Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Faceless Ones

Across the 26 years of [the] programme’s original run – not to mention the reboot – there are endless moments, invisible to the non-initiate, to be activated and become the next round of in-jokes.  It is at this point, I think, that the metaphor of consumption, so often used in audience studies, breaks down.  The cult text is never consumed (i.e. destroyed or used up) in its reading.  It is always available, complete and undiminished, bristling with new moments to be activated.
-  Booy, M.  Love and Monsters:  The Doctor Who Experience, 1979 to the Present (I. B. Tauris, London/New York, 2012), p. 117


The more worthwhile the Road, the more seductive will be those paths divergent from it.
- Suenteus Po

That’s our summer holiday finished then…


Me:  This is the same day that the Doctor’s thwarting WOTAN somewhere else in London.

Him:  Cool.

Me:  That’s all you’re going to say, is it?

Him:  Uh-huh.

Me:  Anything you want to tell me about this one?

Him:  Nothing in particular.

Me:  Great.  Shall we?

And we’re off.

Him:  The titles look wrong.

Me:  They were like this last time.

Him:  I know, but they look wrong.

The Faceless Ones begins with a plane taking off.  Having not long got off a plane myself, this at least feels, personally, quite topical.

Me:  I’m sure that plane was on strings.

Over what probably isn’t stock footage, the titles come up. 

Me:  Oo.  Malcolm Hulke.

Aside from the Mighty Hulke, this story is also credited to  a gentleman by the name of David Ellis, whose Wikipedia entry concludes in a gloriously barking fashion, thus: 

“David Ellis' other writing credits include Dixon of Dock Green and Z-Cars.Has a Best Friend named Hayden Anthony Ellis His Age Is * In A Haft”1

As a plane looks for somewhere to park in the sudden rain, the final title card fades and the TARDIS lands.  Jamie and the Doctor emerge and a startling observation is made.

"Nah, Doc.  Prehistoric bird's not included as standard.  Tell ya what, come back when you've got rid of Adric for the second time and we'll see what we can do."
The Doctor immediately assesses all the possibilities and comes up with a course of action.  Ben and Polly bound out of the TARDIS to join in with the running away.

Me:  What?

Him:  “Run away from the plane!”

Me:  And the TARDIS.

Our heroes are spotted by a policeman, who seems to have the most specific beat in the general London area.

The Doctor:  Scatter!

The Doctor, Polly and Jamie head deftly stage left, while Ben slips and stumbles in the general direction of where stage right should be.

Him:  Not that way!  Scatter in the other direction!

Elsewhere, in the general air traffic control area, news of an unscheduled flight is greeted with disbelief by the Commandant.  Just to be safe, he contacts the airport police and requests that the TARDIS be removed until the end of the story.  Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch’s lovely mother awaits her chance to shine.

Ben hides from the disgruntled policeman.

Me:  The location filming really adds to it.

The Doctor, Jamie and a wheel are lurking elsewhere.  Polly is lured from her hiding place by the promise of funky percussion.

Me:  And then the music goes mad.

Spotting the policeman who can’t find Ben, Polly decides to skip the street performance, and hides behind a door upon which is printed the legend: Chameleon Tours.  There’s a nice picture of a chameleon too.  Branding’s very important for alien species, y’see.

Me:  Oh!  Quality logo!

Finding herself on a set, Polly hides behind some boxes.  Two gentlemen walk in.  One doesn’t stop and is light-pulsed to the floor by the other as a result.  It’s not as confusing as it sounds.  The man with the futuristic space-gun picks up the envelope dropped by the man who’s just been light-pulsed, before tidying up his mess in a way that’ll be familiar to any students who’ve wandered onto this blog by mistake.

Having done this, the blackguard moves into a small office.  There’s just time to notice this wrong ‘un is dressed like he should be flying a plane, before he's Skyping a superior.  He reports a problem and mentions postcards.  Just then, Polly sets off an alarm and is spotted.  As our evil pilot follows her, he passes the mess he made earlier.  He hasn’t quite covered the hand, and it looks horrid.

Me:  Uuurgh.

Him:  It’s just the carpet.

Me:  And next time, I’ll look before I kiss it.2

Polly rushes off the set and back onto film, pursued by the wrong ‘un.  She’s too quick for him.

The Commandant makes a phone call to the chief of police.

Commandant:  Listen, what’s all this about a police box on the runway?

Him:  “Well, sir, there’s this police box on the runway, see…”

Huffing and sighing superbly, the Commandant asks the lovely Wanda Ventham (for it is she) to contact Immigration for him and tell them to keep their eyes peeled for weirdos.

