The Mind Robber
|(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.)
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for
those who have already seen the program. To avoid the spoilers,
read the Buyers' Guide version instead.
The season six story that I originally looked forward to viewing
least actually turns out to be one of the very best of the year,
and one of the very best of its particular
for that matter.
Episode One - by Derrick Sherwin
Script Editor Derrick Sherwin plays Robin Hood, stealing an
"The Dominators" (the previous story)
to give to "The Mind Robber"
and thus making the Whoniverse a better place. The TARDIS
is introduced quite well here, particularly the relationship
between the interior and the exterior. No dissolve effects
for the TARDIS this time, nor does it make a proper landing
anywhere, but with it specifically being scripted that way,
and with it being buried in lava, caught in other dimensions
and turned inside-out, we really can't complain.
Jamie does manage a complaint against Zoe's appearance in
her eye-sore Dulcian outfit which sizes it up pretty accurately.
Thankfully, as soon as common sense and continuity allows, she
swaps it for something much more practical and better looking,
and sticks to better fashions for the rest of her travels.
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:
fill a hole in the production schedule with in-TARDIS only
scenes and characterizations. Here, the
masterful use of white space, robots, the villain's voice, and
the growing mental seduction/battle add much in the way of
menace, anticipation, and believability to the rest of the
"Mind Robber" story. I wouldn't have this adventure any other way.
Episodes Two through Five - by Peter Ling
"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. Once again the bizarre takes shape in the
mind first, and then in print, before becoming physically tangible.
Although mystery surrounds this mechanism at first, its discovery
is one of the key elements which the plot is based around, and
many of the story's best scenes are of our three travellers
exploring the idea.
Bernard Horsfall's Gulliver 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 of the poor
old story editor slaved to the master computer, including
a sneaky schemer, a harsh commander, and an absent-minded
likeable old fogey. 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.
Sudden illness for Frazer Hines throws an interesting twist
into episode two, where Hamish Wilson takes over the
role of Jamie for, basically, that episode. Wilson does not fail
to do the role justice, and this has to be one of the all-time
best, and funniest, companion "absences" that there is on Doctor
Who. The extra scenes inserted to take care of this are excellent
and enhance the strangeness of the setting extremely effectively:
another unexpected bonus for the story. The episodes threaten
to under-run the usual time-limit, but thankfully no
unnecessary padding was added anywhere - only good stuff.
The pace remains good all the way through. Even though a basic
pattern emerges for the central conflict of the middle episodes,
threatening to get repetitive, exploration and discovery rule
the day, and the simple odyssey plot moves quickly and steadily
ahead to the revelations, satisfying confrontations, and exciting
conclusion in the castle. A lot of twists are thrown into the
final battle of the minds between the Doctor and his adversary,
achieving a great deal of humour without losing dramatic realism
or impact. The final scene works, but wraps up just a little too
quickly and enigmatically for my taste, serving of course as a
bit of a cliffhanger between the fifth and sixth recording blocks.
Although it may benefit the television stations to bring
viewers back, it doesn't do much credit to this story or
- 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.
Magyar (Hungarian): "Az elmerabló"
Français (French): (Le voleur d'esprit)
Русский (Russian): "Вор разума"
Italiano (Italian): "Il ladro di menti"
Available with Italian and English audio tracks
in this 3-story DVD Box set:
Original English: "The Mind Robber"
This story has become available on DVD and VHS video:
|DVD NTSC Region 1
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
|DVD PAL Region 2
for the U.K.
in the U.S.
in the U.S.
for the U.K.
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