The Faceless Ones

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8th April – 13th May 1967

‘Polly? My name isn’t Polly. You must have made a mistake. I’ve never seen them before in my life!’ Michelle Leuppi

The Time Space Visualiser

I am writing this a bit further on in viewing Troughton than this episode but not having seen many of these stories before it is interesting how the science fiction themes ramp up in this era. It is a real pleasure to get to know this ‘Undiscovered Country’ of a forgotten era for me of Doctor Who. I have dipped my toe in lost stories but whilst it has been hard work at times I have really enjoyed this opportunity to see this era of who as a whole.

Looking back you can see it as somewhat of a blueprint for the future There are many different yet similar versions of a future earth with the Second Doctor. How they all fit together is unsure. Guess it all depends on which dating protocol you use. But this takes us right back to the present. A story set on present say Earth. I said this before with the War Machines, this was a rarity in 1967. It also seems strange to have the cliffhanger into the next story in the same location. So basically WOTAN is going off, the Chameleons are busy at Gatwick and the Daleks are just around the corner. Isn’t it time we had a branch of the army looking into all of this?

I think this one would be worth revisiting through target. I find the plot a bit over long and feel if this were a current series 45 minute episode it would be more successful. It takes most of the story to find out why the chameleons want a load of nob heads on an 18-30 holiday. And with 50,000, that is quite a few. It is also a bit odd that so many people vanish and there isn’t more of a fuss.

It is a shame we lose Ben and Polly for so much of the story as it is their final fling. Polly has been magnificent and she still shines here. Another hopeless leaving scene. It is almost like they couldn’t be bothered. The Doctor says that he can never go back to his planet. Careful what you wish for! The special effects look well realised and I love the concept of the plane / spaceship.

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Notable Firsts

The first story set in a London Airport. With Tegan we were always off to Heathrow, even before there was an airport there. Then of course we have Time Flight! This time it is Gatwick.

Also, foreshadowing another crap story with the word ‘Time’ in the title we have good old Donald and Wanda.

Pauline Collins also makes her Who debut. What a great companion she would have made. Fab hat as well!

Cliché Counter

Oh the foam. Did the BBC buy a new foam machine do you think? It seems to pop up in every story from now on.

Unfounded Villainous Boast of the Week

The Director claims the original bodies are hidden in the airport where they will never be found. Well they are just round the corner in the car park.

Innuendo Bingo

The Doctor asks Jamie to come out 7 minutes into episode 6.

The Director tells Blade, “His equipment could have gone wrong.” 14 minutes into episode 6.

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The 500 Year Diary

20th July 1966 early am

The TARDIS lands on a runway as a ‘metal beastie’ as Jamie calls it attempts to land on us! Then the police see us – scatter!

Manage to meet up with Jamie and Polly who tells us that she has seen a murder in a hanger. We find the body. He’s been electrocuted. Curious! Off to find someone in charge except en route Polly seems to have disappeared.

Eventually we see the Commandant of Gatwick Airport who seems more concerned with the lack of passports than a murder. Bureaucrats! Anyway, we persuade him to come along, but typically the body has disappeared. We do find a Spanish stamp and some burnt fibres, but the Commandant isn’t interested anymore and takes us away before we can look for more clues.

And then we come across Polly. But she denies even knowing us. What is up with my companions lately – the other day it was Ben, now Polly!

20th July 1966 mid am

Polly claims to be Michelle Leupi from Zurich with a whole back story! The Commandant has obviously had enough and calls the police so we run! We find Ben and we approach Polly again, but nothing, apart from her saying ‘someone shot. Something very odd is going on here; maybe it’s to do with this Chameleon Tours.

The three of us have a meeting in a photo booth and decide a plan of action. Off to the Commandant again! I don’t know why I bother – he always wants to call the police. Manage to escape by pretending I’ve got a bomb. In an airport!

I join Jamie who has met up with a Samantha Briggs, concerned about the disappearance of her brother on one of these Chameleon Tours. Behind the desk, I find a load of international postcards and see Ben attacked by one of the pilots.

