The moment they step out of the doors of the just-landed TARDIS, the Doctor and his friends must contend with one rather major problem – their time machine has parked itself on a runway at Gatwick Airport and, as Jamie puts it, there’s a “flying beastie” coming in for a landing right now. A foot patrolman spots the four time travelers and chases them. The Doctor and Jamie go one way, and Ben and Polly in another; eventually Polly is separated from Ben, but while she’s hiding in a hangar warehouse building, she witnesses a gruesome murder committed with a futuristic weapon that doesn’t belong on Earth in 1967. Worse yet, the killers have seen her face, and eventually trap her. At the airport terminal, the Doctor and Jamie own up to being responsible for the strangely out-of-place police box on the tarmac, but they also realize that something else is even more amiss. Reunited with Ben, and with the help of a young woman who is searching for her missing brother, the Doctor goes to investigate the hangar where Polly disappeared, belonging to Chameleon Tours. He finds more evidence of otherworldly equipment, and proof that wherever passengers are booking their flights to aboard Chameleon Tours’ planes, they aren’t arriving there. The airline is being run by a race of displaced aliens who have lost their identities due to a disaster on their home planet – and the solution they’re pursuing is a kind of identity theft that could eventually rob Earth of its entire population.
written by David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
directed by Gerry Mill
music not credited
Guest Cast: James Appleby (Policeman), Colin Gordon (Commandant), George Selway (Meadows), Wanda Ventham (Jean Rock), Victor Winding (Spencer), Peter Whitaker (Gascoigne), Donald Pickering (Blade), Christopher Tranchell (Jenkins), Madalena Nicol (Pinto), Bernard Kay (Crossland), Pauline Collins (Samantha Briggs), Gilly Fraser (Ann Davidson), Brigit Paul (Announcer), Barry Wilsher (Heslington), Michael Ladkin (Pilot), Leonard Trolley (Reynolds), Robin Dawson, Barry du Pre, Pat Leclere, Roy Pearce (Chameleons)
Broadcast from April 6 through May 13, 1967
Note: Two actresses in this story appeared in (much) later Doctor Who adventures; Wanda Ventham appeared 20 years later in Sylvester McCoy’s debut story, Time And The Rani, while Pauline Collins’ next Doctor Who appearance would come nearly four decades later in the David Tennant episode Tooth And Claw, in which she guest starred as Queen Victoria. Her character in The Faceless Ones, Samantha Briggs, had been considered as a potential companion but the show’s producers decided against that, in favor of introducing Victoria Waterfield in the following serial. Episodes two, four, five and six of The Faceless Ones are missing from the BBC’s vaults; the first and third episodes appeared in the Lost In Time DVD set, and the complete story is available in audio form. Ironically, despite the story’s title, The Faceless Ones marked the introduction of a new title sequence which prominently featured the new Doctor’s face, an element that would remain a tradition through the end of Sylvester McCoy’s era. “Spangly” sounds were added to the theme music to go along with the visual changes.
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green […]