This Week in Doctor WhoThis Week in Doctor Who

Iowa Public TV

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Last updated 20 December 2023


Johnston, Iowa – The much-beloved Doctor Who story The Web of Fear, missing from the BBC’s archive for decades and thought lost forever, will make its U.S. premiere broadcast on Iowa Public Television on Saturday, March 14 at 10:10 p.m.

The disposable nature of 1960s television resulted in many Doctor Who episodes (97 of which are still missing) being discarded as the related sales rights expired. Five of the six episodes that compose The Web of Fear were found at a television relay station in Nigeria, and returned to the BBC in 2013. The entirety of a second Doctor Who adventure, The Enemy of the World, was similarly recovered; IPTV hopes to air that story later this year.

The Web of Fear, considered one of the Holy Grails of missing Doctor Who adventures, was first broadcast in 1968 and stars Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor. The adventure is notable for the iconic imagery of robot Yeti attacking soldiers in the London underground, as well as for being the debut of actor Nicholas Courtney as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, a recurring role that Courtney performed for 40 years (1968-2008). The main villain of The Web of Fear, the Great Intelligence, recently returned to vex the Doctor in Series 7 of the new Doctor Who.

The third episode of The Web of Fear was not among the find in Nigeria, but is not a huge loss in terms of plot, as it mostly entails the story’s main characters holding a meeting. IPTV will broadcast the recovered episodes during Festival 2015, with Doctor Who expert Lars Pearson bridging the gap between episodes 2 and 4 for viewers.

IPTV is arguably the most enduring broadcaster of Doctor Who in the world – certainly longer than any other station in the U.S. – having screened the show near-continuously since 1974. Doctor Who is the world’s longest-running science-fiction series; its first episode was shown on November 23, 1963.

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