Having just done Sarah’s last story, it seemed appropriate that my next fan edit should be her successor Leela’s first story. The Face of Evil is the first time we get a glimpse of the future as Tom Baker starts to assert himself, the evidence of which is in his very first scene. The old knot in the hanky gag is the first proper intimation of where Baker wanted things to go, and it’s a “look at me” moment that wouldn’t have been out of place in any of the Graham Williams stories.
Not only that, just watch him gurning and speaking directly to the camera. Awful. This isn’t the first time he pulls that fish-face, but it’s the first time you start to notice him doing it. And later on he throws his scarf over his shoulder, which I’ve never liked. He’ll do more of that starting with Horror of Fang Rock and in time he’ll stop playing the Doctor altogether. But here he’s still an actor instead of the celebrity performer he’ll become.
It wasn’t until I watched this for the edit that I noticed that the seeds of The Tom Baker Show were starting to sprout as early on as this, I always assumed it began after Hinchcliffe got the boot. So that tortuous glimpse into the future gets cut. Although we start with the Tardis’ arriving we then cut away instead to Leela being banished and pursued by Neeva’s acolytes.
Philip Hinchcliffe has often been quoted as saying that, if he had stayed on, he would have liked to have moved things more into the territory of Indiana Jones, with the Doctor as the type of man who helped build the Empire. There has always been an element of Imperialism in the Doctor if you think about it. He arrives, upsets the status quo, and changes things into the way he thinks they ought to be, yer typical siding with the rebels against the oppressive regime controlling the planet shtick. Fair do’s – if he didn’t there wouldn’t be a series.
The implication is, of course, that the existing order the Doctor encounters when he arrives is wrong and it’s morally right to change it, liberating the oppressed in the process. Here, of course, it’s the Doctor himself who’s the cause of the problem. So it’s only right that he should turn the world of the Sevateem and the Tesh upside down since it’s a world that arguably shouldn’t exist, and wouldn’t if not for the Doctor mucking things up in the first place.
This was one of those frustrating edits where there were loads of cuts you wanted to make but couldn’t. It took me two attempts to get it done, trying to get rid of the annoying story loop that is the whole of part two, but it was impossible to do without making it obvious that material was missing.
Here’s the problem – at the end of part one, the Doctor sees his own face carved into the side of the mountain but for some inexplicable reason decides not to explore his very own Mount Rushmore but instead decides to go back to the village when any sane person would want to have a shufti at it.
Of course, he ‘s only going back to the village because Chris Boucher needs him to so he can pad out the narrative to four episodes. It’s a very well-disguised loop but it’s a loop nonetheless, and one that was impossible to get rid of. Instead I had to settle for making this an edit of trims rather than cuts which was really bloody annoying!
As far as fixes go, the initial scene between Caleb and Tomas is rather overlit so I darkened it down a bit. I also masked out the rather obvious split screen in Xoanan’s gaff just before they mix to the materialising sofa [of reasonable comfort, perhaps?]. If you look closely, you can see that the radiating lines on the floor don’t match up, but in this version they do!