The Mind of Evil

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056 – The Mind of Evil
Doctor Who serial
Mind of Evil.jpg
The Doctor and Jo find themselves locked in a prison cell
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Don Houghton
Director Timothy Combe
Script editor Terrance Dicks
Producer Barry Letts
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Dudley Simpson
Production code FFF
Series Season 8
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 30 January–6 March 1971
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Terror of the Autons The Claws of Axos

The Mind of Evil is the second serial of the eighth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from 30 January to 6 March 1971.

At Stangmoor Prison in England, the Master is posing as Emilio Keller, a Professor of Criminology who has invented a machine which removes the negative (or evil) impulses from the minds of hardened criminals, but which actually contains an alien mind parasite that feeds on these evil impulses. He is plotting to start World War III by destroying the World Peace Conference in London. To do so, he plans to employ a nerve gas missile, stolen for him from U.N.I.T. by the prisoners; but in case his plan to hijack the missile is thwarted, he is using the mind parasite (once it has fed sufficiently) to wreck the peace conference by murdering the American and Chinese delegates, who are to be killed by the mind parasite's telepathic powers.

Plot[edit]

The Third Doctor and Jo Grant visit the remote Stangmoor Prison to examine a new method of "curing" criminals, whereby the negative impulses are removed from the mind using the Keller Machine to enact the Keller Process. Professor Kettering, who is managing the use of the Process at the behest of the absent Emil Keller, reconditions a number of inmates including Barnham, a hardened criminal who reverts to an innocent and childlike state due to the Process. The Doctor’s suspicions about the Keller Machine are heightened following a string of deaths, including that of Kettering himself, which seem to occur when the Machine is operated. Each death seems to be triggered by visions of personal phobias – and the Doctor is threatened by an inferno when he gets too close to it.

Meanwhile, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and the troops of UNIT are handling the security arrangements for the first World Peace Conference. Captain Chin Lee of the Chinese delegation, whose delegation leader is dead, is behaving strangely, in attempting to heighten tension in relations with the United States. It emerges that her actions are under the influence of the Master. She uses the transmitted power of the Keller Machine against the American delegate, Senator Alcott, who barely survives the attack. Captain Chin Lee is deconditioned by the Doctor, and tells him that Emil Keller is in truth the Master, whom the Doctor has previously trapped on Earth by stealing the dematerialisation circuit of his TARDIS.

Back at Stangmoor a riot has broken out and resulted in a dangerous criminal who was next in line for the Keller Process, Harry Mailer, seizing control of the prison. Jo is briefly taken hostage, but she enables the guards to retake the prison. The Master, who had heard of the Stangmoor riot by eavesdropping on UNIT, arrives and meets Mailer, to whom he supplies enough gas grenades for Mailer and his prisoners to retake control of the prison. The Doctor returns to the prison to be captured by the Master, who sets the Keller Machine loose on the mind of his old foe, weakening the Doctor considerably. The Master is losing control of the Keller Machine, which contains a dangerous alien Mind Parasite, and forces the Doctor to help him contain its power. This done, the Doctor is imprisoned once more.

The Master has come to Stangmoor to engage the prisoners as a private army, and uses them to hijack a UNIT convoy transporting a deadly Thunderbolt missile. The stolen missile is then pointed at the Peace Conference and Captain Mike Yates, who was leading the convoy, is taken prisoner by the criminals. Left in the dark, the Brigadier decides the Thunderbolt missile must be in Stangmoor and comes to the rescue in a "Trojan Horse" style assault. UNIT troops take control of the prison, killing Mailer and the other leading rioters. A freed Yates makes contact to tell UNIT that the Thunderbolt is being kept in an abandoned hangar nearby.

The Keller Machine is growing stronger and breaks free of the temporary restraints placed on it by the Doctor. The Doctor contacts the Master, who has gone to the hangar with the missile, and offers to return his dematerialisation circuit in exchange for the missile. The Master agrees to this proposition on the guarantee he will come alone. The Doctor has worked out that Barnham, having been subjected to the Keller Machine once and having no evil in his mind anymore, is immune to its growing power and uses the prisoner as a shield in transporting the Machine to the hangar for his showdown with his enemy. In the ensuing fight the Thunderbolt self destruct mechanism is triggered and the Machine destroyed. The Master uses the chaos to escape with the dematerialisation circuit, killing Barnham in the process. He contacts the Doctor by telephone to taunt him that he is now free while the Doctor remains trapped in his exile on Earth.

Continuity[edit]

An insight into the Master's motivation and his relationship with the Doctor is given when the Mind Parasite turns on him and attacks him with images to evoke his deepest fear: the Master is confronted with and recoils from images of a gigantic Doctor towering over him and laughing uproariously at him.

The Mind Parasite attacks the Doctor on three separate occasions. The first visions are tongues of flame, enveloping the Doctor's unusually terror-stricken face. He tells Jo as he recovers, "Not long ago I saw an entire world consumed by fire..." This is presumed to be a reference to the recent story Inferno (which was also written by Don Houghton).[2] The images in the two later incidents are of past monsters (including the War Machines, a Cyberman and a Zarbi). During these latter hallucinations, Dalek voices are heard chanting for subjugation, extermination, and destruction.

