fredag den 20. marts 2009

Who Review #42 - the Web of Fear

Only episode one of this six part Yeti sequel exists. The story is important - it introduces the character Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), who would figure in the UNIT stories of the Pertwee era.

Jamie manages to close the TARDIS door. (During which we get to see a lot of Debbie Watling's legs. Being equal opportunities, the ladies did have Frazer Hines in a kilt to look at throughout the Troughton era!) It is 30 years since the events at the Detsen monestary. Traves, played by Jack Watling again, took a Yeti back with him from Tibet and sold it to a man called Silverstein. He goes there and tells his daughter Anne that he has managed to activate one of the control spheres, which has disappeared. Silverstein will not give the Yeti back and throws the Travers out. A control sphere, emitting its characteristic bleep, smashes through a window. Silverstein goes to investigate and is killed by the reactivated Yeti. Back in the TARDIS, a light flashes indicating they have landed; but they are in space. The TARDIS is covered in a web. A Capt. Knight sends for Professor Travers to assist at the request of Anne. The Doctor rigs a device to make the TARDIS hop half a mile from where it was supposed to land, in order to elude their captor. They have materialised in the London Underground. They go to street level; Jamie tries to get the attention of an old man. He falls dead, covered in a web. The billboard states: "Londoners flee - Menace Spreads." The gates of Covent Garden are locked so they head off down the tracks, which are not electrified. They hide as a group of soldiers pass by; they are laying cable. The companions follow the soldiers, whilst the Doctor follows the cable. Victoria yelps when she steps into a cobweb; the soldiers come back and detain them. The Doctor finds the cable is attached to some boxes. He hides below the Charing Cross station platform at the bleeping sound of approaching Yeti. They cover the boxes in a web. The Staff Sgt. returns to HQ and reports to Knight. The staff asks the companions if they were alone; they say yes. The boxes contain explosives. The Doctor investigates when the Yeti move away. The soldiers detonate the explosives and the Doctor is thrown backwards.

The staff goes to Charing Cross to investigate and see if the Doctor is OK. There wasn't a blast. Knight questions Jamie and Victoria. Some soldiers are attacked by Yeti and Knight heads off. The explosives went off but the explosion was contained by the Yeti web. At the HQ, Anne tells her father that the two youngsters now all about the Yeti; he is reunited with his old friends Jamie and Victoria. Jamie and Travers head off to find the Doctor, whilst Victoria tries to explain the TARDIS et al to Anne. The newspaper reporter Chorley wants the scoop on the Doctor. Suspicion has fallen on him because there wasn't an explosion. Knight and his men are attacked by Yeti when they go for supplies. The Yeti fire their web guns on the ammunition crates. Knight shoots at the crates which explode, but once again the web absorbs the blast. Two more Yet appear behind the men, who have been joined by the Staff and Jamie. Anne is suspicious - every time the Doctor appears, the Yeti appear. The motionless Yeti move off at the sound of a signal. The Corporl is talking with another soldier; they look at a map of the London Underground. The Yeti web is moving around the Circle line. Victoria is looking in the tunnels for Jamie and the Doctor. Knight, the soldiers and Jamie take cover as a man, who is singing, appears. It is Private Evans, who is singing because he is scared. Evans has seen a Yeti spreading the web; it was carrying a pyramid. Jamie sets off (with Evans) after the Yeti in order to smash the pyramid whilst Knight and co. return to base. Jamie and Evans reach the Monument, but are trapped when web flows from both directions.

Jamie and Evans clutch their ears as a deafening electronic sound starts up. A Yet emerges from the web. Evans shoots the pyramid, the Yeti stops, but the web keeps moving forward. Victoria bumps into the Doctor who is accompanied by Col. Lethbridge-Stewart. They had back to HQ. The HQ is by this time surrounded as the Circle line is filled by web and thus they are cut off from the outside world. The Colonel is taking charge of the operation. Travers meets the Doctor and they discuss the matter - the Intelligence has brought the Doctor to Earth, but why? Jamie and evans have managed to escape to St. Paul's. Chorley makes to leave the Underground. Lethbridge-Stewart holds a briefing, where the events are discussed. A deadly mist covered London and then the Yeti appeared. Anne, Travers and the Doctor are relied on to solve the problem and the Colonel assures they will get military support. Jamie and Evans make their way to HQ. The Doctor, meanwhile, suggests they need to blow a tunnel to seal themselves off from attacks as gaining time is vital to defeat the enemy. Somebody unbolts the base door. Victoria and the Doctor study Yeti figures; Anne says there were three, but there are only two. The traitor places a Yeti figure by the door. A Yeti moves towards the HQ. The Doctor and co. head to the explosives room; they open the door and discover the Yeti has been and covered the explosives in web. Chorley locks the Doctor and Victoria in a room after hearing about the TARDIS. Jamie returns and lets them out. Travers hears a scream and finds a dead soldier, a Yeti figure beside him. He turns to see a Yeti.

