a real world point of view
|The Mind of Evil|
|Novelised as:||The Mind of Evil|
|Featuring:||The Brig, Mike Yates, Benton|
|Main enemy:||The Master |
|Main setting:||Stangmoor Prison, England, the 1970s|
|Number of episodes:||6|
|Premiere broadcast:||30 January - 6 March 1971|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|Terror of the Autons||The Claws of Axos|
The Mind of Evil was the second serial of the eighth season of Doctor Who. It brought a radical change in the way United Nations Intelligence Taskforce was portrayed. Instead of being a primarily investigative body interested in alien or unexplained phenomena, here UNIT was mostly seen as a simple security force, guaranteeing the safety of international diplomats. In other words, the "United Nations" portion of their acronym was stressed over the "Intelligence Taskforce" bit — as would later happen in such stories as Day of the Daleks and The Time Warrior. This forced the plot to partially concern itself with international espionage, thus lending an almost Bondian veneer to proceedings. The internationalism of the plot even allowed for highly unusual scenes of the Doctor conversing in a real language other than English. Indeed, as of the seventh BBC Wales series, Evil was the only story which used English subtitles for the Doctor's speech.
Behind the scenes, Evil went badly over budget, thanks in no small part to one of Doctor Who's rare usages of a real helicopter in the concluding episode. An unimpressed Barry Letts therefore withdrew director Timothy Combe from his informal "director's rota", and Combe never worked on the programme again.
Following the destruction of its colour telerecordings, Evil became the "most missing" serial of the Jon Pertwee era, in that not even a frame of it survived in colour on any broadcast-quality medium. Fortunately, the whole of it remained available in monochrome, due to the fact that some of BBC Enterprises' overseas customers required black-and-white transmission prints. Additionally, a few colour clips survived from an off-air home recording, which allowed for some scenes to be recoloured for the 1998 VHS release. Its forthcoming DVD release is said to be recoloured, but it's unclear to what extent, or by what process.
The Master plots to plunge the world into war through a complex scheme involving an alien entity that feeds on evil and fear, a prison riot, and a stolen nerve gas missile.
Episode one Edit
The Doctor and Jo arrive at Stangmoor Prison to view a demonstration of the Keller Machine, which is claimed to cure anti-social behavior by extracting evil impulses from the brain, developed by Swiss scientist Emil Keller. Professor Kettering, acting on the absent Keller’s behalf, reports over a hundred successful tests on European prisoners. The Doctor’s open scepticism is apparently justified when the machine overloads and the subject, a hardened criminal named Barnham, is rendered comatose.
Meanwhile, UNIT is busy overseeing security at the First World Peace Conference. Things are not going well as the Brigadier attempts to calm Captain Chin Lee, furious at the apparent theft of classified documents from the Chinese delegation. Later, Chin-Lee reports even worse news, the Chinese delegate is dead. Meanwhile Captain Yates is assigned to lead a small UNIT platoon in disposing of the Thunderbolt, an illegal nerve gas missile.
Arthur Linwood, a medical student witnessing the Keller demonstration, is found dead near the Keller Machine, his face frozen in terror, covered in bites and scratches. His medical history shows a morbid fear of rats. Professor Kettering is examining the Machine when it becomes active on its own. Kettering has a vision of waves of water, and dies of an apparent heart attack. Investigating his death, the prison medic Dr Summers is mystified that his symptoms are consistent with death by drowning. The Machine’s activity also appears to coincide with an increase in hostility in the prison population. The Doctor is worried that the machine has power over people’s minds and is growing more powerful. As suspected, Kettering’s medical files show a morbid fear of water.
Later, the Doctor examines the Machine alone when it activates again. The Doctor is seized by terror as the room appears to erupt in flames…
Episode two Edit
Jo bursts into the room, and the machine deactivates. The Doctor concludes that the Machine possesses the ability to fill a person’s mind with visions of their greatest fear. He confesses a severe aversion to fire, which is rooted in his witnessing a planet consumed by flames (possibly the parallel Earth he visited (TV: Inferno)). Yates arrives to escort the Doctor back to assist the Brigadier with events at the Peace Conference. Jo stays behind to monitor events at Stangmoor.
While the Doctor charms the new Chinese delegate Fu Peng with his fluent Hokkien and his claim to have accompanied Mao on the Long March, Sgt. Benton shadows Chin Lee (who herself has disposed of the documents she earlier claimed to be stolen). When she notices him, she summons a mental power (which sounds eerily similar to the noise of the Keller machine) that seizes Benton and makes him collapse. A nearby telephone repairman rigs a control box so that he may monitor transmissions from the Conference. It is the Master, and he listens in on Yates making plans for the disposal of the Thunderbolt.
In the prison sickbay, Jo visits the recovering Barnham, now childlike and docile - "Either an idiot or a saint," reflects Dr Summers. The Stangmoor prisoners riot, led by Mailer (next in line for processing), taking Jo and Dr Summers hostage.
