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The Mind Robber (TV story)

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The Mind Robber
Mindrobber title
Novelised as: The Mind Robber
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Zoe
Main enemy: The Master of the Land, the Master Brain, White Robots, Clockwork soldiers
Main setting: The White Void, the Land of Fiction
Key crew
Writer: Peter Ling
Director: David Maloney
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 45
Season/series: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 14 September - 12 October 1968
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 5x20-minute episodes
Production code: UU
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The TARDIS explodes - The Mind Robber - Doctor Who - BBC03:17

The TARDIS explodes - The Mind Robber - Doctor Who - BBC

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Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? - The Mind Robber - Doctor Who - BBC01:43

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? - The Mind Robber - Doctor Who - BBC

The Mind Robber was the second story of Season 6 of Doctor Who. It was the first story which David Maloney directed, and the first to feature the Land of Fiction.

Synopsis

To escape from the volcanic eruption on Dulkis, the Second Doctor uses an emergency unit. It moves the TARDIS out of normal time and space. The travellers find themselves in an endless void where they are menaced by white robots.

Having regained the safety of the TARDIS, they believe they have escaped - until the ship explodes. They find themselves in a land of fiction, where they are hunted by life-size clockwork soldiers and encounter characters like Rapunzel and Swift's Lemuel Gulliver.

This domain is presided over by a man known only as the Master - a prolific English writer from 1926 - who in turn is controlled by a Master Brain computer. The Master is desperate to escape and wants the Doctor to take his place, while the Master Brain plans to take over the Earth.

The Doctor engages the Master in a battle of wills using fictional characters. Zoe and Jamie overload the Master Brain. In the confusion, the White Robots destroy the computer, freeing the Master.

Plot

Episode 1

The TARDIS is buried in lava after a volcanic eruption on Dulkis, blowing the fluid links. The Doctor employs an emergency unit. It moves the TARDIS out of normal time and space, out of reality itself. They arrive in an endless White Void. While the Doctor fixes the TARDIS, Jamie and Zoe are lured outside. They are confronted by White Robots. The Doctor gets them back inside but, as they try to return to reality, the TARDIS explodes and the travellers are scattered into nothingness.

Episode 2

Mindrobber ep2

The Doctor has to reassemble Jamie's face with card, but gets it all wrong.

The TARDIS crew find themselves separated in a forest where the trees become letters when seen from above. The Doctor, after facing a series of riddles, finds Jamie as a cardboard cut-out with a blank face. When the Doctor selects facial components to reconstruct the face, he gets it wrong and Jamie returns to normal looking nothing like he did before. The pair are reunited with Zoe. As the three try to figure out what has happened and where they are, they meet the fictional character Lemuel Gulliver, who gives them away to life-sized toy clockwork soldiers which he can't see. They are taken to the edge of the forest, where a unicorn charges at them.

Episode 3

The TARDIS crew turn turn the unicorn into a statue by loudly declaring, "It doesn't exist". They walk on and reach a house, where the Doctor is tasked with the Jamie face puzzle again. This time he gets it right and Jamie returns to normal. They discover that the house is the entrance to a labyrinth. The Doctor and Zoe leave Jamie behind. They encounter the Minotaur. Jamie, pursued by a soldier, climbs up a rock face with the help of Rapunzel's hair and enters a citadel through a window. He finds a series of computer banks which show a readout on the Doctor and Zoe's encounter with Medusa. Zoe cannot resist the urge to look at Medusa, though to do so will turn her to stone.

Episode 4

As the Doctor and Zoe avoid looking at Medusa, Jamie sees a readout describing how the Doctor slew the monster with a sword. Such a sword appears at the Doctor's side, but he refuses to use it because Medusa does not exist. He uses a mirror, turning Medusa to stone. The computer gives a failure reading, though Jamie does not know what it means. He continues to explore the citadel.

The Doctor and Zoe exit the labyrinth and encounter the Karkus, a cartoon character from the year 2000. The Doctor accidentally dispels the Karkus' anti-molecular ray disintegrator by commenting that no such weapon exists. The Karkus attacks them. The Doctor can't get rid of the Karkus, because he has never heard of the character before and cannot say for certain that the Karkus is not real. Zoe, however, beats the Karkus into submission with her martial arts skills and he allies with them. He takes them to the citadel, where they find Jamie. Zoe accidentally sets off an alarm, but they do not hide and let the White Robots take them to the main control room. Here, they meet the Master, a kidnapped Earth writer who underwent the same tests as they when he first arrived. He explains he is getting old and needs the Doctor to replace him as the creative source for the Land of Fiction. The Doctor refuses. While he is talking, Jamie and Zoe sneak out into a library where they encounter the White Robots again and are trapped in a giant book.

Episode 5

Mindrobber ep5

Master of the Land

The Doctor refuses the Master's offer and escapes through a skylight. The Master hypnotises Jamie and Zoe. He gets them to trap the Doctor and links him to the Master Brain. The two battle, summoning a multitude of fictional characters to fight each other. The Doctor prevails. He releases Jamie and Zoe, who override the Master Brain, causing the White Robots to destroy each other.

The Doctor unplugs the Master from the Brain and they all retreat to a side room. The White Robots destroy the Master Brain, the TARDIS reassembles itself and normality is restored.

