Doctor Who - The Faceless Ones
Doctor Who – The Faceless Ones

The Faceless Ones : Episode 6

First Broadcast May 13th, 1967 @ 5.50pm (8m viewers)

Ben and Polly were plucked from the Inferno nightclub of swinging Sixties London and thrust into adventures aboard the TARDIS. The next time the Time and Space machine would land back in England of the 1960’s the duo would leave. Sadly, this episode is one of the majority from the story which is missing from the archives so we are robbed of the opportunity to watch the departure of Ben and Polly from the series.

Doctor Who - The Faceless Ones
Doctor Who – The Faceless Ones

The story itself is quite interesting with new villains the Chameleons in search of new identities and kidnapping young holiday makers to assimilate. Some photographs which do exist of the Chameleons and although retaining the traditional humanoid shape the facelessness is very well achieved. In a refreshing twist to conclude the story, although their plan is of course thwarted by the Doctor, the Chameleons are allowed to depart and return to their home planet to try to find an alternative solution to their predicament. The Doctor also offers his own suggestions on the matter, hinting that the future appears not as bleak as the Chameleons might have anticipated.

Unlike other companion departures from the show, which thrust the departing individual or individuals into the limelight for a suitable swan song, Ben and Polly leave the show having not actually been seen onscreen since episode 2 of the story, broadcast four weeks previously. Michael Craze is particularly hard done by, quickly usurped by Scotsman Jamie who developed an instantaneous relationship with the Doctor, he was rightly hurt by being asked to leave. His cockney sailor character, although having limited potential to develop, was a solid companion for the Second Doctor, practical and energetic. Polly too is very likeable, as is actress Anneke Wills, and unsurprisingly she was invited to continue in her role but declined. As a result both characters appear in the episode just to depart, making their decision based on the information that they are back in London on the same day they left. In fact the more emotional scene in the episode involves Jamie bidding Samantha Briggs goodbye.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Doctor Who - The Faceless Ones
Doctor Who – The Faceless Ones

The classic era of Doctor Who didn’t offer up the ‘almost companion’ too often but Pauline Collins as Scouser Samantha Briggs is one such occasion. Samantha and Jamie struck up a lovely relationship, her modern confidence a drastic contrast to the women of 18th Century Scotland that Jamie would’ve encountered and as a result he was easily engaged by her vibrant personality. It is therefore a sad moment for Jamie, like a pair of awkward teenagers who have just enjoyed a date together, the two share an onscreen kiss, something even rarer in classic Doctor Who. Collins declined the offer to become a regular cast member and would later be nominated for an Oscar and won a BAFTA for her role in ‘Shirley Valentine’ so few can argue with her decision!

Cast:

The Doctor – Patrick Troughton
Ben Jackson – Michael Craze
Jamie – Frazer Hines
Polly – Anneke Wills
Ann Davidson – Gilly Fraser
Announcer – Brigit Paul
Blade – Donald Pickering
Commandant – Colin Gordon
Crossland – Bernard Kay
Heslington – Barry Wilsher
Inspector Gascoigne – Peter Whitaker
Jean Rock – Wanda Ventham
Jenkins – Christopher Tranchell
Meadows – George Selway
Nurse Pinto – Madalena Nicol
Policeman – James Appleby
R.A.F. Pilot – Michael Ladkin
Samantha Briggs – Pauline Collins
Spencer – Victor Windind
Supt. Reynolds – Leonard Trolley

Crew:

Writer – David Ellis
Writer – Malcolm Hulke
Director – Gerry Mill
Producer – Innes Lloyd

Also First Aired On This Day…

  • The Mutants : Episode Six
  • Rise of the Cybermen
  • Doctor Who Confidential : Cybermen

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