Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Face of Evil

Season 14, Story 4/6, Serial 4Q: 4 x 25 minute episodes, 1st to 22nd January 1977
Writer: Chris Boucher, Director: Pennant Roberts, Script Editor: Robert Holmes, Producer: Philip Hinchcliffe

50dw50@50dw50 the story that will always be known as "The one before The Robots of Death"

Cave people? Is this the tribe of gum again? Where's Old Mother?

50dw50@50dw50 a bit of a mean description of Dame Jameson!
Simon Hart@Si_Hart I like how this one starts in the middle of a scene and just gets on with it, no scene setting.

Our story starts on an un-named planet, with the primitive tribe of the Sevateem putting one of their number, Leela, on trial for blasphemy. She's been denying the existence of their god, Xoanon, and is about to be sentenced to take the test of the Horda.
50dw50@50dw50 it's a story I can relate to as people describe me as a hoarder 

KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast And with all the fake tan, it's like the Smurfs have been creosoted. 

50dw50@50dw50 the planet of the leather men... And one woman.

Leela's friend Tomas tries to make excuses for her, but she stands by what she said.
50dw50@50dw50 thank god they never went with the idea of Leela blacking up, these would be very awkward episodes now if they had. 

The Tribe's "Speaker of Law" and Shaman, Neeva, condemns her, but Chief Andor offers the opportunity for someone else to take the test for her.

Tomas isn't so outspoken now, but Leela's father, Sole, steps forward to take the test of the Horda to save her.
MAW Holmes@MAW_H Just imagine how often Leela's father would have to turn up in the modern series... 

Too late, Leela makes a hollow attempt to recant, but her father is dragged off and dies offscreen.
Jason McLaughlin@jangomac72 Some of the men don't look best pleased, they've just banished the only woman!! 

Leela is cast out. If she's still in th eboundary at sunrise, she'll be thrown to the Horda. Neeva calls her "spawn of the evil one" and tells her to "return to your master."
James Wood@face_4radio these film sequences are absolutely beautiful. Sublime set design as well for this story! 

A tall blue box appears in the forest. The door opens & a tall curly-haired man steps out. 
He wears loose, comfortable clothes with a vaguely Bohemian air. 

A broad-brimmed soft hat is jammed on the back of a tangle of curly hair, and an incredibly long scarf dangles round his neck. Why, it's Doctor Who, of course! 
50dw50@50dw50 Dr Who in an exiting adventure on the forest planet where they grow those tubes that they plug into tumble dryers.

KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast I wondered where they came from. The shipping costs must be huge. 

Oh blimey, Tom's talking to camera. We are in trouble. 
MAW Holmes@MAW_H"What I need" he mused "is a cabbage to talk to..." 

Simon Hart@Si_Hart Much more of this to come in the next few years...

Seems he's forgotten something important. Never mind, I'm sure it'll be staring him in the face by the end of the episode.
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast This picture alone confirms that the Doctor needs a companion. Bits of 4th wall all over the floor... 

Leela's left the tribe as ordered but it seems they've sent people to kill her anyway. 

Leela sees  off one attacker...
...but has a mystery rescuer to thank when another gets the drop on her.

It's Tomas, who tries to persuade her to return...

...but she refuses, determined to prove Xoanan doesn't exist. 
Nearby, the Doctor is whistling Colonel Bogey.

Leela runs from an invisible growling thing...

...whose grumblings don't go unnoticed by the Doctor.

Leela trips and falls...

...right at the Doctor's feet!

She calls him the evil one. Rude. 

The Doctor offers her a jelly baby, which doesn't inspire the confidence it usually does.

"It's true, then. They say the Evil One eats babies!"

As Leela comes round to the concept of Jelly Babies, the Doctor tells her "either you've got four friends with very bad colds, or we're in danger. Which is it?"

She replies that they're his creatures - "phantoms".

