Saturday, 17 February 2018

194 The Web of Fear: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 17 February 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode Three

"Lethbridge-Stewart. Expect you're wondering who the devil I am, eh?"

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.

3a 3b

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 statue as an actual Yeti looms over him.

3y 3z

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. Douglas 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.

COLONEL: Afternoon. Captain Knight?
KNIGHT: Afternoon, Colonel?
COLONEL: Lethbridge-Stewart. Expect you're wondering who the devil I am, eh?
KNIGHT: Well, as a matter of fact, sir, yes.
COLONEL: Well, I couldn't tell you before but you're a bit cut off down here, aren't you? I'm taking over from Pemberton. Sorry about him. Very fine soldier.
KNIGHT: Taking over? I see. Well, excuse me, Colonel, but have you got any
COLONEL: Authorisation? Yes, of course. Here are my papers. Glad to see you don't take things at face value.
KNIGHT: All right, Blake. You can fall out.
KNIGHT: How did you get in, sir?
COLONEL: Holborn. Ammunition party. Got badly beaten up. All the men dead, I'm afraid.
KNIGHT: Not all. Evans managed to escape.
KNIGHT: The driver.
COLONEL: Oh, yes.
KNIGHT: Evans didn't mention any other survivors.
COLONEL: No, well, it all got a bit confused. Driven into a side tunnel, myself. After that, got a bit lost, and then found this Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes, I was wondering when you where going to get around to me.
KNIGHT: Yes, well, the Professor's spoken for him. We do know a little about the Doctor already.
COLONEL: I see. In fact, more than you do about me, eh?
KNIGHT: To tell you the truth, sir, yes.
3e 3d

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.

"Don't you understand, Sergeant? I've... I've got to get out of here!"
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. Lethbridge-Stewart immediately finds him irritating:
CHORLEY: Ah, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.
COLONEL: What is it, Mister Chorley? We're in the middle of a briefing.
CHORLEY: Yes, so I see. Did you know about this door to the surface? A helicopter could lift us all out.
COLONEL: Could it? Always assuming we could make contact with the outside world, which we can't, how do you imagine they would find us in that mist? Sit down, please.
CHORLEY: Look, Colonel, I resent your tone. You seem to forget that I'm here as a representative of the Press, and as such
COLONEL: And as such, Mister Chorley, you are no more than a passenger.
Then the way that Lethbridge-Stewart deals with Chorley, sending him off into a corner to "co-ordinate" things is fabulous:
COLONEL: Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Strand, Chancery Lane. All in a half hour, and it's creeping in all the time. How long do you think we've got, Professor?
TRAVERS: It's difficult to say. Why, at this rate, oh, a couple of hours at the most.
CHORLEY: Look, Colonel, you've got to do something. We can't just stand here waiting, can we?
COLONEL: Ah, Mister Chorley. You'd like to help, wouldn't you?
COLONEL: Yes, of course you would. Now look, I'll tell you what I want you to do. We shall all be rushing about a bit, so what I want you to do is to wait in the Common Room. Act as a sort of Liaison Officer. You could do that, couldn't you?
CHORLEY: Well, I don't know, I
COLONEL: Yes, of course you could. Off you go. We'll all report progress to you personally.
CHORLEY: What, do you mean coordinate things?
COLONEL: Yes, that's it. Corporal Blake?
COLONEL: See that Mister Chorley has everything he needs. Desk, comfortable chair, plenty of paper and so on.
COLONEL: Off you go. Right, that's enough diplomacy for one day. Now, let's get down to some practical soldiering.
3g 3h
"Aye, well I've got it all worked out, see. Next station's where I'm getting off. Last time, the Yeti were at Holborn Station, so I reckon if I can get out at Chancery Lane, I might be able to reach my lorry."
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.
VANS: Argh! You gave me a fright there for a minute, boy.
JAMIE: I thought you were supposed to be
EVANS: Aye, well, I changed my mind, see. Quite right, you were. Can't leave your mates when they're in trouble, can you?
JAMIE: Oh, aye?
EVANS: No, well, it wouldn't be right, would it?
JAMIE: Well, what was it like up top then?
EVANS: Don't know. Well, between you and me, I couldn't get out, see. The gates were locked.
JAMIE: Come on.
EVANS: Aye, let's get over to HQ. At least we'll be safe there.
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. See This Lononist YouTube Video for an explanation as to how the names have changed.

