Saturday, 22 April 2017

159 The Faceless Ones: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Faceless Ones: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 April 1967
WRITER: David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Gerry Mill
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Faceless Ones: Episode Three

"I must leave. The flight to Zurich is ready to take off. You will remain here to atone for your incompetence. The Doctor must die, and you must do it!"

And now I get to watch the new titles & music together cos we're back on DVD for episode 3!

The Doctor stoppers up the gas nozzles and blocks the camera causing Spencer to investigate at which point he seizes the pen device and stuns Spencer. Jamie & Samantha talk with Inspector Crossland who shows them a photo of Gascgoine who Jamie confirms is the body they found. The Doctor arrives and goes to see the Commandant with Crossland while Jamie & Samantha go to the Chameleon tours hanger. The Doctor convinces the Commandant that he is telling the truth by exposing "Meadows" as he demonstrates the pen. Meadows flees and the Doctor is given the run of the airport. Samantha finds a stack of written unsent postcards which she and Jamie take to the Doctor. Crossland goes to the plane while The Doctor & Jamie search the hanger. Blade abducts Crossland when the plane takes off. The Doctor & Jamie find the hidden room at the hanger and the monitor link to the sickbay which they leave to visit but the Doctor is knocked to the floor by a device Meadows planted on him earlier. Crossland watches a monitor on the plane in disbelief as all the passengers vanish.

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They're not doing too badly with the story: it's part three and the mystery is still ongoing. You know the beings are aliens now but you still don't know why they're doing this or where their victims have gone.

However there's quite a few downsides this week: No Ben and Polly this episode..... in fact we won't be seeing them again till episode six. We don't see any of the actual aliens either nor do we see Nurse Pinto, played by Madalena Nicol, introduced in the previous episode and an important character in the story, who is annoyingly absent from this episode as well as the first meaning that her only appearances are in episodes that are missing! I'm thinking if I was offered a choice between this and episode 2 I'd take episode 2!

I'm also troubled by the episode ending in nearly the same place as it started with the Doctor immobilised in the Chameleon tours hanger. It almost says the episode is just filler and it's brought us back to where we've started

And the fact the mystery is still ongoing does give the whole thing a feeling like it's progressing rather slowly!

This episode is one of a pair, with Evil of the Daleks 2, recovered in the mid 80s. The DWAS were contacted in 1985 by someone who claimed to have these episodes. Details were passed to the BBC and contact was made with the individual leading to a VHS of Faceless Ones 3 being made available to a 1987 convention. Afterwards the episodes were traced back to collector Gordon Hendry, who unaware of their rarity had lent them to someone. The episodes were returned to him and then copied by the BBC. Episode 3 has some damage sustained to it which were repaired for it's commercial releases as part of Reign of Terror boxset along with the surviving episodes of that story, and episodes 1 of both this story and The Web of Fear and as part of the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD set. However the episode is still not up to the quality of other surviving sixties recordings and as such wasn't vidfired so still retains the film look that will be familiar to anyone who saw 1960s Doctor Who repeats in the age before video tape!

Wanda Ventham, playing Jean Rook, is a few years shy of her role in UFO as Virginia Lake but she'll be back in Image of the Fendahl as Thea Ransome as well as Time and the Rani as Faroon. There's an Out of the Unknown on her CV where she plays Josephine in the missing second season episode The Eye. She's been in The Prisoner too playing a Computer Attendant in It's Your Funeral. Ventham is now probably best known as being Benedict Cumberbatch's mother and has appeared in the role of her son's character's mother in Sherlock

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Wanda Ventham's future Doctor Who story Time and the Rani also features Donald Pickering, who plays Captain Blade here following an earlier appearance in The Keys of Marinus where he played Eyesen. He's also in a missing second season Out of the Unknown episode appearing as Kenneth Dennistoun in Second Childhood and is the uncredited TV Announcer in the film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.

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