++ UPDATE ++

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This Loose Cannon production is no longer available in this original format.
Instead a new, updated version has been released - please see here for the latest version
.

++ UPDATE ++

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++ UPDATE ++


Loose Cannon Production 02
The Faceless Ones
"You must have a double!"

     
BBC Production Details
Production Code: KK
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 08th April 1967 -
Saturday 13th Mayl 1967
Season: 4
Number of Episodes: 6
Writers: David Ellis, Malcolm Hulke
Producer: Innes Lloyd, Peter Bryant
Director: Gerry Mill
 

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as designed by Chris Salt

Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: June 1998
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episodes 2,4,5,6
Source Material: John Cura's telesnaps
Audio recorded by Graham Strong
  Surviving clips
Other authentic pictures
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E180
USA / Canada: T160
     
Special Note:    

Let's be clear about this. The BBC have released a wonderful DVD called "Doctor Who: Lost in Time" which features the surviving episodes of this story lovingly restored. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY we will be issuing copies of these with the recon, nor (whilst we're at it) will we ever make the recon episodes available in any format other than VHS.
Loose Cannon fully support the BBC and suggest you purchase the official BBC video release to complement our reconstruction.

Support The BBC Video Releases.

     

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++

This Loose Cannon production is no longer available in this original format.
Instead a new, updated version has been released - please see here for the latest version
.

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++

++ UPDATE ++



Loose Cannon Says:

Rick had originally thought that the Macra Terror would be his only reconstruction. However, following many requests from fandom to continue his efforts he set his sights on trying another story. The Faceless Ones was chosen to be the second Loose Cannon reconstruction. There are some special effects within the story and Rick has done a marvellous job of spotting the opportunities to re-use some of the video clips.

Please note, that being a conventional telesnap type reconstruction this tape provides an adequate representation of the original story. However, since this reconstruction was produced our production standards have risen above all our expectations. In particular, the quality of the source material and overcoming the loss in quality when converting to and from video formats. Not wanting to deter potential viewers from watching our earlier work by all means obtain and enjoy this reconstruction but please do not judge all our tapes by the standard of these early versions. For a balanced view of what we can achieve please be sure to check out the later reconstructions as well as the early ones.

Synopsis:

The TARDIS lands at Gatwick airport in 1966. When Polly and Ben mysteriously vanish, the Doctor and Jamie must try to convince the sceptical airport Commandant that foul play is involved.

Trapped in a web of distrust they find their credibility questioned and are shocked to discover that a Polly now thinks herself to be a woman named Michelle Lopez who denies knowing the Doctor and Jamie at all. It soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems.

Together, the Doctor and Jamie must unravel the mystery of who is real, who is illusion, what forces are at play and what their sinister goals are.

Reviews:

Review by Matt Fitch

I found [The Faceless Ones] to be quite good. I was especially impressed by the effects added in the sequences where the chameleons took on the forms of the humans. My only problem with this sequence is I doubt it looked that good originally;)

As with Macra, I do prefer the scrolling captions. The only "fault" I see is the black bar/lack of colour. I appreciate that there are problems with adding the colour which is fine. But I personally am not particularly fond of the bar. In the original Macra, this was not present. However, in an effort to make them more legible I assume this was added. It does work in this sense, granted, but to me it obscures the picture a bit. In recons with bad scans this is not necessarily a bad thing but your scans seem to me to be second only to the JV recons. In other words, your scans are good. Similarly, with scans of this caliber it is not always necessary to caption the proceedings as it is in fact quite clear what is happening.

No sound problems existed here, with the sound is on par with two of the great recons, Evil of the Daleks and Fury from the Deep.

All in all, a superb effort. I am awaiting the JV version of Faceless Ones in order to compare the two.

Grading:

Sound: A
Telesnaps/Scans: A-/B+
Presentation: B+
Choice of telesnaps/Insertion of additional material: A- (it would be an A if the cliffhangers from 1 & 3 had been inserted into 2 & 4)
OVERALL : A-

I would recommend this recon very highly, as well as The Macra Terror. Definite must haves!!

Review by Richard Bignell

I was just wondering last night whether I'd contacted you to say that your video of "The Faceless Ones" had arrived!

Sadly, the day after it turned up, my VCR had to be carted away for repair so I wasn't able to sit down and take a look at the reconstruction until last night.

Thus far, I've watched the first two episodes and I'd like to say I think you've done a grand job with episode 2. The transformation scene of the Chameleon early in the episode was superbly handled and as with "Macra" the brief cine clip was inserted with precision.

