THE FACE OF EVIL

Part One

Sue: Is there anything I should know before we start?
Me: Well, the first episode was broadcast on New Year’s Day 1977.
Sue: So any adults watching this would have been hungover. Fair enough.
Me: Oh, and there was a six-week gap between this story and the last story.
Sue: I didn’t even get six days off. Thanks.
Me: In fact, the BBC promoted this story as a season opener. But it isn’t. Not really.
Sue: Okay, I’m bored now. Press play.

The episode begins with a close-up of Louise Jameson.

The Face of EvilSue: Oh, it’s her! Don’t tell me! It’s on the tip of my tongue. I know this… It’s… It’s… It’s Leia.
Me: Close.
Sue: Lyta?
Me: Try Leela.
Sue: Yes, that’s it. She’s a companion. She’s hard to miss, dressed like that. I’ve been expecting her.

Leela is on trial for being a heretic.

Sue: This is a rough tribal council. And Jeff Probst has really let himself go.
Me: No one in the UK gets your Survivor references, love, but don’t let that stop you.

I ask her to comment on the set design in the Sevateems’ throne room.

Sue: It’s a yurt.
Me: It’s a what?
Sue: A yurt. It’s a type of tent.
Me: Okay, apart from that.
Sue: Is the king sitting on Captain Kirk’s chair?

When the TARDIS materialises in a jungle clearing, the Doctor realises he hasn’t landed in Hyde Park. I pause the DVD.

The Face of EvilMe: Do you want to say anything about that?
Sue: Not really. The TARDIS isn’t working properly. It’s old news.
Me: What about Tom Baker breaking the fourth wall?
Sue: No he didn’t. He was talking to himself.
Me: Yes, straight down the camera lens!
Sue: You can look anywhere you want when you’re talking to yourself. And the kids would have loved it. But I know what you mean, it was a bit awkward. He needs to meet Leia…
Me: Leela.
Sue: He needs to meet her as soon as possible so he can talk to another human being. Assuming she’s human of course. You know what I mean.
Me: If Tom Baker had his way, he’d be talking to a cabbage perched on his shoulder right now.
Sue: That must be a Doctor Who joke because I don’t get it.

When Leela is hunted by the Sevateem, she retaliates with her trusty crossbow.

The Face of EvilSue: She doesn’t **** about, does she? I thought she was going to be a screamer – I didn’t expect her to be like Xena.

Leela slinks around the jungle in skimpy leather underwear.

Sue: This is definitely one for the dads. Although there’s plenty for the mums to get excited about as well.

I think she’s referring to Tomas’ chest hair, although I could be mistaken (I was distracted at the time). And then Leela runs into the Doctor, who offers her a jelly baby.

Sue: You should never take sweets from a stranger. Everybody knows that. Mary Whitehouse must have been livid.
Me: Not to mention Charley the cat.

The Doctor and Leela are surrounded by invisible monsters.

Sue: Where would Doctor Who be without invisible monsters? We should put a counter on the blog’s homepage for all the invisible monsters.
Me: I already have. You just can’t see it.

Neeva, the Sevateems’ priest, is praying to the mighty Xoanon.

The Face of EvilSue: God sounds like Tom Baker. That’s a bit cheap, isn’t it? Couldn’t they have hired another person to play the part of the computer?
Me: Who said Xoanon was a computer?
Sue: I’m not completely stupid, love.

The Doctor threatens to kill one of the Sevateem with a jelly baby.

Sue: That was too flippant to be believable. It’s a very fine line, and they just stepped over it.

A priest named Neeva performs a complicated ritual that’s supposed to banish evil spirits.

Sue: Why is he waving a cylinder head gasket above his head?
Me: That’s a very good question.
Sue: You mean it really is a cylinder head gasket?
Me: It’s an ultrabeam accelerator, actually.
Sue: Right. I think I know where this is going now.

Leela rescues the Doctor, although she has to kill a member of the Sevateem with a Janis thorn in the process. Both Sue and the Doctor are horrified.

Sue: I don’t know how I feel about Leela being a mass murderer. I’m glad the Doctor gave her a good dressing down for that.