Cast

Crew

References

Literature

Writers

TARDIS

Story notes

  • Working titles for this story were Man Power (also Manpower), Another World and The Fact of Fiction.
  • Radio Times credits Bernard Horsfall as 'A Stranger' for Episodes 2 and 3, and as 'Gulliver' for episodes four and five. On-screen credits read 'A Stranger' for episode two, and 'Gulliver' for episodes three to five.
  • Christopher and David Reynolds' surname is spelt as 'Reynolds' for episode two, and as 'Reynalds' in episode five and for both episodes in Radio Times. (The correct spelling remains uncertain.)
  • Philip Ryan (Redcoat) is credited on-screen for episode three, but is uncredited in Radio Times.
  • Hamish Wilson played Jamie in episodes two and three when Frazer Hines contracted chicken pox.
  • Episode one is the only episode in the series' history to have no writer's credit, either on-screen or in Radio Times.
  • This story was planned as a four-part serial, but was increased to five after the previous adventure, The Dominators was reduced from six to five episodes. As a result, the first four episodes were only between nineteen and twenty-two minutes in length and episode five was the shortest Doctor Who episode ever at just over eighteen minutes. For this to happen, the first episode was cobbled together by the production team, making Peter Ling very unhappy.
  • Before Jamie, as played by Hamish Wilson, gets turned into a cut-out for the second time, he shouts, "Creag an tuirc!" Frazer Hines joked on the DVD commentary that this is Scottish Gaelic for "vodka and tonic". However, it is actually the motto of the MacLaren Clan of Scotland, meaning "the boar's rock". These are also Jamie's last words in his last regular serial, The War Games, as he charges an English redcoat on the fields of Scotland.
  • The White Robots that close in on Jamie and Zoe in the void outside the TARDIS were previously used in an episode of the science-fiction television series Out of the Unknown, "The Prophet", originally transmitted 1 January 1967. This episode now no longer exists in the BBC archives.
  • The character Gulliver speaks only lines written for him by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels.
  • Christine Pirie (Princess Rapunzel) also contributed a voice-over reading from an extract from Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel Little Women for the scene in episode three where Jamie climbs through the castle window only to find himself in a hi-tech control room, but was uncredited for this on-screen.
  • The Blackbeard and Cyrano de Bergerac shown here are the fictional depictions of real historical figures. (In-universe, the same applies to Medusa and the minotaur.)
  • This is one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • The Master of the Land should not be confused with the renegade Time Lord known as the Master, who first appeared in TV: Terror of the Autons, more than two years after this story was first aired.
  • There are elements in this story that some fans have interpreted as meaning the events in The Mind Robber are all a dream. For example, the changing of Jamie's face may be a manifestation of the Doctor's regeneration trauma. Zoe also recognises candles, despite not knowing what they are in The Space Pirates. Significantly, despite the Master of the Land being with the TARDIS crew at the end of this story, his absence is not remarked upon at the start of the following story, The Invasion. In fact, none of the events of this story are mentioned or referenced at the start of the following story – indicating that the TARDIS crew may not even remember them properly (thus explaining Zoe's lack of knowledge about candles later).

Ratings

  • Episode 1 - 6.6 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 6.5 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.2 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.3 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 6.7 million viewers

Myths

  • Hamish Wilson, who played Jamie in episodes two and three, is Frazer Hines's cousin. (Hamish Wilson is no relation at all to Frazer Hines. However, Ian Hines — who played one of the Clockwork Soldiers in this story — is his brother.)
  • Zoe recognises the Karkus as a character from a "strip cartoon of the year 2000". This is not actually a reference to the real life 2000 A.D. British comic strip anthology (which is best known for introducing the character of Judge Dredd), as this episode predates the beginning of that strip by about ten years.

Filming locations

Production errors

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • As the camera pans across what Jamie has been made to believe is the Scottish landscape, a seam is clearly visible, revealing the "landscape" as multiple paintings bound together.
  • After the TARDIS breaks up, Zoe is clinging to the console. In long model shots, she is lying on her right side. In close-ups, she's on her left. Said model shots also have Zoe's arms as disproportionately long and bandy.
  • The walls of the TARDIS are visibly photographic flats.
  • Occasionally, when Zoe and Jamie are in the white void, the line where the wall and floor of the studio meet can be seen.
  • When the Doctor gets Jamie and Zoe into the TARDIS, the end credit "PRODUCER - PETER BRYANT" can be seen on the scanner.
  • The light-maps on the Master's monitors show layouts that are not the same as the actual layouts of the tunnels.
  • In the Forest of Words, when Jamie is standing on top of the giant "S" it is clear that the proportions of the other letters he is supposedly seeing in the distance are completely different from the ones by where they are standing — i.e. the letters Jamie sees in the distance are far shorter than they are in the length and width of their surface; however, the height of the "S" he is standing on is far greater than its length and width.
  • Near the end of this episode, Jamie is reading the ticker-tape upside down.
  • It's quite obvious that the bookshelves in the library are photographs, not real.
  • When Zoe is fighting the Karkus, Christopher Robbie mistimes a stunt, making it clear she's not flipping him over her shoulder.
  • The lens of another camera can be clearly seen in shot in episode one.
  • Zoe incorrectly states that 5000 words per week for 25 years would be nearly half a million words. In actuality, this would total 6.5 million words.

Continuity

Home video and audio releases

DVD releases

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Mind Robber.

Released:

PAL - BBC DVD BBCDVD1358

Contents:

Notes:

VHS releases

  • This story was released on video as The Mind Robber in episodic format in May 1990 in the UK, September 1990 in Australia, and February 1994 in the US.

External links


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