Reconstructions always make the telesnaps and audios come to life in a way that they don't quite manage on their own. A case in point is the wonderful scene when the Doctor, Jamie and Ben are hiding in the photo-booth. The sudden change in telesnap when the woman pulls back the curtain is a joy to behold and had me laughing for ages!

Review by Charles Daniels

For me watching the Faceless Ones was a particularly unique experience as it was one of the few stories in Doctor Who I knew nearly nothing about and could really not know what was about to happen after the episode cliffhangers. I knew some of the continuity points such as this was Ben and Polly's last story but I didn't know how they would leave and I wasn't sure what the Doctor and Jamie would be doing at the end due to the beginning of Evil of the Daleks which I had seen and which joined them in quite a perilous situation.

The first episode starts with the TARDIS landing at Gattwick airport much to the confusion of the airport personnel who simply can't believe a police box is on the runway and suspect a bunch of practical jokers are loose somewhere in the airport. A series of strange incidents occur - murder, disappearances, people not acting as they usually do or as if they were someone else entirely. It soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems. So in their regular style the Doctor and his companions have to unravel the mysteries presented them of who is real, who is illusion, what forces are at play and what their sinister goals are.

The Loose Cannon reconstruction includes the existing episodes of the story 1 and 3. Episode 1 is in rather good condition and it was nice to see the first episode that sets up the whole story. Episode 3 exists in what is generally called "archive quality" which means there are frames missing and skips in the film. Nothing all that important is missing just some skips and jumps in conversations at points. It is a valuable episode to have just as it does contain plot developments, some rather good scenes between the Doctor and the Commandant, and every episode and clip is great benefit to any reconstruction. Their are a variety of pictures existing for this story, my favorite being the Doctor, Jamie, and Ben grinning like idiots in a photo booth, which definitely helps the story flow along smoothly. Loose Cannon reconstructions use scrolling text across the bottom of the screen to describe action which I have always liked as you can use the captions for a more dramatic effect. The original scrolling method has been improved by placing a black box behind the letters allowing the pictures to be full screen size and the text to be readable no matter the brightness or darkness of the picture it is superimposed on.

I have watched the Faceless Ones reconstruction twice, I probably would have more times if it wasn't a 6 parter, and it always surprises me how Rick Brindell always seems to find the perfect picture for the scene. I don't think the Faceless Ones was in such dire lack of material as some of his other projects have been, if it is he has done quite an amazing job indeed. The story itself is hard to rate. I always like Troughton stories that take place in the present or near future (1966-1975ish) and this one definitely uses the 1966 setting effectively. The "monsters" in this story prove somewhat irregular for the Troughton era and they spend most the story looking like human beings. Overall it's a fun story to watch but it's not as memorable as the stories around it such as Macra Terror and Evil of the Daleks. The Loose Cannon reconstruction of this story does it the best justice possible I feel. It brings forth a very good idea of what the story must have looked like when it first aired and it is definitely an improvement over the material I had to judge this story by in the past - The Second Doctor Handbook and The Doctor Who Programme Guide!

 

Review By Pat Lynch

And so to the second Loose Cannon production. I have decided to watch the Loose Cannon recons in the order they were made by the team. This allows me to study how each and every production has improved (or indeed not, as the case may be).

So how does The Faceless Ones differ from The Macra Terror. Well, for starters two episodes actually exist! Episodes 1 and 3 reside safely (we hope) in the BBC archives. I actually first saw these episodes years about ten years ago. And I was intrigued. In fact I was intrigued from the first time I saw a synopsis of the story in the Radio Times Tenth Anniversary Special.

The first episode is great. The Doctor and friends land on a runway at Gatwick Airport. They do the obvious thing. They scarper. They run off, split up, witness a murder, and hide from policemen. Well, we've all done it, haven't we? We, the viewers have very little idea what's going on, but clearly the staff at Chameleon Tours are a strange breed. This is proven at the end of the episode in a genuinely chilling cliff-hanger. A featureless creature is helped to a sickbay. We don't know why, but he is obviously unwell. We want to find out more.

Episode 2 is the first of the reconstructed episodes. The sound quality is good and as in all the episodes here you do quite easily forget that you are watching stills over a home recording of the soundtrack. One reason is the plot itself. Whilst I would agree that the story does have a lot of padding, to be fair, there aren't that many Who six-parters that haven't! It IS a good story and you do constantly want to know what's going to happen next. Another reason it works is the editing. It has occurred to me that Rick has a gift for changing the stills at just the right time, you do get a feel of the episodes moving along at a tight pace.

