‘The Web of Fear’ is coming to Blu-ray! This Second Doctor adventure is getting the special edition treatment in 2021, with newly-animated material standing in for the missing episode three.
Here’s the BBC’s synopsis for the story…
In order to escape an attack in space, the TARDIS makes an unscheduled landing and ends up deep inside the London Underground. Here the travellers soon find themselves engulfed in a thrilling battle with the Great Intelligence and the Yeti, a deadly enemy set to invade the Earth. But as events take a turn for the worse, it becomes clear that the golden prize is not just the Earth, but the Doctor’s mind too…
As you may know, ‘The Web of Fear’ first came to DVD in 2013, following its discovery in Africa by film expert Philip Morris. However, the third episode didn’t make it back to the BBC archives, so a simple photo reconstruction took its place on the original release.
However, the newly-animated episode three will finally complete the story, which is due to come out as a Blu-ray steelbook (and DVD) at some point in 2021. The animation itself has been done by Shapeshifter Studios, produced in collaboration with Big Finish Creative and the BBC.
This is exciting for a number of reasons. First, ‘The Web of Fear’ episode three is the first episode in Doctor Who history to feature Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (later to become the famous Brigadier) played by Nicholas Courtney,
Second, this story’s original release was a basic, vanilla DVD, with no special features (other than a trailer for another Patrick Troughton story, ‘The Enemy of the World.’) This new edition will, doubtless, fix that issue. Expect commentaries aplenty, and copious amounts of Toby Hadoke. Keep ’em coming.
In fact, we’ve already had a taste of what’s to come. The animated trailer for this release (see above) is a recreation of the story’s original trailer, first broadcast in 1968. The original footage is lost to the sands of time, but its audio survived. No doubt this will be included on the bonus discs.
But what of the missing episode three? Can we ever expect to see a complete version of ‘The Web of Fear’? Absolutely. This story is unusual in that its missing episode is actually known to exist. According to missing episode hunter Philip Morris, it was discovered in Africa at the same time as its counterparts – only to be stolen by a nefarious TV station employee. So it’s out there somewhere – but probably in the hands of a private film collector, who would rather keep it for their own personal enjoyment rather than share it with the rest of the world. But never say never.
Are you looking forward to seeing ‘The Web of Fear’ again, in all its upscaled, semi-animated glory? Let me know in the comments.
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