close to the original show than inventing new pictures. For the Invasion and Reign of Terror then yes animate them as no Telesnaps exist. But for the other stories with less than two episodes missing - The Crusade, Tenth Planet, Underwater Menace, Moonbase and The Ice Warriors - I'd much prefer them to be presented with a full length telesnap recon even if an animation is also included. I've made my own for the Moonbase and was very pleased when the existing Tenth Planet recon was included on the Tenth Planet DVD.

The creators of the recon have added a little embellishment to the telesnaps with sideways movement across the picture and zooming in. But by far the biggest thing they've done is embellish the sequence where Evans obtains his chocolate bar from the machine:

The shot of the chocolate machine doesn't appear in this episode's telesnaps. I think it's been lifted from another episode's snaps, zoomed in, with the image of the back of soldier inserted. More is to follow as the chocolate bar emerges:


This has been completely created anew for the recon and those responsible have taken the opportunity to insert a little visual joke. A well known brand of milk chocolate has it's name corrupted to become Camfield's Fairy Milk as a homage to the director.

One thing I got from the recon was how the web started out covering an area of South Kensington. That'd tie in nicely with the original intention to use the Natural History museum as the location for the Yeti's reawakening shown in the first episode.

As I pointed out in Abominable Snowmen episode 4, Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln tend to have some form of source for their character names. We've already seen how Staff Sgt Arnold and Corporal Lane probably got their names from the Pink Floyd song Arnold Layne but what of the rest of the characters? Several can be found on the London Underground map! We've mentioned how Colonel Lethbridge Stewart had his name lengthened: If you taken the original version of his name, Lethbridge, and put it after the name of his Captain you'll see that KNIGHT and lethBRIDGE probable share a joint origin in Knightsbridge station on the Piccadilly Line. Corporal Blake comes from the now disused Blake Hall on the eastern extremes of the Central Line while Harold Chorley probably gets his name from Chorleywood near the now limits of the Metropolitan Line. I've seen it suggested that Weams, an unusual name in itself, might be a deformation and shortening of West Ham. There's plenty of stations with the word Lane in their title. That really just leaves Evans, the Driver unaccounted for.... You are invited to look at The list of Underground Stations and have a guess!

Weams and Arnold also probably benefit from Military Buff Douglas Camfield's presence directing the show. Weams is given the unusual rank of Craftsman: this indicates he's a private in the Royal Engineers while a Staff Sergeant is a higher ranking NCO than a Sergeant. It all helps to add realistic detail to the company assembled in the tube tunnels.

Since I've started blogging these episodes again I've become aware that Virgin On Demand users can view The Web Of Fear at the moment for free! Enjoy!

Monday 18 November 2013

193 The Web of Fear: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 10 February 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: iTunes The Web of Fear
DVD PREORDER: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear [DVD]
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode Two

"It's no good, Jamie, they can't hear!... What have we done?"

The soldiers have discovered the Doctor was at Charring Cross. Captain Knight dispatches Staff Sergeant Arnold to find him. Weams reports that blast recorder has measured no damage. Word comes in that there is trouble at Holborn and Jamie, to his alarm, overhears the word Yeti. On the phone line gunfire is heard and a roar before the line goes dead. Knight takes a team of soldiers to Holborn to see what's happened. Arnold & Blake find the destroyed explosive boxes under the Yeti's web: both suspect the Doctor of interference. Travers is reunited with Jamie and Victoria, vouching for them to the soldiers. Arnold returns, sure that the Doctor has sabotaged the explosion. Jamie, insisting that the Doctor didn't do it, says he suspects he knows where the Doctor can be found. The journalist, Chorley, is suspicious of the Doctor & his friends as well. Falling back from Holborn Knight's party have been engaged by Yeti, with several soldiers killed by the web guns. They attempt to build a barricade, packed with explosives which they detonate but the Yeti are unharmed. Victoria overhears Ann Travers accusing the Doctor of being responsible for the Yeti and leaves the fortress to find him, not hearing Professor Travers robust denial and defence of his old friend. Arnold & Jamie have met Knight & Lane in the tunnels but all are captured by Yeti. Blake & Weams speculate about the origins of the Yeti, with the Doctor being accused of responsibility again. The illuminated underground map on the shelter wall suddenly starts to shows the Yeti's web fungus advancing round the circle line at both the top and bottom of the loop. Travers is informed and is astonished at the rate of progress. Chorley suggests the Doctor's responsible. Victoria has become lost in the tunnels. Meanwhile the Yeti guarding Jamie and the soldiers suddenly are summoned away and walk off abandoning their prisoners. They hear a welsh voice singing in the tunnels and meet Evans, the driver on the ammunition truck. He has seen the web advancing following a Yeti holding a pyramid. Remembering how the Pyramids helped the Intelligence maintain it's earthbound presence in Tibet, Jamie leaves with Evans to destroy the pyramid. Evans meanwhile intends to do a runner at the earliest opportunity. They proceed to Cannon Street and onwards to Monument. Chorley wants to evacuate the base. Knight and Arnold return to base with no news: all three of the time travellers are now missing in the tunnels. An unknown soldier stalks Victoria in the tunnels. Jamie and Evans hear a noise, then see a light: the Fungus is advancing down the tunnel towards them!