This episode sees the introduction of the character of Samantha Briggs, a sassy, no nonsense Scouser. It really is a top performance and though it has been said countless times I make no apology for repeating that she would have been a refreshing companion.

Episode 3 is next (obviously) and its famed untransmittable quality is nothing but a fan myth. It could easily be shown. A few jumps, perhaps, but hardly unwatchable. One thing that I noticed in this episode and the next is the similarity between the Second Doctor and Peter Falk's Columbo! Actually that looks silly written down, but Columbo was an expert at exasperating those in authority and murderers alike! Colin Gordon's Commandant (a classic blustering performance from him) finds his world thrown into chaos by the Doctor. Whilst we're singling out performances Donald Pickering gives a chillingly superior air to Captain Blade, never screaming or shouting, but always exuding menace in every line.

Watching the next two episodes I can see that the picture quality is slightly better than The Macra Terror. There are far less dark scenes in this story which means less squinting, always a good thing! The adventure continues to rattle along. By now the Doctor has lost Polly, Ben, Jamie and a Police Inspector! Episode 5 ends with the Doctor on the Chameleons huge space ship.

I really enjoyed Episode 6. The standoff between the Chameleons and Gatwick has a tense feel to it. "So what?" you might say. Think about it. To create a series of scenes that engage, excite and draw you in, using telesnaps and audio is an art form all of its own.

The story ends with Polly and Ben calling it a day and leaving the Doctor. A strange story for them to leave in. They had very little to do in it, but, hey... that's the sixties for you...

This is an excellent reconstruction. Never a chore to watch - no problem with the audio - in short highly recommended!

 

Review by Philip Clarke

I did enjoy this recon and I take into account that this was an earlier one and therfore would not be as good as later ones. i did find the quality a little staning especally on ep 1 and 2 but i suspect this is because it is a copy of a copy. I thought the story was very good and very underatted. Episode 6 is one of troughtons best ever.

I am not sure who did the telesnaps but it seems light was shining on to the television and some of the faces look plain whit. Paticullarly the scene where jamie is sat on the plane. ironically he looked - faceless (ahem). i thought the audio was of good quality and in general was a good recon. it is probably the closest we will ever get to veiwing this story so for that reson alone it is essential veiwing for fans. and i wouldn't call the quality bad. I only found that for about 10% of the time the other 90% is great.

 

Review By Andrew Hodson

This was the first reconstruction I saw, as well as my first experience of this particular story - the sum total of my knowledge of it came from a paragraph in the Doctor Who Magazine 30th Anniversary special and the photographs of the Doctor kneeling behind a wheel!
My expectations weren't high - getting copies of the surviving episodes to fill in the couple of years before the BBC version was enough. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find that the story is absolutely fabulous and so is the reconstruction technique!

The Faceless Ones is a gripping tale, with a cracking mystery, great characterisation and some wonderful performances. The story kept me in a constant state of anticipation; I found it was often impossible to predict, and rationing myself to an episode a day was quite painful! It's often said that the story is padded, but I disagree with this utterly - the story does lose impact if you know what's coming, but even on the second viewing I found it a great story - the mystery is just the icing on the cake.

The first reconstructed episode is Episode 2. I was initially disappointed to find that the cliffhangers from the adjacent episodes were not used; this made them both difficult to follow. The endings of the first two episodes were both without dialogue and lost considerable impact by being portrayed with telesnaps and text captions.

The sound quality throughout the reconstruction was excellent. However, the telesnaps were quite poor in this episode, particularly the scenes in the air traffic control. This almost put me off the rest of the reconstruction, but I wanted to see the existing episode 3, and the story itself was enthralling. That is not to say that the episode is without its moments, though - the sudden changeover of the telesnaps when the photographic booth's curtain is opened had me in hysterics.

Episode 3 is represented by the infamous 'jumping' print, with multiple small sections removed due to film damage. This is not as huge a distraction as I expected, in fact I found it quite entertaining in places, bizarrely, particularly the final shot with the Amazing Teleporting Stewardess, which took me quite some time to stop laughing at.

Things do improve as the reconstruction progresses, and mostly the telesnaps are of acceptable quality - though, quite awfully, when the passengers disappear at the start of episode 4 you can't actually see the screen well enough to know that they have! Again, a video clip from episode 3's cliffhanger really should have been used. Otherwise, the final three episodes were quite well presented, even if the quality was still less than ideal. Episode 6 in particular was very gripping and simply flew by - I was on the edge of my seat during the negotiations between the airport and the villians.

