Leela (actress Louise Jameson) is expelled from her tribe, the Sevateem, for speaking up against an attack against another tribe, the Tesh, saying it was doomed for failure. Behind the scenes, Tomas (actor Brendan Price) and Calib (actor Leslie Schofield) tend to think so as well but won’t speak up against Neeva (actor David Garfield), the ‘witchdoctor’ who advises leader Andor (actor Victor Lucas). Even so, Tomas follows after Leela after hearing Neeva has sent two men to kill her.
Leela meanwhile bumps into a strangely garbed man who looks like her devil whom we know better as the Doctor (actor Tom Baker). He helps her evade invisible creatures that are stalking them both and gives her an opportunity to come to his aid when the two men shoot at him as well as Tomas saving her. The Doctor decides that must go back to the tribe’s village and study the technology they have only to be captured. The Doctor is tested against the Horda, small local inhabitant creatures that can strip flesh in seconds and then rescued again by Leela.
They return a second time, when the tribe goes to battle, and the Doctor investigates the technology that Neeva uses but they are caught by the returned Calib, who poisons Leela but held at bay by Tomas as the Doctor uses the devices to create an antidote and save her. He also discovers that the voice of the god Xoanon is that of himself and realises he must have been here in the past. Xoanon isn’t happy and turns off the devices that keeps the invisible creatures at bay. The Doctor creates a gun that will neutralise these creatures for Tomas to use but warns not to use it too quickly or it won’t recharge. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela investigate the bust of the Doctor in stone to seek a way past a time barrier that keeps things out of step by a few minutes that can’t be penetrated and find a quick way to the spaceship and discover that the Tesh have telepathic control powers. First Leela is apprehended and when the Captain Jabel (actor Leon Eagles) doesn’t believe the Doctor was the one who inadvertently modified the AI computer Xoanon when it had a damaged memory core with his own personality and it is now schizophrenic and is knocked out as well. Both of them are hooked to a machine which will essentially disintegrate while it examines them. Fortunately, the Doctor figures a way out and then they try to sort things out. From here, you need to watch for yourself.
Apart from introducing a new companion for the Doctor, this is really the first time in the TV history that we hear of an event that we didn’t actually see happening in his history. From the looks of things, it probably wouldn’t even make half an episode but is still significant in thinking you don’t necessarily see everything the Doctor does.
The audio commentary is a musical chairs conducted by Toby Hadoke with actors Louise Jameson, Leslie Schofield, David Garfield, Mike Elles and Harry H Fielder, producer Philip Hitchcliffe and film cameraman John McGlashan. Probably the biggest surprise for me was finding both Schofield and Garfield were in ‘The War Games’. Schofield I remember as one of the Americans but it wasn’t until Garfield said he played one of the generals that I realised I thought he was much taller but then hadn’t made the connection. Patrick Troughton was nearer his height and many actors would be dwarfed by Tom Baker. Interestingly, both Scofield and Garfield also had appearances in an obscure film called ‘Star Wars’ a year later which is also briefly discussed. Louise Jameson’s comment that she had 3 inch heels/uppers inside her boots explains why her legs looked so long. From my art perspective, it’s the way heels stretch the muscles into looking more shapely.
Oh, I was going to say that Leela seemed to be the only female member of the Sevateem, and even the people talking didn’t notice, until I spotted one extra woman in one scene the second time around as they went off to war. Even so, when you consider that women were warriors as well, you have to wonder why the cast is so predominately male. Maybe too many skimpy clothed women would have been too much for a family series.
As usual, there are plenty of extras. ‘Into The Wild Cast’ looks at the making of the story, mostly through the eyes of Louise Jameson and Matt Irvine who was now chief effects designer and the reaction to the Leela costume. For those interested in film editing, ‘Cutting Room Floor’ shows the takes needed that were cut into the final scene. ‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Fourth Doctor’ has actress Wendy Padbury looking through the press comments from Tom Baker’s tenure. Being brought up in those times, we fans never took their comments that seriously but it’s interesting seeing how they grudgingly accepted him after the first season.
The rest of the extras is devoted to Louise Jameson with an interview about her time on ‘Doctor Who’ and a smaller piece from BBC’s TV show ‘The Swap Shop’ from while she was on the show. There is also a predominance of publicity photos of her as Leela in the ‘Photo Gallery’ showing where, as she described in the audio commentary and interview as having looked like someone had thrown a mud pie in her face from her first make-up lady.
‘The Face Of Evil’ is one story I haven’t seen in a long time and yet it is still very effective, more so when you consider the budget at the time. Using Ealing Studios for the jungle gave it a bigger sense of expanse than a smaller studio would have given it. When you consider how many jungle setting the Doctor and his various companions have been in over the years, this one has to be on par with them. Don’t under-estimate adding it to your collection.
(region 2 DVD pub: BBC. 1 DVD 96 minutes 4 * 24 minute episodes with extras. Price: under £ 6.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ASIN: BBCDVD3379)
cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Leslie Schofield, Victor Lucas, Brendan Price, Colin Thomas, David Garfield and Lloyd McGuire
check out website: www.bbcshop.com