Realising that the unseen creatures home in on vibrations, he plans to distract them with an alarm clock. 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast It's a shame Leela apparently doesn't give a sh*t that her dad's just been horda'd.

Invisible monsters, eh? Is this Zeta Minor again, then?

"Saved by the bell!"

Tomas informs the shifty Caleb of Neeva's attempt to have Leela killed.

Great news to the schemer, who sees this as an opportunity to expose Neeva as a Charlatan and Andor as his puppet - so he can seize control of the tribe himself.

The Doctor and Leela have made it to the safety of the studio.
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast They just need to survive until 10pm when the lights get turned off. 

Neeva has a hotline to Xoanon, who's none too happy about Leela's return.

The voice of Xoanan sounds awfully like Tom. Must be Jon Culshaw. 
James Wood@face_4radio the mystery is being outlined brilliantly, and skewed with real subtlety; think how much we learn about the Sevateem here.

Quick off the mark, the Doctor has sussed that the creatures don't cross the boundary for technological reasons.

Leela tells the Doctor that the tribe of the Sevateem work towards freeing their god, Xoanon from the "Evil One" and his servants, the Tesh.

Religious nutter Neeva sows seeds of doubt, and manipulates the leader into mounting another attack on "the wall", despite Tomas' warnings.

The Doctor & Leela are back on film...

...and before too long people are shooting at him again. 

When he turns around, the others call him the evil one too. Everyone in this tribe has extremely bad manners. 
MAW Holmes@MAW_H " our language, it's a term of endearment... now, feed him to the Horda..." 

"Now drop your weapons, or I'll kill him with this deadly jelly baby!" 
But his bluff is called: "Kill him, then."
His only response is a sulky "I don't take orders from anyone. Take me to your leader."

Blindfolded with his own scarf, the Doctor is brought before Andor.

With the help of her trusty knife, Leela's intruder window.

Neeva shakes a "holy relic" at the Doctor, who identifies it as an ultrabeam accelerator...
Mark@Th3DarkMark don't know how they didn't piss themselves at that bit! 

KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast We're seeing take 33 ;) 

50dw50@50dw50 the actors must have been very self confident or very unemployed to brave those costumes. They deserve BAFTA's for keeping straight faces.

...and Andor demands that the Doctor releases their god, Xoanon. 

Leela's gone back to save the Doctor. I think they're going to be friends. 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast On screen, maybe... 

Hang on, that "gong" says "Survey Team 6". This lot are definitely the descendants of a more advanced people, aren't they? Unless they just ate the Survey Team...

Leela helps the Doctor escape, but only by paralysing & killing a guy with a poisonous thorn. 

The Doctor's not impressed.
MAW Holmes@MAW_H Doctors nine plus would have rejected her there and then... there must be wisdom in youth... 
50dw50@50dw50 that actor has no luck, he gets encased in foam in Blakes 7 and is the last man killed in WW1 in Sapphire and Steel. 

James Cooray Smith@thejimsmith That's Tom Kelly.

Finding "the evil one" gone, the tribe set out intent on destroying him.

Seems the Doctor's been here before on a previous bender...

...he's carved his face in the wall. Vandal. 
James Wood@face_4radio great first episode with a superb cliffhanger. 

The Doctor speculates that maybe he's been to another part of the planet, but Leela says there's only "beyond the wall".

He decides they need to go back to the village, assuring Leela that the tribe will be busy planning their attack on the wall.

"That's what you said last time."
"Well, you can't expect perfection, you know. Not even from me!"

Neeva wants to tell the tribe that the Evil One has been destroyed so the the tribe will go out on the attack, but Andor is none too pleased with the idea of lying to the tribe.

The Doctor and Leela watch as Neeva dons the rather fetching "Hand of Xoanon".

The Doctor says it's an armoured space glove but it's really a cricket glove. Hang on, is Xoanon going to turn out to actually be the 5th Doctor? 

Neeva claims Xoanon has guaranteed success.

When the Doctor muses that Neeva really expected an answer to his prayer...

