Friday, 16 March 2018

198 Fury from the Deep: Episode One

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 16 March 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 8.2 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode One

"Something seems to have got inside the pipe line. We've all heard it. This sound. At first I thought it was something to do with the pumps but it isn't. It's a peculiar sound. A sort of regular thumping, pulsating, like a heart beat......"

The Tardis materialises at sea causing it's crew to row a dingy to shore. Seeing the cliffs they realise they are back on Earth and in England. The Doctor is curious about the foam he finds on the beach. Finding a pipeline marked Euro Sea Gas the Doctor locates a black box which he opens using his brand new Sonic Screwdriver. He puts a stethoscope to the pipe and hears a pumping sound just before they are shot with tranquilliser darts. They wake in the control room and are interrogated by Robson & Harris who suspect them of sabotage. They have lost contact with one of their gas drilling rigs. Harris' Wife, Maggie, is prevented from leaving the base by a guard under Robson's orders. The Doctor tells Harris he heard something in the pipe. The missing rig briefly makes contact. Harris wants to turn off the gas flow and investigate but Robson won't let him: the gas has never been turned off while he's been in charge. Harris' notes are stolen from his bag by a white gloved man. Believing he's left them at home he goes back to find them. The Doctor, Jamie & Victoria have been locked in a bunk room and are trying to escape. When they do the Doctor asks Victoria to stay behind but she wanders off exploring. Harris meets Maggie and asks her to fetch the file. She finds it on his desk but is stung by a piece of seaweed within which she throws onto the veranda outside. Robson argues with Van Lutyens, the technical advisor from the Dutch government. Robson is contacted by Chief Baxter at the control rig: he can hear something in the pipes. Maggie is reacting badly to the weed sting. Victoria hides in the Oxygen store room but a white gloved gas masked saboteur is opening the gas cylinders. He locks Victoria in and opens the ventilation system where something lies in wait. While Jamie & The Doctor explore white foam and seaweed pour into the store and Victoria's screams echo round the base.

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Welcome to "the one with the foam and the seaweed". This initial episode is OK but what I mainly take from it is lots of people arguing with Robson. Those who've seen a few base under siege stories will recognise the "Leader who doesn't get on with the Doctor" type and indeed his character's name isn't that far from Hobson, another base chief we saw in The Moonbase, which happened to feature this story's writer, Victor Pemberton, in an acting role.

There's a nice piece of dialogue here illustrating Robson's character that also mentions Megan Jones, the company head, prefiguring her appearance in a few episodes time:

ROBSON: You're here to offer me your expert advice, not to spread alarm amongst my crews.
VAN LUTYENS: How dare you say that to me?
ROBSON: I didn't ask you to come here. It was Megan Jones and those fools on the board. I said it wouldn't work and it never has.
VAN LUTYENS: Only because you are too proud to accept advice.
ROBSON: Let's get one thing straight, my friend. When I need your advice I'll ask for it.
Fury from the Deep is the last story which has no complete episode existing, but there's quite a bit of material that survives in various ways. From this episode a brief clip of the opening showing the Tardis materialising at sea exists which I first saw on one of Blue Peter's many Doctor Who articles. Said clip is actually taken from episode 10 of the War Games which reuses the footage from the episode. This is the first time the Tardis doesn't materialise on dry land, although it did land on it's side in the Ice Warriors.

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The War Games 100 also reuses another unusual Tardis landing from the previous story, The Web of Fear, when it materialises in space in episode 1 and is covered in the web.

Famously this episode sees the first appearance of the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver. Here it's just a penlight torch which will evolve over subsequent appearances into a more familiar form. For once it is actually unscrewing something here!

I can remember a full page pinup of Troughton using it to open the pipeline box in an early episode of Doctor Who Weekly too. This would seem to come from a series of publicity photos taken of the three regulars on location atBotany Bay in Kent which is used as the location for all the beach scenes in this story.


Other memories I have of Fury from the Deep involve reading the oversized book when I was younger and enjoying it a lot. I bought the CD the day it came out and listened to it on the train to Stoke where my friend Naomi was living at the time (co-incidentally her surname is Harris like the couple in the story) and that will provide another memory later in the story that strongly sticks in my mind! Naomi will provide us with a top Doctor Who story when we get to Robots of Death!

John Garvin briefly appears in this episode as Carney, on Rig D. He'd previously appeared in Out of This World, the forerunner to Out of the Unknown, as Jim Thurgood in The Dark Star and the previous year had appeared in Adam Adamant Lives! as a Passer-by in The Tunnel of Death.

0_carney 0_guards

The same Adam Adamant episode also features Peter Ducrow, playing one of the guards here, who has a more regular role in Adam Adamant appearing as Adam's nemesis The Face in A Vintage Year for Scoundrels, A Slight Case of Reincarnation, Black Echo, Face in a Mirror, The Tunnel of Death, The Resurrectionists and A Sinister Sort of Service. He had previously appeared in A for Andromeda as Doctor Hunter in The Murderer & The Face of the Tiger.