The episode concludes with the Doctor coming face to face with his, er… face.

Sue: Nice cliffhanger. I was beginning to lose interest, but I’m definitely intrigued now. Stick Part Two on.

 

Part Two

The Face of EvilSue: That’s ridiculous. He must know that gloves go on your hand. I know he’s supposed to be primitive, but that’s daft.

Leela calls Neeva’s hat the Hand of Xoanon.

Sue: See! They even named it after a hand! So why is he wearing it on his ****ing head? However, I do like the way these people recycle everything. They remind me of the Wombles.

The costumes in this story are a constant source of fascination for Sue.

Sue: At least I know why Leela dresses like this, now. I always thought it was a bit strange that she ran around the universe in that tiny, little thing, but it all makes sense now. And the dads must have loved it.
Me: You already said that.
Sue: It’s worth repeating. And she’s not just a pretty face, either. She’s a very good actress. She’s not as charismatic as Sarah Jane – she has a much harder exterior – but it’s early days.

The Face of EvilWhen Calib stabs Leela with a Janis thorn, the Doctor loses his cool and breaks Calib’s leg.

Sue: If his leg is broken, I haven’t got a head. Look at him! How can he bend over to pick up another man if his leg is broken? Either he’s lying about his leg or this is ****ing mental.

The Doctor is introduced to the dreaded Horda.

Sue: It’s a Cybermat. A resprayed Cybermat.

The Doctor survives the Horda test with a single bolt fired from a crossbow.

Sue: The Golden Shot was massive in the Seventies.

And then Nicol enters the living room.

The Face of EvilNicol: Oh look, it’s the Aztec Zone.
Me: Go away, Nicol.
Nicol: I’m here to watch Monday night’s Game of Thrones.
Sue: Sit down, Nic. This is very similar to Game of Thrones.
Nicol: You always say that.
Sue: It’s got a mysterious wall, and monsters, and prophecies, and bickering that goes on for ages. Oh, and the leader sits on a chair that he’s salvaged from a spaceship.
Me: It’s Game of Comfortable Chairs.

The Doctor and Leela infiltrate the face of evil.

Sue: It’s imaginative, I’ll give it that. There aren’t that many TV shows where the hero climbs over his own teeth.

Tomas is attacked by an apparition, which also sports the Time Lord’s face.

Sue: Lame cliffhanger. I’m starting to lose interest in this story. It’s not really doing anything for me.

 

Part Three

The Face of EvilSue decides to focus on Calib’s nonexistent limp.

Sue: He’s doing remarkably well for a man with a broken leg. I bet he didn’t even sprain it. He’s just like you, Neil. A hypochondriac.

Sue doesn’t pipe up again until the Tesh turn up.

Sue: Hungarian folk dancers. I definitely didn’t expect that.

Sue stifles a yawn.

Sue: It’s gone a bit weird. I’m struggling with this one. Who are this lot again?

Jabel, captain of the Tesh, tries to shed some light on the situation.

Sue: He looks like Penn or Teller. I don’t know which one. The one who doesn’t say very much.

The Doctor and Leela are strapped to a pair of matching particle analysers. Trust me, this is much worse than it sounds.

Sue: Good cliffhanger.
Me: We aren’t even halfway through this episode yet.
Sue: Oh, bugger.

The Doctor tells Leela that he may have accidentally given birth to a schizophrenic monster.

Sue: I don’t think Leela knows what schizophrenic means. Not if her tribe walk around with gloves on their heads.

The Doctor’s reckless actions were driven by his ego.

The Face of EvilSue: So the Doctor wanted to be a god? That’s interesting. When did this happen? And how did he forget about it?
Me: The novelisation says it happened at the end of Robot, Tom’s first story. You’ve probably forgotten this, but at the end of that story, the Doctor leaves in his TARDIS but returns a few seconds later to ask Sarah and Harry to join him. The initial visit to this planet happened during that gap. The Doctor was still unstable after his regeneration, and that’s why he forgot about it.
Sue: You lot have an answer for bloody everything.

The monsters in the jungle are psi-tri projections from the dark side of Xoanon’s id.