Overall, this reconstruction is of very good quality, despite the disclaimer of the site!

 

Review by Martin Edmonds

Having recently purchased the BBC Radio Collection CD release of this title I wasn't really expecting much from this reconstruction. It's clear that that Facless Ones has lost a great deal when reduced to just audio - the two surviving episodes, existing clips and telesnaps enliven the tale enormously.

What I had previously regarded as a rather poor story has gone up in my estimation considerably having seen this reconstruction. The team have completed yet another superb job!

First rate, (as always!).

 

Review by Jeremy Morrow

I really liked this one. An excellent recon, although I found the picture quality on this recon to be lacking - I'm tacking that up to it being one of Loose Cannon's first reconstructions.

This is a rather creepy story. Nothing like a body snatchers story to keep the kids hiding behind the sofa. I wish I had seen this one as a child, it had me freaked out now as an adult! Note to self - don't watch Faceless Ones with the lights out.

 

Review by Corey Charette

The one story I really WANTED to see. Another 6 parter that was two parts too long. The first couple episodes were great, kept you on the edge of your seat, but once the Doctor went up in space the story fell apart. The one thing I was anxious to see was the farwell scene with Ben and Polly. That was a disappointment. Like every companion since Ian and Barbara, there goodbye scene was dull and meaningless. Ben and Polly didn't even appear in most of the story, so it's like they left then came back to see "bye."

As for the recon, it was pretty good. You can still tell that it was an early effort from LC. Some of the pics were grainy, but beside that and above average reconstruction. Great to watch for nostalgia purposes.

 

Review by Kane Baker

The Faceless Ones is a Dr Who adventure I'd wanted to see ever since I knew about it. It was a shame it had been lost because I thought it was very good, mainly the first few episodes.
The reconstruction was excellent, although sometimes the pictures were hard to make out.
All in all I thought it was pretty good, and worth watching.

Story: 7/10
Recon: 8/10

 

Review by Jonathan Witchell

The Faceless Ones is a recon I have wanted ever since I found out about Loose Cannon and that they'd reconstructed this story. Despite this I didn't get a copy of this one until quite recently.
This is a very good recon with clear audio to accompany the pictures. One weak point, though, is that the episode one cliffhanger, beginning of episode three and the cliffhanger of episode three weren't included in the neighbouring missing episodes. Also, the original font would have been nice for the opening and end titles. However, the cliffhangers of episodes that didn't have neighbouring surviving episodes were terrific, especially episode four's when the plane is converted into a spacecraft and lands at the space station. I feel there should have been more text to accompany the action, as sometimes (particularly episode four's cliffhanger) I did really need an explanation as to what was going on, however, this is only a minor point.
Overall, it is clear lots of hard work has been put into this. Well done!

 

Review by Shane Moody

I thought this was an excellent recon. To me, this story does not get enough credit. Extremely claustrophobic and sinister, The Faceless Ones created a terrifying atmosphere in which you were uncomfortable in placing trust in anybody. The overall recon itself was good. The sound was clear and the telesnaps were used effectively. Thanks again to Loose Cannon for bringing another lost Who classic to life.

 

Review by Nicholas Willis

I was really looking forward to watching this Loose Cannon recon and you will be pleased to hear I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed the atmosphere of mystique; I especially enjoyed the chameleons on board their space station pondering about in their true majestic form, whilst Frazer Hines had the pleasure of not only playing Jamie but also his doppel ganger the chameleon Jamie. The air port setting at Gatwick airport is fantastic, the location filming and studio sets were great. The way that the story moved on was great and the team have done a fantastic job in incorporating the transformation of the chameleons which was very cleverly done as was the addition of surviving material.

The telesnaps I most enjoyed were that of the Doctor, Ben and Jamie grinning in the photo booth, I loved Anneke Wills portrayal of the chameleon Polly behind the chameleon travel desk. I loved the character of Samantha Briggs who later appeared in the new who in 2006 as Queen Victoria battling the werewolf, but I love her introduction in episode 2. I feel sorry for the chameleons it isn’t their fault they haven’t got a home and I do hope they appear in the new series of doctor who at some point.


Overall I rate this as being a 10/10 quality recon, unfortunately the sound and picture quality was a little grainy and unclear but this was an earlier recon, I do hope Loose Cannon are going to revamp this classic like they did with The Myth Makers and The Macra Terror but for now I would like to thank them for their hard effort.

 
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