As with most "Base under siege" stories there's a large control room set here, which is surrounded by lots of smaller room with pumping equipment in. To furnish them the BBC props department has got loads of my favourite control panels in!

Here's what I spotted this episode!

The first one isn't 100% obvious but I think it could be this panel from Dalek Masterplan 5: Counterplot:

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The next panel also appears in the same episode:

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You can see the edge of that again here, along with a much more familiar one from The War Machines:

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Friday, 9 March 2018

197 The Web of Fear: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 09 March 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 8.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear
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.

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A great final episode:Raise the tension as it goes on to a climax that reveals the traitor and yet is very different to anything else in Doctor Who in that it's not a clean win, a victory for the Doctor but a plan the Doctor has cooked up a plan that gets ruined by his companions! In fact this whole story is cracking, looks and sounds superb!

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

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

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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 and his absence is even referred to in the script when he runs into Arnold:

CHORLEY: Sergeant! Oh, thank heavens I found you. I've been wandering down here by myself for ages.
ARNOLD: Well, well, well. Quite forgotten about you we had, Mister Chorley.
CHORLEY: Tried to get out over the surface, but there are Yeti everywhere. And there's this fungus and fog, all around, you see, and it's hopeless! I tried to get back to HQ, I tried, but all the stations were locked, you see, and I couldn't get back in. And all the time I kept seeing more and more Yeti, and they were closing in on me. I was retreating. I was always retreating, and then, at last I found I could get into Piccadilly, but when I got down there, there was this machine and that Professor, and a girl. And more Yeti. They're everywhere!
ARNOLD: My, my, my. We are in a state, aren't we, sir.
CHORLEY: Yes. All right. So, I'm frightened. Well so would you be if you'd been up there.
ARNOLD: It's all right, sir. Nothing to be ashamed of.
ARNOLD: There's just one thing that puzzles me though, sir.
CHORLEY: Oh, what's that?
ARNOLD: How you managed to exist all this time. Why didn't the Yetis get you?
CHORLEY: Look, Sergeant, what are you suggesting? You're not suggesting that I
ARNOLD: Oh no, sir, I was just wondering, that's all. I think perhaps you'd better come along with me, don't you, sir? Come on now.
Our other coward, Evans, meanwhile has finally snapped and fled from Arnold into the tunnels.
EVANS: What are we going to do now, Staff?
ARNOLD: The main door should keep the fungus out of the tunnels for a bit. We must warn the others that HQ's had it.
EVANS: Right.
ARNOLD: Well, come on, then.
EVANS: Oh, oh no, not me.
ARNOLD: You're not disobeying an order, are you, Evans?
EVANS: Now look here, Staff. If we go up there, and this stuff breaks out, we'll be trapped.
ARNOLD: Now look, lad, you're scared, that's understandable. But you've been in the Army long enough to know that orders is orders. There's four people up there. If we don't warn them, they're for the chop.
EVANS: So? Four of them's getting the chop. There's no reason to make it six, is there?
ARNOLD: I've had enough of your lip for one day. Come on. Follow me. Evans! Come back here!
EVANS: Not on your nellie! Cheerio, Staff!
ARNOLD: Right, then. I'll get you for this!
Unfortunately almost as soon as he does he's cornered by two Yeti, perfectly illustrating Arnold's point that it's suspicious that Chorley has evaded them for so long:

6_7 6_8a
TRAVERS: It can't be!
ANNE: Oh, it's too horrible. I don't believe it!
ANNE: Arnold.
ARNOLD: No, merely Arnold's lifeless body in which I have concealed myself. But let us to work. There will be time for discussion later. In fact, all the time in the world.
ANNE: Oh, so you weren't going to let us go then afterwards.
TRAVERS: Did you think he would?
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 that Arnold is the Intelligence's pawn:

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 lifeless Zombie for the whole story or has he only been the Intelligence's control till it needs him?
TRAVERS: What's he going to do?
COLONEL: What's happening?
ARNOLD: Soon your mind will be absorbed by the Great Intelligence. You should be very proud, Doctor. Your knowledge of the past will help to shape the future of this planet.
DOCTOR: Just get on with it, please.
ARNOLD: You seem very anxious suddenly.
DOCTOR: I just want it over and done with.
ARNOLD: Submission is essential. You must understand, Doctor, that without your complete cooperation this transference would be of no value. Should you offer any opposition, either physical or mental, I shall be forced to punish you, or rather your friends. Prepare for a great darkness to cloud your mind.

6_9 6_10

JAMIE: Attack now! Attack the Yeti!
DOCTOR: No, you don't understand. You'll ruin everything! No!
JAMIE: Professor! Anne! Give us some help!
DOCTOR: No! No! No! Leave me be! You don't understand. I've got to stay here!

