DOCTOR WHO - Looking back at THE WEB OF FEAR

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Following our look at the recently discovered Doctor Who story, The Enemy Of The World, Christopher Morley goes underground to revisit the other Patrick Troughton discovery, The Web Of Fear.


If you're reading this on the London Underground, you may want to sit down. Or if you can't get a seat, read on anyway - this is the side of our fair capital city's transport network Boris Johnson didn't want you to know about! Having just about avoided being caught up in a web in space following the resolution of The Enemy Of The World, the Second Doctor & chums find themselves thrust into the oddest commute they'll ever have to make. Of course, on the one day our Beatle-barnetted hero pitches up to try his hand as a workaday service user something odd has to go & happen - at least he gets there on time, mind, the temporal traffic around Covent Garden Tube station clearly quiet come February 1968. A small mercy in a pre-Oyster card age, clearly.


The Evening Standard front page on display outside the venerable temple of everyday Cockney travel makes grim reading - ' Londoners Flee! Menace Spreads!' it screams. They've evaded whatever entity wants to capture them for now, but something's clearly wrong and it's not a mere signal failure. Come to think of it, services haven't been running for some time now, have they? Taking the stairs, the entrance is closed... Back to the platform it is, then. Jamie quickly takes a chance to demonstrate a quite frankly cavalier approach to rail safety, jumping down to the tracks without first checking for any hazards. Mercifully he isn't electrocuted, though the Doctor could be forgiven for making a mental note to give him a good ticking-off once they get back to the TARDIS. 


But what's the problem? More webbing catches a terrified Victoria, while the Doctor hears a sound he last clapped ears on in the Himalayas with Professor Travers (The Abominable Snowmen.) That's right- it's the Yeti, and their formless fiend of a master the Great Intelligence. He fancies a bit of a mental snack and has decided our recorder-playing pal (a lack of musical foresight on his part sadly robbing us of the chance to hear his own original take on the Jam's Going Underground) is just the ticket. Yum, eh? 


And so begins what must rank as one of the best of the Second's adventures - inventive use of a well-known setting, allowing for a game of cat & mouse between he, his companions, the Army (including a certain Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart) & the Intelligence/Yeti. The prize? No less than the Doctor's mind, though he's got a crafty plan to turn the tables on this most Intelligent of enemies. That'll teach it for royally mucking up the Tube network, with a little accidental help from the Eleventh Doctor going by the events of The Snowmen


It's also the event which causes/forces the formation of UNIT, making this story all the more notable- you can direct your hypercubes of thanks to the team who discovered it and indeed The Enemy Of The World in Nigeria of all places in a notable double whammy for advocates of the Troughtonian Period of Who in April of last year. Why there isn't a plaque commemorating the starring role played to perfection by the station itself is surely a mystery- on your bike, Boris! The very thought of London's Mayor clad in Beatle-cut wig, rumpled jacket & bow tie with a handily-placed recorder underarm at just such a dedication ceremony should ensure that one day it happens... the petitioning starts here!

Up next, it's back to Doctor number 1 and the completely missing story, The Savages.

Check out our previous articles on the missing/recently recovered stories:
What's going on with all those Doctor Who missing stories?
The Abominable Snowman
Mission To The Unknown & The Daleks Master Plan
The Enemy Of The World



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