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.

3 L-S 1 Travers

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. He's got a Porridge episode on his CV playing the Landlord in A Day Out. You can hear him interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 154 and he appears on the Fantom Films Who Talk Commentary CD for this story speaking about episode 1, 2 & 4.

2 Knight 2 Weams

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 Z Cars Finch & Sons part 2 includes episode 1's soldier Bernard G. High but as well as these two actors that Z-Cars episode also features 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. Morgan also appeared in Doomwatch playing an Engineer in the First Airline Crew in The Plastic Eaters and Bill Manzaro in The Killer Dolphins.

2 Blake 2 Lane

Rod Beacham, as Corporal Lane, is in his first TV job here. Camfield would ruse him in Special Branch: Assault. 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.

2 Chorley 2 Evans

Derek Pollitt, Driver Evans, will return as Private Wright in Doctor Who and the Silurians, and A. St. John D. Caldera in Shada. His brother is Clyde Pollitt who is a Time Lord in the final episode of The War Games and then the Time Lord Chancellor in The Three Doctors.

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.

1 Arnold 1 Anne

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 and the DVD 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 Telesnaps for this episode aren't of the greatest quality so other sources including publicity stills, telesnaps from other episodes and freeze frames have been used to augment them along with movement including zooming in & out and panning across photos. It's very interesting comparing the telesnap recon of this episode with those produced for The Underwater Menace DVD which are a straight slideshow of the telesnaps for that episode in order.

By far the biggest embellishment they've added to this recon is in 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.

Web3_machine Web3_fairymilk

More is to follow as the chocolate bar emerges: This shot 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 have some form for the sourcing of their character names from material related to the story. We've already seen how Staff Sgt Arnold and Corporal Lane probably got their names from the contemporary 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, including the disused Wood Lane, close to the BBC and employed as a location in Dalek Invasion of Earth. 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.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

193 The Web of Fear: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 10 February 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear
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.

2 Yeti 1 2 Web 2

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.

2 Yeti 2 2 Cornered

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!

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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 Haisman 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.

2 Victoria 3 2 Victoria 4

Similarly the Army boots seen in the tunnel towards the end aren't filled with their usual owner but instead are occupied by by extra 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.

2 Map 1 2 Map 2

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. Likewise the Jubilee line, opened 11 years later in 1979 is also missing from the map. There's three branches present that are missing from the map now: The Piccadilly line spur from Holborn to Aldwych and the Central line from Epping to Ongar railway station have ceased operation while the Northern City Line, which you can see to the right of the second picture of the map, from Moorgate to Finsbury Park is now operated by National Rail.

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 likelihood is he plays the soldier with Knight in the Tunnel named as Thompson in the script.

2 Thompson 2 Obrien

There's another soldier here, O'Brien, who's Rifle jams and gets mown down by a Yeti and another, Cooksey, is killed in the same battle.

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 a 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 and, like many who fans, glued to my PC 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.