Sue: I don’t think the kids would have liked this story very much. The monsters are invisible, the aliens look like they are taking part in Eurovision, and the Doctor is banging on about Freud. I would have been bored… What am I saying? I am bored.

Xoanon sends some Tesh to kill the Doctor and Leela.

Sue: I can’t take the Tesh seriously. They should be wearing ice skates, or appearing in a ballet. Something theatrical like that.

Leela knocks one of the Tesh out cold. The Doctor is appalled.

Sue: It’s not as if she’s killed him. The Doctor is always punching people’s lights out. That’s double standards, that is.

The Doctor enters Xoanon’s chamber and methodically explains the plot to everybody. It still doesn’t make any sense.

Sue: I like some of the ideas in this story, but it isn’t very coherent. I can’t follow its logic.

The Face of EvilThe episode concludes with Xoanon questioning his own identity, and we are left with the computer’s electronic representation of the Doctor communicating with the voice of a child. This is even stranger than it sounds.

Sue: Great cliffhanger. I haven’t got a clue what’s going on any more, but that was brilliant.
Me: That scared the shit out of me when I was seven.
Sue: Maybe the computer is really saying “Who comma am I.” Have you thought about that?
Me: You and your bloody commas.

 

Part Four

The Face of EvilThe computer bathes the room in red emergency lighting.

Sue: They should have lit the whole thing like this. It would have stopped this place from looking like a tile shop. Having said that, the only lighting that would make the Tesh look good would be no lighting at all.

A Tesh tries to push the Doctor into an electrified wall.

Sue: He’s being attacked by a rabid Data from Star Trek.

When that doesn’t work, Xoanon forces Leela to do his dirty work for him.

Sue: It’s a rite of passage for a companion to be hypnotised. She should be pleased.

The Doctor and Leela head for the communications room.

Sue: There are too many corridors in this. I’m losing the will to live.
Me: Funnily enough, this is what I remember the most about this story. It wasn’t the scary Tom Baker face that stayed with me, it was the Doctor and Leela running up and down these corridors.
Sue: That’s because the giant heads are in it for 10 seconds and these corridors are in it for several hours. It isn’t rocket science.

Neeva turns up with a very large gun, which he turns on Xoanon.

Sue: I haven’t got a clue what’s going on any more.

The Face of EvilXoanon screams the place down.

Sue: Tom Baker never does anything by halves, does he?

And then it’s over, and the Doctor wakes up two days later to find Xoanon in a more user-friendly mood.

Sue: What a bizarre ending. Can you imagine the Doctor sitting down for tea and biscuits with the Cybermen after he’s defeated them? Didn’t this computer murder loads of people? Is that it?

The Tesh and the Sevateem fight over who should govern the planet. The Doctor leaves them to it.

Sue: This lot will probably kill each other by the end of the week.

Leela runs after the Doctor.

Sue: Yeah, I’d make a run for it too, if I were you, pet.

Leela asks the Doctor to take her with him, but he needs some persuading.

Sue: That’s interesting. He hasn’t forgiven her for being a mass murderer yet. He didn’t have a problem when it came to forgiving a computer with a much worse track record than hers though, which doesn’t seem fair. I’m guessing they’ll explore this later on. That scene was the best thing about the whole bloody story.

 

The Score

Sue: I didn’t enjoy that one very much. It was definitely below average. I liked some of the ideas, but it didn’t add up to anything. Something was missing. Leela was okay, but she’s difficult to warm to. I think I miss Sarah Jane.

4/10

 

Addendum

If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook you’ll already know that Sue bumped into the Moff on Friday.

This is how their brief encounter panned out:

RTSTwo of Sue’s very talented students had been nominated for a national RTS award at a ceremony to be held at the Barbican in London, and part of the day’s events included a series of masterclasses from leading industry professionals, including, as luck would have it, Steven Moffat. So we knew that Sue would be in the same room as him for a short time at least. But would she get to meet him? That was highly unlikely.

And then she found herself standing in the same lift as him.