...the ever pragmatic Leela replies that "there wouldn't be much point in praying if you didn't get an answer!" 

"I know a few theologians that'd give you an argument on that!" 

Neeva's hotline to "god" is ringing...

"Neeva isn't here right now, can I take a message?" 

"Who are you?"
"Don't I know?"
This Xoanon does sound very familiar, you know...
The Doctor decides that, all in all, he needs a better look at the wall. Turns out it's a time barrier.

The tribe - apart from shifty Calib - attack the energy wall, only to be repelled.

Neeva sees the light.

First back to camp, Calib bitterly reports on the omnishambles of an attack. "More than half the men were killed, and we never even saw the Tesh."

Leela is quick to note that Calib survived unscathed, though.

Calib doesn't think the Doctor is "the Evil One". He doesn't believe in ghosts...

...but that doesn't mean he can be trusted, as he poisons Leela with a Janis thorn.

Calib is ready to make his play against Neeva; capturing the Doctor will prove the shamen a liar. He posioned Leela because she would have opposed him.

Tomas' timely arrival allows the Doctor to get the drop on Calib.

He might be able to create a cure from the techy bobbins in the hut.

Tomas will keep Calib in check while the Doctor works on the cure. 
 50dw50@50dw50 Tom Baker deliberately dragging his feet still hoping for the talking cabbage.

The Doctor adminsisters the anti-toxin just in the nick of time and Leela recovers. Hurrah! Total padding that scene, though, let's be honest.
The Doctor plans to send Leela off with Tomas...

...but Andor and co. return. The Doctor tries to buy his new friends time... 

...but Leela and Tomas barely get three feet away before they're recaptured.

Neeva chats some guff about the Evil One not being completely destroyed so it renewed itself, and Andor fingers the Doctor for wiping out the attack.

"Flapdoodle! I was nowhere near it!" A legal defence that's served the Doctor so well down the years. 
Mark@Th3DarkMark we should try to make flapdoodle a more widely used word! 

Calib helpfully suggests the Doctor should take the test of the Horda in some sort of witch-ducking analogue - "If he can be killed then he is a mortal!"

"10 of them can strip the flesh from a man's arm!" 
"I take it there's more than 10 of them." 
"The pit's full of 'em." 

Basically land piranhas! Much scarier than most man-in-a-suit monsters.
MAW Holmes@MAW_H ...Oh yes... far deadlier than the land sticklebacks, too 

Simon Hart@Si_Hart The Horda look good. Nicely designed and they move well. 
50dw50@50dw50 nudist cybermats 

KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast They scared me as a kid. Something a bit different too. 

From the masterminds that brought you Ghost Shark and Mega Croc vs. Dino Shark, it's "10 Horda!" 

The Doctor needs to shoot a moving rope, that gets thinner and faster as the test progresses, to stop a weight pulling apart the platform he's stood on, dropping him into the pit.

When Leela tries to drop him some hints, she's slapped across the face by another tribe member. That's a bit much!

The git in question gets his comeuppance though, when one of the Horda gets jumpy.

The Doctor passes the test of the Horda...

...with a little help from William Tell.
MAW Holmes@MAW_H Always making overtures... 


When the Doctor returns to the hut, Neeva is in a trance like state, in conference with Xoanon.

Xoanon tells the Doctor he's decided to destroy him; he'll let his "pets" over the boundary, allowing them to kill the Sevateem.

Neeva asks what this means.  "Trouble. Large, deadly and invisible."

As Tomas sets the men to guarding the perimeter, the Doctor reveals to Calib and Leela where the tribe gets its' name: "Sevateem" derives from "Survey Team".

The Doctor has managed to repair a laser to help Tomas and the lads fight back the invisible creatures. 

The Doctor can keep the creatures at the perimeter but needs to figure out a way through the wall. When Leela asks how Xoanon's voice gets through, it seems she's given the Doctor the answer to his puzzle.