2 Weams Tea 2 Blake
WEAMS: Tibet? Tibet? You're joking.
BLAKE: That's where old Travers says they come from. He reckons they're Abominable Snowmen.
WEAMS: Well, he's off his chump, ain't he? How'd they get here in the first place?
BLAKE: Come through the post, don't they?
WEAMS: Nah, seriously. Outer space, that's where they come from. Well, that's what I reckon, anyway.
BLAKE: Oh do leave off. You've been reading too many kids' comics, you have.
WEAMS: All right then, Corp, where do they come from?
BLAKE: It's a foreign power, ain't it? Bacteriological warfare, that's what that stuff is in the tunnels.
WEAMS: What, that fungus stuff?
BLAKE: Yeah. And them Yeti are some sort of new weapon. Well, a sort of robot army.
WEAMS: What, you mean it ain't real then?
BLAKE: Well of course they ain't, you nit! Otherwise we'd be able to knock 'em out with the small arms, wouldn't we?
WEAMS: Yeah. Nothing hardly touches them, does it?
BLAKE: Not unless you can cop 'em straight between the eyes. Then they've had it.
WEAMS: Yeah, well that'll take some doing. I mean, I'd have a job just holding me arm steady if one of them ugly creeps came at me, wouldn't I?
BLAKE: Yeah. I wish we had some more hand grenades, cus they're the things that seem to stop them dead in their tracks.
WEAMS: Yeah, but we ain't got any, have we?
BLAKE: It's a pity that ammo truck they stopped at Holborn had all the gear in.
WEAMS: Stone me! Here, we ain't got much of a chance if we come up against that lot, have we.
BLAKE: Not with the funny old crowd we got down here with us. You got civvies, RE's, REME.
WEAMS: Here, watch it, mate.
BLAKE: The lot. A right old Fred Karno's Army, innit? Still, not to worry, me old son. Not the end of the world, is it. Want some more tea?
WEAMS: Yeah, all right mate.
BLAKE: Well, move then.
WEAMS: Here, Corp, look at this.
BLAKE: What? Oh, crikey. That's what comes of talking about it.
WEAMS: It's that fungus stuff, it's moving again.
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 David Gilmour.

As for those he describes as being in Fred Karno's Army I'd never given it much thought until my Father in Law talked about his national service days. REs are Royal Engineers and REMEs are Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, which is almost certainly the branch of the service Craftsman Weams hails from, hence his reaction!

The other scene that really stands out was when Travers meets Jamie & Victoria again.

2 Victoria 1 2c
TRAVERS: Well now, you've got some explaining to do, haven't you?
JAMIE: We have? Now look here.
TRAVERS: Now, now, just what do you know about the Yeti?
JAMIE: Quite a lot, but before we go into all
TRAVERS: And the spheres? Where'd you find out about them?
JAMIE: That's none of your business. I'd just like to
TRAVERS: Who are you?
JAMIE: I'd like to ask you the same question.
VICTORIA: Wait a minute, Jamie! I'm Victoria Waterfield. And that's Jamie McCrimmon!
ANNE: Father?
TRAVERS: But it can't be. Why, that's over forty years ago.
JAMIE: What's going on here?
VICTORIA: Oh Jamie, don't you recognise him? It's Professor Travers.
JAMIE: So it is! Professor Travers! Here, hasn't he got old? Oh, but we're very pleased to see you, Professor. Very pleased.
Listening to it it's dominated by Jamie but watching it is a revelation:

2 Victoria 2 2d

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.

1 jw 2 1 Travers

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!

2 Tape 1 2 Tape 2

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 Jamie & Evans at Cannon Street with the real thing:

2 Cannon Street 1 2 Cannon Street 2

Likewise here's Jamie & Evans at The Monument and the actual station.

2 Monument 1 2 Monument 2

All stations on the District/Circle line are built using the Cut & Cover method which results in larger more open station areas with both tracks passing through between the platforms rather than those used for the deep level tunnel lines, where each track and it's platform are in their own tunnel, like the Northern line 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. On the deep level tube lines 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

Saturday, 3 February 2018

192 The Web of Fear: Episode One

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 03 February 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear
TELESNAPS: The Web of Fear: Episode One

"Now is it safe?"
"Oh, I shouldn't think so for a moment!"

I wrote the original version of this blog entry on Wednesday 4th May 2011. Yeah I was a few days ahead but there was a couple of trips away coming up and a hospital visit so having a few (29) blog entries in the bank didn't hurt. Besides it meant that I got to spend the morning of my Birthday watching one of my favourite surviving episodes of sixties Doctor Who. And as a bonus I got to talk about the London Underground too! RESULT!