Me: What did you do?
Sue: I seized the opportunity and I whipped out The Ark in Space.
Me: Oh my God. What happened next?
Sue: I said, “I don’t mean to press gang you but – “
Me: Please tell me you didn’t say that.
Sue: I thought he’d laugh.
Me: Did he?
Sue: “Interesting choice of words,” he said.
Me: Right, so what did you do next?
The Moff meets SueSue: I said, “If you don’t sign my husband’s Target reprint, he’ll divorce me”.
Me: Okay. Now did you, at any point in this exchange, tell him who you were?
Sue: I think so.
Me: You think so?
Sue: Everything happened so fast. He was in a rush.
Me: Right. So he probably thought you were a random stalker. Nice one.

The Moff worked it out eventually because he sent Sue a lovely message via Twitter after his talk. I bet he regrets following her, though. She DMs him once a day to suggest Benedict Cumberbatch as a possible Master.

Oh, and Sue’s students won their category!

Next week: Sue sidles up to Mark Gatiss in Lidl.

 

69

Comments

  1. Wholahoop  May 30, 2012

    4/10 for a Boucher – could be controversial.
    Is it really as bad as that?
    If you have done anything you have given me sufficient motivation to go and watch this one again, which may be part of your remit

    • Yvreko Ell  May 30, 2012

      Robots is great, but the other two don’t do a lot for me.

      • Dave Sanders  May 30, 2012

        It’s not ‘bad’ per se, but the bits that haven’t aged well are starting to outweigh the production as a whole.

    • Dave Sanders  May 30, 2012

      Blake’s 7: Rescue says yes, even Chris Boucher is capable of a 4/10.

      • John G  May 30, 2012

        And Weapon, too…

      • DPC  May 30, 2012

        “Weapon” had some good ideas but did come across very badly. “Shadow” was more effective – maybe he had to rush the story?

        I am a big fan of “The Face of Evil’ for some of the concepts Chris put in, but can see why others would not like it as a whole.

        Oh, the Doctor casually flinging a horda onto the guard – I’m surprised Mary Whitehouse didn’t have a stroke over that bit…

        • wholahoop  May 31, 2012

          “I’m surprised Mary Whitehouse didn’t have a stroke over that bit…”

          She might have done but she couldn’t reach

          Bdum Tish

          Ay thang yow

          • PolarityReversed  May 31, 2012

            Oo-err, missus… Thanks for the mental image – I’ll skip lunch today.
            I suspect she got her kicks in more of a domination sort of way. Certainly seemed to get off on telling people what to do…

            Nothing really to add to the Face Book. Thought the linguistic shift in the tribes’ names was clever though. Eyes down for Murder on the Sandminer Express/Ten Little Miners/Why Didn’t They Ask D84?

          • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

            Roger Waters (in late 1976, so as a Who watcher he was probably aware of the Deadly Assassin furore) said Mary Whitehouse was absolutely terrified, a frightened woman living in fear that we were all being perverted by sex and violence. I tend to agree. God knows what kind of world of ingenues she thought she lived in.

            Anyway, “Face of Evil” is a 4/10 (or less) on first watch. Its charms grow with later rewatches – as does Fendahl. I expect “Robots of Death” to be more of a hit, though, if only for the rich dialogue.

            As to when Tom nipped off in “Robot”, he also spent a night in the lab with the TARDIS, ostensibly sleeping on a bench – but we all know he needs little sleep, so maybe he woke up and went off for a midnight adventure.

            Surely the “Hand of Xoanon” worn on the head is a sign like the tonsure of a monk, of closeness to God? It’s not as mad as wearing a gallows on your chest, anyway.

  2. Yvreko Ell  May 30, 2012

    Great work on bumping into the Grand Moff.

    I’ve tried watching this story twice, I don’t think I’ve bothered to finish it either time.

  3. fromEssex  May 30, 2012

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen this, but from what I remember, the concept of the Tesh and the Sevateem was good, but I felt that the story was convoluted and dragged on because of it. It’s probably worth a 5/10, but I’m not arguing with Sue about it.

  4. John S. Hall  May 30, 2012

    As a young ‘un, I always confused this story with “Planet of Evil.” Not just because of the “…of Evil,” but also the jungle sets and invisible monsters.

