The Web of Fear

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Story Code: QQ / Season 5 UK Airdate: 3 Feb to 9 Mar 1968
Doctor: Patrick Troughton Previous Story / Next Story

This story aired in the following countries. They are listed in chronological order according to known airdate. (Refer also to Selling Doctor Who for expanded airdates.)

Web of Fear ep 4 film can, showing Hong Kong label and date of assessment in Singapore
Australia Dec 68 b/w
Hong Kong Mar 70 b/w
Singapore Jul 70 b/w
New Zealand Jun 71 b/w
Gibraltar Jul 73 b/w
Zambia Nov 73 b/w
Nigeria Feb 75? b/w
United States Mar 2015 b/w
  • The Hong Kong prints were sent to Singapore almost immediately after transmission, where they were assessed on 6 May 1970 and it would appear viewed by the censor on 27 May (as indicated by hand-written text on the surviving film cans).
  • Singapore subsequently sent the films to Nigeria in late 1974, from where all but episode 3 were recovered and returned to the BBC in 2013.
  • The sale to Gibraltar was actually "back-catalogue", as they had already started screening Jon Pertwee stories by this time.
  • The New Zealand prints were likely disposed of by the end of 1974. (The NZBC's rights to screen the story had expired on 31 March 1974.)
  • The ABC in Australia returned its prints to the BBC on 4 June 1975.
  • The BBC held a print of part one as early as late 1976. (This print may have been the one returned from Australia in 1975, or it was the print sent to Zambia, or it may have been an unsold print that was "on the shelf", or possibly created in 1969 for The War Games -- see below.) It was in the process of being junked when it was saved from that fate in 1978 (but see COPY B below).
  • See also the Troughton Junkings page.
  • The serial aired on television for the very first time since the 1970s when the United States station IPTV screened the five surviving episodes (ie not episode 3) back to back on 14 to 15 March 2015 as part of a pledge drive.


TWO NEGATIVES?

  • A set of telerecordings for the episodes was made on or shortly after 4 April 1968. The ABC submitted the film prints they had acquired to the Australian government censors on 5 June 1968, and these were viewed and assessed on 11 and 12 June 1968. So it is highly likely that the ABC's prints came from the April telerecordings. BUT:
  • The two existing prints of episode 1 are slightly different: the Nigerian copy had more detail in the blacks and whites, which suggests that the earlier copy (held by the BBC as early as 1976) may have been a dupe or had come from a second telerecording negative; and despite having been bicycled several times the print recovered from Nigeria was slightly the better of the two. The other print also had a bad scratch that had transferred from the negative. Why were there different prints, and which was the earlier of the two?
  • If the "1976" one was the earliest, it may have been a "test" copy, struck to quality-check the negative, which was then rejected due to the imperfection and a second negative and print was run off; for some reason the "test" print was retained.
  • If the "1976" print was made later, the first set would have gone to Australia between April and June 1968, with the 'new' telerecording struck a few years later, with those prints being sent to Hong Kong, New Zealand, Gibraltar and/or Zambia. Since the NZ print had censor edits to it and was junked in 1974, the uncut "1976" print of part 1 could only have come back from Gibraltar or Zambia.
  • It has also been suggested that this copy was made in mid 1969 as part of the transfer process to provide the footage of the TARDIS materialising in space that appeared in The War Games part 10.


COPY B

  • As seen in the YouTube clip below, the recovered Nigeria print of part five had the words "Copy B" written onto the leader in Chinagraph. What's not known is when this notation was applied to the print: it was either at source (i.e. by the BBC) or added by one of the subsequent broadcasters.
  • If the former, it might reflect that it's the second print that was struck: "Copy A" went to Australia, "Copy B" to Hong Kong, "Copy C" to New Zealand", etc.
  • If the latter, it was added during its progress along the bicycling chain, but it’s not clear what it represents since none of the known broadcasters would have needed to denote it in that manner.
  • But if "Copy B" was written on in Nigeria, who knows what it might signify!



Restoring The Web of Fear ep 5 (Copy B) on 31 May 2013


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