Jamie closes the doors on the Tardis sealing them off from the forces pulling them outside. At a museum in London the elderly Edward Travers is arguing with the museum's owner, Julius Silverstein, for the return of his Yeti when Travers' daughter Ann arrives. Travers tells her that he has reactivated a Yeti control sphere but it's gone missing. She persuades him to come home with her. The museum's owner goes to lock up when he hears a crash. The Control Sphere has broken through a window, reactivating and changing the Yeti. The beast comes alive killing Silverstein. The Tardis materialises in space but finds itself quickly coated in a web like substance. In London some soldiers are in an underground shelter Corporal Lane is on the telephone as Corporal Blake searches for Captain Knight. Knight is giving an interview to journalist Harold Chorley, paying tribute to their commanding officer, Colonel Pemberton, who has been recently killed. Travers is brought in by some soldiers: his presence has been requested by his daughter who is working here. The Web clears a little allowing the Doctor to move the Tardis half a mile from where they were expected to land. They are in a tunnel. Exploring they find they are on the platform of Covent Garden Underground station. The Doctor believes it's night time but walking to the locked surface gates they find it's broad daylight. A news paper seller sits against the gate, but when Jamie taps him on the shoulder he topples over dead, revealing a sign reading "Londoners Flee! Menace Spreads!" Retreating to the tunnels Jamie steps onto the track but fortunately for him the power is off. As they walk down the tunnels to the next station suddenly the tunnel is illuminated. Hiding, they are passed by three soldiers unravelling a drum of cable. Jamie & Victoria follow the soldiers while the Doctor traces the cable back to it's source. Craftsmen Weams thinks he hears something in the tunnel but Staff Sergeant Arnold dismisses his fears. However Victoria then walks into a cob web and screams, allowing the three soldiers to capture them. The Doctor follows the cable to Charring Cross station where he finds in wired to boxes of explosives. He hears a familiar beeping sound and ducks under the platform as a Yeti walk onto the station. Back at the base Lane is unable to contact Holborn to find out what's happened to their ammunition truck. Ann Travers tells him and Captain Knight that she's repaired the blast recorder. Another Yeti joins the first, both pointing guns at the explosives box which cover it in a web like substance.

1c 1e

Arnold brings Jamie & Victoria to the fortress where Knight hasn't got time to question them. They tell Arnold they were alone, trying to stop them hunting for the Doctor. However now he believes there's nobody in the tunnels Arnold reports to Knight it's safe to detonate the explosives. There's a small blast on the platform and the web covering the boxes starts to glow.....

1y 1z

LOTS to talk about today :-)

This is one of the stories that everyone remembers: Yeti in the Underground, the Daleks in central London, the Cybermen coming up out of Sewers and "the one with the Seaweed and foam" are probably the four most mentioned sixties stories amongst non fans. The Yeti become the series third returning monster with this story a mere 12 episodes between the end of their last story and the beginning of this one (The Cybermen had a gap of 14 episodes between Tenth Planet and The Moonbase. Although memorable they're probably some way down the all time Doctor Who monster listings due to not having appeared since 1968. A recent series of new Doctor Who did feature the Great Intelligence, the Yeti's controlling force and "snowmen" albeit of the more icy kind. Some have seen their inclusion as an on screen hint of the imminent return of the story.....

Watching this I almost resent the intrusion of the cliffhanger from the previous episode and the lengthy Tardis scene at the start because it keeps the Doctor & co out of the Underground for so long. As I explained at some length yesterday it'd be better to chop the opening Tardis scene off and bolt it onto the end of Enemy of the World 6, starting this episode at the museum! (a challenge to any video editors out there)

1a 1b

However the section at the start of this story makes me feel the Tardis crew are in a lot more danger than the brief segment at the Enemy of the World did which we'll credit to returning director Douglas Camfield, who'd not worked on the program since the 12 part Dalek Masterplan two years earlier.

But the actual opening of the story is superb, almost straight out of a Hammer Horror film, complete with candles, and the sequence as the Yeti change form and come to life might as well be Frankenstein's Monster coming to life.

Web1_yeti1 Web1_yeti2

This sequence features one of the few actors in Doctor Who who were born in the 19th Century. Frederick Schrecker, playing Julius Silverstein the Yeti's owner, was born January 10, 1892 in Vienna, Austria. He'd have been 76 when this episode was made. He made his film acting début in 1913 in Der Feldherrnhügel as the Regimentsarzt (under the name Fritz Schrecker) He died 8 years later on July 13, 1976 (age 84) in London.