The first gratuitous Wanda Ventham picture of the day.
The Doctor, Jamie and Polly are reunited by the wheel.  Polly explains what she saw and the plot lurches forward.  It’s great, but just before our heroes head to the hangar of doom, Polly puts her finger on a niggling doubt that’ll grow over the course of the story…

Polly:  Where’s Ben?

Me:  Ben does seem to be getting sidelined.

Him:  “Feel slike I’m bin written aht, Duchess.”

The wrong ‘un and his chum are disposing of the mess.  We’ll get some names in a moment and then this’ll be easier to follow.  It turns out that the mess used to be Detective Inspector Gascoigne, which presents a bit of a problem as that sort of thing’s always frowned on.  The wrong ‘un responsible for the mess wonders if the ex-DI was sent by a parent.  It doesn’t really matter, replies the other.  It’s an intriguing set up and no mistake. 

The wrong ‘un’s office is equipped with a massive shredder.  The wallet belonging to the mess that was DI Gascoigne goes in, followed by some perfectly good suitcases.  The buzzer we heard earlier sounds, and we discover that the cop-killing wrong ‘un is called Spencer.  On the screen, Polly’s returned with the Doctor and Jamie.

Our heroes explore, but apart from a stain and the body, there’s no evidence.  The Doctor works out that the technology used to murder D.I. Gascoigne can’t be from Earth.

Spencer and the other wrong ‘un overhear this.  Spencer is sent to deal with Polly, but told to-

Me:  “Leave the man-“

Him:  “-it’s the girl I want.”

The Doctor, Polly and Jamie leave to report their grisly find.  Spencer’s waiting on film for our our heroes to pass. Polly gets grabbed.

Him:  I thought he just stabbed a knife into Polly’s face.

Me:  Thankfully, no.

The Doctor and Jamie walk on, oblivious.

Him:  Does Jamie never get cold?

Me:  He’s Scottish, so I’m not sure the question makes sense.  He can’t feel cold.

Back on the set, Polly awakens.  Spencer drags her up the stairs to the office.

Polly:  Where are you taking me?

Me:  “You’re to be written out.”

The Doctor and Jamie, having finally noticed they were down a companion, return to the hangar to look for Polly.  There’s no sign of her and so our heroes leave to inform the authorities and give the other wrong ‘un the chance to menace up a blackout.

Following the break we’re elsewhere in the airport.  There’s a lot of passengers heading down a corridor and a familiar voice on the tannoy.

Me:  That sounded like Anneke Wills there.

Him:  No it didn’t.

Andred’s checking passports.

Me:  And there’s Mr Leela.

Him:  Oh, right.

Me:  Making his second appearance in Doctor Who.

The Him says nothing, so I decide not to go on about it.

Andred won’t let the Doctor speak to anyone in authority until he’s been shown a passport.  The Doctor tries to storm past to inform the police, but unfortunately as they’ve arrived at Andred’s desk through the Arrivals channel they won’t be going anywhere.  Jamie mentions the TARDIS and the Doctor gives him a kick.

Me:  Ha!

Andred:  You two wouldn’t know anything about a police box would you?

Jamie:  That’s what I’m saying.  It’s-

Another kick.

Jamie:  Oomph!

Me:  That’s ace.  You can see why Jamie was retained – Troughton and Frazer have a fantastic chemistry.

Andred suggests they both take a seat and then contacts the Commandant.

Me:  And the banter’s great.

Andred:  Hello, sir?  Jenkins here.

Him:  “Chap with wings there…”

Ben, meanwhile, is still trapped on film.  Hearing a banging he makes his way through the Chameleon door and onto the set.  The other wrong ‘un stops banging a crate and hides.

Me:  “That’s the Ark of the Covenant sealed up for shipping.”

Ben calls out.

Me:  How long do you reckon it’ll be before Ben gets clonked?

Him:  Ummmm…  Twenty seconds?

Just as the wrong ‘un’s about to clonk Ben, the lovely Wanda Ventham saves his bacon.  She’s looking for Captain Blade.  And we have a name.

Me:  I think it’ll be a bit longer.

After handing Captain Blade his flight schedules, the lovely Wanda Ventham leaves.  Ben explains he’s lost and is led away.

Elsewhere, Jamie and the Doctor have managed to land themselves in an argument with the Commandant.  Jamie’s honesty isn’t helping.  The Commandant demands they take him to the hangar.

