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Faceless Nov 23

For Doctor Who’s 43rd birthday today I watched first episode of the Patrick Troughton serial The Faceless Ones, which provided ample opportunity to spot actors who subsequently returned to the series in serials with “Time” in the title: specifically, Time and the Rani‘s Donald Picking, Time and the Rani‘s Wanda Ventham, and The Invasion of Time‘s Chris Tranchell.

This was one of the handful of Doctor Who episodes I’d not previously seen and holds up pretty well. The interior, studio scenes, part of the then contemporary 1960s setting, have a feel akin to scenesfrom The Avengers or Adam Adamant Lives! There’s an interesting mystery, an unpleasant looking creature and a good cliffhanger.

My only criticisms are of a slightly circular plot and one moment where the Doctor appears completely out of character: his companion Polly, who he knows has witness a murder, vanishes and the Doctor pretty much shrugs it off, choosing to search for someone in authority to try in vain to convince rather than attempting to find her himself. It’s fortunate this first episode exists, but with only one of the other five episodes left in the BBC archives, it’s hard to assess the serial as a whole.

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