This episode, with it's battle with the Yeti in the tunnels sounds superb. Like Abominable Snowmen we've got an early episode existing so we've got a decent idea of what everything looks like, helped here by (if you're a Londoner) familiarity with the location. When Haysman and Lincoln last did a Doctor Who story they had accusations being flung at the Doctor that he's responsible for the alien menace. The same trick is used again here. Last time suspicion passed round the cast when we knew who was responsible: this time it's slightly different. Patrick Troughton's on holiday this week but unlike Evil of the Daleks 4, where all his material was pre filmed, he doesn't appear at all. Similarly the Army boots seen in the tunnel towards the end aren't filled with their usual owner but instead are occupied by by Maurice Brooks, saving the cost of hiring the actor in question for a cameo scene.

The main setting for this story is the Deep Level Shelter at Goodge Street Tube Station. Constructed at various points along the Northern line these shelters exist bellow the level of the tube stations to offer a good level of protection in the event of an air raid. People had been sheltering in Tube stations since the start of WWII, indeed Churchill used the disused Down Street Tube Station as a shelter. If you watch the James Bond film, Die Another Day, the fictional Vauxhall Cross station Vauxhall Cross Tube Station shown in the film occupies the space where Down Street would be on the Pica dilly Line map. For more information on deep level shelters see Ten years later the Camden Town deep level shelter would be used in a location during Doctor Who: The Sunmakers.

The London Underground Tube Map features prominently in this and subsequent episode, particularly in the form of an illuminated version on the wall of the Goodge Street Fortress showing the progress of the web fungus. The tube map is a piece of iconic design created by draftsman Harry Beck that's become an icon of London in it's own right and a template for public transport maps everywhere. Mr. Beck's Underground Map is a great read on the development of this important document.

The map at Goodge Street helps us date this story: No Victoria line is shown so it's prior to 1st September 1968 when the branch from Walthamstow Central to Highbury & Islington in North London opened.

This week's randomly credited soldier is played by Joseph O'Connell. He'd been in Z-Cars: The Great Fur Robbery Part 2 the previous year. The episode is one of 3 to feature episode 1's soldier, Bernard G. High, as Detective Constable John and was directed by this story's director Douglas Camfield.

The so called "Omni Rumour" of impending episode returns swept fandom during 2013 - I've written about it before here and here. The rumours varied from telling to telling with anything up to 96 episodes returned. The most popular variant was the "MEW" version: Marco Polo, Enemy of the World and Web of Fear. And out of all these the one that really thrilled me was the possibility of seeing more of Web of Fear. These rumours rumbled on and on until on October 6th the Sunday People, a national newspaper, ran a story about missing episodes on their website. At that point mainstream media really took an interest leading to this report on the BBC Website which all but confirmed the story to be true in some form!

Thursday 10th October was an odd, odd day to be a Doctor Who fan. Debbie Watling's website had let slip the press conference was that day but an plan to Live Tweet it by The Daily Telegraph was scuppered by the news revealed being embargoed till midnight. I spent the day listening to my Web of Fear Soundtrack for what I hoped would be the last time. Many who fans (guilty as charged m'lud) spent most of their day glued to their PCs in the hope of a leak from the press conference. And sure enough someone accidentally let the cat out the bag with Northern Echo posting the story on their website just after 6pm..... and removing it about thirty minutes later when they realised.

But by then the secret was out: All the missing episodes of Enemy of the World and four of the five missing episodes of The Web of Fear had been found and what's more they'd be on iTunes the next day!