Elsewhere, Captain Blade is putting stamps on postcards.

Me:  They must be loaded, whoever they are.  Stamps cost a fortune.

Spencer arrives.  Polly’s being processed.  Captain Blade picks up something.

Him:  What’s with the lipstick?

He opens a cupboard and removes an arm, gives it an injection and then tidies it away.  The alarm goes off again,.

The Doctor and Jamie are back but the body’s gone.  The Doctor explores and some great banter takes place.  The Doctor produces the one piece of evidence he found on DI Gascoigne: a Spanish postage stamp.  The Commandant isn’t impressed.  Jamie points out a burn mark.  As the Doctor and Jamie run over to remove the lid of the large packing case that the missing policeman must be in, Captain Blade glides down the stairs.

Me:  “There’s nothing in there except the Ark of the Covenant.”

Him:  They open it and everyone’s face melts.

It’s actually full of plastic cups.  The Commandant’s totally narked by now and leaves with our heroes.

After they’ve left, Captain Blade calls for Spencer to:

Captain Blade:  Bring him down.

Spencer escorts something down the stairs.  It’ll survive if they’re quick.

Me:  That’s a bit-

Back in the main building, the Doctor and Jamie are in more trouble than someone who’s made a joke about explosives to airport security.

Suddenly, Jamie spots Polly, but she doesn’t recognise him.

Me:  Oh dear.

Spencer and Captain Blade escort the something onto film  They head up an escalator and through some doors marked ‘Medical Centre’ where there’s a set.  The something is sat down and the camera pans up to reveal that it’s a…  It’s a …  Well…  It’s hard to say what it is, really.

Me:  Whoah…

And then, the credits.

Me:  That was a double cliff-hanger.  Subtle.

Him:  It was alright.  The fact it moved makes a difference.

Me:  It does.


Following the delights of the first episode, it’s back to recon-fatigue.  After a bit of careful hunting through the distant volcanic slopes of YouTube, we found a reconstruction by someone called Starwho100.

We started with a sort of recap and then it crashed.

Me:  Well, that sets the scene.

In the interim period, the video was pulled from YouTube.



Me:  Oh, it’s changed. 

We give up and try a different one, namely this.3


Me:  It’s the same.

There’s possibly a recap, it’s hard to tell.  We begin with pictures of the title cards and the medical ward.  Someone’s reading a paper and it looks like Captain Blade’s having a nap – but it’s actually a chap from air traffic control by the name of Meadows.  But we don’t know that just yet.

The Doctor and Jamie are interviewing the Not-Polly.  She’s even got a passport to prove she isn’t Polly.  It’s all very strange.

The Commandant lets her go.

Me:  “You’re far too pretty to have done anything wrong.”

There’s trouble brewing.  The Commandant contacts the Superintendent of Police.  The Doctor’s had enough.

The Doctor:  Jamie, I don’t think we’re very welcome here.  When I say ‘run’, you run.  Run!

Me:  Ha!

Suddenly, a nurse named Pinto arrives in the medical ward.  She’s brought green subtitles with her.  Spencer and Captain Blade are attaching a headband to a prone something.

Him:  He’s got a face.

Me:  He’s not a Faceless One.

The device is activated and the thing twitches. 

Me:  That’s creepy.

Elsewhere in the airport, Ben’s still hiding, possibly on film.

Picking up from the example set by the Cybermen in The Moonbase, the Doctor and Jamie adopt newspapers as a remarkably effective disguise.

Me:  What about the kilt?

The Doctor notices an advert in the newspaper he’s hiding behind, it’s for a budget airline company called Chameleon Youth Tours…  Branding and advertising.

Ben suddenly finds our heroes and, being one newspaper short, they all hurry off to find somewhere else to hide

Back in the medical ward, skulduggery's afoot.

Him:  He’s got a face.

Me:  There’s a definite effort being made, I’ll give you that.

The Faceless One changes to Not-Meadows.  Nurse Pinto begins tests and checks on the Not-Meadows, starting with an eye-chart.

The Doctor, Ben and Jamie spot Not-Polly working for Chameleon Tours.  The Doctor tries to talk sense into her, but she’s having none of it.  Not-Polly makes some errors in her story and the Doctor pounces on them, until Captain Blade turns up.  The Doctor hurries off and Captain Blade debriefs the Not-Polly.  It’s not her fault and she can leave on the next flight.

In air traffic control itself, things pick up as first the Not-Meadows and then the wonderful Bernard Kay arrive.  Bernard Kay asks the lovely Wanda Ventham if there’s been sign of his colleague DI Gascoigne.