    Did you try explaining to Sue that the “I’ll kill him with this jellybaby!” scene was amended at Tom’s insistence, since the original script had him holding a knife to the man’s throat?

    • Iain McCord  May 30, 2012

      I assumed when I first saw it that they were already scared of the Doctor so assumed that he was using a weapon. Given the small size of Janis thorns it’s not that silly an idea.

  5. Jazza1971  May 30, 2012

    I think this sums up “The Face of Evil” very well…

    “Sue: Good cliffhanger.

    Me: We aren’t even halfway through this episode yet.

    Sue: Oh, bugger.”

  6. Paul Gibbs  May 30, 2012

    I have never got on with this story, never made it much past episode one! Tom in a grump with nobody to warm him up is just not interesting to me. Especially when you know it is TOM in a grump, and not his character.

  7. Daru  May 30, 2012

    I adore totally Sue’s comments and fascination about the Sevateems’ get up, her:

    “I do like the way these people recycle everything. They remind me of The Wombles.”

    Is brilliant! I gotta say I have after watching this story recently it made me feel a kind of mad affection for it. Something about the idea of Doctor Who crawling inside its own head and finding a mad-God version of itself just tickles me. Course I am even more tickled about the fact that now inside that head there exists, now thanks to Sue :), a troop of Hungarian folk dancers!

    Thanks Sue – somehow that makes me enjoy the tale even more – even if some of the execution of it is a bit poor!

    • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

      It’d be great if Leela and the Doctor really could go inside the Doctor’s actual head. But that’d be mad!

      • Dave Sanders  June 1, 2012

        And completely unworkable on the budget.

  8. Daru  May 30, 2012

    Is that Bill Bailey in the background of the main photo above?

    Come to think of it, it could have been ol` Bill playing the showman in S********e!

    Does he have time travel?

    • Simon Harries  May 30, 2012

      Looks more like Eddie Izzard in a lank wig. He’s even wearing eye shadow….

      • Daru  May 31, 2012

        Does yeah!

    • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

      Looks more like Graham Crowden to me in the main picture…

      The showman in S********* – was that Mr Elisabeth Sladen?

      • Dave Sanders  June 1, 2012

        Yep, Brian Miller, who also does Dalek voices later on.

  9. Alex Wilcock  May 30, 2012

    So was it Neil’s fault for starting Sue off bored? Probably not. I blame the carpentry. This is probably the shonkiest-looking of all the Hinchcliffes (what she’ll say when the carpentry budget goes down, the number of corridors goes up and the fine line of flippancy gets crossed all the time…).

    “She doesn’t **** about, does she? I thought she was going to be a screamer. I didn’t expect her to be Xena.”
    Yay! I don’t think Tomas’ chest hair is much to write home about, but still…

    I love Sue’s Hinchcliffe-Holmes watch ‘not for kids’ this week: I was expecting it to be the Doctor trying to kill someone by flicking a land-piranha onto him, yet she just jeered at that. But no.
    “That’s not an appropriate message to send to the kids. You should never take sweets from a stranger. Everybody knows that. Mary Whitehouse must have been livid.”
    I bet she’d have been more upset by the religion – I still think that’s the key to this whole season. And tying in with the Moff’s early appearance, the Doctor as Satan here predates last year’s ‘Doctor as mythical figure’ by several decades and, thankfully, is much shorter…

  10. Chris Too-old-to-watch  May 30, 2012

    I always remember this as one of my favourites until re-watching it, when I discovered that it was really pants. Sooooooooooo boring plot, full of padding. Can’t help thinking that 3 episodes would have been enough, with one for the Sevateem, one for the Hungarian folk dancers (sorry Tesh) and one for the conclusion.
    Only later found out main problem was Tom’s objection to the character of Leela and his preference for a cabbage….

  11. encyclops  May 30, 2012

    I always dug the themes of this story (and, of course, Leela herself) more than the actual story, so I can see where Sue’s coming from. It’s the next story I’m looking forward to, if that’s not obvious.

    • Daru  May 31, 2012

      Will be fun to see what Sue thinks of the lovely carpentry… some of my favourite in the show.

