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17 December 2013

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Hello all – it’s Will from the future here! For me, it’s Day 374, and I’ve travelled back to tweak this entry, so that you can actually read my revised thoughts on The Web of Fear Episode Five. You see, somehow, this entry of The 50 Year Diary is our very own ‘missing episode’ (and how fitting that it should be for a recently recovered story!)

When I write up the Diary, I do so into an app on my computer designed for diary writing. The idea of it amuses me. The entries are then copied across to the Doctor Who Online website, where they’re formatted, the little sidebar images are added and then they go live for you to see. I go to bed, and when I get up the next morning, it’s time for another episode of Doctor Who.

But somehow, I’ve managed to completely wipe the original posting of this episode. I managed to write over it with another copy of Episode Six. Thankfully, a few readers tweeted and emailed to point out the error, so I headed to my diary app… to find a blank post where Episode Five should be. Lost in the Time Vortex! No idea what I’ve done with it – completely vanished. Luckily, though, all my notes for the episodes are neatly filed away (by which I mean when I run out of room on a bit of paper, I shove it in the cupboard with all the rest), and once you’ve written an entry, you can usually remember what you’d said.

So! With apologies for the delay…

Day 351: The Web of Fear, Episode Five (Revisited)

Dear diary,

The biggest problem with doing a Doctor Who marathon and blogging about it so publicly (The Doctor Who Online News Page receives upwards of 30,000 unique page views every day) is that I can sometimes feel a bit… silly. Not only because - just over 350 days in - I continue to assume that people actually want to read my thoughts on these episodes, but because I sometimes wonder if I should be saying something a bit more meaningful about them. There's several Doctor Who blogs out there on the web that really delve into detail on the series, and analyse each story from a new and unique perspective. I've several books on my shelf that do just the same thing.

And yet, having watched The Web of Fear Episode Five today, the only thing I can think to say is how good the effect at the end looks, when the fungus bursts its way into the base. I don’t recall it making all that much of an effect on me when I first went through this episode (indeed, checking back to my previous entry, I didn’t mention it. A quick look at the tele snaps makes it clear that it’s not all that impressive looking there).

It seems like such a ridiculously silly thing, but the moment the fungus pushes over a table is a highlight. It’s such a simple and uneventful thing but it suddenly makes the fungus look unstoppable. Maybe it’s because it’s so mundane that it holds impact? Or maybe because it just look pretty impressive for some model work?

Overall, I think I came away from this episode with the same general feeling that I did the first time around - that there’s plenty to love, but it does feel like the right time to start drawing towards a conclusion. The highlight is surely the Doctor and Anne working first on the control sphere, and then with the Yeti in the tunnel, and there’s lots of opportunity for Arnold to have some humour, too. The further through the story we get, the more I’m loving him.

Because this episode doesn’t have a whole lot going on that’s holding my interest, I spent the entry for it last time discussing the latter half of my ‘Great Intelligence’ time line. The recovery of the episodes doesn’t throw up any complications to it (Not that I expected they would - the main theories were all worked out based on the dialogue anyway), so I’m quite happy to leave it where things stand. The more I think on it, though, the more I’m keen to actually watch Downtime as a part of the marathon just to see if it all hangs together. What do you think? Worth doing?


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