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The Faceless Ones: Misc


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From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"Got to get you to the airport building, and you'll be safe..."
―Captain Blade
The Faceless Ones
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 4
Story Number: 35
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companions: Ben Jackson (departure)
Polly (departure)
Jamie McCrimmon
Enemy: Chameleons
Setting: Gatwick Airport and Earth orbit, 1966
Writer: David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
Director: Gerry Mill
Broadcast: 8th April - 13th May 1967
Format: 6 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Macra Terror
Following Story: The Evil of the Daleks

The Faceless Ones was the eighth story of Season 4 of Doctor Who. Companions Ben Jackson and Polly, played by Michael Craze and Anneke Wills respectively, left the series at the end of this story.



The TARDIS arrives on Earth in 1966 - on a runway at Gatwick airport. Polly witnesses a murder in a nearby hangar and is then kidnapped by the perpetrator, Spencer of Chameleon Tours. Subsequently Ben also vanishes. The Doctor and Jamie are left to try to convince the sceptical airport Commandant that there has been foul play.

It transpires that a great many other young people have also vanished, all of them while on Chameleon Tours holidays. With the help of Samantha Briggs, the sister of one of the missing youths, the Doctor and Jamie uncover a plot by the alien Chameleons to kidnap human youngsters in order to take their identities - for the Chameleons have lost their own identities in an accident on their home planet.

The Doctor offers to help the Chameleons find another solution to their problem and the kidnapped humans are released.


to be added




  • The Chameleons were made faceless by a nuclear accident.
  • Ben Jackson and Polly depart in this story after having appeared only in Episodes 1, 2 and 6.

Story Notes

  • This story had a working title of The Chameleons.
  • As well as the complete print of Episode 1, the BBC Archives also hold an incomplete copy returned from ABC in Australia in 1981 after censors had removed the following scenes: 'Spencer' killing Inspector Gascoigne with a Chameleon ray-gun; the alien arm emerging from the cupboard; and panning of the alien figure – seen only from behind – at the end of the episode.
  • Samantha Briggs was originally intended to be a companion, however Pauline Collins turned down the offer.
  • Pauline Collins, who played Samantha Briggs, would later play Queen Victoria in the Tenth Doctor episode Tooth and Claw.


  • Episode 1 - 8.0 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 6.4 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.9 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 6.9 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode 6 - 8.0 million viewers


  • The only surviving copy of Episode 1 is a print edited by the censors in Australia. (The copy of this episode in the BBC Archives is complete and unedited – see Story Notes above.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • It does seem somewhat short-sighted of the Chameleons to leave so many of their personnel's 'originals' behind in car boots, when their well-being is so vital to their survival and the success of the grand plan. Especially when the personnel in question are the very ones who are in the perfect position to arrange their safe transport up to the space station, instead of being satisfied to simply leave them behind on Earth and hope they remain undiscovered until they are no longer relevant.
  • Why does the Doctor and his companions run out the TARDIS? Why not just go somewhere else?
  • The man shot in episode one had his back to Polly when he was shot, yet manages to fall with his face on the ground
  • How has it taken so long for someone to notice that people go missing on the flights? With the amount of children that have been taken, surely someone would notice that they had been gone for too long
  • The planes go up to a space station - so how do they arrive in the other places (as the airports claim that they do)
  • Sam claims that one of the places doesn't actually exist - surely someone would notice that in the adverts that they place up in papers.
  • The Chameleons plan involves taking all their people on to the plane yet they've converted 25 people in key airline positions and expect no-one to notice that they have gone?
  • Why do the Chameleons leave the Doctor, Jamie and Sam to the laser rather than shoot them
  • Why don't the Chameleons notice that Meadows is missing?
  • What exactly are the children for?
  • Where did they get all the foreign stamps and postcards from?
  • Just how long have they been planning this? They'd have to have been on earth for a while to set up the fake orginisation, start up the centres in athens and other places that the fake postcars get sent to, get securiy vetting, get planes, get permission to use gatwick airport for the tours for the flights.
  • With all the children that the Doctor has to take back, it would take several flights to ensure that they all return
  • How does the Doctor and Jamie fail to notice Polly being taken, and why do they decide to go to the hanger to look for her.
  • The police in the airport must be a bit thick - they ask for descriptions, so surely they'd have been told that Jamie had a kilt - yet they don't notice a person with a kilt hiding behind a newspaper



DVD, Video and Other Releases

DVD Release

The surviving episodes (Episodes 1 & 3) were released in digitally re-mastered form as part of the Lost in Time 3-disc DVD set.


NTSC - Warner Video E2082 (Troughton 2 disc set) / E2083 (Box set)

Video Releases

The surviving episodes (Episodes 1 & 3) were released alongside The Web of Fear Episode 1 and the remaining episodes of The Reign of Terror – all in digitally re-mastered form – as part of a two-cassette release entitled Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror.


PAL - BBC Video BBCV7335
NTSC - Warner Video E1853

Notes: The US release was also located in The End of the Universe Collection.


Main article: The Faceless Ones (novelisation)

See also

to be added

External Links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for The Faceless Ones
  • Photonovel of The Faceless Ones, on the BBC website
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - The Faceless Ones
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) entry for The Faceless Ones
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - The Faceless Ones
  • The Faceless Ones transcript
Season 4
The Smugglers  • The Tenth Planet  • The Power of the Daleks  • The Highlanders  • The Underwater Menace  • The Moonbase  • The Macra Terror  • The Faceless Ones  • The Evil of the Daleks

This article uses material from the "The Faceless Ones" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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