  12. Ian Marchant  May 30, 2012

    This story bored me as a kid, though I liked Leela from the get go, after Sarah, whom I thought a bit ‘girly’ (I was young) I loved Leela’s proactive attitude, she was always for hunting down the monsters and killing them.

    I think it’s probably just a dull tale as I can’t remember anything about the novelisation from my childhood either.

    Luckily there’s some cracking stories coming up.

    I’m just waiting for Sue’s views on the Tardis brickwork.

    • encyclops  May 30, 2012

      Leela’s always been one of my favorite companions for just this reason.

      • Daru  May 31, 2012

        Me too

        • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

          Me three! Leela, and just second, Barbara.

  13. John Callaghan  May 30, 2012

    Douglas Adams seems to have paid homage to a few ideas from Who, including the point-of-view gun (if that was him) which is reminiscent of Underworld, and the delightful image of sitting down on a couch for tea with a mad computer.

    If you ever get another cartoon drawn for this site, can I suggest a giant sculpture of Sue’s sceptical face carved into a mountain-side?

  14. Dave Sanders  May 30, 2012

    A curious schizophrenic beast of a story, this. I think The Face Of Evil’s main problem is that it’s a bit too purely conceptual for a Hinchcliffe; all the ideas are its own, and not overtly adapted from another source – compare with the very next story, from the same writer and production team, which everyone agrees they got right. Graham Williams, on the other hand, would have loved making this – but that would never have happened, given what happened to the show’s budget and the temperaments behind the scenes during his tenure. So it’s a bit of a miracle that The Face Of Evil exists at all really, even if the direction isn’t up to visualising all the ideas within the limitied resources. The ones that work do so very well indeed, but the majority of those are out in the jungle, and once we’re indoors you’re looking at the dullest-paced and badly-timed laser gun fights in the world ever. Yes, even worse than all the others directed by Penant Roberts.

    And that’s another problem with The Face Of Evil; you stop taking it seriously once you realise how much it’s flaws bring to mind other complete travesties like Warriors Of The Deep and Timelash in particular – that Pennant was also involved with, but weren’t actually his fault.

    Mark Gatiss sidles up to EVERYONE, by the way.

  15. Jamie  May 30, 2012

    I knew we were on a sticky wicket here, and began to fear the worst when Sue twice mentioned her waning interest BEFORE the Tesh had even appeared.
    The jungle scenes have been indelibly burned in my memory ever since I watched it as a 5 year old in 1977: a believable Ealing jungle landscape, Tom totally captivating and alien, invisible monsters swaying the vines around before crushing the egg-timer, which worried me….how would the Doctor know when they were runny enough from that point on?
    Janis thorn for Neil by the way, for the “I already have. You just can’t see it.” line.

  16. Simon Harries  May 30, 2012

    Cabbage in-joke? 🙂

  17. Lewis Christian  May 30, 2012

    “Next week: Sue sidles up to Mark Gatiss in Lidl.” <3

    It's quite interesting at the end, with Xoanon… there's a hint that he's actually still got some evil left in his system.

    • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

      Yes, Xoanon is a new life form. Like any rational intelligent being, he’s capable of both great good and great evil. A lovely moment.

      He does give great dinner parties, though!

  18. Nick  May 30, 2012

    I always wondered why there were so many Sevateem when the only female appeared to be Leela!

    • William Whyte  May 30, 2012

      Yes — and they keep killing each other too! How is there anyone left? The worldbuilding in this one is a bit wonky. Not in the next one though…

      • John Callaghan  May 30, 2012

        It’s a similar situation to that of the Smurfs. Is Leela the Sevateemette?

        • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

          No, there’s another female warrior visible in the film sequences. But rpesumably the other females were doing something more useful than war.

          • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

            By the way, how many female Tesh are there? Gary Gillat’s DWM review (I think) said his parents suspected he was “more Tesh than Sevateem”…

  19. BWT  May 30, 2012

    “You should never take sweets from a stranger. Everybody knows that. Mary Whitehouse must have been livid.”

    Forget the T-shirt, this one’s a tag-line for a featured release poster! Onya!