Ben, the Doctor and Jamie are hiding in a photo booth.

Me:  There’s a lot more comedy now.

Him:  William Hartnell was just informative.

Me:  And entertaining.

Jamie is sent onto location to keep an eye on the Not-Polly.  There’s an announcement made by someone that also isn’t Polly.

Him:  Geneva!

Samantha Briggs arrives at the Not-Polly’s desk looking for information about her missing brother.

Me:  It’s Queen Victoria.

Him:  This is the last one with Ben and Polly, yeah?

Me:  Yeah.

Him:  And the same thing’s happening as happened with Dodo.

Me:  That’s right.  Pauline Collins was – ideally – going to take over from Anneke Wills and Frazer would have stood in for Michael Craze.

Samantha shows Not-Polly the postcard her brother, Brian (not Nick), sent from a non-existent hotel in Rome.
Me:  But she decided against it and went on to win Oscars instead.  Something that would never happen with the new series.

The crown that appeared in Tooth and Claw was one of the in-jokes based on this story, fact-fans. The other one involved an accent becoming Scottish...
 Not-Polly tries to contact Captain Blade, but he’s out.  Samantha says she’ll wait and takes a seat next to Jamie.  Jamie strikes up a conversation with her.

The Doctor and the Commandant are reunited.  They pick up their argument where it left off.

The Doctor:  One step nearer, and I’ll blow you all to smithereens!

Me:  You wouldn’t say that now.  Not even as a jokey tweet.

The Doctor runs off again.

Samantha is fobbed off by Not-Polly who closes the kiosk to catch her flight.  Samantha’s not impressed.

Ben is in the Chameleon Tours hangar set, opening crates.  Inside one he finds Polly.  Ben runs to a phone and tries to contact the Commandant.

Jamie introduces the Doctor to Samantha, but he isn’t interested.  Not-Polly’s left.  The Doctor turns on a monitor in the kiosk in time to see Ben (finally) getting jumped by a wrong ‘un.

Him:  This is lasting forever.

Me:  It’s alright though.

Spencer and Captain Blade await the arrival of the Doctor.

Me:  Bernard Kay also making a reappearance.

The Him says nothing.

Bernard Kay’s also looking for Brian (not Nick) Briggs.  Jenkins tells him about the two weirdos running around, the scruffy one and the lad in the kilt.

Bernard Kay:  Well, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them

Me:  “Unless they’ve got newspapers, then we’re stuffed.”

Samantha and Jamie continue flirting while the Doctor tries to rescue Ben.

The next Chameleon Tours flight is announced.  It’s going to Zurich.

The Doctor arrives in the Chameleon Tours hangar but Ben’s gone.

The passengers for the next flight are handed pre-stamped postcards.

Me:  That’s not at all suspicious.

Jamie sets off to find the Doctor and gets nicked by Bernard Kay instead.

The Doctor’s opening packing cases.  He finds Meadows.  A voice calls for help.  The Doctor follows the voice, but realises it’s a trap when the gas starts pumping through a sink in the wall.  He falls.

Credits Ho!


We recap, there’s still gas going on, but now the episode’s moving it appears more that the Doctor’s in a large refrigerator.

The Doctor blocks the various freeze-gas emissions and covers the camera that Spencer’s monitoring him through, before collapsing.  Never having seen this type of thing before, Spencer enters the office ice-block and is overpowered by the Doctor.  The Doctor exits the hangar swiftly, running past the crate that Meadows is packed in.

Him:  We’ve still got fifteen Patrick Troughton stories to go.

Me:  We can do it.

Him:  I don’t think I can.

Elsewhere in Gatwick, the Doctor finds Jamie, Samantha and Bernard Kay who introduces himself as Detective Inspector Crossland, but that’s not going to change anything at this stage.  Finally, it appears that someone might believe the Doctor’s story – well, the part about the dead DI at least.

Back in the hangar, Spencer begins to recover.  He blinks.

Him:  plink plink

Spencer sits up.  He’s got a migraine starting.  This  isn’t helped by the arrival of a disappointed Captain Blade.  Captain Blade has to leave on the next flight to Zurich, but Spencer will be staying on in Gatwick.

Spencer:  For what purpose?

Captain Blade:  To atone for your incompetence.

Back in the main building, the Doctor and Bernard Kay head off to see the Commandant, leaving Samantha with Jamie.  Samantha decides to inspect the hangar herself, and cheekily manipulates the clearly smitten Jamie into helping her.