I go off to find Ben. Instead I find a ‘frozen’ man in a packing case. A voice calls me into the office where I am locked in – fool that I am – and a frozen vapour comes in from the vents…

20th July 1966 early pm

Manage to draw assailant into the room and freezer pen him back!

Back with Jamie and Samantha who have been joined by DI Crossland. He appears to take some notice of me as I identify the dead man as Gascoigne. He takes me back to the Commandant. Oh, what’s the point?

The Commandant continues to disbelieve everything I say about Chameleon Tours – why would I make it up? Anyway threaten this Meadows with the freezer pen – he was the man in the packing case. He runs off, but use the pen on a cup. It freezes solid. It’s only when Samantha comes in with some postcards, he gives in and I have 12 hours to sort it all out!

Jamie and I search the Chameleon offices and find a secret high-tech room. At that point, I suddenly get a massive back pain!

20th July 1966 late pm

Wake up on the floor with Jamie and Samantha, but none of us can move. We note a beam of light coming towards us igniting things in its way. We have to escape! Samantha can just about move her arm and retrieves a mirror which reflects the beam and blows up the machinery. Don’t know why these ‘aliens’ don’t just kill us rather then set up elaborate deaths that they don’t even bother to watch.

I return to the Commandant’s Office via the medical centre – Nurse Pinto, who works there, needs to work on her bedside manner! Crossland has disappeared now. The Commandant’s assistant, Jean, has discovered that the Chameleon Tour planes don’t actually land at their intended destinations. Has no-one actually noticed this previously? I hope in the future they beef up airport security. Anyway, I need to look at the medical centre and ask Jean to help me.

With the nurse out the way, I look around and find two armbands. I’m discovered by one of the aliens, but luckily a passenger comes in so I can escape back to the Commandant’s Office.

The most recent Chameleon Tour plane is standing still which everyone seems to think the plane is falling; however, I think it’s more likely it’s going up! Again, why has no-one noticed this? Are they all in on it?

20th July 1966 early eve

The Commandant wants to believe me about the planes going into space, but wants proof! Meadows turns up and force him to show us his armband. He then reveals the whole story – they have kidnapped 50,000 young people in order to use their identities on their home planet. And no-one noticed??

Off to the medical centre where ‘Nurse Pinto’ is the one converting airport staff; she has kidnapped Samantha and shoots a policeman before we remove her armband. She dissolves away and the real Nurse Pinto revives. She’s much nicer! Samantha then tells me that Jamie was on the disappearing plane. And where are Ben and Polly?

I need to be on the final Chameleon flight, hopefully to find my young friends. I have a plan to pretend to be a converted Doctor alongside Nurse Pinto. As we arrive, Captain Blade says we won’t need living space. Oh dear.

20th July 1966 early eve

These aliens want my brain! Nasty! The Director, however, wants to keep me alive. He’s a Crossland duplicate. I meet Jamie’s duplicate, a very dour man with no hint of a Scottish accent – their conversion process isn’t very good then.

Manage to goad Blade into thinking that the original humans have been found. Luckily the Commandant at Gatwick plays along with it although Blade works out that I was bluffing, but not for long as one of the aliens disappear as I am about to be processed. It’s lucky they had a spare machine as I blew up the first one!

Now in a position of strength, we can negotiate, although there appears to be some disagreement between the aliens, particularly between Blade and the Director. That’s soon sorted as Blade shoots the Director as he attempts to escape alongside ‘Jamie’.

So ‘Blade’ and the remaining aliens will reverse the process and I have a few ideas that will help them find a solution to their problem. I’ll explain later. The real Jamie and I say goodbye to Samantha – I think Jamie was rather fond of her – she would have been good to have around, but the TARDIS is rather crowded.

But not for long. At last, we find Ben and Polly. They decide to stay on Earth as it’s the day that they left with me – I’m rather envious as I never got back to my world. And so we say goodbye. I’ll miss Ben and Polly – they helped me with my renewal and were fun to have around. I’ve just realised, that my earlier self is in London at the moment. Need to get out of here as quick as possible, but someone has stolen the TARDIS!

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The Five Word Lords

Second Doctor era really begins.

Artwork: Hisi79 Deviant Art:

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