THE FACE OF EVIL
1st January – 22nd January 1977
Killing me isn’t going to help you. And it’s not going to do me much good either.
The Doctor to Andor, episode 1
Arriving on a distant planet, the Doctor is befriended by Leela, from the Sevateem Tribe. She has been exiled from her village for questioning the ways of their god, Xoanon. Puzzled by the tribe’s mixture of primitive artefacts and disused sophisticated equipment, the Doctor eventually deduces they are descended from survivors of a space ship that landed there many centuries ago. Their ancestors were the ship’s survey team, while their tribal opponents are the Tesh, who descend from the technicians that remained with the stranded ship. The ship is still intact, concealed behind a force barrier controlled by its own super-computer, which the tribe worships as their god, Xoanon. Xoanon also controls the manifestations of semi-invisible monsters out in the jungle, sent to terrorise the Sevateem into obedience.
The Doctor is puzzled when the Sevateem refer to him as ‘The Evil One’, and even more baffled when he is shown a gigantic face carved into the side of a mountain – a face identical to his own! Racking his memory he remembers visiting this planet once before. Shortly after the space ship’s crash the Doctor recalls trying to repair the computer, but in the process he now believes he gave the machine a schizophrenic personality. Effectively driven mad, the computer has caused the surviving technicians and survey team to split into perpetually warring tribes. Evading hunting groups of Tesh and Sevateem, as well as Xoanon’s energy ‘monsters’, the Doctor eventually accesses the central core of the computer, and manages to rebalance its personality.
By restoring the computer’s ‘sanity’ the Doctor wins the admiration and respect of Leela, who decides to join the Doctor on his travels aboard the TARDIS.
Video © BBC