The Face Of Evil
Working Titles: The Tower Of Imelo, The Day God Went Mad.
Starring: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor, Xoanon), Louise Jameson (Leela).
The TARDIS lands on a planet where the population is divided into two warring factions: the barbaric Sevateem and the brilliant Tesh. The Doctor himself is regarded as a demon by the Sevateem, and to the Time Lord's consternation, he discovers that a giant bust of the Evil One is in fact a replica of his own visage. With the help of a Sevateem warrior named Leela, the Doctor discovers that the Sevateem god, Xoanon, is really a schizophrenic computer, whose malfunction is the fault of the Doctor himself.
In early 1975, a budding young scriptwriter named Chris Boucher -- whose credits to date had mostly been in comedy -- submitted a proposal entitled The Silent Scream to the Doctor Who production office. Although this was rejected as unsuitable, it did result in a meeting between Boucher, producer Philip Hinchcliffe, and script editor Robert Holmes. Holmes suggested Boucher try his hand at developing a story where a civilisation was controlled by a giant, malfunctioning computer. Boucher made two different attempts at this, The Dreamers Of Phados and The Mentor Conspiracy, but neither met with approval (the latter was dismissed on October 30th, 1975).
At this point, Hinchcliffe suggested that Boucher change his setting from a spaceship (as was the case for both of his original efforts) to an alien world. He also came up with the central motif of an enormous carving of the Doctor's face. With this in mind, Boucher wrote a new synopsis called The Tower Of Imelo, which was sent back for further development around January 1976. Sarah Jane Smith was still included in the storyline at this point, but before long it became known that Elisabeth Sladen would be leaving Doctor Who early in Season Fourteen. It had already been decided that the Doctor would thereafter be companionless for at least one story, and it was thought that this might be continued until the end of the season, so that a new companion could be introduced to kick off Season Fifteen. Instead, one-off surrogate companions would be included in each story to fulfill the function of a regular such character.
By April, the serial's title had been changed to The Day God Went Mad. Holmes had asked Boucher to identify a character who could act as the temporary companion, and Boucher first thought Loke (later to be renamed Tomas) was appropriate. Later, though, it was decided a female character would be better, and the warrior Leela -- who had been a part of Boucher's The Mentor Conspiracy submission -- had her role augmented instead. Leela was envisaged by Boucher as a mix of Emma Peel from The Avengers and the Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, who also inspired her name. Hinchcliffe quickly grew to like the character, and thought Leela might be suitable for an ongoing companion. Boucher was asked to write two different endings, one where Leela goes with the Doctor and one where she stays behind. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made to retain Leela for at least one further serial, and Boucher was given the opportunity to write this one as well; it would become The Robots Of Death.
Because she would be around for more than just a single serial, Holmes cast about for ways to make Leela a more substantial character. He suggested she possess some sort of supernatural powers (inherited from a sorceress grandmother) but Boucher preferred that she have a sort of sixth sense for danger. Hinchcliffe and Holmes also observed that they could co-opt their original plans for a new companion into Leela. They had been considering a character along the lines of Eliza Dolittle from the novel Pygmalion (and the film version, My Fair Lady), with Twiggy suggested for the role. Now Leela could be developed along similar lines, with the Doctor acting as her Henry Higgins.
By the time production began on Serial 4Q, its title had changed again to the more politically-correct The Face Of Evil. The director was Pennant Roberts, making his Doctor Who debut. Roberts had been directing since 1972, with credits including Doomwatch, Softly, Softly: Task Force, and Survivors. Sixty actresses auditioned for the role of Leela, but the part ultimately went to Louise Jameson. Jameson had mostly acted on stage and television (including Emmerdale Farm and Z Cars), with the feature film Disciple Of Death also on her resume. She had also been a top candidate for the role of Purdey on The New Avengers. Jameson was contracted for fourteen episodes of Doctor Who on August 27th, taking her through the end of Season Fourteen (if it was decided to retain the character that long). One of Jameson's rivals for the role of Leela was Pamela Salem, who would instead be cast as Toos in The Robots Of Death; the press would mistakenly tout Salem as a new companion as well. Salem was also one of the voices of Xoanon in The Face Of Evil.
No location filming could be afforded for The Face Of Evil; all film work was done at Ealing, beginning September 20th. Series star Tom Baker took an immediate dislike to the new companion, particularly her violent characteristics. To head off controversy, he was told that Leela would only be around until the end of the season. Jameson and Roberts worked closely together to develop Leela and create her on-screen look. Jameson wore brown contact lenses (which irritated her eyes) and also make-up to darken her skin. Originally, this make-up was a very deep brown, but it was ultimately lightened up to produce the final look; this darker make-up is visible in several publicity photos, however.
Studio sessions began on Monday, October 11th and Tuesday, October 12th. As was becoming the norm, the second group of studio days was supposed to run from Sunday to Tuesday, the 24th to the 26th. For unknown reasons, however, the Sunday taping was cancelled, resulting in the incompletion of some sequences. However, one piece of material which was completed on the 24th was a single line read by seven year-old Anthony Frieze, who had won a Design-A-Monster competition administered through the BBC exhibitions at Blackpool and Longleat. Frieze's line -- "Who am I?" -- formed Xoanon's climactic utterance at the end of episode three.
News of the new companion finally hit the press on October 25th, and a publicity conference was hastily arranged for the following day. Leela's onscreen debut, however, was delayed when it was decided to postpone the second half of Season Fourteen until January 1977 (indeed, in some quarters The Face Of Evil was described as the start of a new season). Consequently, there was a break of six weeks between the final episode of The Deadly Assassin on November 20th and part one of The Face Of Evil on New Year's Day 1977.