Top positive review
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"Classic comes back"
on 3 March 2014
Web of Fear was one of my favourite target novelisations back in the day, I was disappointed to learn (in 1982) only 1 episode was intact and never expected to write this review.
The yeti (1st seen in Abominable Snowmen) return after one of their control spheres is reactivated led by the Great Intelligence (recently seen battling Matt Smith) and spread a deadly weblike substance through the London Underground.
This a good sequel to Snowmen, more of the same but different. A very innovative idea to place the yeti in an incongruous setting such as the Underground. As you will know even if you're only ever seen Ep1 (as on Lost in Time), a small section of the underground was recreated brilliantly in studio and show from myriad different directions & angles so it passes for lots of bits of the underground. the script is a good script confident in the brilliance of its monster and enemy and just out to make a thumping good action adventure.
The characters are good too, the returning Travers ( also in Abominable Snowmen) is excellently portrayed by Jack Watling. He plays the role here as an older man (some 40m years separates the 2 stories) and avoids the usual playing much older than your self cliche's. Instead he gives us a more temperamental & emotional man & suggests he gets tired easily.
Playing Travers' daughter Anne is Tina Packer. An instantly likeable character when she rebuffs mild advances from Capt Knight. She is also believably intelligent and a credible scientist. Taking a leaf out of Ice Warriors' Jan Garett she finds time to have a change of costume.
Derek Pollit's Evans is a coward you can't help liking ( what a trick missed not seconding him to UNIT and having the Brig exasperated in later stories by his behaviour!) and Jack Woolgar's Sgt Arnold is the sort of tough but fair army type so often played by one Mr Hartnell before he was the Doctor.
The man of the match of course is the Brigadier; who at this stage is still Col Lethbridge-Stewart. Great debut as the character by Nicholas Courtney, sadly his 1st appearance is in the still missing Ep 3 represented by soundtrack and telesnap pictures but what a memorable start as he holds the Doc at knifepoint! The hallmark of the character-military but human and not narrow minded is here for all to see.
A great show for Mr Troughton, devious (he doesn't tell others what he's up to), clever, compassionate and with Miss Travers almost flirty!
Frazer Hines' Jamie gets to do plenty as the man of action & forms an odd couple double act with Evans.
Deborah Watling's Victoria now warming up to being out of her era ( for the character her outfit is quite daring) does her usual stuff getting captured etc. but she does it so well you don't mind. Shame she doesn't get more screentime with Jamie.
The yeti are a marvellously incongruous monster & just fantasic fun. With John Levene playing one it means Sgt Benton's in the story too (Levene recalled that at this early point when he only got the monsters to play, Troughton was very encouraging to him).
Generally the webstuff is well made occasionally there are pulsating things clearly made of cellophane but the look is generally pretty good. Great direction & the soundtrack only episode doesn't ruin things at all (in a few bits they cannily reuse other episode's footage).
Good restoration work too.
Just briefly because I thoroughly enjoyed this, no extras! There clearly was ample time to do a commentary even if animation and a making of doc might have delayed things too much.
This story never comes to life on audio and now it's restored to glory, I recommend it for evreyone.