Production[edit]

Working titles for this story included The Pandora Machine, Man Hours and The Pandora Box.[3]

It features a guest appearance by Michael Sheard, who had previously appeared with William Hartnell in The Ark, and would later appear with Tom Baker in Pyramids of Mars (as Lawrence Scarman) and in The Invisible Enemy, and with Peter Davison in Castrovalva (as the Portreeve), and with Sylvester McCoy in Remembrance of the Daleks (as the Headmaster at the Coal Hill School). See also Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who.

Some exteriors, primarily for Stangmoor Prison, were filmed in and around Dover Castle.[4] This serial went so excessively over budget that its director, Timothy Combe, was not allowed to be considered for any subsequent Who work.[5]

Themes[edit]

James F. McGrath of Patheos religion blog noted that the episode posed the question of pacifism: "can pure unadulterated kindness ultimately prevail? Or does it take evil, in whatever small a measure, to effectively combat evil?"[6]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
Archive
"Episode One" 30 January 1971 (1971-01-30) 24:39 6.1 Manual colourisation
"Episode Two" 6 February 1971 (1971-02-06) 24:31 8.8 Chroma dot colour recovery
"Episode Three" 13 February 1971 (1971-02-13) 24:30 7.5 Chroma dot colour recovery
"Episode Four" 20 February 1971 (1971-02-20) 24:40 7.4 Chroma dot colour recovery
"Episode Five" 27 February 1971 (1971-02-27) 23:34 7.6 Chroma dot colour recovery
"Episode Six" 6 March 1971 (1971-03-06) 24:48 7.3 Chroma dot colour recovery
[7][8][9]

David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker, in their 1998 book Doctor Who: The Television Companion, noted that the Master's plan was "so convoluted that it seriously lacks credibility". However, they wrote that "the action is brought to the screen with such style and panache that the viewer hardly notices them", with the direction and the alien menace being the highlights.[10] In 2009, Mark Braxton of Radio Times praised the direction and Delgado's Master, though he noted there was a high body count.[11] SFX reviewer Ian Berriman gave the serial three out of five stars, finding it enjoyable if one did not concentrate on the Master's plan, noting that the "two aspects of the plan never dovetail satisfactorily".[12] DVD Talk's John Sinnott rated The Mind of Evil three and a half out of five stars, writing that it kept a good pace and had "all of the elements that made Pertwee's run so enjoyable".[13] Actress Katy Manning has stated that this is her favourite story from her three years on the show.[14]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

The Mind of Evil
Doctor Who The Mind of Evil.jpg
Author Terrance Dicks
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
96
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
11 July 1985
ISBN 0-426-20166-3

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in March 1985.

Home media[edit]

The original soundtrack for this serial was released on CD in the UK in February 2009. The linking narration was provided by Richard Franklin.[15]

This story is unique amongst the Pertwee-era stories in that the BBC, for a long time, held no complete colour copies of any of its episodes. Approximately four and a half minutes of colour footage from Episode Six existed on an off-air domestic NTSC Betamax recording. As a full set of b/w 16mm film recordings exists, the story was released on VHS in this format, on 5 May 1998. The colour scenes, restored by combining the colour signal from the off-air recording and the geometry from the film recording, were included as a bonus extra after the story. Several colour clips from the story were included on the 2011 DVD release Day of the Daleks as part of the UNIT family history.[16]

The serial was released on DVD on 3 June 2013.[17] Episodes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were restored to colour via the chroma dot colour recovery technique used for other black-and-white Pertwee-era stories.[18] The telerecording of episode 1 does not contain chroma dot information (this was filtered out at the time it was made), and was recoloured using colour referenced from the other restored episodes. Keyframes, including the first frame of a shot and every fifth frame thereafter (Approximately 7,000 total) were hand coloured by Stuart Humphryes. Motion-estimation software was then used to interpolate the extrapolated colour from the key frames into the intervening frames.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dr Who in Detail 3". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  2. ^ Cornell, Paul, Martin Day and Keith Topping, Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide, Virgin Books, 1995, p. 122.
  3. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1996). Doctor Who The Handbook - The Third Doctor. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 77. ISBN 0-426-20486-7. 
  4. ^ Unsigned, "The UNIT Story: Part One," Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special (UNIT Exposed), 1991, Marvel Comics, Ltd., p. 15, col. 2.
  5. ^ Unsigned, "The UNIT Story: Part One," Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special (UNIT Exposed), 1991, Marvel Comics, Ltd.,, p. 15, col. 3.
  6. ^ McGrath, James F (6 August 2012). "Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil". Patheos. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Mind of Evil". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  8. ^ "The Mind of Evil". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  9. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2005-05-15). "The Mind of Evil". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  10. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed. ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  11. ^ Braxton, Mark (21 October 2009). "Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Berriman, Ian (31 May 2013). "Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil Review". SFX. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Sinnott, John (11 June 2013). "Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil". DVD Talk. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  14. ^ The Mind of Evil DVD commentary (episode two), BBC DVD
  15. ^ "Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil". Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  16. ^ BBC Warner DVD. B0051V55XA. 13 September 2011
  17. ^ "UK DVD schedule confirmed to September". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  18. ^ On February-19-2012 (2012-02-19). "Doctor Who: Radio Free Skaro » Blog Archive » Radio Free Skaro #296 – Cleaning Up the Corn Field". Radio Free Skaro. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  19. ^ "Pertwee DVD". Babelcolour. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]