The Doctor reports in to the Brigadier, and recalling the prison warden’s reference to Keller’s young attractive Chinese assistant, realises that Chin Lee is the connection between the Keller Machine and the disturbances at the World Peace Conference.
Under directive from the Master, Chin Lee contacts the American delegate, Senator Alcott, and asks him to meet her late that night with some important information. When he arrives, Chin Lee appears to transform into an enormous dragon and advances on him…
Episode three Edit
The Doctor, Brigadier and Fu Peng intervene in time and rescue the Senator. They discover a telepathic amplifier attached to Chin Lee’s neck. The Doctor concludes that the Master is posing as Emil Keller, and is also seeking to disrupt the Peace Conference.
Once the Master learns that his role has been discovered, he returns to Stangmoor to formulate a new plan. The prison guards have managed to subdue the rioters, but the Master provides Mailer with gas bombs and the inmates overpower the guards and take over the prison.
Having learned of the trouble there, the Doctor arrives at Stangmoor but is apprehended. He is brought before the Master, who coolly informs him of his plot to steal the Thunderbolt with the help of the prisoners, destroy the Peace Conference with it, and thereby plunge the world into war. The Doctor is handcuffed to a chair beside the Keller Machine, which activates and fills his mind with visions of his old adversaries…
Episode four Edit
The Machine’s activity affects the entire prison, and the Master is barely able to shut it off and revive the Doctor. The groggy Doctor warns the Master that the machine will soon be too powerful to control.
While Jo nurses the Doctor back to health, the Master himself is attacked by the Machine, assaulted by an enormous vision of the Doctor looming over him laughing maniacally. The Master blocks the doors to the lecture hall, intending to starve the Machine into submission.
The Master persuades Mailer and his fellow inmates to help him obtain the Thunderbolt in exchange for freedom, the missile convoy passing within a few miles of Stangmoor. They manage to overpower Yates’ escort and succeed in stealing the missile. Yates pursues the thieves to a remote air hangar, but he is captured.
The Machine, or rather the alien entity inside it, is desperate enough for minds to feed upon that it develops the ability to teleport itself around the prison, and it closes upon Jo and the recovered Doctor…
Episode five Edit
The Machine teleports away, the Doctor theorising that there were more evil minds to feed upon elsewhere in the prison. Mailer blackmails the Master into returning to Stangmoor to deal with the menace. The Master and the Doctor form an uneasy alliance to subdue the Machine with a device that immobilises it for the time being.
The Brigadier meanwhile figures out that the Stangmoor inmates are involved in the abduction of Thunderbolt. He leads a two-pronged UNIT assault, a “Trojan Horse” team in a supply van and a second team via an underground passage into the prison courtyard. In the midst of the assault, Mailer aims his gun at the Doctor. A shot rings out…
Episode six Edit
Mailer falls over dead, the shot having come from the Brigadier. Stangmoor is back under control, but the Master escapes and prepares Thunderbolt for launch. Yates escapes and relays the location to the Brigadier.
The Machine overcomes the Doctor’s device and is once again on the move. It corners the Doctor and Jo, but when Barnham wanders in, the Machine suddenly loses power. The Doctor realises that Barnham, devoid of evil impulses having already been processed, acts as a neutralising influence on the Machine, and thus they have a tool to use against the Master to re-capture the Thunderbolt. Meanwhile they lift the lid of the Machine to examine the pulsating organism inside.
The Doctor bargains with the Master, offering the dematerialisation circuit he stole earlier, but it’s a ruse. He brings the Machine and Barnham, and as Barnham steps back the Machine attacks the Master. Barnham attempts to help him, but in the confusion the Master escapes in a van, fatally running him down in the process. UNIT detonates the Thunderbolt, taking the Machine with it.
The Master, however, has recovered his dematerialisation circuit in the melee, leaving him free to travel time and space. He can't resist calling the furious Doctor to gloat.
- The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
- Jo Grant - Katy Manning
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
- The Master - Roger Delgado
- Sergeant John Benton - John Levene
- Captain Mike Yates - Richard Franklin
- Corporal Bell - Fernanda Marlowe
- Professor Kettering - Simon Lack
- Captain Chin Lee - Pik Sen Lim
- Dr. Summers - Michael Sheard
- Prison Governor - Raymond Westwell
- Barnham - Neil McCarthy
- Linwood - Clive Scott
- Chief Prison Officer Powers - Roy Purcell
- Senior Prison Officer Green - Eric Mason
- Mailer - William Marlowe
- Vosper - Hayden Jones
- Fu Peng - Kristopher Kum
- Charlie - David Calderisi
- Senator Alcott - Tommy Duggan
- Major Cosworth - Patrick Godfrey
- Fuller - Johnny Barrs
- Prison Officers - Bill Matthews, Barry Wade, Dave Carter, Martin Gordon
- Main Gate Prisoner - Matthew Walters
- Action / Stuntwork - HAVOC
- Assistant Floor Manager - Sue Hedden
- Costumes - Bobi Bartlett
- Designer - Ray London
- Film Cameraman - Fred Hamilton, Max Samett
- Film Editor - Howard Billingham
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Jan Harrison
- Producer - Barry Letts
- Production Assistant - John Griffiths
- Script Editor - Terrance Dicks
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Eric Monk
- Studio Sound - Chick Anthony
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Jim Ward
Cultural references from the real world Edit
- The Master, en route to Stangmoor Prison, listens to an excerpt from "The Devil's Triangle" by British progressive rock band King Crimson.