Travers is knocked out and taken away by the Yeti. Lehtbridge-Stewart and men continue to move off to Holborn, whilst the Doctor and co. see the path to Covent Garden is blocked by web, not knowing if Chorley has made his way to the TARDIS. The Doctor and co go back to the HQ and find Anne. The web is moving again, filling more stations and tunnels. The Doctor and the Colonel discuss who might be in league with the Intelligence and explains the nature of the TARDIS. Lethbridge-Stewart wants to know if it can get them out of Goodge Street, so he intends to recover the TARDIS. The Doctor asks Anne what Travers was working on before his abduction; Evans hands him a Yeti figure. The other figures have disappeared. The Doctor wants to examine some of the web he took earlier; the tin is empty though. Evans is suspected. The Colonel and his men move towards Covent Garden. Evans and the Staff move a trolley along the tracks to load the TARDIS on. Private Lane and the Staff move the trolley into the web. There is a scream; Lane is dead and the Staff has vanished. The Colonel and men run into Yeti and begin to open fire, but it has no effect. The soldiers are slowly cut down. Knight and the Doctor have gone for electrical supplies, Yeti appear and strike knight dead. The Yeti leave again, a figure was planted in his pocket. Only the Colonel is left now and he climbs a wall to escape. He makes his way back to the HQ. The Doctor realises the Colonel must have a Yeti figure on him. He takes it out as two Yeti enter, followed by Travers.

travers is possessed by the Intelligence. It wants to drain the Doctor's mind. Travers takes Victoria hostage and gives the Doctor 20 minutes to decide if he will cooperate. Lethbridge-Stewart and Jamie head after Travers et al. Evans remains to protect Anne and the Doctor. The Colonel and Jamie's exit is blocked by the web and it spills into the HQ. The Doctor manages to restart a control sphere. Evans holds a gun to the Colonel and Jamie; he suspects one of them of helping the Intelligence. Travers is released from the grip of the Intelligence; it says they will see it soon enough. The control box can control the sphere; the Doctor ponders how to get it to obey verbal commands. Jamie and the Colonel are making their way down the tunnels; Jamie finds Victoria's handkerchief. The Staff finds Victoria and Travers; he is instructed to return to the HQ and inform the Doctor of their position; he encounters the Jamie and Colonel. The Yet move off, escorting Victoria and Travers. Anne and the Doctor move off to Warren Street with the sphere he now has voice control over. They capture a Yeti and have control over it. At the HQ the Staff and Evans see web break through a wall and spill into the place.

Staff and Evans run. The Doctor orders "Fred the Yeti" to remain for 90 seconds and then start obeying the Intelligence until ordered otherwise. Anne and the Doctor meet up with Jamie and the Colonel, then move back to HQ, where they meet the Staff. Fred and two more Yeti move down the tunnel. Evans is caught by two Yeti and the Doctor and co. are taken too. The Staff slips off though. Travers and Victoria are taken to an area in Piccadilly which has a helmet. The Doctor has taken out his recorder and starts to play; he then goes to Jamie and instructs him to talk into a microphone in order to call Fred to them; Jamie slips off. The Staff finds a terrified Chorley. Evans is carried in by two Yeti. Yeti escort the Doctor up to the ticket office where they go to place the helmet on the Doctor. He uses a jamming device to stop the Yeti and adjusts the helmet. Then he turns off the device. Jamie summons Fred; a Yeti approahes him, not reacting to his instructions. The Doctor meets up with everyone, the helmet on his head. The Staff is revealed as the Intelligence's pawn. The Intelligence orders the Doctor into a pyramid. Fred is ordered to attack by Jamie. In the confusion, the protesting Doctor is pulled from the pyramid and it is destroyed. The Yeti collapse, the Staff falls dead (his body a blackened husk) and the Doctor complains. He had fixed the helmet to drain the Intelligence. All that has happened now is the Intelligence no longer has contact with Earth; it is still out in space somewhere, undefeated. The Doctor and companions say their goodbyes and head back to Covent Garden and the TARDIS.

Yeti in the Underground; scary stuff, eh? Former England cricketer Mike Gatting thought so. This Whovian spoke of watching the Web of Fear as a kid and being frightened for a few weeks of going on the Underground! I can understand that; I was scared of that pitch black tube tunnel for a little bit after watching that classic horror/comedy "An American Werewolf in London" as a kid. Enclosed spaces, darkness and distant sounds abound on the Underground so it is a great place to set monster stories. There is a horror atmosphere from the moment Silverstein is killed by a Yeti. (The incidental music there was correspondingly atmospheric for that scene.) All through the story, you don't know when a Yeti will appear; and they are certainly far more deadly than in the Abominable Snowmen, as we see when they massacre the soldiers. The tension of the story is hightened because we are left guessing till the very end who the Intelligence controls.

Classic Victoria

Deborah Watling in another mini; she was accompanied by Tina Packer (Anne) in a mini too. Hurrah for pretty girls in mini-skirts, I say!

Womens' Lib success
Soldier: "What's a girl like you doing in a job like this?"
Anne Travers: "Well, when I was a little girl I thought I'd like to be a scientist, so I became a scientist."

Just about the only thing I dislike about the story is the running about. Characters go into the tunnels and go back to HQ again, only to faff off into the tunnels for another reason. One lets it pass though as the Web of Fear continues the high quality of season five. The story is made all the better with Lethbridge-Stewart but that's because we have an advantage over those watching back in the day of knowing what an integral part Nicholas Courtney would become in the show.

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