Stories:
2949
Members:
741
Submitted Reviews:
8571
Reviewers:
349
< The Enemy of the World
Fury from the Deep >

The Web of Fear

Rating Votes
10
30%
31
9
37%
38
8
19%
19
7
9%
9
6
2%
2
5
1%
1
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.7
Votes
102
Director:
Writer:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/20/18 9:53 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This has been acclaimed as an all time classic for many years and deservedly so. It is terrific in every department.

The story involves the Great Intelligence, the villain introduced earlier in season 5 and which would return some 45 years later, shortly before and during the shows 50th anniversary season. The threat posed by this villain and the actions of his minions the Yeti, provide cracking entertainment and thrills.

The Great Intelligence causes the TARDIS to go to Earth where the evil power is carrying out an attack on London including robot Yeti marauding through the London underground.

There is plenty of action, there is mystery as to who is under the influence of the Intelligence and consistently great dialogue supporting a tremendously high standard of story (written brilliantly by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln) throughout the 6 episodes. The number of great characters is incredible with Nicholas Courtney as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (later to be Brigadier, regular 'companion' to The Doctor) making his notable debut, the return of Professor Travers (Jack Watling) and the addition of Anne Travers (Tina Packer), the journalist Chorley (Jon Rollason) and some excellent soldiers especially Sgt. Arnold (Jack Woolgar). Great villains, brilliant acting from the whole cast (including regulars Pat Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling), great direction from Douglas Camfield, quality production values and set design with a fine script and effects make this pretty flawless.

This is a true all time classic with an atmosphere and a magic which make it one of the best Who stories ever and therefore as good as TV gets! All 6 episodes 10/10.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 1:46 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Doctor Who has always been a show keen to explore mythological ideas, from the Trojan War in The Myth Makers to the minotaur in The God Complex. It's unsurprising, therefore, that Doctor Who has tackled the Yeti. The Yeti and the Great Intelligence were first introduced in 1967's The Abominable Snowmen and made a swift return three stories later in The Web of Fear. Whilst The Abominable Snowmen is still missing, only episode three of The Web of Fear is missing.

The plot is one of the most iconic of the classic series of Doctor Who. The Web of Fear concerns a Yeti invasion in the London Underground. The Doctor (Patrick Troughton, Victoria (Deborah Watling) and Jamie (Frazer Hines) are reunited with Professor Travers (who accidentally reactivated a Yeti, played by Jack Watling) and his daughter Anne (Tina Packer), whilst also making a new ally in Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). This serial was such an effective story for the show that it was referenced by Jon Pertwee when he took over the role of Doctor in 1970 and subsequently talked about the show's new direction to the media ("There's nothing more frightening than a Yeti on your loo in Tooting Bec").

It's hard not to see why it has had such an impact. The London Underground makes for an extremely effective setting for a base-under-seige story. There's something sinister and claustrophobic about seeing an isolated London Underground with no trains covered in webs and invaded by the Yeti behind them (they are able to create the webs with a gun). The set designer David Myerscough-Jones did such a good job at creating the look of the Underground that it looks like they actually filmed the serial at an Underground Station: except they didn't, as stated in the Complete History.

It is such a shame that episode three of this serial is missing, considering it introduced arguably the show's most iconic recurring character in Lethbridge-Stewart. Whilst the reconstruction gives you a vague idea what the third episode was like, it's really nothing more than a glorified picture slideshow and so it's hard to judge what the second Doctor and Lethbridge-Stewart's first meeting was like than if the episode had been found or animated. Nicholas Courtney is brilliant in the surviving episodes he is in however and it's not hard to see why this character went on to become one of the show's most popular. He has so much charisma onscreen and nearly overshadows Patrick Troughton's Doctor. It's interesting to note that he is a colonel at this point; when he next returns he is the Brigadier in 1968's The Invasion and in charge of UNIT.

Sadly the potential with Jack Watling's character was never fully realised. Jack Watling is great here as Professor Travers (his second appearance as the character in the show) and was set to appear in The Invasion alongside Nicholas Courtney but unfortunately he was too busy. He is a character who really deserved a third appearance and could perhaps have become nearly as iconic as Lethbridge-Stewart had he been given the chance. Jack Watling is one of the standouts of this story and has incredible chemistry with his onscreen daughter Tina Packer. It's interesting to note that in real life he was the father of Deborah Watling; it must have been weird for them playing friends rather than family.