The Doctor impersonates Xoanon to get some useful info from Neeva about where the time bridge through the wall is.
Outside, one of the tribe panics and sounds the gong - attracting the invisible monsters.

Leela wants to get up the Doctor's nose but he prefers her to go down his throat.

Andor legs it, straight into danger.

It's an odd feeling for the Doctor, standing in his own throat...

The tribe's latest battle with the invisible monsters is as ill-fated as the last...

...and the face of evil is revealed.
James Wood@face_4radio always thought Episode 2 had a weak cliffhanger but the reveal of the monsters having Tom's face is genius. 

Calib rescues Tomas, and is only too pleased to report that with Andor dead, he's taking over leadership of the Sevateem.

The Doctor and Leela make their way through the tunnels...

...and watch in astonishment as one of the "Tesh" walks through a wall... 
Spotting a familiar looking space ship across the way, the Doctor has a flicker of recall. "I remember now. The Mordee expedition. And I thought I was helping them."

Realizing the wall is just an illusion, the Doctor follows the Tesh.

"Great Xoanon!"

In the inner sanctum, there's a glowing globe, where Xoanon's voice echoes. "We are returned. We are here. Now we shall be one. Now we must destroy us."

Now "he" also has a female voice in the mix. Is Xoanon alone in there?
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast The female voice is the gorgeous Pamela Salem, I believe. 

"Another shrine. Seems the Tesh are as ignorant of their origins as your people are."

The Doctor explains that while the Survey Team became the Sevateem, the Tesh were Technicians. 

The Tesh arrive and use their mind powers to disarm Leela. 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast The Tesh look shit, don't they? The only misstep in this story. 
Simon Hart@Si_Hart The costuming is a bit poor. Shame because the Sevateem look so good. 
MAW Holmes@MAW_H Ah, but didn't everyone want a glittery space hat back then...?

KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast Maybe Tom's companion could've been a glittery space hat? 

Mark ‏@Th3DarkMark he'd have preferred that! 

Simon Hart@Si_Hart It wouldn't have talked back or threatened anyone with a knife! 
The Doctor doesn't care for Jabel's justification for attempting to vivisect Leela...

...but is stared down.

The Tesh give the Doctor and Leela the Goldfinger treatment.

...or try to, anyway. The Doctor knackers the laser with a handy mirror.

"He is not the Lord of Time, the one who will return."
"He is our enemy, and the enemy of Xoanon. Kill him and the savage."

When the Doctor was here before, he programmed Xoanon for the Mordee, but forgot to wipe his personality print from the data core, and now Xoanon has multiple personalities. 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast Should've just turned it off and turned it on again. 

The computer took his personality, and it clashed with its' own emerging consciousness, driving it mad. Hence the original title "The Day God Went Mad". 

I like to think this 'missing adventure' took place when he was trying out costumes in Robot and he was dressed as a viking the whole time. There is the bit when he's in his nightshirt and the TARDIS *does* take off. 

"Us within us! We shall make two one!" Filth.

Tomas' batteries are running out.

Mentioning "the dark side of Xoanon's id" betrays the influence of Forbidden Planet. 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast Yes, much like Planet of Evil. 
Simon Hart@Si_Hart Only far less dull. 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast Wooaah! I like Planet of Evil. All it needed was the complete removal of Prentis Hancock ;) 
Must admit I find Planet far superior. This has run out of plot only half way through. Hard work now. 

The Doctor pretends to be Xoanon to get Neeva to do his bidding, but Neeva susses it's him. 
MAW Holmes@MAW_H You can't pull the wool over this Welshman's eyes you know... 
KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast David Garfield (Neeva) is excellent in The Changes too. Another religious wrong'un but not creosoted on that occasion.

After a quick sneak around...

...Leela thumps more Tesh guards; the Doctor flicks his scarf sulkily.
Calib and the Sevateem make it over the bridge and into the mouth of the idol.