Him:  Ha!

Me:  She’s rather feisty.

Elsewhere, the Commandant finally accepts that at least part of the Doctor’s tale might not be the result of a cheese-dream.  The story drags itself slowly forward as the Doctor recaps what’s been going on.  Following this he starts looking for the Not-Meadows and hands Bernard Kay the Not-A-Fountain-Pen-Stun-Device that he’s found before outlining his theory as to what Chameleon Tours are actually up to.  It boils down to mass-kidnapping.  Oddly enough, this triggers a long-buried memory of Public Information Films in the Him. 

Me:  Good advice.

Him:  Is this before that?

Me:  Ummm…

Me:  Yeah – and…

Back on the telly, the Doctor uses the Not-A-Fountain-Pen-Stun-Device to demonstrate the truth of his claims, using Not-Meadows as a guinea-pig.  Fair play, it’s marvellous.

In the hangar, Samantha finds the postcards.  She’s not happy.

Jamie and Samantha burst into air traffic control, armed with postal evidence.  Samantha works it out.

Him:  “They eat them.”

Me:  It’s the only sensible conclusion.

The Commandant, finally, agrees to help.  The Doctor is given the freedom of the airport for twelve hours.  Jamie gets a cwtch from Samantha.

Elsewhere, Not-Meadows and Spencer are scheming.   Not-Meadows is to attach something to the Doctor.  Spencer’s got a Big (possibly) Red Button to press (or it might be a dial to twist) to activate it, so it seems to be at least little explodey.

Back in air traffic control, the Doctor is given passes and information.

Me:  The lovely Wanda Ventham.

The Doctor’s in conversation, so Not-Meadows uses this as an opportunity to attach the tiny nasty to the Doctor’s back.

The Doctor:  Eight flights a day and only four planes?

The Doctor ponders what might be taking place when the planes are out of radar contact.

Him:  If your evil scheme has stuff to do with making copies of people, then why call it ‘Chameleon Tours’?

Me:  Blending in?

Bernard Kay decides to talk to Captain Blade.

Captain Blade:  All right.  Send him over to the plane.  We’ll deal with him.

Jamie and the Doctor are exchanging banter and rummaging through the Chameleon Tours office. 

Jamie:  Are you sure this is the right room, Doctor?

The Doctor:  Jamie, have you ever known me to be mistaken?

Jamie:  Aye.

The Doctor:  Eh?

Me:  Nice.

Jamie makes a passing reference to Ben and Polly, but nobody really notices. 

Me:  And we never see them again.

Him:  No?

Me:  I might be lying.

Bernard Kay has made his way onto the plane to have it out with Captain Blade.  There’s a strange jump and a close-up that I guess must be a restorative repair for a missing frame or seven.  Captain Blade agrees to accompany Bernard Kay to the Commandant’s office after making a couple of quick arrangements.  After a few moments of being left alone, Bernard Kay becomes suspicious and follows after Captain Blade who apprehends him in the oddly futuristic cockpit.  The sound of engines rises.

Me:  Jumps a bit there. Must be damage to the film.

The Doctor and Jamie are making good progress with Operation Get Everything Off The Shelves.  A hidden door opens to reveal the pulsing nerve-centre of the Chameleon Tours base.  Cautiously, they enter and look around.

Jamie:  What’s that, Doctor?

It’s the big fridge we saw earlier.

The Doctor spots the monitors and shuffles over for a peek.

Jamie:  What’s that?

Me:  Casualty.”

The monitor is viewing the medical room we saw earlier.  The Doctor decides to try and find Gatwick’s first-aid post and see if the pictures line up.  Spencer is watching all this on yet another monitor. 

Despite Jamie’s burst of conscience about the mess they’ve made, the Doctor decides not to tidy it up.  Hearing this, Spencer reaches menacingly into his jacket pocket.  Removing the device we saw earlier, Spencer gives the knob a good twist which causes a high-pitched shriek.  The Doctor falls to his knees but Jamie removes the offending item and stamps on it.

The Chameleon Tours plane has taken off and appears to have reached a cruising altitude.  Bernard Kay is strapped to a chair in front of a monitor.

Captain Blade:  You wanted to know what was the secret of Chameleon Tours.

The monitor shows the passengers.  Having listened attentively during the safety demonstration, they all have their seatbelts on.  Captain Blade turns a couple of dials and there’s a loud hum,

Captain Blade:  Well, Inspector.  See for yourself.

The passengers have all vanished.

