Rewatching... Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones - Part 6

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

Saturday 13 May 1967

There was an article in the paper yesterday describing how a man had written to Gatwick airport because he was worried about flying in case he got miniaturised. Perhaps it was tongue in cheek, but it suggests that this story must have made more of an impression on the public than I'd imagined.

So the Doctor and the Nurse... sorry, the nurse, have been caught by the Chameleons. After bragging last week about how intellectually superior they are, I'm surprised Blade wants the Doctor for his brain. And again now he says "We are the most intelligent beings in the universe." That's quite a claim. They've explored the entire universe? Or just an arrogant assumption? Either way, what good is the Doctor's inferior brain to them?

"Where's your original?" the Doctor asks Blade and then the Director. Why give the Doctor clues by saying "it's here... not far away"?

At Gatwick there's a search for the missing originals, giving us some great location footage of the airport.

The Doctor bluffs the aliens that their human originals have been found and will be de-processed. Pretend Jamie contacts Gatwick to verify this. It's very sharp of the Commandant to realise the Doctor's bluff and play along with it.

Elsewhere Samantha has teamed up with Jean Rock and after making some deductions about numbers of missing passengers and numbers of cars, they search the car park. After a tussle with pretend Meadows who was watching them, they overpower him and discover the original Jenkins in his car. The police get involved and he has his armband removed. I like all these outdoor scenes; Doctor Who spends so much time in studio sets it's great to see some real locations once in a while. Shame I can't see enough of the picture to play 'sixties car spotting'!

On the satellite nobody seems to be taking the Doctor's bluff seriously. It's refreshing to see the Doctor being a bit more fallible than usual, not getting everything right. However they change their tune when fake Jenkins suddenly disappears. The Doctor uses this opportunity to taunt the aliens even more and then tries to negotiate for the passengers' return in exchange for sparing the aliens' lives. Luckily the miniaturisation business is reversible. Phew. Surprisingly the Chameleons Blade and Spencer go for this and it all gets wrapped up very quickly. There's a bit of 'tidying up' with fake Jamie and the Director being shot by the newly nice aliens as they try to escape.

The Doctor and Jamie get back to Gatwick, and then after some business with Jamie getting a farewell snog from Samantha, a bombshell, they are reunited with the real Ben and Polly who immediately announce that they want to stay on Earth! To be fair, Polly says "...for a while" but the Doctor chooses to interpret this more permanently so that's it. And Ben points out that they're back at roughly the same date they left in the TARDIS on the first place. Bye bye Ben and Polly. I shall really miss them. I'd say Polly has been my favourite companion so far so it's rather sad they won't be continuing with the Doctor.

And finally, an announcement from the Doctor: the TARDIS has gone missing!

Well I rather enjoyed The Faceless Ones. I believe it's the first story in the three years the programme's been on air where the Doctor resolves things by talking to the aliens rather than destroying them or whatever. These were not the black and white baddies from the mould of Daleks and Cybermen, they could be reasoned with and the Doctor shows them some compassion in the end. I'm not sure what their mad plan was all about but I had fun watching it play out.

We must be near the end of the series now surely...

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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Rewatching... Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones - Part 6