The Doctor reaches the inner sanctum, where Xoanon is asking the oldest question... 

"Who am I?"
While the Doctor tries to get through to Xoanon, Leela guns down the approaching Tesh.

The cries of "Who am I?" grow increasingly loud and frantic.

 The creepy child voice coming out of the Doctor's distorted face is a great cliffhanger.

Leela makes it past the Tesh... save the Doctor by blasting at Xoanon, and dragging him to safety. 

Xoanon hates the Doctor because "I contradict what he thinks is real. I'm a threat to his world."

Xoanon's shorted all the electrical circuits in the walls.

The Doctor triumphs as his Tesh attacker goes to the (electrified) wall.
Mark@Th3DarkMark why would they get into physical tussles when they have telekinesis powers? Or is that not all of them? 

Neeva & Calib are teaming up against Xoanon, who they now call their enemy. 

"You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views... which can be uncomfortable!"

Xoanon hypnotizes Leela to shoot at the Doctor.

He's able to dehypnotize her, and when she can't remember moving away from the door he tells he she's "just probably tired, that's all." 

Gentek breaks the news of the Sevateem attack with rather more emotion than Jabel can stomach, and receives quite the rebuke: "Is that your reason for behaving like a degenerate animal?"

"Fall back gradually. I will have the heavy duty disrupters set up on level twelve. We will trap the savages there and eradicate them once and for all."

Xoanon tries to have the Doctor and Leela zapped in the corridor.

It may be dormant, but the supercomputer's still keeping an eye on its' soundalike. 

"You wouldn't want an unfair advantage, would you?" "Yes." Classic Leela. 

The Sevateem get ready to press home their attack, with or without Neeva.

Leela worries about something flashing.

Trouble's a-brewing: Xoanan's set the reactors to explode. 

The Tesh set a trap for the Sevateem...

...but Xoanon's taking them over one by one... 

Xoanon rears his head once again. "Destroy and be free! Destroy and be free!"

Now the Sevateem have Xoanon on the brain.

Neeva can't believe his luck when he finds the abandoned disruptor.

"Destroy and be free! Destroy and be free!"

Xoanon has another go at Leela...

...making her attack the Doctor with her knife...

...only for him to dodge it. 

Time is running out, and the Doctor is surrounded by Tesh and Sevateem alike.

Xoanon's really going for it...

But with a little help from the distraction provided by a vengeful Neeva... 

...the Doctor wipes himself from Xoanon's mind, putting himself in a coma in the process. 

With the day saved and Xoanon fixed, the story is over. Except it's still going on. 
Leela tells him he's been unconscious for two days, and that in that time, Xoanon has fallen silent, with neither the Tesh nor the Sevateem daring to rouse it.

Without the Doctor rattling around in his psyche, Xoanon is much more reasonable.

Xoanon tries to spare the Doctor's blushes. "Yours was a mistake anyone could have made." 

"Tell me, Doctor, where do you think I started to go wrong?" 
The Tesh & Sevateem argue about who should be their leader.

The Doctor returns, with a token of faith from Xoanon - his self-destruct button.

The Tesh and Sevateem decide to trust Xoanon putting his power at their disposal and the self-destruct button fades away...

Tomas nominates Leela as the new leader, prompting a hasty departure. 
Simon Hart@Si_Hart I'd follow Tomas. Ahem. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H I fear, much like it might be in post-apocalypse here, the biggest, most dangerous bastard would end up running t
he place. 

Simon Hart@Si_Hart Caleb then? 

Leela doesn't want to be leader and instead goes after the Doctor, asking him to take her with him. 
The Doctor refuses to take Leela with him...

...but she dives in the TARDIS anyway.

And with a "Don't touch that switch!" they're off! 

So Leela's the new companion, not a talking cabbage or Miriam Margolyes. Bad luck, Tom. 

James Wood@face_4radio The Face of Evil may go off the rails towards the end but I still rather like it. 8/10 

Coming Soon... The War Machines

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