Just a bit for now. A lot on the net on Dr Who so not a lot new here, except this picture might get you fans excited. It's my Yeti from the series, it's one of the dummy homing devices that made the Yeti's come and get you!
As you may be aware these lost episodes have now been discovered in Nigeria, digitally restored and availble to buy on iTunes and it's wonderful to be able to see them again after so mamny years.
Here is an article I wrote about 'Web of Fear' for a fan web site back in 1998 (?)
*** THE MEMORY CHEATS ***
This issue features a rather unusual column. The contributor is Tim
Woolgar, son of the late Jack Woolgar, who played Sergeant Arnold in 'The
Web of Fear'. Tim recalls some of the interesting memories he has of his
father's involvement in DOCTOR WHO ...
At the time, it was great to obtain an acting role in DOCTOR WHO ...
because that was what my father did. He was an actor, and work was work. My
elder brothers and I thought it was "groovy" to be in the best Saturday
programme there was. However, we were not too excited.
As a character actor, Dad was in many of the great series of the sixties
and seventies (THE SWEENEY, THE SAINT, THE AVENGERS, RANDALL & HOPKIRK
DECEASED, THE LIKELY LADS, etc). Dad was always telling stories about his
appearances in these shows. However, I can recall Dad's tales from DOCTOR
WHO more than any of those from the other shows. This might have been
because he was in the whole serial, and wasn't "bumped off" in a single
episode. Or perhaps it was due to the fact that some of the props arrived
home for us to play with. I'm not too certain as I was only seven years old
at the time.
The two things that I most remember from 'The Web of Fear' are the death
mask and the Yeti homing device.
The mask has sadly been lost due to several house-moves, and in any case,
would have probably perished by now. This was a rubber mask taken from a
plaster cast of Dad's face. The mask was created by Dad (a) having a straw
inserted up each nostril; (b) closing his eyes; and (c) being immersed in
Plaster of Paris. Several of these masks were made, and test scenes were
shot for the final episode where Sergeant Arnold is "graunched". I never
did find out whether the word "graunched" was a Dad-ism, whether it was
part of the script, or whether it was just a 1967 "thing". However, it was
always referred to as graunching.
One of the masks was stretched over a human skull, placed on a body and
generally made to look like Sergeant Arnold. At the graunching moment, the
dummy was placed in the chair. Acid was then poured over the rubber mask,
which caused it melt away, revealing the bone beneath. The special effect
was shot and viewed, but the powers-that-be deemed that the effect was too
frightening for children, and ordered another visual effect be prepared. I
seem to remember that the toned-down effect was broadcast with a lot of
flashing lights, and many negative rapid cuts. It was a shame that the
original was never used - I could have coped with dissolving skin. On the
plus side, it did mean one of the masks found their way home. The mask was
a bit creepy as it had hair stuck to it, as well as a moustache. However,
we were delighted to put on Dad's face (Hannibal Lector who?) and scare
most people witless.
The second item I still have and cherish. In 'The Web of Fear', when a Yeti
was sent to obtain someone, the Yeti would home in on a bleeping four-inch
high figurine. Dad actually brought home one of the dummy homing devices
(ie without the electronic gadgetry). It has sat in all my bedrooms ever
since. Unfortunately, it has now begun to perish slightly from being in the
sun during in its early days (I only hope it doesn't become too
graunched!). It will always serve as a reminder of the time my father
played the leader of the Yetis.
[Shortly after this article has written, Tim was able to relive his
memories of 'The Web of Fear' by watching the JV reconstruction. Tim
recalls "it's funny how familiar the story was, even though I saw the
original when I was only seven years old. The mystery of "graunching" has
finally been solved - the Doctor refers to it in Episode 1."]
Yeti from Dr Who 'Web of Fear' it is begining to perish so any hints on how to preserve it welcomed.