  20. Andrew  May 30, 2012

    “Sue: That was the campest man in the village”

    Oh come now, Neil. That’s not the phrase she really used, was it? You don’t have to spare our blushes quite so much.

  21. John G  May 30, 2012

    “Sue sidles up to Mark Gatiss in Lidl.”

    I saw Tom Baker in M&S once, but I resisted the urge to sidle up to him. If the shop you see a Who luminary in is indicative of their status in the show, I’m guessing Matthew Waterhouse would be spotted in a pound shop somewhere…

    As regards Face, I can understand why Sue didn’t take to it. It isn’t all that easy to follow, and the uninspiring production values (which particularly stand out in this season) don’t help. However, I do like the ideas on display, and the story makes a pleasing change from the normal Gothic tone of this era. I really do hope Sue changes her mind about Leela as we progress. She is fabulous, refreshingly original for a companion and superbly acted by Louise Jameson – definitely a part of my Holy Trinity of companions, along with Barbara and Zoe. I’m impressed that Sue almost remembered Leela’s name, but she didn’t appear to know who Louise was – does she recognise her from Eastenders, or Bergerac?

    • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

      If you think uninspiring production values really stand out in Season 14, what must you think of season 15 and season 17…

      • John G  June 1, 2012

        Well, it’s all relative, isn’t it? If Face was in Seasons 15 or 17, it would probably look a damn sight more impressive than it does in the much more lavishly appointed S14…

  22. Jonny Morris  May 30, 2012

    I feel behoven to point out that Terrance Dicks’ novelisation does not have the Doctor going off at the end of Robot. It happens *during* the story. ‘…And all the time there had been this overwhelming urge to go off into the TARDIS and just disappear. One night the urge had been too strong and the Doctor had given way. He had sped off alone in the TARDIS to another time and another planet – this planet. […] Since the TARDIS had returned him to Earth within minutes of his departure, no one ever knew that he’d been away.’

    My pedantry notwithstanding, keep up the good work.

    • Rob Shearman  May 30, 2012

      I always like to imagine Tom nipping off from the events in Robot somewhere during that interminable reprise at the start of episode three.

      • John Callaghan  May 30, 2012

        Presumably Doctor 9 does something similar during the closing moments of Rose. Presumably to have all those adventures we see Clive showing pictures from earlier on…

  23. bestbrian  May 30, 2012

    Nice idea, poor execution of even the poor execution. I’ve always considered this one of the worst, because it violates the number one rule of Bad Doctor Who episodes: You can schlock together an episode, have a preposterous script, ridiculous dialogue, cheap sets, horrible costumes, incomprehensible editing, impenetrable dialogue, but you are forbidden to be BORING. What’s the point of Doctor Who if it’s not fun? This is too much of a slog to even find pleasure in mocking it. I think Sue was being a bit kind, but that’s my two cents.

    It’s a shame for Louise Jameson. She really did a wonderful job of creating one of the most unique companions, but she gets introduced in this, and the bum’s rush on the way out; she deserved better.

    • Frankymole  June 1, 2012

      It is indeed ironic that Leela’s exit looked like the bum’s rush because Graham Williams was desperately trying to get her to stay (so the script made only a half-hearted, at best, stab at a last-minute “leaving” scene). Somehow I wish she’s taken up JNT’s offer of coming back for Tom’s swansong and Petey’s introduction… she’s said more recently that she considered it a mistake to turn that down. Oh well, at least we get D-i-T… (why on earth didn’t we get her in A** of I******y or The F*** D*****s?)

  24. jsd  May 30, 2012

    I just rewatched this one when the DVD came out and I didn’t find it nearly as bad as Sue and most of the other commenters here. A solid 7.

    Q for Neil: Are your views on these stories being changed by rewatching them with Sue? Is there something you really liked but Sue talked you out of it?

    • Neil Perryman  May 30, 2012

      Sometimes. It’s mainly been the other way, though. She convinced me that The Time Monster wasn’t complete rubbish for a start. I think she took some of the shine off Pyramids for me, though.

