TARDIS Index File

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
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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Doctor Who television stories
The Dominators The Invasion
Memorable moment
The TARDIS explodes - The Mind Robber - Doctor Who - BBC03:17

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

Another memorable moment
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 only televised story to feature the Land of Fiction.

Synopsis Edit

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, the Karkus, 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 Edit

Episode 1 Edit

Back inside the TARDIS, Zoe watches the eruption on the scanner. The Doctor attempts to take off but the fluid links cannot take the load of the TARDIS and mercury vapour begins to flood into the console room. Jamie watches the lava draw towards them. The Doctor tells him there is nothing to worry about but begins to doubt himself, the TARDIS never having been subjected to lava before. He watches as the readings of the mercury levels rises and rises. The Doctor mentions an emergency unit that moves the TARDIS out of the time and space dimension and out of reality altogether. He is very reluctant. He gets the unit out to look at it and Jamie literally forced him into employing it. As the TARDIS is engulfed in lava it dematerialises. The console room flashes and then stops. The Doctor realises that the gauges are reading zero on everything. They have landed but nothing is displaying anything, not even the scanner. When asked where they are the Doctor responds with "nowhere" before hurrying off.

Zoe has gone to change and then encounters the Doctor. He is worried but is trying to hide it. Zoe reasons with the Doctor that the TARDIS only lands them in places that are safe, so they must be somewhere safe. The Doctor reasons with Zoe: they are in a dimension about which they know nothing, they are at the mercy of forces which they don't understand. Zoe still wants to go. The Doctor is forced to put his foot down.

Back in the console room, Jamie is engrossed by the scanner. He can see his home, the Scottish Highlands. Zoe enters. He shows her. She can see nothing. When he looks back he can't see anything either. He puts it down to Scotch mist. As Jamie is distracted Zoe gets engrossed by the scanner too. She too sees her home city. Just as before, she shows him and it disappears. Zoe wants to go out but Jamie stops her. He goes to fetch the Doctor. Left alone Zoe can see her home city on the scanner again. She opens the door and calls for Jamie and the Doctor so they can leave. Impatiently she leaves the TARDIS. As soon as she leaves the scanner goes blank.

Jamie explains what has happened to the Doctor. He is still convinced he saw the Scottish Highlands. The Doctor rushes in to find Zoe. When he realises she has gone he reasons that their must be something tempting them out of the TARDIS. A warning light goes off on the TARDIS. They do not have much time before they are forced to take off. Jamie says he will go and find Zoe. Before the Doctor can stop him he's run off. Another warning light goes off on the TARDIS console. The Doctor then nears a sharp,piercing sound. He staggers around the TARDIS crying out for whomever is making the noise to identify themselves, where they are and what they want. The Doctor sits on a chair determined to fight the noise.

Zoe has found herself in a completely blank canvas. She is calling out for the Doctor and Jamie. Jamie finds Zoe. They decide to go back to the TARDIS but they have become utterly lost. They decide to stand still and call for the Doctor.

Back in the TARDIS , the Doctor can hear them but is still trying to fight against the noise.

Out in the nothingness, Jamie feels they are being watched. Zoe concurs. Unseen by them two robots are indeed watching over them. Zoe is distracted again by a vivid depiction of her city. Jamie brings her to her senses but she is very hard to convince that she did not see it. In turn, Jamie starts to see his homeland. Zoe has to slap him to bring him to his senses. They decide to find the TARDIS again, but as they turn they encounter two of the robots. They run off but bump into more and soon they are surrounded by them. They turn to see a depiction of themselves beckoning them forward.

The Doctor sees this image of Jamie and Zoe too. He hears a voice imploring him to follow them and to save them. He refuses but the voice tells him that he will.

The robots produce a hypnotic effect on Zoe and Jamie, causing the former to scream in distress.

The voice is still imploring the Doctor to save his friends. In a daze the Doctor walks out the TARDIS. Once outside he comes to his senses again. He calls to Jamie and Zoe and tells them to focus on his voice. He tells them everything else is unreality and that he and the TARDIS are the only things that are real. He tells them to come towards him. They obey. He tells them to go into the TARDIS. The robots begin to use their hypnotic effects on them and the Doctor pushes them into the TARDIS.

Once inside, Jamie and Zoe come to. The Doctor hurriedly takes off. As they are in flight the high pitched noise starts again. Jamie leaves the Doctor and Zoe to it and goes for a nap. Zoe apologies to the Doctor who understands and says if it was anything as tempting as the voice that he heard she was bound to get in. The Doctor realises that he had forgotten about the voice up until then. He notices that the TARDIS is using more power than normal and begins to rectify it. Meanwhile, in the corner of the room, Jamie tosses and turns fretfully in his sleep. He suddenly wakes with a start. The Doctor tells him not to bother him as he cannot get power back to normal. Jamie tells Zoe that he was dreaming about a unicorn. They look up and see that the Doctor is in a trance. He draws their attention to the sound vibrating through the TARDIS and identifies it as alien. Zoe and Jamie start to notice it too and can't focus because of it. The Doctor implores Zoe and Jamie to read aloud the numbers on the dial so that they can focus on something else. The sound heightens. It is too strong for the Doctor who slumps back against the wall.

Outside the TARDIS is flying aimlessly through space when suddenly it explodes. The console alone is left flying through space with Zoe and Jamie clinging on to it. Zoe turns and screams as she sees the Doctor, seemingly dead, floating in slave. Smoke slowly covers the console as it drifts out of sight.

Episode 2 Edit

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 Edit

The TARDIS crew 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 Edit

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 Edit

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 is careful not to explicitly reference himself or his companions in a fictional manner, less they then become fiction. The Doctor prevails in the battle. 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, and the TARDIS reassembles itself and normality is restored.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Literature Edit

Writers Edit


Story notes Edit

  • The story follows directly from the end of the previous story, The Dominators.
  • 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 Terror of the Autons, more than two years after this story was first aired.

Ratings Edit

  • 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 Edit

  • 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.
  • A scene in the white void when Jamie and Zoe get mind controlled was originally shot with both characters naked. (No evidence of that exists)

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

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





iTunes releases Edit

This story was released in standard definition as part of the Doctor Who: The Classic Series collection Doctor Who Sampler: The Second Doctor, which additionally includes Revisited: Patrick Troughton, The Second Doctor and the story The Tomb of the Cybermen. This story is available for purchase with the whole sampler collection or as individual episodes.

VHS releases Edit

  • 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 Edit

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