1 Silverstein 1 Museum

The scenes with Silverstein in his museum, originally planned for location filming at the Natural History Museum, are brought to perfection by the music used: Bela Bartok's Adagio from Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. This appeared in the previous story, the Enemy of the world, most notably in episode 4 when Salamander enters the shelter, but to me it works much better here. It's not the only piece of music this story that returning director Douglas Camfield will reuse!

1 Travers 1 jw 2

As well as The Yeti the character of Edward Travers returns played once again by Jack Watling, the father of Debbie Watling who plays companion Victoria. He's the second non regular character, after the Meddling Monk, and the first human non regular character to appear in two different stories. Oddly enough the program's MOST regularly recurring character makes his début later in this story.

Returning to Doctor Who for this production are Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln, who wrote the Yeti & Travers' previous appearance, The Abominable Snowmen. There's an indication in the script that Haisman and Lincoln might be Pink Floyd fans: Web of Fear features characters named Arnold Lane. Seeing the names together makes you think that inspiration may have come from the Floyd's 1967 hit Arnold Layne.

1 Arnold 1 Lane

The scenes in the Underground are so atmospheric, it's just such a natural location for Doctor Who to be set in with enclosed dark tunnels. I say location, but it's isn't, this is all Studio Sets. Camfield had his production assistant Gareth Gwenlan, later to be Head of Comedy at the BBC, enquire of London Transport as to the possibility of filming there. They said no, so designer David Myerscough-Jones created the distinctive Underground tunnels in the studio. So good was his work that London Transport wanted to know how Camfield et al had managed to gain access to their premises without their knowledge and court action was mooted.

1 Station 1 Tunnel B

The geography in this episode seems a little bit wonky at first glance: How can the Doctor & co step onto the track on the station where the Tardis lands and end up where they do? A little interpretation makes sense of it. We see three locations: The shelter, which we later find out is the deep level shelter at Goodge Street Tube Station. The Tardis materialises at Covent Garden tube station. The explosives are found at Charring Cross Tube station. So although the story makes it seem that Jamie, Victoria & The Doctor have just walked into the tunnel and found the cable the likelihood is they've walked south on the Piccadilly Line, and then at Leicester Square walked through the station to the Northern Line tunnels - the Northern line connects Charring Cross & Goodge Street stations - and walked from there. But Charring Cross in the story isn't the present day Charring Cross tube station: the Northern Line station there was at the time named The Strand and not connected to the Bakerloo line as it is now which stopped at a separate Trafalgar Square station (now absorbed into the present day Charring Cross station). "Charring Cross" then is the present day Embankment tube station, serving Northern, Bakerloo, District and Circle lines.

Since it's the centrepiece of the action it's probably worth reproducing a diagram of the Northern Line c1968. I've included the names then and, where different, now plus which other lines they intersected then and what stations mentioned in the story they're connected to.

{The location of the Army's Fortress}
(Central Line for Holborn)
(Piccadilly Line for Piccadilly Circus (West) and Covent Garden & Holborn (East))
[Now Charring Cross]
(Bakerloo Line for Piccadilly Circus)
[Now Embankment]
(Bakerloo Line for Piccadilly Circus)
(Circle & District Lines for Cannon Street & Monument (East))

Knowing that the Charring Cross scenes are at the present day Embankment explains why the army is attempting to destroy that tunnel: they want to stop the Yeti, and the Web, penetrating from the South West corner of the Circle Line they currently hold (see later episodes) onto the Northern Line. It's worth asking yourself what the Yeti are doing on Charring Cross station. Did they just stumble across the explosives that Staff Sergeant Arnold's party have laid or did they know it was there somehow......

The Army's 2nd base at Holborn, lies on the Piccadilly Line one stop north of where the Tardis landed at Covent Garden. It also has platforms for the Central Line which intersects the Northern Line between Goodge Street & Charring Cross at Tottenham Court Road, for many years the tube station closest to most of London's comic and sci fi shops. Interestingly between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn lies the disused "Ghost Station" of British Museum. Sadly Web of Fear goes nowhere near ghost stations which is a fascinating subject in itself.