You feel sorry for The Doctor at the end as his plan goes down the tubes!
EVANS: Well, that's that then, innit?
DOCTOR: You blithering Welsh imbecile! Why can't you do what you're told!
JAMIE: Hey, now just a minute, Doctor. If we hadn't pulled you out of that, you'd have been a heap of dust by now.
DOCTOR: You're just as bad. I told you to leave it to me! Now you've gone and ruined everything.
JAMIE: Ruined everything? How can we? We we've won, haven't we?
TRAVERS: What do you mean, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Oh, why didn't they leave it to me? I had crossed those wires on that helmet thing. The Intelligence wouldn't have drained me, I would have drained the Intelligence! As it is, all we got was a crossed circuit.
ANNE: You mean, all we've done is cut off its contact with Earth? It's still out there in space somewhere, flying around?
DOCTOR: Precisely!
But on the other hand he's known Jamie long enough to know this is exactly what he'd do given the opportunity!

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, and the closing moments of the story give us another as Arnold is killer resulting in a lingering shot of his blackened body:

6_11 6_12

But actually the number of main 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

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Of the survivors we were meant to see Anne and Professor Travers again in The Invasion but plans changed at a late stage. However it's obvious that the characters of Professor Watkins and his niece Isobel are essentially substitutes for Travers. The Invasion does feature the return of Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier.

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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 and 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 had wavered 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.

Web is of course helped by the presence of Doctor Who's finest director, Douglas Camfield, behind the scenes. He too will be back for The Invasion.

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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 début 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 wasreleased on DVD on 24th February 2014, the 46th anniversary of the broadcast of episode 4.

Unlike the vast majority of the Doctor Who DVDs the 2013/14 discs for Enemy of the World and Web of Fear were missing the usual set of extensive special features the Doctor Who fans have got used to, and instead just contained the episodes. Fantom Films has attempted to plug one of these gaps with with it's Who Talk commentary CDs moderator Toby Hadoke is joined by people who worked on the story.

The participants on the Web of Fear discs are:

EPISODE ONE: Ralph Watson & Roger Bunce
EPISODE TWO: Deborah Watling & Ralph Watson
EPISODE THREE: Sue Malden (BBC Archives)
EPISODE FOUR: Ralph Watson & Derek Martin
EPISODE FIVE: Deborah Watling & Roger Bunce
EPISODE SIX: John Levene & Sylvia James
Recently an Enemy of the World Special Edition DVD has been announced for release on March 26th 2018. I very much hope that a Web Of Fear special edition is also in the works but suspect that such a thing won't happen before the currently missing episode 3 is returned.

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.

Friday, 2 March 2018

196 The Web of Fear: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Web of Fear: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 02 March 1968
WRITER: Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web of Fear
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.

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Evans tends to Arnold's wounds but as he goes to fetch something the wall of the fortress disintegrates letting the fungus in.....

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The fifth part of a six part story can be a difficult 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 arbitrary deadline is introduced.

TRAVERS: Cooperate and the child will be unharmed. You have twenty minutes to make up your mind.
At the point there's exactly 20 minutes of the episode left to go!

But the Intelligence does reveal Travers wasn't it's agent before the kidnapping:

TRAVERS: That will not do. The Doctor must submit willingly.
DOCTOR: And if I do submit, what of the others?
TRAVERS: Then the others will go free.
ANNE: And my father too?
TRAVERS: And him too. I'm only using this body to communicate with you.
ANNE: He didn't help you before, then.
TRAVERS: Oh, no. I have many other human hands at my command.
There's some great possessed acting from Jack Watling as Travers, the way he moves and, especially on the platform, the way he stands stock still just like a Yeti awaiting it's orders!

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Released from the Intelligence's control, Travers returns to his more normal self during his hushed conversation with Victoria on the platform at Picadilly Circus while a Yeti stands guard over them.

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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. The map of the web's progress from episode 4 will provide the answers. Covent Garden, where the Tardis landed 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.

It's worth comparing the map, which I've screen capped from the DVD with this telesnap of the same shot as it shows how much is lost around the edges of the telesnaps.

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Unfortunately 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 model work used at the very end of the episode as the wall breaks down and the web pours into the HQ proper, courtesy once again of the BBC foam machine.

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!

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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.

DOCTOR: What do you want?
TRAVERS: You defeated me in Tibet, Doctor.
TRAVERS: Now you have fallen into the trap that I have so carefully prepared for you.
DOCTOR: Oh, I see, so that's why you've brought me here. Revenge.
TRAVERS: No. Revenge is a very human emotion. My purpose for you is far more interesting.
DOCTOR: And what's that?
TRAVERS: Through time and space, I have observed you, Doctor. Your mind surpasses that of all other creatures.
DOCTOR: What do you want?
TRAVERS: You! Your mind will be invaluable to me. Therefore I have invented a machine that will drain all past knowledge and experience from your mind.
VICTORIA: But you'll kill him!
TRAVERS: Oh no, he will survive, his mind unharmed. Only empty as a newborn child's.
DOCTOR: And if I refuse?
TRAVERS: Then I shall have to seek the help of lesser mortals, like your companions here. And many, many others.
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 Doctor Who story 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 is 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 :-)