The Faceless Ones
This story is not known to exist in its original format
(6 black-and-white 25-minute TV episodes)
in its entirety.
See below for episodes available
on DVD / video
||CD Audio - 2 discs
|(Doctor Who Story No. 35, starring Patrick Troughton)
- written by David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke
- directed by Gerry Mill
- produced by Innes Lloyd
- featuring library music tracks
- 6 episodes @ 25 minutes each
Story: Landing on a runway at the busy
Gatwick airport in the 1960's, the four time/space
travelers soon accidentally witness suspicious and
murderous activities in the hangar for Chameleon Tours.
When Ben and Polly soon go missing, the Doctor and Jamie
team up with Samantha Briggs, who claims that her brother
is one of hundreds of young passengers who never really
arrived at their foreign destinations. What secrets are
the sinister Captain Blade and his Chameleon Tour crews hiding?
And where do his planes take the passengers?
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for
those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the
Buyers' Guide version instead.
At last true excellence begins for the
Patrick Troughton Era, which will
continue through most of next year's powerhouse "Monster Season",
as this is the first in a series of stories that really came
Enjoy the dramatic landing of the TARDIS while you can, because
its movement will not be demonstrated again for several stories. The
script assumes that you already know all about the TARDIS - not ideal,
but this particular story still works well, as it's only important
to recognize the Doctor as an unorthodox man of mystery and
indeterminate origin. It is here that Jamie firmly takes over the
role of prime sidekick from Ben, who is quickly reduced to a very
minor character whose only significant contributions occur in episode
two. Polly is still quite important in the first two episodes,
especially as she gets the main plot going, and she should feel
right at home again playing the villain-controlled zombie in a
contemporary setting as she did in
"The War Machines" (story no. 27). However,
she too is soon replaced as lead female companion by the character
of Samantha Briggs, who proves to be a stronger, more interesting,
and much better scripted companion candidate than damsel-in-distress
Victoria Waterfield in the next story. It is interesting to speculate
what Pat Troughton's Monster Season might have been like had
Samantha joined the TARDIS crew.
Although the Doctor and the airport Commandant are technically
on the same side in this story, the constant clashing of their
opposite styles and beliefs begins in the first five minutes of
the story, and provides much essential, and humorous, drama throughout.
Then enter Captain Blade, and his hordes of purposeful, average-Joe
and -Jane zombies hidden amongst the everyday people at the airport
for an excellently creepy set of main "villains". Donald Pickering's
masterful portrayal of Blade, coupled with some choice pieces of
BBC library music by none other than Sound Effects designer Brian Hodgson,
provide an atmosphere unique to Doctor Who at its most suspenseful
Bernard Kay is on hand once more to bring to life the character
of Detective-Inspector Crossland of Scotland Yard, who touts his
saxophone-shaped smoking pipe as any good Sherlock Holmes wannabe would,
and proves to be an excellent mediator between the Doctor and the
Commandant. His presence, and Samantha's, ensure that the plot will
not get bogged down in a deadlock between the Doctor and the authorities.
The plot mounts very effectively, a non-stop flow of questions and
clues advancing the story, with lots of action interspersed. The early
disappearance of Ben and Polly in this adventure adds perfectly to the
main mystery of the piece - a story tailor made for missing friends.
As the significant audience anticipation builds, so too is the viewer's
curiosity nicely and slowly satisfied, as the story's settings expand
beyond Gatwick airport, where the answers to the mysteries are solved,
and a new dramatic dilemma is discovered. With Malcolm Hulke finally
being successful at making his Doctor Who writing debut, we get a host
of fairly well developed characters taking a modest stand against
stereotypes, especially in terms of associating villainy with an
entire species. The final answer is NOT a writer's typical cop-out
of killing off all the bad guys. Something much more civilized is
attempted here, and although some elements of character and motivation
could probably be improved on, I have to say that this script has
a truly noteworthy ending. The pace ebbs and tides in the final
episode, but altogether holds up very logically.
Terrance Dicks does the ending an injustice in his novelization
by adding a few lines between the Doctor and Jamie to suggest that
the lack of "justice", or as I would call it, "legalized revenge",
disappoints them both. Wake up from your primitivism, guys!
A win-win solution is much better, a greater understanding
has been reached, and a brilliant new synergistic solution
combining the best of everyone's ideas is surely
on its way! If you've got emotional problems getting over your
feelings of "injustice" without forcing others to do things, think
about seeking a therapist who's competent in teaching you
Ben and Polly make their goodbyes in the final scene, which works
well, and one excellent story leads into another.....
Coverage on The Faceless Ones (a 6-episode story) includes:
||Doctor Who: Lost in Time - Patrick Troughton
2 DVD discs
(also included in Lost in Time Boxed Sets)
More details & buying options for "Lost in Time" DVD's
- Episode 1
- 8mm off-screen clip from episode 2
- Episode 3
This audio CD set features the complete audio tracks of all
6 television episodes of this story, narrated by
actor Frazer Hines (who also played Jamie)
to help listeners follow what used to be visual aspects
of the story.
is playable in any normal audio CD player.
Coverage on The Faceless Ones (a 6-episode story) includes:
More details & buying options for missing episode VHS videos
||Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror - Collectors' Edition
2 VHS video tapes
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