Should fans buy The Web of Fear DVD when it is released in the UK this week? Well yes and no. You see this release is a bit more complicated than the November 2013 release of The Enemy of the World. For one The Enemy of the World is a complete story. Philip Morris found all five of the episodes that were missing while one of them was (episode three) already in the BBC archives. You see episode three of The Web of Fear is still missing and if you got the iTunes release you know they recreated that episode with a reconstruction of the telesnaps with the surviving audio. So why should we buy a DVD that is exactly the same as the iTunes release? Why should we buy The Web of Fear at all?
Well if you do not have iTunes and did not have that version of the story then you might want to buy The Web of Fear so you can finally watch this classic story that pits The Doctor against the Yeti and Great Intelligence. I can accept that as a lot of people do not have Apple products and might not have iTunes so waiting for the DVD is the option for you. That is great if I did not have iTunes I would certainly buy the DVD. I really cannot fault a longtime fan of the show buying this DVD if they did not get it on iTunes. But that leads me to another problem I have.
The DVD release is exactly the same as the iTunes release. The DVD will not be released with extras/VAM at all and will be a vanilla release with the bare minimum of just the story and maybe a trailer for The Enemy of the World. Well that sucks as the Doctor Who DVD range has had some of the best extras that any DVD series has had. I mean if you have the iTunes release and with technology today you can easily transfer the computer screen onto your TV. So there is another reason for not buying it.
The missing episode three is still the amateurish recon that looked like it was thrown together at the last minute according to the preview discs. This one puzzles me. Since this was revealed as recovered by Philip Morris in October the story must have been found a lot sooner so restoration could be done on parts two, four, five and six with episode one already in the archive. Ok great so wouldn’t you think they would have commissioned the missing episode to be animated. Since it wasn’t being released on DVD in October with The Enemy of the World and with a February release and god knows when this was found and restoration had begun don’t you think there was enough time to animate one episode? I would think so and I am very disappointed that episode three will not be for this release. That is another reason for not buying this DVD but probably not the main reason some fans might be hesitant about buying it.
Like some many fans I follow the Missing Episode forums over at Outpost Skaro, Planet Mondas and Doctor Who Worldwide. These three forums are the best source for the latest developments in the Philip Morris Missing Episode Omnirumor saga that has pretty much been going on since Spring of last year and has been right with The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. So with that said the newest rumor is that 96 of 97 missing Doctor Who episodes have been found with the odd man out being an episode of Dalek Masterplan. So that would mean that episode three was found but not put on this release or the iTunes release for whatever reason. So then if this turns out to be true there would be another release of The Web of Fear complete and would explain why there is not an animated episode three. This makes the most sense and a lot of fans will not be buying The Web of Fear because of it. They will wait for the complete story to be released and will not double dip their money to the BBC. Can’t say that I blame them on that one who would want to buy something twice knowing that there is a possibility that episode three is found and just sitting there.
So what will I be doing? I’m a believer of the Omnirumor and I believe what Puqui, Scot and Eddie from Skaro are reporting from their sources. I believe that all but one episode of Doctor Who are found and that The Web of Fear episode three exists and is going to be on a special edition DVD somewhere down the road. But I still preordered it and got the shipping email form Amazon UK already. I just want to watch the story again and even though I am 99 % sure the Omnirumor is true there is that 1% that is still doubtful and who knows it might be a couple years before it is released and at least I can watch and enjoy the five episodes we have. I’m sure the completest will buy it also as they need everything but I have a feeling a lot of fans will not for the reasons I have mentioned above.