Doctor Who: The Face of Evil – DVD Review

The Doctor: “Would you like a Jelly Baby?”
Leela: “It’s true then. They say the Evil One eats babies.”

The Fourth Doctor pops up on a harsh planet to find a familiar face etched in stone.  He also picks up a new traveling companion, one for the lads and for the dads thanks to her fetching costume.  Though don’t let the cheesecake fool you, she’s a fitting Pygmalion foil for the Doctor. 

The Doctor (Tom Baker) arrives on a planet where a savage tribe called the Sevateem worship a god called Xoanon. He also discovers through tribe member Leela (Louise Jameson) that he is recognized as the “evil one” and a vision of him is carved into a mountainside.  He now has to discover how he got the reputation and tribute and keep from getting killed by shaman Neeva (David Garfield) who sees him as a false prophet thanks to the voice of Xoanon who sounds suspiciously like the Doctor. 

The Face of Evil would introduce Leela as new traveling companion to the Doctor.  Her fetching costume would find fathers more than willing to now sit down with the kids to watch the adventures of the Doctor.  The episode would also add mystery to the show in that the main narrative sprang from an unseen adventure by Baker’s Doctor.  I’ll try not to spoil it for you. 

The episode two ending is a fun shocker that is mainly spoiled by the making of documentary so don’t watch it if you’ve never seen the episode before.  Not that it’s not on the cover of the DVD too.  It only adds to the mystery and the resolution is wonderfully realized by giving Baker another role besides his usual one. 

The time in the jungle is much more interesting than when he and Leela make it to the futuristic environment, but what they discover is that the Doctor is not infallible and that sometime there are sometimes consequences for his assistance. 

The Face of Evil is presented in fullscreen.  Special features include a commentary from actors Jameson, Garfield, Leslie Schofield, Mike Elles, and Harry H. Fielder, producer Philip Hinchcliffe, cameraman John McGlashan, with moderator Toby Hadoke, a pop-up trivia text, the 25 minute making of “Into the Wild,” 9 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, the 14 minute “Tomorrow’s Times: The Fourth Doctor” about Baker’s press coverage, Jameson sits down for 17 minutes of “Doctor Who Stories,” a 1970s episode of “Swap Shop” that interviews her (4 minutes), a 30 second toy commercial, a photo gallery, and the Radio Times listing and Typhoo tea packet promo on DVD-ROM. 

The Face of Evil starts midseason with Leela’s recruitment as companion but also starts a cycle of fantastic episodes.  It might get forgotten because of where it falls but it features an inventive adventure for the Doctor and something for the dads to ogle.  It’s tricky though because you may be looking at Leela but you also get a fantastic story for your admiration.     

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Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.