  25. Tim Cook  May 30, 2012

    I feel obliged to point out that, for people of a certain age, Leslie Schofield (Calib) will forever be the Dad in ‘Johnny Briggs’.

    • Yvreko Ell  May 30, 2012

      Absolutely. Even as a bit-part player in Star Wars, he’ll always be Johnny Briggs’ dad.

  26. John Hall  May 30, 2012

    Sorry to everybody that likes/defends/can stomach the FOE but it’s a complete dog. Always has been. Always will be. It took me ages to warm to Leela as a result of this first bad experience. It deserves every bit of opprobrium Sue can heap on to its festering sores.
    Sorry to be so active in my disdain for it but I’m genuinely surprised Sue awarded it a 4. It’s technicolour ditchwater. If they’d ad libbed it would have been a better script. The sets are of the quality that have me involuntarily clutching at an imaginary claw hammer throughout the viewing experience. Humour? God, if only there was one genuinely funny line. The pace is pedestrian. I actively NEED the Tesh and Sevateem to knock sixty shades of sugar out of each other to liven proceedings up but they fail to do even that properly. Possibly the lowest point of TB’s Doctor.
    btw
    “Mark Gatiss sidles up to EVERYONE, by the way.” – Only if they have a Y chromosome.

    • encyclops  May 31, 2012

      So you liked it, then?

      • PolarityReversed  May 31, 2012

        A robot made a joke!

    • Chris Too-old-to-watch  June 1, 2012

      Nice bit of homophobia slipped in at the end there…..

      • John Hall  June 19, 2012

        No, at least I hope not. My boyfriend would ge very upset if that were the case. 🙂

  27. Andrew Bowman  May 31, 2012

    To my eternal shame, I stopped watching this when it was on UKGold. Couldn’t get into it, so I just switched it off. Never seen it since. Interesting that many of the difficulties I had with it seem to be shared with Sue, but I need to see it properly before passing judgement. Trouble is, I’m not sure that I want to (I will do, at some point, but I might not want to, if you get my meaning). I don’t have much to say on this story, but I’ve said it anyway. 🙂

  28. Robert Dick  May 31, 2012

    This is the first story I can remember seeing air. I would have been five just a few months later. Like Neil, it’s the Doctor and Leela in the silver corridors I remember. Although, I also recall thinking that the girl was different and being confused by that. So I must have seen some Lis/Sarah, I just can’t remember any of it.

    I love Chris Boucher and his dialogue dearly. He’s a lovely, hilariously funny, man. I wish he’d done more Doctor Who.

    This one does feature my least favourite type of DW plot unfortunately, backward religious savages so it’s my least favourite of Chris’s three. Having said that, if I had to watch any DW stories with backward religious savages in it this would be the one.

  29. Tim Cook  May 31, 2012

    At least the novelisation had an excellent cover by Jeff Cummins.

    • scampmeister  June 3, 2012

      Maybe Neil could read out all of the Target novelisations to Sue once they reach the end of the DVDs. Several montha of “wheezing, groaning sounds” and “curiously open faces” are, of course, the foundation of a truly successful life partnership…

  30. Jon Clarke  June 1, 2012

    Hmm. I would have rated a bit higher myself, maybe because I really like the ideas behind it and of course Leela (and I wasn’t a dad when it first came out 🙂 )

    Glad Sue likes Leela!

  31. M.Lawrenson  June 2, 2012

    David Garfield’s other TV job at the time was writing scripts for Crossroads, so having to wear a cricket glove on his head probably didn’t seem that implausible to him.

  32. Professor Thascales  June 6, 2012

    I always liked Face of Evil.

  33. Farsighted99  June 26, 2012

    Face of Evil started out great. I love Tom, you can’t take your eyes off of him. Somewhere around episode 3, it went off the tracks. Maybe it was the rubbish costumes… Maybe it was those Tesh characters… Maybe when it turned into a Panto of sorts. Could have been a lot better for the introduction of a new companion, er, savage (though I never got the feeling she was a savage at all). Be interesting to see how her character develops though. Wish they had done more with the evil Tom part-computer persona vs Tom Doctor… A missed opportunity methinks. Meh.