The faceless ones (1967)
About this serial
This was a six-part serial, first broadcast between 8th April - 13th May 1967. The serial was written by David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke, produced by Innes Lloyd and directed by Gerry Mill. The script editor was Gerry Davis.
What I've seen:
Parts one and three. Parts two, four, five and six are missing.
The Doctor, Jamie, Polly and Ben find themselves on a runway on Gatwick airport where they discover that some tour operators are not what they seem.
The good bits:
- It's an unusual and pretty good story.
- The use of location is effective, and the (then) contemporary airport setting makes for some interesting period detail.
- There are good performances by both regulars and guests.
- Samantha, a young girl looking for her missing brother, works well as a temporary companion (and she's played by Pauline Collins, who also played queen Victoria in an episode of the new series).
The not so good bits:
- Part one feels padded, with the Tardis crew spending most of their time skulking around the Chameleon Tours hangar, the airport's main building and some parked aeroplanes.
- The last three episodes, which should contain the resolution to the mysterious developments in parts one and three, are missing.
- Jamie appears to have won the 'which of the companions is going to fill the young action man slot' contest, and Ben seems superfluous to the story. Ben and Polly leave the series at the end of this serial, and Ben's departure is probably a good thing.
The bottom line
The surviving episodes are quite entertaining, but what they offer is all plot build-up and no resolution. It might be more satisfying to see them in conjunction with a reconstruction or an audio version of the entire serial.