Me:  “You see, Inspector?  Trap doors!  Bwah ha ha!”

Credit those folk.


We recap.

Back in the hangar and Jamie’s being threatened by Spencer.  Samantha jumps in but Spencer overpowers them both.  Spencer plops them on the floor and brings out an evil device that might be better placed in  the centre of a hollowed-out volcano.  I’m guessing you’ve seen Goldfinger?

Me:  It’s all gone a bit James Bond.

Back on the plane, the plot moves forward as the plane flies upward.  Captain Blade’s still being vague.  He contacts his bosses and informs them there’s an ‘Original’ on board.  Despite this positive mini-review, Bernard Kay still isn’t happy about the whole situation.

In the hangar, our heroes can’t move and the light draws closer.  That can’t be good.

Elsewhere, Nurse Pinto makes a Not-Jenkins.

Back in the hangar, the Doctor’s earning his hero credentials.

The Doctor:  It’s a long shot, but it just might work…

Me:  Yay!

Our heroes are saved by a mirror.  Phew.  Still no sign of Ben and Polly.

Back to the original plan, Samantha gets sent to the Chameleon Tours desk, the Doctor and Jamie’ll check out the first-aid post.

Me:  Samantha would’ve been a great companion.

The Not-Jenkins awakes.

Jamie and Doctor make their way into the first-aid post.  Jamie’s faking a rare tropical disease.  The Doctor bluffs his way past Nurse Pinto whilst Spencer and the Not-Jenkins scheme.

The Doctor and the Commandant are reunited.  Jamie is sent to see what Samantha’s up to.

The second gratuitous Wanda Ventham picture of the day.
The lovely Wanda Ventham has been doing some research of her own.  It turns out that Chameleon Tours have never delivered a single passenger.  You’d think someone would have noticed.  The Doctor has a quick word with the lovely Wanda Ventham about perhaps helping out with the Nurse Pinto problem.

Fed up with waiting for someone to do something, Samantha buys a ticket for the next Chameleon Tours flight.  Just then, Jamie arrives.

Me:  They seem to be spending a lot of time on that bench.

Being unable to talk her out of it, Jamie offers to come along.  Samantha is impressed and rewards him with a kiss, little realising he’s nicked her ticket.

Back in air traffic control, the 1530 Chameleon Tours flight is to have a fighter-plane following it.  At this news, the lovely Wanda Ventham collapses.  It’s ok, it’s just a ruse.

The third, and final, gratuitous Wanda Ventham picture of the day.
A disgruntled Nurse Pinto is called to attend to lovely Wanda Ventham in air traffic control.  After she’s huffed off,  the Doctor sneaks in and has a look around.  Before long he’s found a hidden switch that opens up another hidden area.  It seems that the real Nurse Pinto has been placed in storage, but the Doctor doesn’t notice.  Rooting further around he finds a selection of black and white cuff decorations and takes one of each.

Me:  There haven’t been many present-day stories so far.

Him:  Have there been any?

Me:  An Unearthly Child – well, the first episode at least; some of The Chase; some of The Daleks’ Master Plan; Planet of Giants possibly and The War Machines.

Him:  It’s kind of awesome that William Hartnell’s destroying WOTAN at the same time.

Me:  Good, innit?

The Doctor returns to air traffic control, and the lovely Wanda Ventham makes a snap recovery.  The Not-Nurse grumps off.

Back at the desk, Samantha can’t find her ticket.  The call for boarding has already been given, so she’s getting a bit worried.  It turns out that an ‘S Briggs’ has already checked in and boarded.  Samantha works out what’s happened pretty fast, as does Spencer, who’s watching the whole thing on the ever-present monitor.  How’d they manage to get all these cameras installed without anyone noticing?  And are they all decorated with a natty chameleon logo?  Or have they gone for something less obtrusive, I wonder.  Like a salamander.4

Spencer phones through and asks to speak to Samantha.  Samantha’s nabbed as a matter of course and the rest of the passengers board the plane.

The Doctor asks the Commandant how high fighters can fly and is told it’s about ten miles.

The Doctor:  How futile.

Me:  Nice.

On the now airborne plane, Jamie’s being sick.

Me:  Sounds a bit like the plane’s made of wood.

The fighter follows fine.

On the plane, Captain Blade notices they’re being tailed.  He fires a bright light that blinds the fighter’s pilot.  The fighter veers off course, out of control and then crashes.  As this is occurring the Chameleon plane appears to halt in mid-air.  The wings fold into the main body of the plane and it vanishes from the radar

Although the Commandant feels the plane has crashed, the Doctor is convinced it's gone the other way.  That is to say, straight up. 

