The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie (Frazer Hines), and Victoria (Deborah Watling) find themselves in the London underground but discover the tunnels have fallen under control of the Yeti. Teamed with their old friend Professor Travers (Jack Watling) and his daughter Anne (Tina Packer), the Doctor must find a way to stop the Yeti…and they have a new ally in Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney).
Doctor Who: The Web of Fear aired on the BBC during season five of the long running BBC series. The serial aired in six episodes from February 3, 1968 to March 9, 1968. Much of the serial was lost (except for the audio) until the serial was rediscovered in storage in Nigeria in 2013. The serial was restored and missing episode #3 was recreated through stills for the DVD release. Following the also recovered Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World, Doctor Who: The Web of Fear was released as part of The Patrick Troughton Years as Story #41.
Patrick Troughton’s run on Doctor Who was destroyed by the purge of the BBC’s archives. Now that Doctor Who has become even more of an international phenomenon, the search for lost episodes has become a huge undertaking worldwide. With countries receiving copies of episodes and existing tracks of the original series, there is hope that lost series can be found. Doctor Who: The Web of Fear is one of the success stories.
With Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World, Doctor Who: The Web of Fear was rediscovered in Nigeria. All episodes except episode 3 were found and this collection reconstructs Doctor Who: The Web of Fear through stills. Other versions of the show have been animated and I wish that they had just animated the missing episode.
What is a shame about the missing episode is that it featured the first appearance of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (at the time called Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart). Played by Nicholas Courtney, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart became one of the Doctor’s most constant “companion” without being a true companion. He returns in Doctor Who: The Invasion (Story #46) and then became a regular with Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. He last met the Doctor in the regular series in Doctor Who: Battlefield (Story #155) and later made his last appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures—Season 2 “Enemy of the Bane”…it is too bad that it is the missing episode since the character had such a long history.
I do love the Yeti. They first appeared in the missing Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen which this episode essentially serves as a sequel to. The designs of the Yeti were modified slightly but the characters just look like big furry teddy bears to me…which makes the lumbering characters hard to find threatening.
Like many Doctor Who episodes, the serial goes on a bit too long, but it is atmospheric and the Great Intelligence is an interesting “villain” who has appeared in later episodes of the series after escaping the Doctor here. I’d love to see a really modified and threatening version of the Yeti show up someday since they have the potential of being scary. Doctor Who: The Web of Fear is followed by the missing serial Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep (which introduced the sonic screwdriver). The next completely existing episode is Doctor Who: The Dominators (Story #44).
Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep (Story #42) Missing
Next Existing Serial:
Doctor Who: The Dominators (Story #44)