The one element that solidifies the story's iconic status is, however, the wonderful Yeti. The Yeti are fantastic Doctor Who monsters and contain possibly the greatest quality of any iconic Doctor Who antagonist: they are scary. The Yeti play with our fears of the unknown; we have no idea what the mytholigical Yetis are like or if they even exist so when they turn up, they are absolutely terrifying. And that goes back to Jon Pertwee's quote: there's nothing more frightening than a Yeti on your loo in Tooting Bec. Truer words have never been spoken.

The greatest mystery with the Yeti is why they haven't returned in the new series. The most likely reason is rights issues; during the classic series of the show, the rights to the monsters laid with the writers rather than the BBC themselves. Mervyn Haisman's estate therefore own the rights to the characters, so it is possible that there is conflict between them and the BBC. It would certainly explain why they have used new characters such as the Snowmen, Spoonheads and Whispermen when the Great Intelligence has returned.

Yes, the Great Intelligence has proven to be a successful classic series villain. The character has so much potential as a sentient being not only able to control inanimate objects like the Yeti really are (because they're not really Yeti, basically machines that need a 'control sphere') but also with its ability to possess others' bodies to fulfil its goals. The moment near the end of the serial where the Great Intelligence tries to control the Doctor's body via a conversion headset is one of the show's finest climaxes; it's also creepy when the Great Intelligence reanimates a dead corpse in Sergeant Arnold (Jack Woolgar).

Overall, The Web of Fear is one of the show's scariest serials. The Yeti and Great Intelligence make for a terrifying threat and the London Underground is a brilliant piece of design work by David Myerscough-Jones. Nicholas Courtney is great as Lethbridge-Stewart in the surviving episodes and almost overshadows Patrick Troughton as the Doctor (no mean feat, especially when Patrick Troughton gives one of his finest performances in this serial). Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines as Victoria and Jamie are good too but Jack Watling is more often than not a scene stealer as Professor Travers and it's a shame he never got the chance to become an iconic recurring character. I would like to see the Yeti return to the show at some point but sadly because of rights issues I believe it is probably unlikely. Still, hopefully we can expect more from the Great Intelligence at some point.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 8/11/16 2:06 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Even with Episode 3 still missing, this is a tremendous story and one of the strongest of the Troughton era. The story finds the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria arriving in the London underground, which is being terrorized by the Yeti and the Great Intelligence.

The story is noteworthy for featuring the first appearance of Nicholas Courtney as the Lethbridge-Stewart (here as a Colonel), which would be enough to make it a must-see, but it's a very well-acted story overall, that's chock full of mystery and intrigue, particularly over who is being controlled by the Great Intelligence, a question that is only answered in the final moments of the story. The directing is superb leading to many great atmospheric moments.

The entire cast is superb with Frasier Hines turning in one of his best performances as Jamie, showing a take charge attitude and a willingness to even challenge Lethbridge-Stewart. He even overrides the Doctor's plan with his own.

From start to finish, this is a great story that we're blessed to have (mostly) back.

Other Recommendations

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: AlfredReview Date: 10/12/15 6:05 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Quite a good Who episode.

The plot works in the peculiarity of the Yeti, that they are powered by a metallic looking sphere, pretty well. The reintroduction of Professor Travis from the original Yeti episode, The Abominable Snowmen, is a nice touch. The denouement also has a neat twist to it and the sub-plot concerning the identification of the spy would have worked well when first aired and Courtney was an unknown. Otherwise it is a satisfactory stock standard base under seige episode. It is not particularly taut from a story-telling perspective but neither does it contain mere padding scenes.

Unit fans will enjoy the first appearance of Nicholas Courtney as the (prepromotion!)Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.

5 of the 6 episodes are now extant. The missing episode 3 has the audio track and a pretty good sequence of stills from the original.

An inexcusable shortcoming with the production is the use of the cybermen drums theme for the Yeti in some key sequences.