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor speaks Hokkien and Cantonese very well, although he claims he is "rusty".
- When the Doctor is attacked by the Keller Machine he sees a War Machine, a Cyberman, a Dalek, Zarbi, a Sensorite, Koquillion, Slaar and a Silurian.
- The Doctor says he once shared a cell in the Tower of London with Sir Walter Raleigh ("a very strange chap... Kept going on about this new vegetable he'd discovered").
- The Doctor went on the Long March with Mao Tse-Tung, with whom he implies he had a friendly relationship.
The Master Edit
- The Master's innermost fear appears as a giant, malignant version of the Doctor, laughing mockingly.
Story notes Edit
- This story had the working titles of The Pandora Machine, Man Hours, The Pandora Box, The Pandora's Box.
- This is the first occurrence of subtitles on screen in Doctor Who. Their only other use is in TV: The Curse of Fenric.
- Pik Sen Lim (Captain Chin Lee) was the wife of the writer Don Houghton. Forty years later, their daughter Sara Houghton played Dr. Samantha Madigan in TV: The Curse of Clyde Langer.
- Lenny Vosper was named after Don Houghton's agent, Margary Vosper.
- The production team jokingly titled the Chinese dragon "Puff the Magic Dragon".
- Episode one - 6.1 million viewers
- Episode Two - 8.8 million viewers
- Episode Three - 7.5 million viewers
- Episode Four - 7.4 million viewers
- Episode Five - 7.6 million viewers
- Episode Six - 7.3 million viewers
- The Doctor makes a comment in episode one that suggests he supports capital punishment. His comment is ironic and suggests precisely the opposite.
Filming locations Edit
- Location filming took place in Dover Castle, Dover, Kent.
- Alland Grange, Manston, Kent
- Pineham Road, Pineham, Kent
- Cornwall Gardens Walk, London
- Cornwall Gardens, London
- Archer's Court Road, Whitfield, Kent
- RAF Swingate, Dover, Kent
- Commonwealth Institute, Kensington, London
- BBC Television Centre (Studio 3 & 6), Shepherd's Bush, London
Production errors Edit
- During a fight sequence in which water is spilled, the Master twice slips in the puddle.
- In the office scene in episode four a female sneeze from the studio is heard.
- The hallway leading up to cell 7 (the cell where the Doctor and Jo are stashed at various points) has a different appearance when viewed from outside and inside the cell.
- When the Master's thugs throw the Doctor into the cell, the wall shakes.
- The Doctor alludes to TV: Inferno: "I saw an entire world consumed by fire." (both stories were written by Don Houghton)
- The Master's greatest fear (of the Doctor looming over him) becomes real - physically - in TV: Planet of Fire, and again, metaphorically, in TV: Last of the Time Lords. The Doctor does not become large and laugh menacingly at him at that time. He is pointedly forgiving of him, in fact. However, both contain the underlying themes of an all-powerful Doctor and the psychological defeat involved in dispelling the Master's superiority complex.
- UNIT also provides security for the second World Peace Conference in TV: Day of the Daleks.
- The Master uses gas again in TV: The Sound of Drums to murder his entire cabinet.
- TV: Remembrance of the Daleks also features a human being controlled remotely with the use of a transmitter/receiver planted behind the victim's left ear.
Home video and audio releases Edit
This story was released as a double-cassette pack on VHS in black and white, the only format in which the story is currently known to exist. The only surviving colour footage from the story, approximately five minutes from the beginning of Episode Six, is included as a separate sequence at the end of the second tape. It was announced in February that the YouTuber Babelcolour will be colourising this episode, but a lot of colourisation has to be considered before it can be released onto DVD.
According to the Restoration Team, episodes 2 through 6 have very strong colour signals embedded in the black and white film recordings, making it a good candidate for the colour recovery process developed from 2007–2009 and used on Episode 3 of Planet of the Daleks and Episode 1 of Invasion of the Dinosaurs as well as Episodes 2 - 7 of The Ambassadors Of Death. Episode 1 was recorded with a notch filter, creating a cleaner black-and-white recording, but rendering the colour signal lost forever. They have since used the chromo dot technique to recolourise episodes 2–6, however the restoration produced mixed results, with further work required. It was announced in Feburary 2012 that Episode 1 is being recolourised frame by frame by Stuart Humphryes (a YouTube user, better known as BabelColour). As of early 2013, Stuart, along with Peter Crocker, has completed the colourisation and the full colour serial will be released on DVD in June 2013.
- Editing for VHS release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- The Mind of Evil at the BBC's official site
- The Mind of Evil at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Mind of Evil at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Mind of Evil at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Mind of Evil at The Locations Guide