Sunday 5 February 2012

440 The Face of Evil Part One

EPISODE: The Face of Evil Part One
TRANSMITTED: 01 January 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who The Face of Evil but The Face Of Evil DVD is due soon!

The Doctor arrives on a planet and meets Leela, a female savage who has been cast out by her tribe for blasphemy against their God Xoanon. She identifies the Doctor as "The Evil One". The Doctor is found by the tribe and taken captive to their village but freed by Leela. She takes the Doctor to a nearby mountainside and shows him his own face carved there.

Hmmm. Tom's on fine form throughout this episode but somehow it's not setting my world on fire. And I don't know why. Like Masque of Mandragora something is not there, something is missing. The head at the end is a nice striking image, obviously inspired by Mount Rushmore.

We get a few firsts in this episode though: it's the introduction of Leela, who'll be the Doctor's new companion, as played by Louise Jameson. It's a role that would really launch a successful television career including Tenko, Bergerac & Eastenders from 1998-2000 as Rosa Di Marco. It's also the debut for writer Chris Boucher who was obviously a big hit with the production team becoming only the second writer to write two consecutive stories, after Ian Stuart Black wrote the Savages & the War Machines in 1966. In fact he writes three of the next six stories before being stolen away to serve as Blake's 7's Script Editor. It's also a debut for director Pennant Roberts who would go on to work on Blake's 7 too. Pennant Roberts has some of Doctor Who's all time greatest turkeys to his name as we shall see. But there's also Pirate Planet and I can forgive anything for that.

And yes that is our new best mate supporting artist Harry Fielder playing the warrior who gets shot with the crossbow - see his website for pictures and an amusing anecdote. One of the guards here is Tom Kelly who'll return as a Guard in The Sun Makers and a Vardan in The Invasion of Time.

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