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Rewatching... Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones - Part 5

My continuing mission: to watch classic television exactly fifty years after original broadcast date...

Saturday 6 May 1967

Ok that's three weeks now without Ben and Polly so I'm getting worried. I'm losing confidence in the Doctor; I'm going to buy a Chameleon Tours ticket and look for them myself.

A much needed change of scene this week: it's all metal corridors aboard a space satellite. I love the airport setting but it was getting a bit 'back-and-forth'... running around in circles. After four episodes of rushing in and out of the Commandant's office it's nice to see a new location. Not that we're finished with the airport mind you.

On the plane, Jamie is the only passenger who didn't disappear, luckily, and he's sneaking around unseen. The pilot, Blade (who's a Chameleon in disguise) is bragging to the stewardess (who's also a Chameleon in disguise) about how brainy they are compared to us earth creatures. Vain. After witnessing some busy raw-state Chameleons Jamie finds a cabinet full of drawers, opens one and discovers what happened to the passengers: they've been miniaturised! I honestly didn't see that coming. The stewardess suspected he was his full highland size though and is now pointing a gun at him. One of the faceless ones moves towards him. So is that it for the Doctor's companions now? All three of them taken, leaving just the Doctor and his new scouse friend Samantha? I so hope not...

Back at the airport everyone's in a flap about the missing passenger plane and reports that the RAF plane wreckage has been found. No wonder. This alone would be huge news even without alien involvement. The Commandant seems to be softening a bit this week as he starts to see he's out of his depth.

The Doctor tries to prove his 'aliens' theory once and for all by grabbing fake Meadows' arm to uncover his alien armband. The imposter tries to escape but the others capture and interrogate him. He's not one of these villains who would rather die than give away the plot though, so the Doctor soon gets the information he needs. This is overseen by a couple of policemen who have been called by the awesomely named Miss Rock. You don't see police in Doctor Who very often. The very first scene of the very first episode of course and then in The War Machines last year, but it still seems somehow odd, grounding the series I suppose. These policemen seem quite happy to let a scruffy man with a bow tie do all the questioning while they just take the offender away. No interview, no evidence, not even a "we're arresting you on suspicion of..." they just haul him off! Unbelievable.

In the medical centre the evil nurse is trying to do the mind swap thing on Samantha. That's the second mind swap in two days: The Avengers last night was all about swapping Steed and Mrs Peel's minds with two enemy agents. The Doctor bursts in though and puts a stop to it. Again the police are just acting as henchmen, doing whatever anyone asks.

They find the real nurse in one of the cubicles. She looks really creepy, standing bolt upright, staring blankly. The fake nurse grabs her gun and shoots one of the policemen. Fake Meadows deactivates her armband and she disappears. I notice Sam's all feisty when she wants to be but still needs the Doctor to comfort her.

On the plane, Jamie meets the inappropriately named Inspector Crossland (they're in the air) again who has a surprise for him. "I am the director" he tells him, after giving himself away by his creepy alien manner. So...this is Gerry Mill? Perhaps he's giving his 'notes' onscreen this week.

The Doctor is very much in charge at the airport now, having revived the real nurse and asking her and fake Meadows to help deceive the other aliens into thinking the Doctor is one of them. Blade soon arrives and you can tell he's not buying it but I do like the way he's going along with it anyway. He makes a good sinister baddy this chap playing Blade.

The Doctor and Nurse Pinto are on the plane, and the nurse is giving it "are we nearly there yet?" How odd seeing the time/space traveling Doctor strapped into an ordinary earth aeroplane passenger seat!

As I guessed, Jamie has indeed been mind swapped. The new version thinks he's called Jam though so the armband needs a tweak. It sounds as though Jamie's lost his accent, much like Ben did the other week when he was under Macra control. It was effective then and it is again now. 'Jam' gives away the Doctor's alien, time-traveling secrets to the Director.

The Doctor and the nurse (!) have snuck away from the main party but are spotted and surrounded by Blade and the Chameleons (which should have been a successful band in the sixties)... gasp... and roll credits.

Nick Brown
Nick Brown

I've embarked upon an open ended mission, pretending to travel back in time and watch classic television on (or close to) the fiftieth anniversary of original broadcast date; getting a sense of the context, the magic of that first viewing.

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