Friday, July 10, 2009

QQ3 - The Web of Fear 3

It's fun and amusing, knowing what we classic Who fans know, to go back and watch The Web of Fear, Part Three, and hear the warm, dulcet tones of Nicholas Courtney as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart. So much more to come from him in the years (and decades) to follow. He actually enters this story rather mysteriously, his own platoon having been killed off by the Yeti, more or less taking The Doctor prisoner before taking command of the makeshift army base in the Underground.

Yes, The Doctor! Remember him? After a superb opening episode to this story, things rather grind to a halt in Episode Two as everyone is trying to find The Doctor, who is apparently either lost in the Underground somewhere, or bits of him are scattered around the place after being blown up in an explosion. I've spoken before about how taking The Doctor out of the action for a week to necessitate the lead actor's vacation. William Hartnell was older and, thus, never entered into the action as much as his later incarnations, so his absence could be more easily explained as his male companions would usually pick up the slack. While Patrick Troughton's Doctor can be devious and mischievous and manipulate things behind the scenes, he also has more scenes and stories where he is front and centre in the action than his predecessor.

So it's good to have him back in this episode, but it almost feels like Episode One all over again, as now The Doctor is finally involved directly in the London Underground operation, and the army finally has a proper leader in Lethbridge-Stewart. A new character, Evans, a cowardly Welshman who only aspires to maintain his career as a driver, and to maintain his own existence at the expense of those around him, makes his debut. Funny how Doctor Who's opinion of the Welsh would change as the years go by...


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