Me:  Oo.

The plane is rising into a conical (not ‘comical’) spaceship.  In space!

Job List!


We recap…

Jamie’s missed being abducted, presumably by locking himself in the restroom and therefore vomiting himself to freedom.  He sneaks past two Faceless Ones who are taking something from each passenger's seat.

"Jings, Ah'm gaunnae boak..."

Me:  They’re pretty creepy.

Him:  They’re not faceless though.  ‘The Featureless Ones’ would’ve been a better name.

Jamie looks around, spots the stewardess and, true to form, begins following her.

Me:  We still don’t know where Ben and Polly are.  And we haven’t seen them in ages.

After finding a room filled with drawers of tiny humans, Jamie get himself discovered and captured.

Air traffic control.  The remains of the fighter plane have been recovered.  Not-Meadows is finally confronted and exposed. 

Me:  Ummm…

The Doctor rolls up the Not-Meadows sleeve to reveal a cuff with dials.  Not-Meadows explains that there’s a satellite in orbit that the passengers are being taken to.  Following a catastrophe on their home planet, these aliens have made their way to Earth.  They can now:

Not-Meadows:  …take on the physical characteristics of another being.

I’m probably the only person who’s getting echoes of The Unquiet Dead here.  But then, I got echoes of The Unquiet Dead when we were re-reading Scream! recently.5

Not-Meadows reveals he hasn’t got an idea as to how many of these Faceless Ones are actually working at Gatwick.  And only the Not-Nurse knows where her Original is.  It’s a pretty good idea, let’s be fair.

The Doctor confronts Nurse Pinto with this new information and policemen.  She’s so shocked, she stops converting Samantha.

The Nurse Original is uncovered, a policeman is done for, there’s a scuffle and the Not-Nurse vanishes.  Samantha tells the Doctor that Jamie’s been hijacked as well.

On the satellite, Bernard Kay (or is it?) fills Jamie in.  There are some very spacey noises.  Bernard Kay reveals himself to actually be Not-Bernard Kay.  The Chameleon plane begins its return to Earth.

Him:  I like the music.

Back in air traffic control, the Doctor has found files listing all the Not-Human members of Gatwick Airport’s staff.  Unfortunately, Chameleon Tours have stealthily obtained somewhere upwards of 50,000 young people,including Jamie (oh yeah, and the other two) which, kind of, gives them the upper hand in the bargaining stakes.

Suddenly…  We both fall asleep.  It’s  late and it's worth remembering that recon-fatigue is a very real thing.  What follows is what we missed the first time around.

The Doctor has to get aboard the next Chameleon Tours flight.  He’s going to try this by pretending to be Not-Meadows as a Not-Doctor.  Whilst he’s doing this, the Commandant and his team of trusted individuals have to try and track down the hidden Originals of the Not-Humans.

The real Nurse Pinto helps sell the Doctor’s bluff to Spencer, but it doesn’t look like Spencer’s buying it.  Nevertheless, he allows the Doctor to join the flight. 

As the hunt for the Originals becomes increasingly desperate the Doctor and the real Nurse Pinto approach the satellite.  Upon landing, Captain Blade announces a change of plan. 

Not-Bernard Kay adjusts a dial on Jamie’s arm – it seems to control his accent.

Captain Blade confronts the Doctor and Nurse Pinto.  They’ve been rumbled.

Captain Blade:  You two won’t be needing ‘living space’.

You get all that?

Roll credits.


We recap.  The Doctor’s still been rumbled.

Captain Blade:  I want your brain.
Back on Earth, the search continues.  There’s not been much luck, so the Commandant orders a suspension of flights to free up some manpower.

Meanwhile, in space, Not-Jamie is working a telephone exchange.

Me:  Noticed anything about Jamie’s accent?

Him:  He hasn’t said anything.

Me:  That’s not what I was after.

The Doctor attempts to finagle the location of the rest of the Originals from Not-Bernard Kay, but seeing as he’s really the Director of ‘the most intelligent race in the Universe’, Not-Bernard Kay soon twigs this.  The Doctor’s on a roll now, and talks through his thought processes.  Of course, all the important aliens have their Originals nearby and safe.  But the less-important ones…

He turns to Captain Blade.

The Doctor:  Where’s your original?

On Earth, the search continues.

