Friday, July 10, 2009

QQ1 - The Web of Fear 1

I love Doctor Who stories where The Doctor arrives long after the crisis has begun, and so has to almost work backwards to the beginning to find out what's going on and how it all started. The same thing happens in the opening episode of The Web of Fear, with the TARDIS landing in a deserted London Underground station. Meanwhile, juxtaposed with the scenes involving The Doctor and his friends, the other main storyline (that of the army's operation in the Underground) is already well under way, and we the viewers, much like The Doctor, are wondering why things are the way there, with only little snippets of information being unveiled as the episode moves along.

The Yeti, although not seen that much in this opening installment, look more frightening than their cuddly Mark I versions seen in The Abominable Snowmen. They also kill people more readily and easily. They even have a web gun! The glowing eyes and the strange roar, making them silent no longer, also serve to spook the hell out of the general population of British children in 1968.

Lastly (and this will be one of the last times I'll be able to comment on the visuals of this story, as Episode One is the only one in existence), the Underground sets are fantastic. The legend that tells of London Transport contacting the BBC to complain that they filmed in the actual London Underground has been told many a time, but it's worthy - the sets are just that good. And it's not often you can say that about Doctor Who sets. Part of it is down to set design, but the lighting is also superb. Well before the flood lit days of the 1980s (or even, as we shall soon see, the early 1970s), the fact that almost everything threatening in this story is concealed by shadows makes this one of the most atmospheric stories in the show's history. Things are starting off well...


hypocaust said...

This is probably my favourite of the "orphan" episodes along with Daleks Master Plan 2.

The sets are excellent, but its worth pointing out that there isn't a shred of documentary evidence to suggest that the complaint from London Underground ever actually happened.

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