Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones

In an effort to find something quick that can be written as part of Daily Doctor Who, we are continuing with Say Something Nice, where I look back at each of the Doctor Who stories and pull out one or two cool things about it.

(Daily Doctor Who #296)

Read the previous entry here. Today, we continue with the eighth story of the show’s fourth season…

The Faceless Ones

The story features the same regular cast as last time: Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, Anneke Wills as Polly, Michael Craze as Ben Jackson, and Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon. However, Ben and Polly are entirely absent for episodes 3-5, and for most of 6 as well.

The serial is written by David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke, and directed by Gerry Mill.

All but episodes 1 & 3 of this serial are missing from the BBC archives, but animated re-creations of all six episodes are available to watch.

Say Something Nice…

(Named for Missy–aka the Master–and her catchphrase from her first full appearance in Dark Water).

The Faceless Ones makes good use of a modern day setting, has an interesting near-companion in the cat in the form of Pauline Collins’ Samantha Briggs, and features some great stuff with Patrick Troughton out-sassing the villains and successfully turning them against each other.

But because we’re equal-opportunity fans here, we’re not going to only be sycophantically complimentary.

You craven-hearted spineless poltroon!

(Another cry from the Master, but not exactly a catch-phrase, this time from The Deadly Assassin)

This is Ben and Polly’s departure story, and its a bit of an ignominious one–they are captured by the baddies early on, mostly forgotten about, and then pop back in at the end with very little ceremony for just long enough to realize that they’d rather go back home. It’s not like the characters necessarily need a whole season arc about them before they go, but giving them a bit more of a grander note to leave on would have been nice.

Catch you next time!

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