Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Web of Fear

In an effort to find something quick that can be written as part of Daily Doctor Who, we are continuing with Say Something Nice, where I look back at each of the Doctor Who stories and pull out one or two cool things about it.

(Daily Doctor Who #332)

Read the previous entry here. Today, we continue with the fifth story of the show’s fifth season…

The Web of Fear

The story stars the same cast as the last one…Patrick Troughton as the Doctor and Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield. Jack Watling (Deborah’s father) is back as Professor Travers, and Nicholas Courtney makes his first appearance on the show in the role of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, the military officer who will come to be familiar as the Brigadier who is in charge of UNIT.

The serial is written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, and directed by script editor David Whitaker, and directed by Douglas Camfield.

Say Something Nice…

(Named for Missy–aka the Master–and her catchphrase from her first full appearance in Dark Water).

The idea of bringing back Professor Travers only a few months after his last appearance, but in a story set 40 years later, is a neat and novel concept for Doctor Who. With Travers returning, along with the Great Intelligence and the Yeti, this is in some ways the first proper sequel story that the show produced, which is also a nice idea for the series. And it’s obviously a hugely influential story, with the introduction of Lethbridge-Stewart and the way it sets the stage for UNIT with the heavy involvement of the largely modern day military in an adventure.

But because we’re equal-opportunity fans here, we’re not going to only be sycophantically complimentary.

You craven-hearted spineless poltroon!

(Another cry from the Master, but not exactly a catch-phrase, this time from The Deadly Assassin)

Nobody knew this would be historical at the time but the fact that the first meeting between the Doctor and Lethbridge-Stewart happens off-camera is a bit of a pity. I haven’t seen this story in a while but my memory is that in spite of its vaunted reputation, the pacing is a bit choppy, and the London Underground setting, while a cool concept, doesn’t allow for a great sense of scale or context for the story’s events.

Catch you next time!

3 thoughts on “Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Web of Fear

  1. I really enjoyed this one. But I notice they make a big deal of the Great Intelligence having some hidden agenda, only nothing ever came of it. But such is life in serialized fiction.

  2. Maybe that would have been in the threequel if things had worked out differently. I guess it was finally revealed in Series 7 in 2012-2013!

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