To explain to my readers who may not know: I suffer from a neuro muscular condition that leaves me very tired. Sheer excitement had meant I didn't sleep in the afternoon like I usually do. Unfortunately the weather conditions that night left me in a lot of pain so I was still awake come midnight when the episodes were released. So surrendering to the inevitable I got up, stuck the PC on and attempted to download the newly revealed episodes. Because the secret of comedy is timing at that point Windows Update decided to lock up my machine for ages and then the weather had a go at our broadband connection in a way it hasn't done for some time. But before I got to sleep that night (2:30am, not great) I'd seen some of episode 1 of Enemy of the World, the very start of episode 2 of Web of Fear and, because I'd been tipped off that it was good, the battle scene from episode 4 of Web of Fear (appropriately enough on my iPad while in the Loo!)

Given a choice between Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, The Web Of Fear wins every time so I set out the next day to watch the story. Unfortunately real life had intervened and I needed to go out for the morning. How would I get to see the episodes? Simple, I took the iPad with so my first experience of the recovered episode 2 and the recon for episode 3 was watching them on the iPad on the bus!

Oddly enough, just as I was starting episode 3, I had a text from my friend Ralph who was doing exactly the same thing with Enemy of the World!

The were two scenes that really stood out for me in the episode watching it for the first time: One was Blake & Weams chatting to each other over tea, it just looked so natural. Two Pals having a chat.


While they're talking Blake describes the group in the fortress as "A right Fred Karno's army" a reference I've never got and never thought to look up till now. Fred Karno was a music hall impresario in the late 19th and early 20th century who employed a group of comedians - among them Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin - as part of a group known as Fred Karno's Army, a term which became used as slang for "a chaotic organisation". Karno had the Astoria Houseboat, no doubt named after the theatre, constructed in 1911. It's now used as a recording studio by the Pink Floyd musician Dave Gilmour.

The other scene that really stands out was when Travers meets Jamie & Victoria again. Listening to it it's dominated by Jamie but watching it is a revelation:


The picture concentrates on Victoria as the light slowly dawns in her eyes that this portly older man is the same Edward Travers they met two adventures back in Tibet.

I've also noticed for the first time quite how intrusive Chorley's Microphone is, how he's constantly pressing it into everyone's faces as he's interviewing Victoria and then taping the battle at Holborn, much to Captain Knight's disgust.

The one place this episode falls down at being able to see it is Jamie & Evans' venture eastward/clockwise on the District/Circle line. It's only a problem if you know the locations: Compare Telesnap 53 showing Jamie & Evans at Cannon Street with the real thing and likewise telesnap 59 of Jamie & Evans at Monument with the actual station. All stations on the District/Circle line are built using the Cut & Cover method which results in larger more open station areas than those used for the deep level tunnel lines, like the Northern where most of this story's action takes place. Seeing Monument and Cannon street represented by the typical deep level station design is just wrong. The design is broadly similar from station to station, which allows director Douglas Camfield to use the same set for all the stations with just the name signs redressed.

But a big HURRAH for the appearance of a Troughton stable, for the first time on moving pictures, at the end of this episode: The foam machine is here pumping foam into the station to represent the web!

When we listened this episode for Blog the first time we entered into our joint longest run of missing episodes at 13 episodes, equalling the run from Tenth Planet 4 - Underwater Menace 2. Here it consisted of Web of Fear 2-6, Fury from the Deep 1-6 (the whole story) and Wheel in Space 1 & 2. But after that there was just NINE missing episodes of Doctor Who...... all that's different now though. For a start for nearly two years this was the longest run of Doctor Who missing episodes due to Underwater Menace 2 showing up! Tenth Planet 4 to Underwater Menace 1 solely annexes the record at 12 consecutive missing episodes. Next we get the remainder of the run that used to start here which is now an 8 from Fury from the Deep 1 - Wheel in Space 2. After that comes the 7 from Galaxy 4 1 to Dalek Masterplan 1 and the 7 that represents the whole of Marco Polo - although if rumours are to believed that may change. Web of Fear 2 now represents the end of an 11 episode run of existing Troughton episodes from Ice Warriors 4 through Enemy of the World to this episode. It equals the 11 from Wheel in Space 6 through the Dominators to Mind Robber 5 and only beaten by the 14 from Invasion 5 through the Krotons to Seeds of Death 6