Right lets get the changes in behind the scenes personnel out the way: It's Peter Bryant's first show as producer proper, after a trial run on Tomb of the Cybermen. The new script editor is Derrick Sherwin, an actor turned writer. He'd been working on the popular soap opera Crossroads and brought with him to Doctor Who a writer he'd worked with there to act as his Assistant Script Editor: Terrance Dicks, who'll we'll he re much, MUCH more from later.

There's a little on-screen nod to the production staff at the start of the episode when during his interview with Chorley, Captain Knight pays tribute to Colonel Pemberton, his recently deceased CO. This character is named after Victor Pemberton, Doctor Who's occasional Script Editor (Tomb of the Cybermen, while Peter Bryant was having his trial at producing) who was at the time writing the next story: Fury from the Deep.

1 Tribute 1 High

Appearing as a soldier in this episode only is Bernard G. High - he's the young looking chap to the left of the picture looking at the cable drum. High had appeared occasionally in Z-Cars during 1967 as Det. Constable John. By an odd coincidence his director in all 3 appearances was one D Camfield who later reused him as a Unit Soldier in Terror of the Zygons 2! His final Z-Cars appearance, Finch & Sons pt2 also features Richardson Morgan who plays Corporal Blake in this story and later returns as Rogin in Ark in Space!

What's that I spy behind Chorley as he gets up? It's another power plant panel! In fact we saw this one in the previous story when it was in Salamander's office!

41web2 40Enemy

Web of Fear 1 was the second episode of Doctor Who to be returned to the BBC Film and Video library. In 1978 Sue Malden, BBC archive selector, made a visit to BBC Enterprises and found a batch of returned films from which she believed to be from Asia TV in Hong Kong (Note this information, taken from the first edition of Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes was removed for the The Second Edition). Amongst these was one episode of Doctor Who: Web of Fear 1. She contacted Asia TV but they said they had no other old episodes of Doctor Who. However 14 years later the same television station found prints of all four episodes of The Tomb of the Cybermen in it's vaults. 13 episodes of Season 5 remain. 2 were always known to be at the BBC, four more were actually at the BBC all along but lost. So prior to 2013 of the episodes returned from outside sources this season most of them come from Asia TV. Further searches of their archives have been made and they insist nothing else is there. The only problem with this story is that in 1976 a list of episodes held by the BBC was produced in order to make the Whose Doctor Who documentary. That list includes a lone episode of the Web of Fear: episode one....

The recent recovery of a near complete set of prints for this story has shed some light on the origins of the BBC's existing print of Web of Fear 1. The prints returned from Nigeria had been sent to them by RTV in Hong Kong. The BBC's print is likely to be the copy of Web of Fear sent back from Australia on 04/06/1975. This batch of films also included all the stories which have had individual episodes recovered in the UK over the years: Galaxy 4 episode 3, Underwater menace 2, Faceless Ones 3, Evil of the Daleks 2 and Wheel in Space 3.

I wanted to see Web of Fear 1 when I was younger. I was very fond of the book of this story which I'd read in my local library dozens of times (said Hardback copy now sits on my shelves here) and I knew this episode existed. Anticipation was heightened by watching Abominable Snowmen 2 on Doctor Who - the Troughton Years in 1992. As we saw it wasn't released with Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors in 1998. In fact it didn't come out on video till the very last Doctor Who video release The Reign Of Terror, which Blackstar very helpfully failed to send me necessitating a run round several shops hunting a copy down (thank you HMV in Richmond). Since the soundtrack for the whole story was released on 6th March 2002 that makes this one of (at the time of the original Blog) four episodes of Doctor Who that I heard before I saw them (the others are Dalek Masterplan 2 and Faceless Ones 1 & 3 - 11 more episodes have been returned since and added to the list). Of course it's now available on DVD as part of Doctor Who - Lost In Time with a commentary by Deborah Watling (Victoria) and Script Editor Derrick Sherwin moderated by Gary Russell.

The return of the Web of Fear doesn't affect us for this episode at the moment but a copy of Web of Fear 1 was returned with the four other episodes and apparently that's of superior quality to the existing one so when the DVD comes out it might be interesting to compare the episode there with the one found on Lost in Time.

Join us next week as we WATCH Web of Fear 2 - something I never thought we'd be able to do!