Spencer’s having a slight crisis of faith.  This isn’t helped by the Doctor telling Captain Blade that the Gatwick Airport Originals have already been found.  Everyone here should start blinking out of existence any second.  It’s a wonderful moment.

Chameleon HQ contact the Commandant.  A deadly game begins.

Samantha and the lovely Wanda Ventham search through the Chameleon Tours files.  She’s found the Originals.  In order to maintain a sense of mystery, I’m not going to say exactly where they are.

Captain Blade is nicely distracted, despite Not-Bernard Kay’s insistence that the Doctor is only bluffing.  The Doctor takes advantage of this and indulges in some sabotage.  A machine explodes.

Back on Earth, Samantha – having found the Originals - gets jumped by Not-Meadows.  In celebration, the music suddenly goes full-on bongo mental.

The lovely Wanda Ventham hears the commotion (and percussion) and calls the police over to help Samantha.

Its work done, the music just sto-

Us:  Ha!

With the Originals being discovered, a message is sent to the aliens that I should really have been calling Chameleons from the start, oh well.  Not-Jenkins dissolves.  This causes further problems with Chameleon morale.

Captain Blade attempts a mutiny and forces Not-Jamie to contact Gatwick.  A deal is struck.  The Chameleons will have to give back all the tourists and then the Doctor will let them leave.

Me:  Is it just me, or has this gone a bit ploddy?

Him:  Very much so.

Me:  The first part was brilliant.

Him:  Yes, yes it was.  It’s gone downhill.

The Not-Bernard Kay and Not-Jamie make a break for it.  They don’t get far.

The Chameleons accept the Doctor’s offer. 

The Doctor is reunited with Jamie.

The Doctor:  I’m pleased to see you alive.

Jamie:  What do ye mean?

Me:  “I’ll explain later.”

The Doctor uncovers Bernard Kay, but there’s still no sign of Ben and Polly. 

Captain Blade:  What will our future be, Doctor?

The Doctor:  So long as you keep your side of the bargain, you may return to your planet unharmed.  Perhaps your scientists will be able to find some way out of their dilemma.  I… may be able to give them one or two ideas of my own.

Me:  You can tell it’s written by Macolm Hulke.

Him:  ‘The Incredible Hulke’?

Me:  The same.

The Doctor attempts to re-obtain the TARDIS.  He says a quick goodbye to Samantha and then pops off as Ben and Polly have gone missing.  Again.

Jamie and Samantha share a tender moment and she gives him a kiss.  Jamie leaves Samantha waiting for Brian (not Nick).

Wait a moment.  Who’s this?

Me:  Oh!  It’s Polly.

Him:  Who’s she?

Me:  And Ben.

The Doctor’s still looking for the TARDIS.  Ben and Polly want to stay in London.  Ben works out that this is the very day that they left, so if they’re going to jump ship, this is probably the best time.  Ben offers to stay if the Doctor needs them.  It doesn’t work and the goodbyes are said.

It's an ignoble farewell.  The spelling mistake doesn't help either.
Him:  So, that just proves that the Doctor didn’t need them.

Me:  It’s a bit…  nothing.

Him:  I don’t really care.

Me:  It’s weird.  They haven’t really been in the story, which hasn’t helped.

The only problem now, is that the Doctor still can’t find the TARDIS.  Must be time for the credits then.

Me:  Oh.

And up they roll…

Me:  So.  Ben and Polly are gone.  Thoughts?

Him:  No.  It just doesn’t seem important that they’ve left.

Me:  Ah.  How about The Faceless Ones itself?

Him:  Meh.  Pretty dull.  I’m not an overall fan of that one.  I thought I was going to enjoy it, but I didn’t.

Me:  Oh, well.  Final ever Dalek story next.

Him:  That would’ve been a good idea.

Me:  Nah.  An empty champagne jacuzzi is just a really big sink.

Next:  The Daleks  

To Set A Trap…

1.  Well, that’s what it said on the 19th August 2012.  It’s probably been changed now.

2.  'And toll’d'.

3.  For the record, we’ve got all the missing episodes in legitimate narrated CD box-sets, and the BBC itself has published the telesnaps on their Doctor Who website.  Remind me of that if I’m being rude about the amount of effort people have put in animating missing episodes, alright? 

4.  Yes, I’m afraid I really did just do that.

5.  The Tales From The Grave story, The Undertaker to be specific.  The titular Undertaker’s name to be specific to a troubling level.  Go on, have a look.6

6.  And when you’ve done that, check out the marvellous Scream! tribute site it came from: 
SCREAM!  Back from the Depths...

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