The Mind Robber

Region 1

Region 2
VHS Video
(Doctor Who Story No. 45, starring Patrick Troughton)
  • written by Peter Ling (episodes 2-5) and Derrick Sherwin (episode 1)
  • directed by David Maloney
  • produced by Peter Bryant
  • featuring library music tracks
  • 5 episodes @ 18-22 minutes each
Story: Desperate to escape an erupting volcano, the Doctor takes the TARDIS out of space/time reality. He and Jamie and Zoe find themselves in a bizarre struggle to maintain their identity and their control over their own minds, as they are confronted by all-too-familiar people, creatures, and settings that shouldn't really exist....

DVD Extras include:

  • Audio commentary by actors Frazer Hines (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Hamish Wilson (Jamie 2), and director David Maloney.
  • "The Fact of Fiction" making-of featurette (35 min.) adding writers Peter Ling and Derrick Sherwin,
    designer Evan Hercules, and actor Christopher Robbie (The Karkus).
  • Frazer Hines' Doctor Who career retrospective interview (22 min.)
  • Photo Gallery music and sound effects montage (7 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles
  • "Who's Who" text biographies (may feature on Region 1 discs only)
  • Basil Brush Yeti segment (10 min.)

Buyers' Guide Review

by Martin Izsak

(A more in-depth analysis, containing "SPOILERS" and intended for those who have already seen the program, can be accessed here.)

This is one of the very best of the stories of Doctor Who's 6th season, and of its particular "candy-horror" genre. The TARDIS is introduced quite well here, particularly the relationship between the interior and the exterior, and the vehicle sees plenty of unique action early in the story.

Episode one focuses on the three regulars, and is a fair demonstration of their relationships with each other and their life aboard the TARDIS interior, something that Doctor Who rarely gives us enough of. In scripting and in execution, this episode is by far better done than "The Edge of Destruction" (story no. 3), which basically attempted to do the same.

"The Mind Robber" continues to be excellent all the way through, leaving reality behind and taking up residence in a mental dimension that is perfect for hosting a "candy-horror" story. The believability factor is thus pretty much on-par with "The Celestial Toymaker" (story no. 24), but dramatically speaking "The Mind Robber" is miles ahead. Many of the story's best scenes are of our three travelers discovering exactly how and why the bizarre is made manifest.

Bernard Horsfall's character is very enjoyable and watchable all the way through, particularly the very humorous exchange he has with Jamie as they try to agree on who they are hiding from. One of season six's best moments, for my money. Emrys Jones succeeds in bringing out several interesting personas from the almost schizophrenic character opposing the Doctor in this adventure. Rapunzel, the Karkus, and the rest of the odd assortment of characters also get well-done, their crisp fresh dialogue keeping the story both light and interesting all the way through.

This is director David Maloney's first work on Doctor Who, and although he doesn't attract as much attention as a spectacular director as Douglas Camfield, he knows how to turn in solid work, and seems to be able to turn any story with a good script into something extremely appreciable. The number of all-time classic Doctor Who stories that he has helmed is extremely impressive. "The Mind Robber" is no exception, being perhaps the very best example of this style of story in Doctor Who.

The episodes are noticeably shorter than usual, but the lack of padding helps keep the pace up. The simple odyssey plot moves quickly and steadily ahead to the revelations, satisfying confrontations, and exciting final conclusion. A lot of twists are thrown into the final battle between the Doctor and his adversary, achieving a great deal of humour without losing dramatic realism or impact.

Episode Lengths:

  • Episode 1: (21:19)
  • Episode 2: (21:36)
  • Episode 3: (19:26)
  • Episode 4: (19:07)
  • Episode 5: (18:00)

"The Mind Robber" is extremely good, the most unusual gem of season six.

This story has become available on DVD and VHS video:
DVD NTSC Region 1
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
DVD PAL Region 2
for the U.K.
VHS Video
NTSC A in the U.S.
NTSC B in the U.S.
NTSC in Canada
PAL for the U.K.

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Read the Buyers' Guide Review for the next story: "The Invasion"

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